A good place to start is Lionel's web page where you can view the different models, prices, authorized deal rs, and some hobbyist information. http://www.lionel.com/
In this web site you will find some 4 consumer reviews/opinions about the Lionel Trains. http://www.epinions.com/search/?submitted_form=searchbar&search_string=lionel&tax_name=&dyn_nav=0&dyn_nav_id=&search_vertical=all&searchbar_submit=Search
(if the above link doesn't work, go to www.epinion.com , and search for "lionel".)
Another web site that provides prices and reviews is http://shopping.superpages.com/lionel+trains~erci_220
You can also find information about these trains on eBay or amazon.com - just go there and search for the train.
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Sorry, I thought the other two links had some reviews and other useful information.
You would probably find the specific information you are after in specialty 'forums'. Here is a link to a train forum where consumers discuss their experiences and views about classic trains.
If you need more information, just google: 'train forum' and you will find plenty of them. Good luck.