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I’m itching to get a blue comet set. I doubt I’ll get an original. For the reissues, there are several versions it seems. The original Lionel reissue that’s now 30 years old or so (?made by mth). The mth version. And then the recent one by Lionel that’s made by mth. I tend to think they are all the same. Should I just look for the best deal?

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At SIDETRACK HOBBIES we have both the Lionel Classics version (new) and LCT versions w/ PS3.  New LCT sets (two-tone blue w/ nickel) can be purchased as 3-car or 5-car sets.

We also have two-tone blue w/ brass 4-car sets as well.  Matching 400Es have red wheels.

Search "comet" on our website.

I am assuming you are interested in Standard Gauge.  Give us a call if you have additional questions.


acid posted:

I’m itching to get a blue comet set. I doubt I’ll get an original. For the reissues, there are several versions it seems. The original Lionel reissue that’s now 30 years old or so (?made by mth). The mth version. And then the recent one by Lionel that’s made by mth. I tend to think they are all the same. Should I just look for the best deal?

I assume that you are asking about true tinplate sets. Not plastic.

My reproduction Standard Gauge 400E (see below) and coaches constitute the first MTH-issued version of the prewar Blue Comet from 2000. It has brass trim ... and an air whistle since it is traditional/conventional. Sheet metal stamping quality, paint, fit and finish, and assembly are excellent. Other than the need once to oil the air whistle bearings, the set (along with the Olbers baggage car) has been exemplary for the past 20 years. Also have a Traditional MTH blue 390E from about 10 years ago that has been excellent, but it is not fitted with an air whistle. Truth to tell, size-wise the 390E actually looks better than a 400E with the Blue Comet cars. By implication, my set does lead one to ask the question of whether one should choose a Traditional or PS2/PS3. My personal preference has always been and is Traditional, which is in keeping with the mechanical aesthetics of the originals with their open frame three pole motors, air whistles, and ozone generation. Traditional will always be repairable. Some, however, do like the modern features.

Also, I own a Lionel Classics O gauge Blue Comet (51004) set from 1989, which is well-made, runs beautifully, and has an air whistle, too. These can be had pretty cheaply these days and are a lot of fun for a relatively modest expenditure.

Whatever you decide, have fun!


 Blue Comet in Hellgate 3 cut


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  • Blue Comet in Hellgate 3 cut
Last edited by Bob Bubeck

I can recommend the latest PS3 versions.  I have a nickel trim 400E PS3 (11-1051-1) and a brass trim 390E PS3 (11-1047-1).  I love the reproductions.  I know I'm a savage but if I had an original, I would sell it.  I want them shiny, with smoke and sound.  My advice is don't overpay for the cars.  You can pick up 4-car sets, LNIB, on eBay for $600 or less if you're patient. 

Yes, if you're going new, it's hard to do better than Sidetrack.



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One of my friends (that posts on this board) has a newer PS2 (or 3) Blue Comet set, has sounds, smoke, runs like a dream and the fit and finish are just sparkling. really like that set. So I'd recommend the newer the better MTH depending on your budget.


I Agree!... Here`s my M.T.H. 10-1062-1 Baby Blue Comet 263e engine ,tender & 600 series Pullman cars mint!


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  • Blue Comet Caboose: MTH 11-70161 Jersey central Tinplate Caboose (No.2817)
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263 Baby blue comet video
Last edited by Sal V

I have the Lionel Lionchief Blue Comet set from just a couple years ago - the last one Lionel sold, in fact.

Is is as shiny and beautiful as the tinplate versions? Nah. BUT its way cheaper, and has a few big upgrades.

It has the normal smoke system and headlight as well as chuffing sounds and lighted passenger cars.

However, The announcements are road name and location-specific, with announcements for multiple stations, stopping sounds, travelling sounds, baggage sounds, arrival, departure, and stationary sounds. The announcements alone are better than anything you'd find in a premier MTH model. It also includes chuffing sounds with 5 different pitches for your bell and whistle, and the voice recording and streaming whatnot.

There's also a coach car, which has its own speaker and set of announcements, and has a conductor figure leaning out the door with a red lighted lantern. The car connects automatically with the engine. The set includes a combine car, the announcements coach car, and an observation car.

And you know what? It really looks pretty good in my opinion. It's worth taking a look at!

I have the MTH-Lionel Corp Tinplate Nickel Trim version with PS3.0 and it is great.  Exact reproduction of the original but with all the goodies.  The version with brass trim looks awesome when it is all shiny and new, but I noticed the brass tarnishes and does not stay shiny like the Nickel, so keep that in mind.  I guess MTH did not clear coat the trim. 

I had two excellent standard gauge Blue Comets over the last several decades. The first being the Lionel Classics version with nickel engine trim. Great conventional BAL motor and excellent finish on cars. I purchased the additional Barnard coach. My second set was a couple of decades later and it was an MTH Proto 2 nickel trim set. Great smoke and whistle sounds and smooth running! Later sold both sets to downsize.

Last edited by Tinplate Art

I purchased a blue 400e Lionel Classics locomotive and several matching cars all NIB from a retired dealer friend back in ‘19 who was emptying his long ago original store closets. It runs great. I’ve have had no issue with this engine or cars and no zinc pest issues either. They sure are pretty. I’ll get my pre-war 390e or 400e….someday.

Last edited by WRW

"The Lionel Classic set was very nice but the loco's cast parts tended to suffer from zinc pest so be extremely vigilant with those."

My wife bought me one of these back in 1992.  I ran the daylights out of it on a garden railroad that we had (Gargrave Stainless Steel track).  I put enough wear on it that i had to overhaul it (new bushing and idler gears).

About a dozen years ago, I noticed that the gap between the smokebox door and the boiler was increasing at the bottom and the frame was bowed down.  I purchased a replacement frame from MTH and had it painted by a local person who painted motorcycles.  That frame is still ok for the time being

Last edited by RAK

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