L.R. Nelson Rain Train Traveling Sprinkler 1865

Pros, Cons and Description

L.R. Nelson Rain Train Traveling Sprinkler 1865
Rain Train Traveling Sprinkler. photo: Jamie Burke

Don't dismiss this sprinkler as a novelty, it's the real deal. This die-cast little yellow tractor with a whirling sprinkler on top is American made, weighs in at a hefty 20 pounds and has a two-speed gearbox that's ready to work all day. The sprinkler that looks like a toy is actually the next best thing to having an automatic irrigation system in your lawn.


  • The sprinkler moves along a set course of up to 200 feet and stops when finished.
  • Provides a deep watering with even coverage.
  • Needs very little attention other than initial set up and occasional monitoring.
  • Quality materials and extremely durable.
  • Made in USA.


  • Can 'de-rail' if track (hose) is too curvy.
  • Low water pressure could cause malfunctions.
  • Could get stuck and dig a rut if impeded by sticks or pine cones.
  • Heavy, at least 20 pounds.
  • A little pricey. $64.99 - $79.99


  • Die-cast metal construction and brass hose fittings means it's built to last and won't rust.
  • The sprinkler arms are adjustable for customized arc and angle allowing for a 15- to 50-foot throw.
  • Two speeds and neutral allow for varied watering rates or use as a stationary sprinkler. Can move up to 60-feet-per-hour.
  • Can cover up to 13,500 square feet of lawn in one 'trip'.

From the Manufacturer

"The Nelson Rain Train is the original traveling sprinkler and a beloved classic of lawn care. Since 1965, it has helped millions of homeowners effortlessly take care of their yard.

The Rain Train uses the power of water to navigate around the lawn following a customized hose path. It travels up to 200 feet and covers as much as 13,500 square feet. A choice of three speeds allows you adjust the level of water saturation for your lawn. While automatic shut-off prevents water waste.

Set the Rain Train up at the starting point, turn it on and watch it go to work."

More About Rain Train

The Rain Train's engineering is deceptively simple. First, up to 200 feet of hose is laid out across the lawn in your desired pattern with the end connected to the back of the unit. The tractor's front wheel straddles the hose allowing it to follow the path while water pressure powers its cleated back wheels, moving it forward until it reaches a shutoff switch at the end of the line. In the course of its travels, the Rain Train delivers a deep, even watering over the entire area of coverage.

Unlike conventional lawn sprinklers that require constant relocation, the Rain Train moves on its own, saving time and improving water conservation. Although it is self-propelled, you still need to monitor its journey occasionally, making sure the path is free of hairpin turns and clear of impediments. In addition, once it has stopped, the hose remains pressurized and will need to be shut off.

To be able to water up to 13,500 square feet of lawn without having to move the sprinkler is the major advantage over conventional lawn sprinklers. Only a costly, in ground sprinkler system can beat it in efficiency and convenience.

I highly recommend the L.R. Nelson Rain Train Traveling Sprinkler.