What’s the Best Train Set for Your Children?
Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Did you have a train set when you were young? I did. My father was heavily into American Flyer S-gauge trains. He was gracious enough to take the time to build a small train table for me and my sister to play with. I think that took a fair amount of work to set up.
Today you have many options for giving trains (and other types of vehicles) to your own children. Most of them are much easier to put together than the set I had as a child.
I think the best train set out there is a train set produced by Fisher Price known as GeoTrax. Whether you spell it Geo Tracks, Geo Trac, or some other variation based on the official GeoTrax, you’ll find that these trains, planes, and automobiles spell fun for both your children and you.
Are GeoTrax Sets Discontinued?
Fisher Price released hundreds of GeoTrax sets between 2003 and 2011. So even though new sets are no longer being produced, a large number of them are still readily available. Some of them are even in their original boxes and packaging.
The very first set released was Tracktown Railway (Fisher Price product ID B1836). A complete set includes over three dozen pieces including a remote controlled train, many pieces of track, several buildings, and numerous accessories such as signs.
It made sense for Fisher Price to include so much in its first offering. If they hadn’t, why would you want to purchase it? Some of the later sets don’t have as many pieces and so should be considered expansion sets.
Fisher Price produced over a dozen different sets in 2003. I would consider three of them to be starter sets: Tracktown Railway (mentioned above), Mt. Blast Construction Co., and Cross Valley Junction. Each of these includes vehicles and enough track and accessories to make them fun in and of themselves.
The other sets from that first year are smaller. They contain a building and a few accessories or a vehicle and a couple of related items or only additional track. These are all wonderful additions to a GeoTrax collection, but you wouldn’t be able to do much with any of them by themselves.
Now, that’s only what Fisher Price developed in Year 1. In the next several years, they got even more creative. Their creativity will inspire your child’s creativity.
Is There Much Variety in GeoTrax Sets?
GeoTrax started with train sets, but they quickly expanded to include construction sets, rescue vehicle sets, air and sea sets, farm sets, zoo sets, and something special known as elevation sets.
Elevation sets feature track and buildings that get you off ground level. You can actually build two, three, or more levels above the floor and still keep everything connected. As with every GeoTrax set, all parts work together.
Eventually, Fisher Price worked in conjunction with Disney starting in 2009 to produce many sets starring the characters from the Cars and Cars 2 movies. In 2010, they added a few Toy Story 3 sets, and in 2011 there are some DC Comics Super Friends sets featuring Batman and related villains like the Joker, Riddler, and Penguin.
So in a word then, yes, there is a lot of variety that you can get in the world of GeoTrax.
GeoTrax Sets Provide Three Styles of Locomotion
I mentioned earlier that the original set, Tracktown Railway, included a remote controlled (RC) train. Fisher Price knew that many children today have experienced remote controls in one form or another. Just think of your television set.
I know a 4 year old who, when she was first introduced to GeoTrax, had one immediate question: Where’s the remote control?
Many of the later sets also have push trains and other types of vehicles. Push trains move along the tracks, as you would expect, by having your toddler manually push them from point A to point B.
Later, Fisher Price created a new type of RC vehicle known as turbo. Vehicles with a turbo remote move faster than others. Apparently they learned that children wanted their toys to move quickly along the tracks. Perhaps they were even hoping they might derail when going around a curve – guardrail in place or not!
In 2007, Fisher Price gave us another spin on remote control. This isn’t really another type of locomotion. It’s simply travel in two directions – forward and back. Sets K7116 and K7117 feature a forward and reverse bulldozer and dump truck respectively. Most remote controller sets produced after that had vehicles that move in both directions.
Fisher Price Partners with Toys R Us, Kohl’s, Target, and Sam’s Club
In 2006, Fisher Price partnered with a regional department store chain based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin (near Milwaukee), called Kohl’s. Certain sets were only available at Kohl’s thus becoming Kohl’s exclusives.
It seems that Toys R Us thought that was a good idea, because they too got in on the exclusivity act that same year. For the next several years, each of these chains offered sets only available at their stores.
Target stores also claimed a couple of sets, and Sam’s Club had one as well. They apparently never made as much of an investment in GeoTrax as the other two stores.
Where Can You Buy GeoTrax Train Sets Today?
Since GeoTrax have now been discontinued by the manufacturer, where can you get GeoTrax trains today?
I’m obviously biased, but I think the store right here at GeoTrax Packs is a great place to start. There are many sets and individual pieces listed. Most are at prices lower than Amazon or eBay.
Beyond that, you may have to hunt just a little. Most of these sets are still readily available in the secondary market on sites such as Amazon (though much less here than there once was – see below), eBay (best place today), Facebook Marketplace, and more.
If you search some of these sites (especially eBay) for GeoTrax, you will find hundreds, if not thousands, of listings. Some of these will only be for parts or partial sets, but even a mostly complete set is still a lot of fun.
If you haven’t shopped for these sets for a while, you may be a little surprised by the prices. They can be high in some cases, but the cost over time is worth it. These toys will last virtually forever. That said, items priced in the hundreds of dollars generally are considerably overvalued and should be avoided.
Consider that the first sets produced in 2003 are still being used today, and they are still generally in great shape. I would expect that they would continue to see a lot of play time over the next ten years and beyond as well.
A Note about Amazon…
In 2017, Amazon became more restrictive about 3rd party sellers offering GeoTrax on their site. For this reason, you may see some sets offered only at ridiculously high prices. Sellers that would offer them for reasonable prices simply are not allowed to list their sets there anymore. Hopefully this policy will change in the future or current sellers will lower their prices to a more reasonable level.
Enjoy your search. Take a few minutes to start or add to your GeoTrax collection today.