Rated 4 out of
Smooth ride, rough changeoverIf you have a train you will need these. Loads of them. They do the job quite well, my trains (Maersk, Toystory and Emerald Night) runs smoothly over them without major hiccups. That said, there are some issues. The changeover action is WAY too stiff for my liking, combined with the somewhat flimsy handle it feels like it's about to break every time I change tracks. Some say it'll loosen up over time, but I've not noticed any of that.
Another problem is the lack of remote control option. Back in the 12V era you could get these really nice control panels for switches, signals and even car separators. None of this has been available for decades, nowadays you have to lean over your layout to operate the switches. I considered adding a mechanical control system, but the stiff action, lack of technic connections and no easy way of transferring motion across other tracks (without raising them) makes it troublesome.
As DaPhilster39 points out the geometry is a bit odd (often forming awkward S-curves), as they're optimized to make parallel tracks line up neatly. One solution could be to replace the last 3/4 section of the turnout with one straight and two curved quarter-length sections (such sections could replace that dreaded flextrack too), see fig 1. By removing the straight and turning the curves around you could make a near-perfect circular turnout with a deviation of just 3mm, as in fig 2. Getting a true fit may involve not-quite-straight sections which seems like more trouble than they're worth.
Trains run smoothly
Includes four curves, which are scarce nowadays
Stiff changeover action
No remote control option
Slightly odd geometry
Date published: 2011-05-05
Rated 2 out of
Disappointing: not enough track to make a switchI bought this pack to expand the high speed train set, but there aren't enough parts included to actually make a switch track! The instructions within even make a point of saying you need at least one other set. You can use the parts to make an offshoot track that leads nowhere, but its not possible to have the train switch tracks and then rejoin the main line.
To me this is pointless, since many parents, including myself, have bought it believing that a child could expand their line to include a switch. For the switch to work with the high speed line you need to also buy set 7499. It's not even about the expense, but the fact that you'll buy the set in good faith only to discover it won't do the one thing it's designed to.
Either make a bigger (and, I accept, more expensive) set that actually works with the build, or change the product description to indicate that this is not a complete solution.
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 2 out of
essential but lacking in handling of the curveThis is a must have to make layouts fun. One of our favorite uses is to make a simple "balloon loop", so we can run the train out to "far" destinations and have it come back without having to stop it and back up.
Unfortunately Lego messed up the switch design. Normally a switch turns out from the straight direction, in a continuous arc. Sadly Lego's turn out has another arc turning back towards the switch slightly. This forces the train to curve out, then back, which means the train slows down somewhat (more friction) and more wiggle of the train, increasing the chance of derailment. Since Lego offers so few track options, and buying more track is so important to making this a fun toy, I hope they offer a better switch. They should take a trip to the hobby shop and study the shape of hobby train switches. If they really want to offer the "turn back" arc or whatever it is called, that should be a separate short curve track.
The Lego trains are more fun than expected, and we'll probably buy a fair amount of track over the next few years. Lego should improve their track options.
Date published: 2013-01-05
Rated 4 out of
Good, But Not PerfectWell, if you ever need to expand your LEGO Train layout this is a must, whether to create a parallel track to your main line or make an entirely different route. It opens up so many possibilities. However, it could be better.
With this switch track, you can only make a track that curves back to the main line. (See the first picture. Sorry they're a little sloppy.) This is pretty limiting. I would like to see switches that you can make to form a 90 degree turn away from the main line (see second picture). One easy way to accomplish this is to make the last half-section of the curved part of the switch track able to come off. That way, you could make it a larger curve, or a curve like it already is. (see third picture)
If you are planning to expand your LEGO Train layout, this set is a must. You can make parallel tracks with ease. If LEGO could consider my last suggestion, that would be great. (Oh, and for some reason, this review box I'm typing in keeps scrolling up and down really fast every time I type. I don't know why, but it's pretty annoying.