For Any 6-12 Year Olds Out There …

8404-0000-xx-33-1 If you’re still too young to be a transit geek, you might enjoy this news, emailed by a frequent reader:

Lego has recently released an excellent new Public Transport set (see
pictures attached), which my sons and I had lots of fun building and
playing with this last weekend.

Urban public transport toys are not common, and they tend to be either caricatured buses and trains for younger infants or expensive, detailed models for adults.  That’s why I think this set for 6-12 year olds is remarkable for allowing children a more realistic, hands-on opportunity to play with transit vehicles, infrastructure and concepts, reflecting what they see on the streets in real life.

8404_hr What is also remarkable about this set (besides the articulated low-floor tram and the bike rack at one of the stops), is the seriously cool and modern design of the vehicles and transit stops.  I can’t say if toys as attractive and interesting as these might dignify and elevate the perception of public transport in children’s minds (they certainly do for me) but if nothing else, they would allow children at an impressionable age to engage and explore the idea of urban living with transit as a normal part of life, alongside the usual cars, trucks and fire engines.

Interesting.  Certainly, a lot of our assumptions about the world are encoded through childhood  play.  It’s a great way for one generation to embed its values in the next, for better or worse.

23 Responses to For Any 6-12 Year Olds Out There …

  1. Mikenbondi September 15, 2010 at 4:34 am #

    “.. reflecting what they see on the streets in real life.”
    “Certainly, a lot of our assumptions about the world are encoded through childhood play. It’s a great way for one generation to embed its values in the next, for better or worse.”
    Although sadly for Lego, they’re still a bit short of female representation in their human figures. It’s like they think the only fitting transport for females are ponies

  2. Daniel September 15, 2010 at 4:48 am #

    A pleasant change from the Lego Duplo bus, which plays up to stereotypes by having an old man and a kid being the only passengers!

  3. Brian September 15, 2010 at 4:56 am #

    Forget 6-12 year olds, this 28 year old is going to add this to his wish list!

  4. Brandon September 15, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    6-12 years old be damned! I want this.

  5. David Arthur September 15, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    I don’t recognise the livery on the bus, but the tram looks sort of like Amsterdam. 🙂
    They’ve also introduced a new electric train which is one of their most realistic yet. It looks very close to the Talent/Desiro/Lint type of regional train that’s now common in Europe (although it has a locomotive instead of a multiple-unit design, presumably to make room for the batteries).

  6. Gordon Werner September 15, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    if one want’s to buy this set … you can get it here:

  7. Bryan September 15, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    World to Brian from another 28 year old Bryan 😉

  8. Corey Burger September 15, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    28 year-olds unite! Too bad I am broke, otherwise I would buy that in a heartbeat.

  9. Corey Burger September 15, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    I thought I would comment on the “encoding through childhood play”. Many planners my age played SimCity, which only has exclusionary zoning (comm, res, ind) and the latest version, 4, even automatically lays roads down.

  10. bzcat September 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    OMG the tram is not grade separated and fenced in! Think of the children…

  11. Jarrett September 15, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    Corey. Yes, I took down Sim City here:

  12. Pete (UK) September 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    That tram is so cool, a hint of Munich or Amsterdam! Lego was probably my favourite toy as a kid. I could make a good rendition of a London Underground train (sub-surface stock) not disimilar to the District Line D stock.

  13. jon September 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    And for the bigger kidz and all of you itching to build a streetcar system…
    Streetcar: The New Orleans Trolley Game – a board game
    For 2 to 6 players
    Build a trolley route across New Orleans
    Historical theme
    Race to build the route
    Compete against the other players

  14. J September 15, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    Just a quick note on the Sim City thing. SC4 has hundreds of user modifications available, including bus lanes, street running rail, bus stops that dont take up an entire parcel, highways in trenches, street tolls, canals, mixed used buildings etc etc.
    Basically, if you can find it in a city, someone has created a modification to let you build it (yes, even bike sidepaths).
    Even though it was released 7.5 years ago (!) the community is still active in making new buildings and improved modifications.
    I never played the original, but I did start with SC2, move onto SC3 and occasionally still load up SC4 (last played in January). You can be certain that if SC5 ever is developed, it will incorporate many of those user modifications.

