The Lego Group has announced the release of their latest train set, from the ideas program -the LEGO Orient Express set. There is quite a lot of controversy in the LEGO community about this set, and I’ll share all the drama as well as all the details of this new set.
I made the announcement on the Lego Orient Express set when it first came out – be sure to see what was true, and what wasn’t!
For more info about the original Orient Express, jump to the bottom of this page where I have all the details.
When will the LEGO Train 21344 – The Orient Express be released?
The latest train in the LEGO lineup will be released on Dec 1 2023. At first it will be available at LEGO.com and in LEGO stores, and perhaps later it will be released more globally to different retailers. For now the best way to get this set is to order it directly from the LEGO website. To view all the LEGO trains available currently, use this link.
How many pieces are in the LEGO Train Orient Express?
The LEGO Ideas Orient Express has 2540 pieces. There will be an engine, a tinder, and two passenger cars. The two cars are a dining car and a sleeping car. It also features removable roofs and comes with a short piece of LEGO straight track for displaying.
The overall size of the built set is:
- Height: 5″ (12cm)
- Width: 4″ (8cm)
- Legnth: 46″ (116cm)
How Many Minifigures are in the new LEGO Orient Express Train?
This set comes with 8 minifigures. They are:
- Red hair lady
- Movie Director – based on the creator
- fancy lady – the duchess
- gray hair gentleman who is a scientist
Orient What is the controversy about the new LEGO Orient Express Train?
This set started out as a fan designed set. You may or may not know that there is the LEGO Ideas program. This is where fans of LEGO can create a model, and if, it gets enough votes from members of the community, LEGO will consider it to be made into an official set.
The problem is that the design Thomas came up with looked like this:
This is what the Original REAL Orient Express train looked like – at least one of the more common versions:
You can see that Thomas’s version was fairly close in both color and design to the original.
But then LEGO designer Jordan Scott, who was in charge of the project changed some things. He made it blue. There’s a reason for this. In 2024 there will be a new version of the train, also in blue, called the Orient Express La Dolce Vita, which will run in Italy and provide a similar luxurious experience.
LEGO Train Fans are a picky bunch. It’s a really small subset of the AFOL, Since we don’t get LEGO trains very often, we want them to be as authentic as possible.
I can understand why LEGO did this. It appeals to more people this way, Plus it’s a nod to the new train. I’ll probably get a few of these sets and use the LEGO bricks to make my own more authentic MOC of the train.
Another semi-controverial aspect about this train is that it uses a new coupling mechanism. For years LEGO has used magnets to couple trains, and apparently this is a new method. More more coming soon.
Is the LEGO Orient Express Compatible with LEGO® track system?
Yes, this newest LEGO Ideas set, is 100% compatible with the current LEGO track system.
However, this set does NOT come with the regular dark bluish grey track pieces. Instead it has straight individual track rails that are snapped onto 8×2 plates to replicate the track.
If you didn’t know, this train isn’t designed to be a running train, but instead it is a display piece. A very long display train.
As soon as I get this set in my hands I’ll see if the LEGO instructions have the steps needed to motorize it using Power Functions, otherwise I’ll make a PDF for you to use. I can’t wait to run this train on my huge LEGO Model RailRoad.
So the answer is Yes, the new LEGO Ideas train can work on the 8-wide, but you will need to get your own track.
Can you Motorize the LEGO Orient Express Train?
As of right now, this is my biggest question. Of course it is always possible to MOC a motor into a LEGO train. Hopefully the designer had this in mind when he built and designed it so a Power Functions motor would slide right in.
Then you could run this train on every single LEGO track system ever built.
The latest way LEGO motorizes trains is using the Bluetooth enabled Power functions system. This consists of a battery pack that has bluetooth in it, a hand held controller (or your iphone), wires, and a motor. There are also different sensors if you want to automate the entire thing.
The system is compact enough that I believe the battery box could fit inside the Tender, and the motor with needed gears could go inside the locomotive. However until I see the set in person I don’t know exactly the best way to do that.
My bigger concern is how tall this train is.
My layout has tunnels that are approximately 15 bricks high, so hopefully this train isnt any higher than that.
What was the Original Orient Express Train Like?
– The Orient Express was a long-distance passenger train service that connected Paris to Istanbul. The original route, established in 1883, covered over 1,900 miles (3,100 km) and passed through several European cities, including Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, and Bucharest.
– The first official Orient Express journey took place on October 4, 1883. It was operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL), a Belgian company that specialized in luxury rail travel.
– The Orient Express was renowned for its opulent and luxurious accommodations. The train featured elegant dining cars, plush sleeping compartments, and attentive service, catering to a wealthy and sophisticated clientele.
– Over the years, the Orient Express hosted a roster of famous passengers, including royalty, diplomats, and celebrities. Agatha Christie, the renowned mystery writer, even set one of her most famous novels, “Murder on the Orient Express,” aboard the train.
Original Route Discontinued
– The original Orient Express service, as it was known in its prime, no longer operates on its original route. Various factors, including changes in travel preferences and the advent of faster transportation modes, led to the discontinuation of the classic route.
– However, a private luxury train service named the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express continues to operate, offering a nostalgic and luxurious experience reminiscent of the original Orient Express. It typically runs between London and Venice, with occasional special journeys to other destinations.
– Riding the Orient Express was considered a romantic and glamorous experience. The train’s luxurious interiors, attentive staff, and scenic landscapes along the route created a unique and unforgettable journey.
– One of the highlights of the Orient Express was its dining experience. Passengers enjoyed gourmet meals in elegant dining cars, with fine china, silverware, and a sophisticated ambiance.
– The Orient Express was not just a mode of transportation; it was a cultural symbol of an era marked by elegance and refinement. The train journey was an event in itself, representing a bygone era of international luxury train travel. It was a sumptuous french train that could travel the continents
Challenges and Changes
– Over the years, the train faced challenges and changes, including interruptions due to wars and shifts in travel patterns. Despite these challenges, the mystique of the Orient Express has endured, and its legacy lives on in the modern luxury trains that aim to capture the spirit of this iconic service.