|Written by Paul D. Race for and|
Update, 2016 - Bradford Exchange, who distributes the Hawthorne Village products shown on this page has recently been forced by the attorney generals of several states (including Ohio where I live) to stop letting folks in Ohio and other states recommend products we like. If we keep it up, Bradford Exchange will have to start collecting sales tax for any customers in those states who order from them. So they have sent out an e-mail asking me (and hundreds of other people) to cease and desist recommending products we like.
It will take us a while to get things on these pages reconfigured to reflect the new requirements, but in the meantime, please consider the rest of this page an archive of past recommendations, for informational purposes only. We would never dream of continuing to recommend Hawthorne Village products that we liked in 2014 and still think highly of!
The art of the late Thomas Kinkade has been in demand since it was first available to the public. Kinkade was said to "follow the grand tradition of 19th century American Luminist painting." By using countless layers of underpainting and overglazing, he created evocative works that captured the fascinating effects of light and the fleeting moods of nature. His paintings and limited edition prints are remarkable for their beauty and value. When Kinkade began painting and designing for the collectible market, a new era began. As early as 1991, Kinkade's first limited-edition collector's plate won the coveted Best Plate of Show at the International Collectibles Exposition. Today, Kinkade's collectible village sculptures and accessories show in three dimensions what his paintings have always shown in two - a remarkable range of charm and detail graced by soft, natural-looking light.
Of course, this web site is about trains, so we're pleased to present two On30 collectible trains featuring artwork and other design elements from this popular author. The original Thomas Kinkade Christmas Express Train has now been joined by two other charming subscription trains from the same designer. Be certain to check out the new products, and take another look at the Christmas Express train. Remember, these are limited offerings. Even though many of the original Christmas Express trains have been made in response to consumer demand, it is a limited edition. Hawthorne Express will not take orders for this item indefinitely, and when becomes unavailable, we can't get it for you (we know because we've tried on other popular sets that sold out.)
Note about Suppliers: While we try to help you get the products you want by recommending suppliers with a good record of customer service, all transactions between you and the supplier you chose to provide your trains or other purchases are governed by the published policies on the supplier's web site. So please print off any order confirmation screens and save copies of invoices, etc., so you can contact the appropriate supplier should any problems occur. (They almost never do, but you want to be on the safe side.)
Note: If you're interested in the sort of products you see on this page, it might be a good idea to bookmark this page now, in case you get lost looking through the vendor sites I've referenced here. (It's not hard - there's lots of choices - I've simply tried to present those which are most useful for Thomas Kinkade villages and for Christmas villages that use collectible trains.)
The Hawthorne Village(r) Thomas Kinkade trains are the most charming collectible trains ever designed. Each features artwork from reknowned artist Thomas Kinkade and is supported by a wide range of accessories.
The trains featured on this page are subscription trains. That means that you buy them in installments, like a magazine. Like many other Hawthorne Village(r) Trains, these trains are in O scale, which means that they are 1:48 the size of the "real thing," about the same scale as most of the better Lionel trains. But they run on HO gauge track, making your railroad easier to set up and to fit into a fairly small place. These trains are also built using parts from the Bachmann On30 trains, so parts and service will always be available. In addition, track and accessories that are made to go with the Bachmann On30 trains will work with these as well.
This page includes accessories that a Thomas Kinkade or Hawthorne Village(r) collector might be interested in purchasing to add interest to this set. For example, the Thomas Kinkade Christmas Village and accessories are perfectly scaled to look right with this train and to give it a community to serve.
To learn more about any of these products, or to purchase any of these products or subscriptions, please click on the "Buy" button. You are not obligated to purchase until you make your selection on the next screen.
Note: Deadlines approaching! Because these are subscription trains, each piece is actually considered a separate purchase. (The price advertised on the Hawthorne Village web site is the cost of each collectible piece.) In the first shipment, you receive the locomotive, which is an exceptional value. Then about a month later, or when the next piece is available (whichever comes first), your order for the next piece is automatically processed. That means that you can still get the locomotive before Christmas if you order early enough, so you'll have something to wrap up and put under the tree. The locomotive is also a great value, so the recipient won't be disappointed, even when he or she learns that the rest of the train is still to come. On the other hand, there is a good possibility that some of these trains will sell out between now and Christmas. If there's one you really want, don't assume that it's "safe" to wait until later - I have not heard from one reader who was disappointed with his or her train, but I have heard from many readers who were disappointed because they put off ordering a subscription until it was too late. These are delightful trains and a great value, so order your favorite soon if you don't want to miss out! For details about how a subscription train works, please click here.
Update for 2015! Due to the economic downturn, the original company that ordered and distributed these trains - Collectibles Today - was absorbed into its parent company, Bradford Exchange. To hold down cost, Bradford has apparently stopped ordering new train collections from Bachmann, who made very nice trains, and started ordering them from a cheaper supplier. Bachmann itself still makes some Christmas-themed On30 trains, but if you want the kind of artwork you see on the trains on this page, don't wait too long to get a "subscription" going.
Although I no longer have the contacts I did at Collectibles Today, I pay attention to the patterns, and I know that none of the fine On30 sets on this page are going to be available indefinitely. Readers often think I'm making that up, until they wait a month too long to get started on a collection then start barraging me with e-mails demanding that I come up with a train that has been discontinued. I don't have a "secret stash" of these somewhere, or know of anyone who does except for the eBay sellers who have been collecting them all along waiting for them to be discontinued and would-be customers to become desperate. As I often say, you are thinking about any Hawthorne Village train or town for your home or as a gift, do not wait too long.