  15. Zmapper September 15, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    Legos: The fact that they used the latest bus instead of a older model bus is impressive. Kudos to Lego!
    SC4: I posted this in the comment thread of the SimCity review by Jarett but I guess I’ll post it here too. The main websites to get all of this stuff for SC4 are:
    For the streetcars, download the NAM (Network Addition Mod) at ether site.
    Because it is hard-coded in the .exe mixed use buildings can’t actually be created. The best that can be done are residential building that have an eye-candy commercial part or vise-versa.
    True bike lanes are also impossible because it is again hard-coded into the .exe. Now riiga over at those sites has created some nice paths but they are sadly only eye-candy.
    And I do agree that for a game released over 7 years ago and still in stores, it is doing very well!

  16. Alon Levy September 16, 2010 at 12:05 am #

    This is really awesome. When I was 6, the only available transportation Legos were spaceships and cars.

  17. Wad September 16, 2010 at 12:39 am #

    Wow, time for me to be a Lego fan again. I have the passenger train set from the early 1990s; it’s in a box. I’d get these as a feeder set. :>
    @Mikenbondi, female representation? The figures are androgynous. Just put a female hair piece on the head peg. :> Obviously, the new generation of Lego figures are more sex-specific, since the faces are detailed, then when all of them simply had two eyes and a smile.

  18. John September 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    I gave a sigh of adoration upon seeing these pictures – LEGO has been doing a bunch of city-themed sets that are surprisingly realistic.
    I can tell you that childhood values do play out into adult life situations. For instance, what really got me into urban transportation was living as a kid in San Diego, where we had the San Diego Trolley: a light rail system with bright, cherry-red vehicles and cute noises that was an absolute delight to see and ride as a child, and remains a highlight of any visit back to San Diego, just to glimpse it.

  19. Brendan M. September 24, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    For those who’d rather design their own bus, tram, or anything else, Lego offers a free computer program called Lego Digital Designer, wherein users can order the parts and instructions to build physical models of their digital creations. As a 20-something from Seattle, I’m working on a Gillig Phantom-like bus in King Co. Metro’s paint scheme. Of course, these simpler sets are great for the younger, budding transit users.

  20. TimG September 25, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    As a lover of public transport I’m enjoying your blog a great deal. I’d like to add something to this post. The set was actually in response to a request by LEGO fans from a list of options. There’s a fairly large number of adult LEGO fans out there so the company throws us a bone once in a while.

  21. Dave in KY September 27, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    “…remarkable for allowing children a more realistic, hands-on opportunity to play with transit vehicles, infrastructure and concepts, reflecting what they see on the streets in real life.”
    Every now and then Jarrett, you make a comment like this that causes some readers (me) to snort milk up their noses. Trams? Passenger Rail? Seen on streets in “real life”? These are things that we simply do not see. I live in a population 1 million Metro area. There is no passenger rail. The nearest light rail system is 263 miles away (St Louis). The nearest electric transit is 163 miles away (Dayton’s trolleybuses). The nearest commuter rail is 175 miles away (Nashville). 95% of residents under age 50 have never in their lives set foot on rail transit. Heck, probably the majority of the population has not even used the local transit buses. Referring to rail as anything other than an amazing exception created through some Herculean sacrifice by some highly motivated (kooky?) voters sounds like you’re coming from another planet.
    Have fun with the 20% of our federal gas tax allocated to New Starts. We’ll never be seeing a penny of that back.
    Your close personal bud,
    The Commonwealth of Kentucky.

  22. Jarrett at September 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    Dave.  This is is why it's important that the Lego kit includes buses 🙂

  23. torrent download October 11, 2010 at 3:06 am #

    This is really cool. When I was 6, the only available transportation Legos were spaceships and cars.