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Marx Lightning Express 3000 Ride On Train

April 13th, 2009 · 18 Comments

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Marx Ride On Train

This is a Marx Lightning Express 3000 Train that we restored. It was made in the 1950s by Louis Marx & Co. as a ride on toy for children. It’s made of steel, and in the 1950s, Marx was the leading manufacturer of metal toys in the world.

Lightning Express 300 Train

The front of our train engine is different than the original. It’s the same as that found on the Marx Pioneer Express model and to this we added an airbrushed headlight. And this train has been painted a shiny red, where the original toy was shades of grey with red accents. It’s a great bit of nostalgia for anyone who remembers toys from this era.

1950s Ride On Train

Restoration Detail Marx Train

Dimensions: 12”H x 27”L

This item is not for sale. We show restored items in this blog to encourage discussion, prompt questions and further the hobby of collecting and restoration. We also enjoy sharing the photos of the many items we have restored over the years.

Tags: Restorations by Vintage Vending Inc. · Unique & Unusual

18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 T. Francis // Apr 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I have a train like this. I think it is closer to the original. It is grey with a side panel that is yellow and says Lightning Express in red letters. I do not have the handle on top, however, does anyone know where I can get one? I don’t remember ever having one, but there is an opening for it.

  • 2 Chris // Jun 11, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Have you see any like that but electric on a track

  • 3 Adan // Aug 17, 2009 at 5:32 am

    I just bought one at a garage sale for $5. It’s in decent shape, black in color with “Pioneer Express” on the side. Does anyone know who restores them?

  • 4 Ted Taylor // Aug 31, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I have one similar. Stamped 3000, but the front looks different, with a more pronounced cowcatcher. It also has a wooden steering arm. There are 3 holes, 1 on the cowcatcher, 1 where the headlight would go, and 1 on the top directly in front of the cab. Did the origional have added dress-up items there? What is the value, and does the value decrease if it is repainted, or restored?

  • 5 Susan Fahuna // Nov 24, 2009 at 5:10 am

    My original marx lightning express locomotive
    3000 is missing the` bell and red mount for bell. Do you know where`I could get one?

  • 6 vintagevending // Nov 24, 2009 at 11:27 am


    Right now there is one on ebay featuring a silver paint job, and a bell on top before the cowcatcher. It is priced at $500. Not sure if the price goes up or down depending on restoration/painting.

  • 7 vintagevending // Nov 24, 2009 at 11:41 am


    I have found a few trains for sale, but I haven’t been able to come up with any bells for sale. Can anyone help with this?

  • 8 sandi // Dec 13, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    I am still confused as to whether a vintage toy is more valuable original or restored.Or about the same.Thanks for any info.

  • 9 vintagevending // Dec 14, 2009 at 10:08 am


    It all depends on the condition of the original, and the quality of the restoration. Each case is different.

  • 10 john v // Jan 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I have a 3000 train with acoal car. what i am looking for is aset of rear wheels for the engine and the piece on the engine that the coal car couples to. this train was a chritmas gift from my grandparents for either my first or second christmmas and i am over 50 years old and would like to restore this toy back to its original stateany ideas where i can find the parts neede dto restore my train

  • 11 denny // Oct 13, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    your marx train is very nice but I think mine is nicer? Mine is restored and FOR SALE $450. I can send a photo or 2 if interested

  • 12 SCOTT // Dec 3, 2010 at 9:44 am


  • 13 Gary // Feb 4, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    where can I get a replacement stencil for my lightning express 3000. Both engine side panel stencils need replaced.

  • 14 Ben // Apr 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I have a very similar one that my father gave me yesterday. My father was born in 1936 and got this as a gift when he was 2 (so in 1938). I think he even has a picture of him in 1939 sitting on it. It’s similar to this red one, has the flatter type nose, original wooden steering and steel wheels. When did Marx start making these?
    Thanks, Ben

  • 15 Donna // May 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I have a restored metal lightning express train engine and I am trying to get a value on it. can you help?

  • 16 john // Jan 3, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I have 3000 train with a coal car. where can I get parts to fix my train? I am missing the rear wheels for the engine and the piece to hook the coal car to the engine

  • 17 john // Jun 23, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    I have a 3000 train with coal car. where can I get parts to restore my train. I am needing the rear wheels for the engine also I am looking for the piece that goes on the back of the engine to couple the coal car with the engine. any help in trying to help me locate the parts in need would be greatly appreciated. thank you,john

  • 18 kyle // Jun 30, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    That is a fantastic resto- I have one identical. How much does a restoration like that cost?

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All Images are the Property of and Copyrighted to Vintage Vending Inc.