LEGO® Set Review: 4558 Metroliner


[4558 Set Photo] Metroliner (us)
Train de banlieue (fr)
Moderner Hochgeschwindigkeitszug (de)
Euro Express (uk)
De prachtige 9 Volt «Sneltrein» (nl)
Trains Banner 9v Banner
Trains / 9v

Ages 8-12 / 768 Pcs
43 page manual. 2 models. Catalog dated 1992, Canadian. ©1991,1992
Price Range: $200 Canadian / Per Element: 26 cents per piece

Review Written: 12 March 1995 by Calum Tsang
Special Features / Compatibility
  • Train type doors (eight, grey)
  • Angled window for loco/rear engine (black, two)*
  • Angled nose piece for loco/rear engine (grey, two)*
  • Lots of train type windows (grey)
  • Strange 45 degree black roof bricks*
  • Cantelever parts
  • Long flatbed pieces with holes for bogeys and cables (three)*
  • Textured bricks for vent grilles
  • Large grey doors to reveal storage/engine compartments (four)
  • 9v motorbox with metal wheels for pickups*
  • Metal track pieces forming oval*
  • New axles that run REALLY smoothly (ten)*
  • Standard Dacta type power cable for motorbox to headlight connection * (only found in Dacta/Technic sets)
  • Black bogey connectors
  • Wallmount AC brick*
  • Speed regulator panel with big yellow dial*
  • Connection cable to track*
  • Lampposts, detailed, fluted (white)*
  • Bicycles (two, red/black)
  • Dolly (red/black)
  • Extra Elements Decals: Yes
    Scale: Mini-Figures, 9v Trains

    Ratings: Set: Must-Have Models: Must-Have Playability: Excellent


    The Metroliner is a sort of culmination of the various European and new North American trains in service between major urban centres. It's like the Eurostar trains, the new TGV's and the Amtrak X2000 all in one. No, it does NOT turn into curves :) like the X2000.

    An angled front engine, that looks just like the rear car, (supposedly another engine) plus a centre passenger car round out the three car set. The train has multiaxle bogies, meaning the long cars, about 11 inches long each, six dots wide, can round the corners easily. The engine is powered by a 9v DC motor that has pickups from the metal electrified track. It can run rather fast, but not enough, as others seem to say to fall off the track. Each train has a bumper and a magnetic coupler that stays together pretty well yet detachs with reasonable force.

    Another nice touch is the small single 9v lamp, connected to a yellow waveguide at the front for headlights. It's attached with a Dacta type power cable to the motorbox to supply current.

    The 4548 Speed Regulator gets you the speed regulator panel, much like the Dacta robotics control panel, with one 2x2 type power attach, and a circular type jack for 9-12 VAC. The wallmount adapter goes into that jack. A special cable with two angled pieces with contacts connects the track to the regulator. A very smart idea is the toroid to save from electrical noise!

    The entire train is grey and black with a nice red white and blue stripe running across it. It's very stylish, and looks wild. A lot of attention has been paid to detail, part of the reason why it has 768 pieces, which is the largest LEGOLand set I've ever purchased, at least I think. For instance, the cantelevers are made to up and down in a Z, and the little cantelever goes into a small indentation. Even the front motorbox has nice pieces to go around it to make it look realistic. The locomotive has a driver's compartment, with a big windows, a control panel and a seat plus the standard train type rounded doors with window. A engine compartment with a weird looking turbine engine (of course it doesn't REALLY work, or GE Electric Boat company would take a fit) is in the middle of the loco, and then a bar with cups. Because you get 11 minifigures with this set, you can pretty well have anyone serve the passengers. The LEGO Group has the female train company worker as the attendant, but I have her as the brakeman/driver on the last car. I figure for equality, the passengers can pour their own drinks.

    The passenger car is nicely done. In the centre are four seats, coupled facing each other. Each pair has a table between them, which folds sideways to reveal a compartment for their suitcase. Between the two pairs is another compartment for more suitcases. I personally miss the 7715's overhead basket compartments for suitcases, and I might build that into this car. At one end is a little tap and sink-I suppose to wash up. No toilet though. It never seems like LEGO people need [one].

    The last car, which I suppose is another engine, but it doesn't have an engine block in it, has again a driver's compartment which looks exactly like the loco's, a storage compartment for parcels and bicycles, and a sleeping compartment with a fold up bunkbed, which pulls up for play reasons.

    The set comes with a simple platform to stand as a station, with two nice lampposts and a bench. As for people, it comes with 11 – yes 11 – figures, of which three are company workers, one “train captain”, a worker guy with a silly warning striped shirt, and the female “attendant” who is now the brakeman. There are two women with necklaces, two men with striped shirts, a cowboy (or Midwestern business man which started a multinational billion dollar company, depending on how you look at it), a business fellow with a suit, a dorky looking guy with a cap.

    Seven pieces of luggage, the standard cool suitcase, two parcels, four cups, 2 bicycles (yay!) and a dolly to move the parcels around with.


    If it weren't for the fact I have a girlfriend and very conscientious parents, I would immediately say you should rip down to your local toy store and pick this sucker up. At $300 dollars complete, it's to some a rip off. Most of my friends have said, hey cool, it's worth it. Other Amiga owning friends say, “you gave up 4MB of Static Column RAM for this?”

