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My advice to quote Dr. Sydney Freedman, "pull down your pants and slide on the ice".  Buy what you like.  Lionel has given us a pretty good selection of options.  Not everyone will like them but that's why we get to chose what we buy.  For me I have the locomotive that I want so it will be the newly tolled observation car which I suspect is the same length as the current, maybe a smidgen more to accommodate the new observation platform.

The Blue PE Berk is nice but the red doesn't do it for me.  All in all if I didn't already have a scale Berk the classic black would be my choice.  Good thread @Paul Kallus

@Paul Kallus posted:

Isn't the 3rd one below a fantasy paint job? I had assumed it was. Regardless, I think it's very striking...and with maybe a touch of the Polar Express red (it's actually more of a maroon hue) it'd could've been the cat's meow


Oh I didn’t even notice that was listed as NKP. I just assumed it was some railroad I’d never heard of.

But thanks for pointing that out.

I want all three! But not sure I’ll get any of them. There are too many ES44s in this catalog that I desire!

Hopefully someone gets all three Polar Express Berks, lashes them up, and makes a video of it! I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of people who wish they had got one when we see the actual paint finish for the red and blue ones.  The red makes me think of the Aberdeen Carolina and Western F9 set.  Every time I see one, I wish I had one myself!

Paul, Good question.  I think the original black looks good, and the blue does as well.  The red just doesn't thrill me. 

I have a LionChief PE set with white car roofs I bought about 5 years ago.  I bought an add-on hobo skiing car a year later.  It works out well on the Christmas layout.  I'm not interested in a scale version since I could only run it on the permanent layout with 054 curves, but wouldn't be inclined to run it except at Christmas time.

Finalized my order for Polar Express. "Deep Breath"

Due to the fact that I have the 2014 Black PE Berk w/ 13 different HW cars (black top) and the 2014 Gold PE Berk w/ 7 Gold HW cars (6 coach,1obs), I went with the following noted below..

2024 PE Order...

  • Polar Express 20th Anniversary Set (Red/Maroon Berk with special baggage/20th coach/new observation)  w/ 4 additional 20th anniversary coaches.
  • Polar Express Berkshire with Plasma Blue w/White roof Baggage, White roof combo, White roof coach, White roof diner, White roof NEW observation and White roof abandoned toy.
  • To go with my Blue PE Berk engine/ PE cars above.  15th ann. coach, HOBO CAR and 60' RPO (all White Roof)..  Ordered already.

Needless to say, I will be broke and need to save some money throughout the year, as there are some other items (ie: Hiawatha, CP ES44s and AEC set) on my wish list in the catalog other than PE.  I can't pass up the PE offerings as it is when I introduced my son to trains and what brought me back to the hobby 20 years ago.  Time to sell some stuff from my collection....

Wishing everyone the best in 2024...


Last edited by jamestrains2003

Including the black version in the new catalog, do any of the black versions of the scale locomotive come in a glossy black finish or do they all have a matte finish? I’m not a huge fan of the movie, but I think the black locomotive looks really sharp with the extended pilot and lack of pin striping.  

I know someone with the gold set… it’s nice.

the issue I am facing is that there is nothing special about the 20th set. I think Lionel did a huge disservice by offering the RED berk separate. Based on some pre order prices I saw, you can get the loco plus three cars for less than the set. Not sure the combine car is worth the premium.

You make a great point on the pricing of the individual pieces. I hadn’t priced it out until reading your post, but you’re correct about it actually being slightly cheaper to purchase the coaches and a Berk all separately! Now I don’t feel badly about going for the standard black version

As I poured over the Lionel catalog today at lunch, the hard copy that is, I thought about what Ryan said at the last Trainworld catalog show. Did I hear correctly that he said the red PE Berk would be on the glossy side?

I looked at my O-scale PE cars tonight (the ones painted in the correct shade of blue) and to my eye the red is more matte or flat, as is the blue. Wouldn't it make sense then that the red PE Berk be painted in matte as well? What artistic aspect am I missing in making a glossy red engine?

I also tried to imagine what color PE Berk, besides black of course, would look sharper with the PE cars, and to my imagineering both the blue and red Berks would look pretty neat, with the blue edging out a bit neater. This of course is subjective, though it would've been nice if Lionel offered the scale set with choice of either blue or red Berks. Interestingly, the red PE Berk 20th Anniversary set is not listed as a BTO item, whereas the individual Berks are. I don't understand that marketing strategy.

Last edited by Paul Kallus

I also do not like the movie but I do like the Berkshires.  I have a lot of black engines so I ordered the fantasy scheme #777 NPR Limited with the royal blue strip and silver trim.  Ryan said there would be matching passenger cars in the next catalog. I am currently laying a 17 x 15' loop in 084 for their arrival. The only gamble will be to see what color of blue Lionel orders...

I also do not like the movie but I do like the Berkshires.  I have a lot of black engines so I ordered the fantasy scheme #777 NPR Limited with the royal blue strip and silver trim.  Ryan said there would be matching passenger cars in the next catalog. I am currently laying a 17 x 15' loop in 084 for their arrival. The only gamble will be to see what color of blue Lionel orders...

That's a good choice. If I hadn't tapped myself out by ordering 2 of the Triplexes I would have done the same thing. I just hope that first run of the wheel slip isn't a lemon.

Last edited by Dave 69 GTEL

I really believe that the plasma-coat is going to look great.

With that being said, I ordered the original Polar Express Berkshire as I wanted the original first.  I have been waiting for the rerun of the original so I can build the movie train as is first.  As far as Berks are concerned, I also ordered the special run N&W Berk from @MrMuffin'sTrains.  Two is my max for the moment.

In the hard copy catalog, I just read the fine print on page 140, "...the plasma coat edition shifts colors between blue and maroon as your viewing angle changes..." I hadn't read this before because the print is very small on the online catalog.

How does that work? I've seen Lenticular art before - but it was always in a picture. Has Lionel ever produced such a finish before? If so, are there pictures?

If Lionel's advertisement is true, the blue plasma edition may be a homerun.

Just to let people know who did not get the e-mail.  Lionel is having a 10% off sale on all 20th Anniversary Polar Express items.  Use the code POLARSET20 at checkout.  I was able to cancel my existing order for the Lionel Polar Express  "Plasma Blue" locomotive that I prepaid full price for by calling the store on 1-800-628-6202 and having the lady cancel my existing order and then I reordered it on the Lionel store website and using the code I saved about 150 dollars. Remember to renter the promo code when you go to pay and you will get the discount.

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