The 7 Best Riding Trains

Updated May 17, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

7 Best Riding Trains
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Best Inexpensive
We spent 38 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Rather than a toy that can only be watched or controlled from a distance, think bigger and place your child right in the middle of the railroad action with one of these super-sized riding trains. They include interactive features designed to develop early motor skills, while others even come with several feet of track for placement on both hard floors and carpeting for fun in any room. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best riding train on Amazon.

7. Chicco Sit 'N Ride

The Chicco Sit 'N Ride is a good choice for small kids who aren't quite ready for a motorized toy. Its steering wheel has an electronic dashboard with lights, sounds, and mechanical activities engineered to fuel the fast development of your toddler's motor skills.
  • can be used as walker or riding toy
  • under-the-seat storage compartment
  • tends to slip on smooth floors
Brand Chicco
Model 00005480000000
Weight 7.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Step2 Up & Down Coaster

The Step2 Up & Down Coaster leverages the popularity of Thomas the Tank Engine, but with a unique twist in design by turning your home into a mini amusement park, letting your child safely roll up and down its ramp. It also has a high back and an easy-grip handrail.
  • nonslip safety steps
  • authentic face and decals
  • instructions are a bit confusing
Brand Step2
Model 736600
Weight 31.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. National 6V Talking

The National 6V Talking train is equipped with both electronic engine rumbling sounds and conductor calls, keeping your little ones fully engaged and entertained as they ride around the included 19-foot circular track at up to 1 mile per hour.
  • forward and reverse gears
  • automatic braking system
  • not as durable as its competition
Brand National
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. VTech Sit-to-Stand

Encourage interactive early learning in your toddler as he or she grows with the multifunctional VTech Sit-to-Stand. It offers the choice of floor play, walker, and ride-on modes, while its learning center teaches your child how to recognize letters, numbers, and colors.
  • built-in motion sensor
  • 6-page water-resistant alphabet book
  • multicolored piano key buttons
Brand VTech
Model 80-076600
Weight 9.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Morgan Cycle Santa Fe

Satisfy your little engineer's locomotive fascination with the Morgan Cycle Santa Fe. Ideal for kids 1.5 to 3 years of age, its durable steel construction withstands constant playtime, while the fully padded and detachable seat is both comfortable and easy to clean.
  • foot-to-floor operation
  • bright and realistic colors
  • rear-wheel-controlled steering
Brand Morgan Cycle
Model 71117
Weight 18 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Peg Perego Santa Fe

Constructed in the USA, the Peg Perego Santa Fe supports a child of up to 40 pounds with the capability to easily ride across smooth, hard surfaces or using its curved, 12-piece track. A rechargeable 6-volt battery is also included for providing hours of extended play.
  • electronic engine sound effects
  • no manual steering required on track
  • enclosed motor and wiring
Brand Peg Perego
Model IGED1071
Weight 29 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

1. Power Wheels Thomas and Friends

The Fisher-Price Power Wheels Thomas and Friends inspires your little conductor with push-button controls that teach him how to start, go forward, steer, and stop when on the track. When he's old enough, your child can then take it off its track for additional adventures.
  • integrated footrests
  • track is very easy to assemble
  • powered by a 6-volt battery
Brand Fisher-Price
Model BCK92
Weight 28.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

How To Encourage A Child's Love Of Trains

A riding train can provide a child with countless hours of enjoyment. This is especially true if a parent finds little ways to make that riding train more fun. This could mean high-fiving a toddler each time his or her train circles the tracks, or it could mean buying him or her an engineer's hat along with a pinstriped pair of pajamas to match.

As a child begins to outgrow the toddler stage, you can encourage his or her interest in locomotives by way of coloring books, online videos, and, of course, Thomas the Train. Assuming the riding train you own doesn't need to be on a track, your child can start to take it for supervised rides around the block or to the park, and you can even take it along on vacations.

If you own a model train set, you can use it to teach your child about the mechanisms of a railway or a caboose. As the child begins to develop, it may be worth planning a trip to an actual train museum, a historic train station, or a local switch yard (assuming that you can get in).

Under ideal circumstances, there's no substitute for the real thing, which is why you may want to book a passage with your child along one of numerous regional rail lines. Boarding a coach will provide your child with an opportunity to see some wide-open country and you may be able to request a brief tour inside the locomotive's power car before it's all done.

Several Safety Tips For Owning A Riding Train

As a parent, you want your child to enjoy all of the benefits a riding train has to offer. That being the case, it's best to review a number of safety measures before your child climbs on board. Obviously, you never want your child to operate a riding train while barefoot, nor do you want your child to operate a train with untied sneakers or open-toe shoes (as any one of these scenarios can result in an injury). In addition, you want to caution your child against placing any fingers or other appendages near the riding train's wheels (or gears), regardless of whether the train itself happens to be in motion.

If your child's train includes any detachable pieces, you'll want to maintain close supervision to ensure he doesn't try to put the pieces into his mouth. In addition, make sure the train's path is clear of other household items - including toys or pets - as any obstruction could lead to damage, injuries, or worse.

Take heed of whether the train's instruction manual mentions any type of weight capacity or other restrictions, and be mindful not to let your child try to cram multiple passengers onto a one-person caboose. If the train comes with its own set of tracks, it's best to store those tracks in a place where they cannot be stepped on or trampled whenever the train isn't in use.

How The Train Became A Toy

The idea of railed transport - that is, conveying people or goods in wheeled vehicles along a guided track - dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. The earliest rail routes were known as wagonways, and were outfitted with raised wooden beams, any pair of which enabled cargo to be wheeled above loose terrain. Innovations in railed transport eventually led to the mining cart, the two-man rail cart, and several other means of delivering freight across vast distances.

The first modern railways were designed during the 17th century. These railways differed from the wagonways in that they used a flange or a projecting rim to attach every vehicle's wheels onto a track. As the first iron rail systems began to emerge, they signaled the possibility for cheaper production, a public transportation system, and perhaps even a continental rail line.

During the 1800s, artisans took to capitalizing on the public's fascination with trains by constructing tiny scale models of box cars, locomotives, and coaches. These models were intricate, but immovable, and were designed to be sold as collector's items. That trend began to change, however, after a German doll house manufacturer went into production on a line of rolling model trains that were meant to cater as much to children as they were to adults.

Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, items made from tin and metal became less expensive to produce, allowing for low-cost model train sets to be built. The arrival of electric toy trains provided enthusiasts with an opportunity to design their own miniature railways, complete with lighting, scale-model buildings, plastic mountains, and more. Electric toy cabooses provided the additional capability to have an engine car whistle, blow smoke, and choo-choo.

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, miniature trains were designed according to three basic categories: pull toys or wind-ups (for children), model trains (for adolescents), and elaborate collector sets (for adults). Children's train sales dropped off significantly after the 1960s, only to rebound during the Clinton era. This was mostly due to a fictional blue caboose named Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas broke big in the United Kingdom before being re-branded as Thomas the Train and then storming the United States and beyond.



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Last updated on May 17, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.


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