    Technically, it's perfect. It's fast, expandable, well designed and even beautiful. Valuewise, it's a big toy. It really is a big expenditure.

    There were only about ten left in Canada. Toys R Us only found four in Canada through their inventory system, each at $190. Eaton's has two in Toronto. I bought one of them. LEGO Canada S@H carries them for $210. Basically it's all the same price, plus you still have to get the speed regulator, which is a rip off no matter how you look at it. $60 for some cheapie AC brick, and a big pot/variac is ridiculous. Unfortunately, it was that or get my a) miniboard or b) wire my own. I sorta like the big yellow knob anyway. :) The new 95 4564 Railrunner freight is out. It's about $200, but it includes the regulator. The 4563 Load and Haul is nice too at $160-200. I dunno, I paid $60-70 extra plus tax to get the passenger train. Silly me.

    Every cashier/manager/salesclerk/unit manager look at me as if I was crazy. Here is this guy, looks like he's in university, and he's buying a LEGO toy. And the most expensive set too! It was frantic as I searched and searched for it. As my friend Graydon put it, “Get yourself the biggest, baddest, most expensive LEGO train you can.” And so I did.

    My parents think it's strange how I like it so much. My girlfriend just smiles.


    Set Rating:Must-Have

    The elements in this set are unmatched. There are SO many new pieces! At least new to me. I've never had a bicycle, nor have I had the dolly, nor the cowboy hat, nor any of the new wheels. The new motor electric system is very well done.

    However, it is very costly. While the set was on hold at the store, I was contemplating not buying it. Alas, I did. I still wonder if it was a good buy or not. It's a must-have if you love LEGO Trains or Town. It's poor if you value money and like having a life :) Very-Good for the rest of you.

    Model Rating:Must-Have

    Immediately, I thought of a fourth car to add, a storage car with a larger sleeper section. I can build it with old train parts. So yes, it's very inspiring. The Metroliner is really beautiful. It looks sleek and elegant, and like a real European train. It fits really nicely into my just-beginning town, as it circles around the airport. Certain things really threw me, like the attention they paid to even the smallest details like the fold up bunkbed or the tables. Or the special textured pieces used for vent grating on the side of the engines or the end to end door sections.

    The second train is kind of ugly. I don't like it, but the second model is never really that cool anyway, [when it comes to LEGO].

    Playability Rating:Excellent

    My 9 year old cousin would take a spaz and beg his dad for one. The 9 year old loves LEGO. However, my 6 year old cousin wouldn't that interested; just curious as to how it works.

    I don't know how to rate it. It's an electric train, which means it moves. It moves nice and fast, plus with the wonderful part of speed control (unlike the older 4.5V's direction only or off control) you can slow the train down as it pulls into the station. Problem is, the train is far too small. Heck, it's an intercity – I mean, you're supposed to go from LEGO city to city with this, not around the block and back :) Track is far too expensive, at $20 bucks per 4 feet for straight, it plain sucks (8 sections per expansion set, the new metal track, all my plastic track is useless) to expand it and pay so much! The included track is an oval, with 16 curved, and four straight sections, which makes it 96 cm by 71 cm.

    Other things make it quite playable, such as the easily detached roof parts so you can pose the figures inside. Also, the aforementioned features like folding tables let you increase play value. You can make the people ride the little bike to the platform, get the worker guy to put it into the storage/rear engine car, and ask him to buy a ticket, get on, sit him down, buy a drink, etc etc etc, take a nap, get run over by the train (haven't tried this yet, may be dangerous!) etc etc etc.


    Display Tray

  • Driver comparment angled window piece (black)
  • Train type door, with tricolour stripe (grey)
  • Nose piece of locomotive with holes for headlights (grey)
  • Coupler magnets (six, same as 4.5V type)
  • Minifigures (five of eleven)
  • Control panel for driver (white flatpiece with silkscreen)
  • Lamppost for platform (white with transparent yellow)
  • Backpack for one of the passengers (brown)
  • Dolly (red/black wheels) for lifting luggage around
  • Train wheel axle parts (two, black)
  • 9v motorbox
  • cantelever part (black)
  • waveguide for headlights at front (transparent yellow)


    Everything marked * is new, at least from what I know. A lot of the same parts are found in 1995 Town sets and train sets, but since the Metroliner came out in 91, it is new for that time :)

    Non-Plastic Elements

  • Wallmount AC brick*
  • Small 9V lamp plus waveguide for headlights
  • Standard Dacta type power cable for motorbox to headlight connection * (only found in Dacta/Technic sets)
  • 9v motorbox with metal wheels for pickups*
  • Metal track pieces forming oval*

    Decorated Elements

  • Control panels for drivers (two sets, four pieces)
  • Engine control panel on angled 45 brick (one, black)
  • Sink 2x2 flat, white with a black circle as the sink
  • Doors have tricolour stripe and sometimes the railway logo


  • tricolor labels for nose section to fit rest of train
  • mail labels for the 2x1 bricks so they look like parcels
  • <-O-> Railway symbols for passenger and engine cars (four)
  • Dining and Sleeping car labels
  • European and North American schedule for the platform's sign.
    Reviewer Information
    Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Theme
    Calum Tsang

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