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How to Build the LEGO City Express Passenger Train Set

Building an awesome LEGO train set like the City Express Passenger Train can seem daunting, but I‘m here to walk you through the process from start to finish. With some preparation, organization, and careful work, constructing this 764-piece set can be fun and rewarding. Follow along as we go through each step together!

Getting Started with the LEGO City Express Passenger Train

The LEGO City Express Passenger Train was first released in 2019 as set number 60317. Recommended for LEGO builders ages 7 and up, it contains pieces to build a motorized bullet train engine, two cars, an oval track layout, train platform and accessories.

LEGO train sets have exploded in popularity over the last decade. According to LEGO‘s 2020 annual report, sales of classic LEGO themes like City and Trains grew by 14% year-over-year. This train set is a great way to get started in LEGO railroading!

Once built, the dimensions of the train are about 14 inches wide x 33.5 inches long x 3.5 inches high. The Powered Up remote control allows you to operate the train and turn the lights on and off. You can also control the train via a smartphone app.

Here‘s a detailed overview of everything included:

  • Bullet train engine with motor, lights, and space for a minifigure driver
  • Passenger car with seats for 4 minifigures
  • Dining car with tables, chairs for 2 minifigures and accessories
  • Train platform with bench, lamppost and signage
  • 24 track pieces (16 curved, 8 straight) to form an oval layout
  • Powered Up Bluetooth remote control
  • Smartphone app for control (batteries not included)
  • 6 minifigures (driver, passenger, waiter, grandma, child, businessman)
  • Assorted minifigure accessories like luggage, wheelchair, hot dog, laptop

With so many pieces, getting organized is an important first step. Let‘s look at how to do that next.

Organizing the Pieces and Instruction Manuals

The LEGO pieces for this build are divided across six numbered packages. I recommend you get them arranged in order before starting so you can easily follow along. Here are some tips:

  • Carefully open each bag and sort contents by color into pie plates, trays or sections of an egg carton. This makes finding specific pieces quicker.

  • Identify minifigure parts vs vehicle pieces as you sort. Keep minifig accessories separate.

  • Arrange the six instruction booklets numerically in order as well. You‘ll work through them sequentially.

By organizing and sorting all 764 bricks and elements before beginning assembly, you won‘t waste time hunting for pieces. Having minifig parts and accessories separated out also prevents those tiny items from getting lost in the main build.

Constructing the Oval Track Layout

With your pieces sorted, let‘s begin by putting together the 24 curved and straight track sections that form the inner oval:

  • The first instruction booklet covers building the track. Reference the diagram showing the exact shape.

  • Start by snapping together the 16 curved pieces into a full circle. Ensure they‘re tightly connected.

  • Then insert the 8 straight tracks perpendicular to the circle to complete the inner oval shape.

  • Visually inspect the oval from all angles to make sure the tracks align properly.

  • Finally, test the motorized engine on the track to confirm smooth operation.

Getting the foundation track layout assembled properly is crucial, so take it slowly. Fully press and click pieces into place, and double check alignment. If the engine doesn‘t run smoothly, disassemble and rebuild as needed until operation is flawless.

Assembling the Motorized Bullet Train Engine

The motorized engine gives this train its "powered up" capabilities. Here are some tips for carefully constructing it:

  • Packages 2 and 3 have the components for the engine. Keep wires untangled as you build.

  • There are 470 parts just for the engine! Sort them into subgroups like wheels, panels, accessories to stay organized.

  • Follow the instructions exactly, especially for placement of motor housing and wires. Rushing leads to problems!

  • Neatly tuck wires into cavity spaces as you build instead of leaving loose. Prevent snags.

  • Check that axles spin freely and wheels move smoothly after each step.

  • Test the fully built engine on the track again. Adjust if needed to resolve any issues.

LEGO experts recommend building the powered sections like motors first before attaching loose decorative elements. This prevents needing to take things apart to fix issues later. Slow and steady is key!

Building the Passenger and Dining Train Cars

Once the engine is complete, we can move on to the two train car builds:

Passenger Car

  • Packages 4 and 5 contain parts for both cars. Separate pieces beforehand.
  • Construct the sides and roof first, then attach wheels, then furnish the interior.
  • Insert minifigures into finished car for a complete look.

Dining Car

  • Assemble table, chairs and kitchen interior details based on diagram.
  • The dining car has less space to work in than passenger car.
  • Mind finger clearance as you place interior furniture and accessories.

Advanced LEGO builders recommend building the "shell" of cars first, then outfitting interiors. This allows ample room for placement without knocking off chairs or tables you already inserted in a cramped space.

Building the Train Station Platform

To give passengers a place to board your train, construct the platform next:

  • The last instruction booklet guides you through the platform build.
  • Assemble the bench first, then place the lamppost and ramp.
  • Add pillar supports between the thick base plates for stability.
  • Attach the signage element to the pillar. Make sure it‘s centered and even.
  • Studying the finished platform example helps visualize proper construction.

For sturdy results, fully press base plates together so pillars are properly secured. The ramp piece may take some extra pressure to fully snap into place. Visually inspect the platform from all angles to ensure symmetry.

Powering Up the Train for Operation

After all that careful construction, it‘s time for the fun part – sending the train down the track!

  • Insert batteries into remote control and phone (if using app). Check polarity carefully.

  • Place engine on track and use remote buttons or app controls to operate.

  • Start slowly – speed up gradually after testing braking and curves.

  • Turn lights on/off from controls to activate realistic illumination effects.

  • Run continuously or stop at "stations" to let minifigures on and off!

Troubleshooting tip: If the engine loses power or stops, check for wire snags or obstructions on the track. Gently rolling the train backward and forward may also help establish connections.

Expanding the Set with Creative Modifications

Once you‘ve mastered building this set as designed, consider these creative modifications that advanced LEGO fans have made:

  • Add ramps and bridges to elevate certain sections of track

  • Incorporate LEGO Power Functions motors into the cars for automatic movement

  • Customize the train colors and add decals for personal flair

  • Integrate light bricks for illuminated interiors or flashing signal lights

  • Include LEGO Power Functions battery packs for tether-free operation

  • Extend the track into a giant figure-8 or loop-de-loop layout

The great thing about LEGO is that sets are just the starting point. Let your imagination run wild to make modifications for added realism and customization!

Final Thoughts on an Epic LEGO Build Adventure

Congratulations, you did it! Completing the LEGO City Express Passenger Train from start to finish is an amazing accomplishment.

Hopefully these detailed steps helped guide you through organizing and sorting pieces, assembling the track, engine, cars, accessories and figures, powering up the train, troubleshooting any issues, and brainstorming creative extensions.

LEGO building is fun at any age, and this 764 piece set provides a challenging yet rewarding project. The Powered Up features add high-tech interactivity to imaginative play. And the end result is a conversation starting model you built yourself, brick by brick.

Wherever your LEGO adventure goes next, remember to take your time, follow instructions carefully, and think creatively. The journey is as meaningful as the destination!