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Railway Express
Published 1 week ago
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The 'Railway Express' #4560-1 is another classic late-nineties LEGO 9V Trains set not yet presented on Mecabricks. My build is about 95-97% true to original, but a few crucial non-standard pieces and baseplates are missing (see the full list below). I tried to substitute everything close to the intended look.

Also known as 'Blue Turbo,' The Alp Express, and the 'Fast Passenger Train Set,' this modular set was released in 1999 with 658 pieces in total and nine really cool minifigures. A set #4561-1 came out concurrently, which included a transformer and speed regulator.

In the LEGO catalog, this set was published under the bold slogan of "The Fastest Train in the World." The design was inspired by Eurostar trains in the Channel Tunnel (that connects Great Britain and France under La Manche). It looks very time-appropriate—if you ask me, it aged pretty well both in real-life and Lego design.

This build comes from the perfect era when mid-nineties' aesthetics and simplicity met a higher level of complexity and attention to detail that characterizes some of the best City sets from the 2000s. Surprisingly, I don't recall seeing this set in any catalogs from the time, so it was tons of fun discovering and building it today.

The set includes quite a few separate elements, and the instruction came in eight (!) separate booklets.

=Passenger Coach
It has two large panoramic doors that open on the left or right, revealing the passenger area. The wagon sits five minifigs and has a dining table, food menu, and a large TV wall to entertain the seating class. Two cargo sections have glass walls and sliding rails for Cargo Containers.

=Freight Wagon
Very similar design, identical panoramic doors and cargo areas in the front and the rear. Instead of the seats, though, it has ramps to drive passengers' cars inside. From the official description: "Passengers can take their cars on board and enjoy the view as they speed through the countryside." (That actually mimics some of the high-class expensive European trains and Amtrak in the USA at the time). 

=Locomotive
One of my favorite parts of this set, by far. Unlike virtually every other Lego train I can remember, it has a very compact cabin, based on just one bogey. This really highlights a modular design of the train. Under an enormous transparent cockpit, there are a detailed dashboard and a tiny removable 2x4 'black box' (or a trip computer, not entirely sure) with a tape 1x2 flat tile hidden inside, very cool little detail.

This part of the set also includes my least favorite piece: a wonky, oversized 6x14 Train Base with Inverted Front #32085 (https://rebrickable.com/parts/32085). Only used for this one train; basically, it's just a #2916 Train Front Sloping Base (https://rebrickable.com/parts/2916) molded with a few standard plates. In my opinion, not really justified and especially out of place in such a modular, multi-build set.

=Cargo Truck
A little cargo City truck with a pretty standard chassis and cabin for any City cars of the era, plus a flatbed designed to fit Cargo Containers.

=Passengers' Cars
Blue Turbo comes with two mini cars, both have pretty much identical design.

=Cargo
The set comes with three Cargo Containers, they all have the same unified base design (a hinge brick connecting two hollow 2x4x2 sections that hold the cargo). One container is designated as a 'food' cart with matching prints and pizzas inside; the other two are for miscellaneous luggage and valuables.

They are fit both for the Cargo Truck's flatbed and designated sections in both wagons. Very cool and neat design.

=Accessories
Another smaller instruction covers a neat Toolbox (based on the same mechanics as Cargo Containers, but one brick shorter). It's decorated with 1x2 flat tiles with a QWERTY keyboard and digital clock decals.

There is also a sort of a mobile Charging Station (a String Reel Drum/Holder encapsulated in a 2x4x2 assembly with Octan stickers).

=Platform
At last, there's a platform and a loading ramp. Proportionally to the train tracks and the rest of the set, the actual platform is really tiny. But the overall segment is quite well-styled and put together. It includes a road barrier, a cute little Timetable, and a couple seats.

=Minifigs
There are four railway employees and five passengers, all spread across eight segments described above. I'd say, for a <700p set, it seems like a great deal even today, I can only imagine twenty years ago!

I really love this particular group, it's just all over the place, a blend of the most standard and mundane faces and parts with some really custom and rare prints.

Two minifigures are basically exclusive to Railway Express and #4556-1 Train Station: a senior train employee with balding hair and funky round glasses, dressed in a conductor's suit with Lego Railway logo in red. The second train worker is my fave—a younger kid with brown bangs wears a red cap (instead of a uniform hat like the rest of the crew), sports a ghettoblaster as an accessory, and has a triangle locomotive sign & a red railway logo printed on his sweater. Amusing look!

The conductor wears a yellow jacket with a black railway logo. This torso appears in ten different sets, so it's not quite as rare. But I really like that a suit is finished in the same yellow color as minifig hands.

A couple minifigs were borrowed from other City sets, such as an Extreme Team girl and an employee from #6566-1 Bank.

==MISSING PIECES==

//Stickers & Decals//
I made alternative assemblies for menu and TV wall in the Passenger Coach’s seating area

https://rebrickable.com/parts/3010px1/brick-1-x-4-with-car-headlights-and-indicators-print/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/4864bpx1/panel-1-x-2-x-2-with-food-print-4560-4561-6329/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/3039p70/slope-45-2-x-2-with-buttons-and-1500-print/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/3068bp80/tile-2-x-2-with-keyboard-and-red-019-print/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/3004px1/brick-1-x-2-with-octan-309-print/

//Electric//
https://rebrickable.com/parts/70358/train-motor-9v-complete-assembly/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/2919/electric-train-light-prism-1-x-4/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/6035/electric-light-brick-1-x-2-with-single-side-light/

//Baseplates//
Replaced them with custom MOCs, trying to follow the shape as close as possible with available bricks
https://rebrickable.com/parts/32085/train-base-6-x-14-with-inverted-sloped-front/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/2972/train-base-6-x-34-split-level-with-bottom-tubes/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/2642/baseplate-raised-16-x-16-x-2-13-ramp/

https://rebrickable.com/parts/2878c01/train-wheel-pair-complete-assembly/

//Minifigs//
https://rebrickable.com/parts/973px31c01/torso-bank-employee-jacket-dollar-sign-badge-and-id-print-green-arms-yellow-hands/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/973p83c01/torso-train-suit-and-tie-print-yellow-arms-yellow-hands/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/973p8ac01/torso-extreme-team-jacket-with-red-x-logo-on-back-print-green-arms-black-hands/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/973px28c01/torso-train-striped-undershirt-zipper-jacket-pockets-print-blue-arms-yellow-hands/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/3626bpx18/minifig-head-glasses-gray-balding-hair-print-blocked-open-stud/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/973px32c01/torso-train-suit-open-notepad-red-long-tie-and-logo-print-blue-arms-yellow-hands/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/973px8c01/torso-train-red-vest-print-blue-arms-yellow-hands/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/973px30c01/torso-train-logo-small-black-on-locomotive-triangle-sign-print-blue-arms-yellow-hands/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/3626bpx17/minifig-head-brown-bangs-headset-print/
https://rebrickable.com/parts/973px2c01/torso-blue-jogging-suit-print-blue-arms-yellow-hands/
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