The Lionel Trippy and Polar Express trolleys are recent releases of a well-known (and loved) product. The bump-and-go mechanism of these staple products makes these great operating elements on layouts that have enough room for a single track but no more space for a full loop.
In the 2021 Volume I offerings from Lionel, deep into the Standard O items on page 157 was the latest trolley release. Lionel offered a First Avenue Rapid Transit (No. 2235020; MSRP $109.99) and The Trippy Trolley (2235030, $129.99).
A few other trolleys that have just been delivered to dealers from Lionel that were not in the 2021 Vol. I catalog are the Polar Express (2235010) and a North Pole Central (2135140) each $109.99.
The Lionel Trippy and Polar Express trolleys
At 6¾ inches these trolleys can operate on O-27 track. Don’t expect to model the hills of San Francisco with them, but they can climb minor grades with their single-wheel traction tire. Their maintenance-free motor will also keep them running for hours.
Each is equipped with the same operation of bump-and-go forward-and-reverse. They each have an LED headlight, interior lighting, and window silhouettes. The Trippy Trolley steps it up a notch with a 1960’s disco paint scheme and multi-colored LED lighting which changes the color of the interior lighting and also illuminates the track.
The Polar Express version features the cab number 1225 and Santa Claus manning the controls behind the windshield. The passengers on this version are the elves from the movie.
The trolleys arrived in a traditional Lionel orange and blue box with plastic window showing the trolley inside. The units themselves are light, coming in at 12.9 ounces. For reference, a Lionel GLa hopper with die-cast trucks is over 14 ounces. The adjustable trolley poles are spring loaded and can be kept in the downward position by small plastic hooks on the roof.
Nothing fancy, just fun
These trolleys are conventionally controlled and do need solid electrical contact with their minimal footprint. Make sure your track is clean and the connections are good.
While these are the newest trolleys from Lionel, they certainly are not the only ones available or the end of the trolley line. Lionel has many other city trolley options as well as holiday themed units like the ELX (Halloween), Toymaker Limited, Zombie trolleys.
While the trolleys do not have sound there’s an option to add a section of Fastrack (No. 84373) which creates an isolated section where the trolley will stop and the track will play a special announcement. This track allows users to record up to three announcements which will be played in order as the trolley activates the track. These new sections work with any previous bump-and-go trolley from Lionel, and at 15 inches long are perfect to be placed in front of a station platform.
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One thought on “Hop aboard the Lionel Trippy and Polar Express trolleys”
I have several bump and go trolleys from the old original Lionel model to several newer ones. I find they all run reliably and need minimal maintenance but as noted due to their light weight you do need to make sure the track is kept clean. The only thing I do not like about the newer trolleys is they don’t feature the automatic trolley pole reverse like the old units. I assume this is due to the newer trolleys having an electronic reversing system rather than the older trolleys using a mechanical reversing system that made it easy to incorporate a mechanical pole reversing feature. One nice thing about the newer trolleys is you don’t have to run them as fast to hit the reversing feature so you can operate at more realistic speed for a trolley. I am sure they will provide years of fun to any layout.