Licensed from the long-running brand of model trains, Lionel Trains on Track has the player build a train empire with gameplay similar to the Railroad Tycoon concept. To succeed, different cities need to be connected by tracks, cargo needs to be moved by choosing the correct locations based on demand, and there are different technologies to research. There are three main modes available: Campaign, Free Play and Sandbox.
The Campaign mode consists of six scenarios with different goals. These range from connecting cities to acquiring structures and growing a small town to city size. Sandbox and Free Play are fairly identical, but the first has the goal to raise 20 million dollar in 20 years while the latter removes financial restrictions. Starting from a headquarters, the empire slowly expands through different tracks. Next to direct shipments the player can also set up Cargo Chains where multiple stops are needed to produce goods. As soon as the money starts rolling in, it can be invested in new trains, new structures and research. There are basic structures, and superstructures of which only one can be constructed per town. These include a train museum, an amusement park, a train factory, a super mall, postal headquarters, shipping business and an electric power plant.
Gameplay is shown from a top-down view with various tickers and information bars that display current events. All important information is stored in the Knowledge Base and there are a number of random events, including fires, increase of demand or a surprise gift from an investor.