How do LEGO® City Trains work?

What can you do with your LEGO® City Trains? How do you check batteries or add lights? Find answers to frequently asked questions about old and new LEGO® City Trains, with step-by-step troubleshooting guides and tips for your toy trains, tracks, and Powered Up motors. Pick a question to unfold the answer.

  • 02:44
    LEGO® City Train Remote Control Video – LEGO City Tutorial Video – LEGO.com

    LEGO® City Train Remote Control Video – LEGO City Tutorial Video – LEGO.com

  • 02:26
    LEGO® City Powered-Up App Remote Control Tutorial – LEGO City Tutorial Video – LEGO.com

    LEGO® City Powered-Up App Remote Control Tutorial – LEGO City Tutorial Video – LEGO.com

  • Why is my LEGO® City Passenger Train 60197 or Cargo Train 60198 not working?

    If your LEGO® City Passenger Train or Cargo Train is not working, you can follow this step-by-step troubleshooting guide for LEGO Powered Up parts and models:

    1. Put 6 fresh batteries into the Smarthub. We recommend alkaline batteries – they’ll give you more playtime. Please also check the batteries in the remote control. If you use the rechargeable battery, make sure it’s fully charged.

    2. Make sure all plugs are properly connected – you can check the building instructions for help.

    3. Make sure the Bluetooth connection between the remote control and Smarthub is working. Both must be switched on and connected before they can ‘talk’ to each other.

    4. Check that the lights on the Smarthub and the remote control are ON and showing the same color.

    5. Check that the motors are spinning freely.

    6. If your train is still not working, check your model against the building instructions to make sure you’re not missing any parts in your build. If you have lost your building instructions, you can find them as free downloads here.
  • How do I know when my LEGO® City train’s batteries are running low?

    If the batteries in your Smarthub or remote control are running low, the lights will flash orange. Until they do, you’re good to go!
  • How to change batteries in my remote-controlled Powered Up LEGO® City train?

    If you check the building instructions for your LEGO® City train, you can find a section with infographics that can help you see how to put batteries in the Powered Up Smarthub. Or you can follow this step-by-step guide: 

    1. Lift the LEGO Powered Up Smarthub compartment from the train.
    2. Remove the two screws on the bottom of the Smarthub with a screwdriver. (Kids: You may want to ask your parents to help you with this step.)
    3. Replace all six batteries with new, high-quality AAA alkaline batteries. 

    The LEGO Smarthub and the remote control work best with AAA batteries that provide 1.5 volts each. This is because the train motor requires almost 9 volts (6 x 1.5 volts) to work properly. Rechargeable AAA batteries usually only provide 1.2 volts each – that only gives you a total of 7.2 volts, which is not enough power to run the train.

    Some brands have slightly different designs and will work better than others. Batteries with a slightly larger positive output (the end of the battery with the + sign) often work better with the connectors of our Powered Up components. So if your components are not lighting up, you might want to try a different brand with a bigger positive output than the one you’re using. As a rule of thumb, it’s not a good idea to mix brands or old and new batteries.

  • How do I connect, or check the connection between the remote control and the Smarthub in a LEGO® City Powered Up train?

    Press the green buttons on the Smarthub and the remote control at the same time to connect the Smarthub and the remote control. The lights on both components should then change from flashing white to the same color. That means they are connected.
  • Are the new LEGO® City trains compatible with older tracks?

    In some cases, yes. Over the years, we've never changed the width of the LEGO® City Train tracks. The train cars from all earlier models will run on the new tracks and attach to the new trains. The new Powered Up trains can also run on the old tracks, but the 9V and 12V motors need rails that have metal on them to conduct and run on electricity.
  • Is it possible to run multiple Powered Up LEGO® City trains at the same time?

    Yes! You can run up to 5 trains at the same time from one remote control. There are 5 channels on the remote control (you can tell them apart by their different colors) that can connect to up to 5 Smarthubs.
  • What is the maximum Bluetooth signal distance of the LEGO® Powered Up remote control and Smarthub?

    The Bluetooth signal distance is usually around 10 meters/33 feet in an open area, but it can vary, depending on a few things: Low batteries in the remote control, and obstacles – concrete walls, for example – may decrease the signal distance. Try to remove obstacles, or find another place to play with your train, if it seems like the distance is shorter than expected.
  • Can the Powered Up LEGO® City trains run without tracks?

    LEGO® City Powered Up trains keep running when lifted off the tracks. This means the trains can also run on the floor.
  • How does the LEGO® Powered Up remote control work?

    The LEGO® Powered Up remote control works a lot like how you would use your smart device (mobile phone or tablet for example) to control any other electronic device via Bluetooth technology. If you connect the remote control to the Smarthub in the train, you can control the speed or stop the train.
  • Can I build the new Powered Up system into old trains?

    Yes! The new Powered Up Smarthub has the same dimensions as the previous Power Functions battery box, so you can easily swap them. The Powered Up Smarthub should be easy to use with most of the train sets previously released with Power Functions, without any need to modify the build. Try it out – you can always make your own modifications to make it fit, if necessary.
  • How many motors can be controlled with one Smarthub?

    How many motors can be controlled with one Smarthub?

    The Smarthub has two ports, A and B, which allow you to plug in and control two motors, or a motor and lights for example.
  • Is the LEGO® Powered Up app necessary to run LEGO City trains?

    No, the Powered Up app is not necessary to have fun playing with your LEGO® City trains. What the app does is provide you with additional features, such as sounds, and the ability to see how fast the train is travelling from 0-10 increments.
  • How can I tell if my device has integrated Bluetooth Low Energy?

    Look in the settings of your device (smartphone or tablet) for the Bluetooth logo to see the status. If you suspect the Bluetooth on your device is not working properly, you can ask to have it checked where you bought your device.
  • What are the minimum requirements for the LEGO® Powered Up app?

    Visit LEGO.com/sevicecheck to check if the Powered Up app is compatible with your smart device.
  • What are the differences between the LEGO® Powered Up remote control and the Powered Up app?

    The Powered Up remote control and the Powered Up app share the same basic controls, such as making the train move and stop. On top of this, the Powered Up app gives you additional feedback, like sounds, and the ability to see how fast the train is travelling from 0-10 increments.
  • How to reset the LEGO® Powered Up Smarthub?

    Once a Smarthub and a remote control have been connected, they will remember each other the next time you turn them on together. If you want to reset the connections, you can make them forget about other devices. Just make sure your device is turned off, then press and hold the green button until the light turns purple.
  • How do you add lights to LEGO® City trains?

    You can buy the LEGO® Power Functions 88005 Light elements separately and add them to your LEGO City 60197 Passenger Train. Simply plug them into the available port on the Smarthub to turn them on and off with the remote control.
  • Can I use and connect the new LEGO® Powered Up Smarthub, motors and lights with my older LEGO Power Functions battery box and motors?

    Unfortunately, no. The change of technology between LEGO® Power Functions (infra-red signal) and LEGO® Powered Up (Bluetooth connection), combined with a change of the wire connectors, means the two systems are not compatible.