LEGO® Set Review: 4563 Load 'N Haul Railroad
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Trains / 9v

Load N' Haul Railroad (us)
Train de marchandises (fr)
9 V Starter Set (de)
Euro Freight Line (uk)
Komplete 9 Volt LEGO Vrachttrein (nl)

Ages 8-12 / 451 Pcs
32 page manual containing two sets of instructions, each for a different train. ©1991,1992
Price Range: USA $120.00 (S@H catalog)
Special Features / Compatibility
  • Magnets (used as couplers#&151;and they're strong!
  • Modular (cargo units can be used with other sets, and the cars can carry cargo units from other sets; other train cars can be added)
  • Motors (9-volt rail motor)
  • Extra Elements
    Decals: Yes
    Scale: Mini-Figures, 9v Trains
    Errors:


    Description

    Instructions are included for two different trains. The second set of instructions is wimpy and completely uninteresting, but the first set lets you build (as shown on the box and in the catalog):
  • An oval of track (27x33 inches): basically a circle with two short straight pieces. The track has metal rails and comes with the 4548 Speed Regulator. There is four studs' worth of space between the rails (but the tracks are wider than that sounds). The track provides 9 volts of power to the engine.
  • A red train engine with doors to the engineer's cab, and also two two-brick-high doors on either side of the engine that let you see the pretend-"machinery" inside (nothing fancy, but it's cute).
  • A blue gondola train car with fold-down sides, carrying a cargo pallet with eight brown barrels on it.
  • A yellow flatcar, carrying a cargo crate with a small red tractor in it.
  • A red boxcar, with doors that slide open.
  • A sporty yellow forklift (like something BMW would have made).
  • Three minifigs, a pushcart, and a black motorcycle.

    Impression

    After a hiatus of several years (adolescence intervened, then college, you know how that is), I got back into LEGO with this set. It was worth it. Someday when I have a house of my own, I'm going to devote a room to a detailed LEGO town built around a LEGO railway.

    This set itself is a great start. The three cars are smallish and nothing to really write home about (though the boxcar is neat), and the engine only looks like a "switcher" and will have to be redesigned someday by yours truly, but it gives you all the essential elements to begin with: a rail-motor, metal track, the speed regulator, and some train bumpers, magnetic couplers, and trucks (a train's wheel assemblies). The trucks roll VERY smoothly; train cars roll a long way on a smooth surface with a gentle nudge.

    By the way, it appears that the engine can be lighted -- the electric motor provides space for wiring bricks to be attacked, and the engine has pieces that a small lamp can fit into, but the lamps/wiring are not provided, and the train lighting kit can't be gotten in the USA. Bummer.

    Ratings

    Set Rating:Must-Have

    If you want to get into LEGO electric trains, this is the set to start with. It comes with three cars (to the 4558 Metroliner's two), but more importantly, it comes with the Speed Regulator, which you must purchase separately if you get the Metroliner (which is also more expensive to begin with!). The freight cars in this set are more playable than the Metroliner's passenger cars, in my opinion. On the other hand, the Metroliner has more minifigs and more pieces, its passenger cars are larger, and its engine is lighted.

    Model Rating:Good

    The engine is absolutely wonderful -- it's solid and weighty, cleverly-built, and the doors to see the "motor" are a nice touch. The three freight cars are nice, but there aren't many pieces in them. The forklift is stylish and as sporty as a forklift can be.

    Playability Rating:Very-Good

    Hey, I loved model trains as a kid, and this one brings back some good memories. If you like model trains too, then this is a Must-Have. (This set is slightly smaller than O-scale.) The cargo units (the pallet with barrels, and the crate containing the tractor) are interchangable with cargo units from other sets (like 4537 Twin Tank Transport or 6539 World Cup Racers). There are some other freight cars available to add to this train, and you can easily expand your layout with more track.

    Likes/Dislikes

    Fits the Town scale, but the train is somewhat smaller than it would be in "real life". (The boxcar would have trouble fitting a small automobile inside, in other words.)

    Elements

    Eight train car bumpers and magnetic couplers, and six trucks (a pair of wheels for a train car). This is enough to make three train cars and the engine (which uses a motor similar to the blocky black 845 "9-Volt Motor", but this one gets its power from the rails).

    Sixteen curved sections of track and two straight sections (enough for two half-circles that can be joined to make a short oval). This is not very large.

    Sliding boxcar doors (half of the boxcar's side can slide behind the other half of the boxcar's side).

    Some red, yellow, and blue 1x1 bricks with vertical "handles" on them, for the ends of the train cars.

    Some red, yellow, and blue 1x2 bricks with one side bearing horizontal grooves, the other side bearing vertical grooves (just to look good).

    Decals

    Lots of Train logos, that look like this: <-O->

    Only two of the stickers covered more than one brick; these are the yellow/black striped labels that go on either end of the engine. Their absence from my engine is not noticed. ;-)


    Reviewer Information
    Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Product Lines/Themes
    Brian Kendig 23 bskendig@netcom.com --- Town

    I recently unearthed all my old LEGO sets, twenty years' worth of them, after being out of the scene for several years (I don't know what ever possessed me). I found sixty-six instruction booklets intact, there were many pieces left over when I built all of them, and I estimate that I've got between eight and ten thousand pieces in all.


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