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Modern trains should be mostly problem free... Just follow the instructions to do a simple oiling now and then and you should be fine... The track has also greatly improved, helping things run smoother...

As far as the Hogwarts Express goes, I could not tell you if the sound effects are good... Are you set on it having to be a Harry Potter train?

If you are not, IN MY OPINION you should check out MTH's Ready-to-Run sets, you can find a list of them here... They cost $50.00 more than the Harry Potter set, but I believe that the quality is better... They feature Protosound 2.0, which to me is a really cool system... Here is a bit if info on PS2, and you can read further here...
  • The Sound System uses authentic railroad sounds. Steam engines chuff along with whistles and bells, while diesel roars and electric hums are accented by throaty horns and chiming bells. Proto-Sound 2.0 makes you feel like you are standing trackside.
  • The Control System brings exciting features like synchronized puffing smoke, remote control of couplers, speed control, and a mass of command mode operational features to model railroading.
Please note how I italicized some words above... I am not a model train expert by far, in fact I have had very limited exposure to the hobby being only 18, but that is how I feel about trains...
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