LEGO® Set Review: 4559 Cargo Railway
Trains Banner 9v Banner
Trains / 9v

Cargo Railway (us)
Voie Ferrée de Chargement (fr)
Expreso de Carga (es)

Ages 8-12 / 835 Pcs
28-page Manual. ©1996
Price Range: U.S. Retail $129.99, LEGO(R) Shop at Home: $139.00 (per pc: ~$0.17)
Special Features / Compatibility
Extra Elements
  • 1 Black Control Stick (Yellow Stick)
  • 3 1x1 Round Plates (Various colors)
Decals: Yes
Scale: Mini-figure compatible
Errors: None

Wins a blue ribbon for overall design, sleekness, a new idea and fresh design; a weak performer that lacks several details; still: A great addition to a LEGO train collection.


4559 Cargo Railway replaces the immensely popular 4558 Metroliner (1991-1995) in the Train System Line. While the Metroliner was strictly a passenger train, Cargo Railway is a unique integration of a passenger train [and] a cargo train. It features two cars that ride on the same stretched flatbed platform that of 4547 Railroad Club Car, four passenger “pods”, a truck to carry and load the pods, a loading dock with toll gates, four cargo containers for Octan Gas, mail, packages, and money, the speed regulator, a 71x84 cm oval track, the 9V motor car, and 7 Mini-Figures which will be described below. With the pods loaded on, Cargo Railway is, for the most part, a passenger train—two pods have bunk beds and clocks (the 1x2 “10:21” smooth flat) while the other two have tables, seats, and a wine glass. The clear blue windows fold down for easy Mini-Figure access. At the ends of each of the cars are niches for the four cargo containers (described a bit above) to slide into and held into place by extensions built into the roof. Take the pods off and there are two generous flatbed cars perfect for hauling heavy duty cargo, such as crates, containers, or vehicles. (Not included)


It isn’t that bad of set once you give it a chance. It seems to be one of those sets that you either love or hate with no medium. While it wins a blue ribbon in my book for overall design and sleekness, it’s a weak performer and lacks several vital details. (i.e. an engine compartment, better loading truck with a forklift) I’d also prefer more cars (two cars don’t make a train in my opinion) although I don’t think the engine could pull it. Perhaps more cars will be available later on as accessories from Shop at Home. Also, don’t buy this set just for specialized pieces. Besides the two spring-loaded pieces in the toll gate and more than usual decorated elements, there is virtually nothing else that you can’t find in other, cheaper sets. Nevertheless, Cargo Railway is a winner in terms of a new idea and fresh design and is a great addition to anybody’s train collection. I’ve learned to buy train sets early on as they tend to sell out fast—I unfortunately missed out on the Freight Rail Runner and other earlier train sets. I’ve also heard that Cargo Railway won’t be as widely available on a general retail basis, so if you want one, buy it now while Shop at Home and some Toys R Us stores have it.


Set Rating:Excellent

This has got to be one of the most controversial sets ever released, and it was the controversy that made this set grow on me.

Model Rating:Good

The black, yellow, and blue-tint windows design make this train seem more suited for the Aquanauts than for Legoland town, yet the sleek, aerodynamic design is what makes this train stand out in the crowd in my town, even more so than the Metroliner. The cars have a nice, solid feel to them and are heavier than the Metroliner cars, which cuts into the train’s performance.

Playability Rating:Good

This train seems slower and more sluggish than my Load ’N Haul and Metroliner. It handles corners precisely at all speeds, yet the passenger pods tend to quiver, bump, rattle, and jerk in place at higher speeds.

The loading truck is good for carrying one pod and a cargo box, but it’s useless for loading them onto the train. You have to unsnap them from the truck and load them on yourself. A truck that could carry all the cargo and all the pods and had a forklift on it would be much better and realistic. The toll gate is surprisingly nice—the red and white gates are spring-loaded with spring pieces like the ones in the Aquanaut Crystal Crawler and has a realistic control panel and a clock.


Aerodynamic design, new idea, colors, mini-figure selection, extensive detailing, decals that don’t span multiple bricks, lots of painted decorated elements, new control panel for the train engine.


[The] train’s performance, useless loading truck, price per piece, no engine compartment like on other trains, passenger pods stability at higher speeds, very few specialized pieces.


Display Tray

4 gold coins, a truss piece connected to a 1x6 flat (used on the loading dock), two round magnets, black suitcase, the yellow nose piece with the headlamp housing, 1x2 “10:21” tile, 1x2 addressed-envelope-with-a-postage-stamp tile, 1x2 $100 bill green tile, 1x4 train-control-panel tile (new element), 1x2 white brick with “Octan” and computer panel, three cargo box lids (one white with the traditional envelope and gold bugle on it, one white with a globe, parcel and arrows surrounding the globe, one grey with a gold circle and dollar sign), and three Mini-Figures: Truck Driver: Joe Cool head, black pants, red baseball cap, brown leather zippered jacket. Conductor: yellow jacket, red tie, “<-0->” emblem, moustache face with smile, black pants, red dress hat. Rail Worker: white hardhat, blue pants, moustache face w/smile, blue shirt, red “<-0->” vest.


Seven total, three are in the display tray and are described above. The other four are:
  • Paradisa girl: Black ponytail, lipstick face with closed mouth, white pants, white shirt with pink sleeves and palm tree and horse on it.
  • Girl: Black ponytail, lipstick face with closed mouth, white collared shirt with two pockets, blue pants.
  • Police Officer: Black hair, moustache face with straight mouth, black pants, black jacket with gold star badge, white collared shirt and white pants.
  • Octan man: black hair, smiley face with eyebrows, green pants, green shirt with the Octan name and logo on it.


    People who hate decals will be happy: only three are used and none cover multiple bricks. All three are on the train’s nose piece: two red and blue flag-like emblems and one “<-0->” emblem.
    Reviewer Information
    Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Product Lines/Themes
    Kevin M. Wang 19

    BUILDING TIME: About three hours while watching all my favorite Nick at Nite shows. (I Love Lucy, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, etc.)


    Copyright June 22, 1996 Kevin M. Wang ( or, The University of California, Berkeley, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. No parts of this review may be used outside of R.T.L. without consent of the author. This review was written using the standard form for R.T.L. reviews, and I give full credit to whoever originated it. [Editor’s Note: Permission to publish obtained from the author December 17, 1996]
    This is a fan created web site. LEGO® is a registered trademark of The LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.
    All views expressed in the reviews on this site are those of the review author, and do not necessarily represent the views of Joshua Delahunty or the University of California.
    Set names and photos are copyrighted materials owned by The LEGO Group, used according to its Fair-Use Policy. Set photo scans courtesy of Pause Magazine.
    Background imagery supplied by and Copyright © Todd Lehman. Used with permission.
    3-D Element bitmaps supplied by and Copyright © James Jessiman. Used with permission.
    All product line and theme banner graphics hand-drawn (not scanned) and Copyright © 1996 Joshua Delahunty.

    Send comments on these pages to the editor at

    Return to Trains Menu Return to LEGO® Reviews Menu