Product Type: ELC Toy Train
Newest Review: ... train is likely to be very appealing. I think this is a really lovely set and well made. ELC have got this spot on for the toddler mark... more
Woo-woo! All aboard for HappyLand!
ELC Happyland Country Train Set
Member Name: CheshireJ
ELC Happyland Country Train Set
Advantages: Train movement and sound
Disadvantages: Expensive unless bought in sale or with 20% off voucher
My youngest daughter received this for her 2nd birthday. We have a selection of Happyland toys, but they're her older sister's, so this was her first set.
The set includes 6 pieces of brown coloured train track which slot together easily to form an oval track. Little ones should find it easy to put the track together themselves, although they may need help getting the right configuration to make the oval. It lies flat enough on a solid floor, such as laminate, but not on thicker pile carpets which can make the track uneven.
A red train engine, coal-filled carriage, and passenger carriage hook onto each other to run around the track. My daughter tends to try and push the train from the rear carriage which makes them unhook from each other and fall off the track. Even when pulling the front carriage around the track the carriages can come apart which is frustrating. Happyland figures can sit in the front of the train and carriage. Other trailers, such as the caravan, from other Happyland sets fit onto the train as it's a generic fitting, so the train can be played with away from the track and used to pull other vehicles.
There's a level crossing on one piece of track, complete with red barriers that lift up. The barriers stay up, but it can be a bit tricky to make them stay up, you have to push them right back slowly.
Something I didn't discover for a while was that the train makes a noise and moved by itself when batteries are fitted. No idea why this got overlooked, although batteries weren't included which could have had something to do with it. I would have expected ELC to include them like they do with other products. After fitting 2 x AA batteries we had sound! When you put a figure in the front of the train it starts to move around the track by itself, making chuff-chuff, woo-woo noises. It goes at a reasonable speed, then stops at the station (or rather the small bump on the track where the station is supposed to be placed next to!) When passing the level crossing, it hits another bump and makes a ringing noise just like a level crossing. The train doesn't stop until the figure, and therefore pressure, is taken from the train, so make sure this is done at the end of play to preserve battery life.
A posh looking old man in sports car comes with the set and can play at going through the level crossing, or even taking a joyride along the track itself! Unlike the train, the car has a little bump in the seat so the man fits in securely and can go as fast as his wheels will take him without falling out. Two other figures are provided, a train driver and passenger.
A station platform with clock, and a station name sign complete the set. The station platform is good as it gives somewhere for the passengers to stand while waiting for the train. The name sign, on the other hand, doesn't have a great lot of use and tends to get thrown aside in our house.
The train set goes very well with other Happyland toys and can be a great addition to a Happyland town, providing lots more scope for play and imagination. Lots of other figures from the town can go on day trips by train, or even use it to get to and from work. It's good for children to learn about railways, safety and especially how level crossings work. There aren't any bits that can fall off like with other Happyland products so I'm sure it will last.
Recommended age range is 18 months to 4 years. It's perfect for my two year old who will spend a decent amount of time playing with it. My 4 year old will sometimes sit and play with it alongside her sister, but it doesn't hold her interest for long and is more suited to the younger end of the age range. With no small parts it's safe for children younger than 18 months, and although they won't be able to assemble the track themselves they will get enjoyment from watching the train go round the track. The train would perhaps be a bit too chunky for smaller hands to hold, but the car and figures are small enough for them.
It retails at £38, but we got it half price in the sale which is better value. I'd say it's really worth no more than £25. If it was a better price I would have awarded 5 stars.
Summary: Well made and lots of fun for small children
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