The Future of LEGO Trains

So like most of you, I’ve watched the YouTube announcement of the Emerald Night. It looks beautiful and the $99 price tag is okay, not great. Now, I just got the new S@H catalog in the mail, listing the price of the train Power Functions… Oh my!

Now there’s been a move with cell phone companies to try to standardize on a universal cell phone charger (that Apple hasn’t adopted yet) to cut down on phone charger waste & go a little greener. LEGO’s (#8887) Transformer 10VDC is $24.99. In all fairness, it’s a little high; not to mention that the picture shown in the catalog is the European version. But I guess what really shocks me is the $49.99 for the (#8878) Rechargeable Battery Box… and the two are useless without the other!

So this also brings the price of a starter LEGO train kit from (historically) $120-$150, now up to $219.99; almost double. The (K10194) Emerald Night collection includes the Emerald Night, the 6 Power Function parts — Light, XL Motor, IR RX (receiver), IR Speed Remote Control, Rechargeable Battery Box, & Transformer — and a circle of Flex Train Tracks… doesn’t even include any strait track.

A loop of Flexible Train Track is $24.99. Excuse me? The track concept is super cool, but $24.99 for a box of Flexible Train Track? Now, 2 boxes of curved 9V track at $13/box is $26, so we’re saving $1 per loop. But the bottom line, the money LEGO is saving by not putting metal onto track segments is not being passed on…

I’m thinking about buying the Emerald Night train, but holding off on the Power Functions… either until I’m forced to buy them, the price comes down, or the last of my 9v engines die.