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Bachmann Garden Trains and AccessoriesGarden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running wellBest Choices for Beginning Garden Railroaders: a short list of things you're most likely to need when starting out
Garden Train Store: Index to train, track, and other products for Garden RailroadingLarge Scale Starter Sets: Begin with a train you'll be proud to run
Large Scale Track order FormBuildings and accessories for outdoor railroading
Large Scale Christmas Trains: Trains with a holiday theme for garden or professional display railroads.Free Large Scale Signs and Graphics: Bring your railroad to life with street signs, business signs, and railroad signs
Garden Railroading Books, Magazines, and Videos: Where to go to learn even more
Collectible Trains and Villages: On30 Trains and accessories designed by Thomas Kinkade and others

Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains(tm)

This page describes Large Scale trains made by the Bachmann to be used in the garden (although they run indoors if you have room for them).

Bachmann starter sets, such as the ones shown on this page, make an excellent initial investment, even if you're still trying to decide what kind of railroad you want or exactly where you want it to go. If you later wind up modeling a whole 'nudder different kind of railroad, the Bachmann trains are sturdy and inexpensive enough to keep as backup, to use around the Christmas tree, or to let the kids or grandkids run.

Bachmann's Large Scale trains are accurately detailed models of real narrow-gauge trains that used to run in North America. Most narrow-gauge trains in this country ran on tracks that had the rails 36" apart. (This was in contrast to "standard-gauge" trains, which had the rails 56 1/2" apart.) Such railroads included the Denver and Rio Grande (later the Denver and Rio Grande Western) in the West, and the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (nicknamed the "Tweetsie") in the East. There were a host of other narrow-gauge railroads all over the United States, most of which were absorbed into other lines by the middle of the 20th century. But such variety leads many Garden Railroaders to invent their own railroad names and locations and feel good about it--since something similar most likely existed somewhere.

Models of narrow-gauge trains tend to be charming and to look old-fashioned compared to models of standard-gauge trains. They also tend to be larger in scale, so the figurines and accessories that go with them are larger and less likely to get lost in the undergrowth. If you want to know all there is to know about garden train scales, refer to the article Which Scale Should I Model on the Family Garden Train's Primer page.

These trains work great outside and are designed to hold up to sun, heat, cold, and dampness. However, when you do move outside, you'll want to purchase some track that is made for the garden (Bachmann's isn't), and you'll want larger curves anyway--trains look better and run better on wider curves. Some other pages that might help you with such decisions include:

A Note about "Buyer's Guides" We post these descriptions to help you make informed decisions and to learn what is available, even if the suppliers we usually recommend have a short supply. In some cases, we will allow a description to remain on line, even without a supplier link, if we have reason to believe that the product will become available again later. If you want a particular product, but we have no supplier button or the supplier's page says they are sold out, let us know, and we'll try to help you find one elsewhere. We apologize if this causes you any inconvenience or confusion.

For more detailed information about why model trains and related products seem to "come and go" and why I have stopped listing prices for products, please see my article "About Pricing and Availability."

Notes for 2009! Many More Trains, More Suppliers We are excited to add five "new" trains to this page for 2009. Actually four of these have been issued before but have been unavailable for several years. The new and improved versions described here have better wheels, better motors, and better gearing than the 1990s-era sets they replaced, so buy with confidence.

In addition, near the bottom of this page you'll see a link for the Large Scale Starter Set page. Although they don't ordinarily stock a lot of Bachmann, they occasionally have a few sets, so checking there may help you track down something hard to find. Please contact us if you have questions about availability or quality of any product listed on this page. Note about Suppliers: While we try to help you get the products you want by recommending suppliers with a good record of customer service, all transactions between you and the supplier you chose to provide your trains or other purchases are governed by the published policies on the supplier's web site. So please print off any order confirmation screens and save copies of invoices, etc., so you can contact the appropriate supplier should any problems occur. (They almost never do, but you want to be on the safe side.)

Bachmann Starter sets

Starter Sets include an oval of track (14-20 pieces), power pack and speed controller, and an illustrated Bach Man instruction manual. Many include a "how-to" video as well. Several of the most recent and most popular sets are shown below. For more information or to check pricing and availability from one or more of our suppliers, please click on a "check stock" button.

ET&WNC Passenger Set - The East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad Company ("Tweetsie" for sort) ran from 1881 to about 1940, after which the line's assets changed hands many times. Today the "Tweetsie" is one of North Carolina's favorite travel attractions. This passenger set comes complete with a 4-6-0 steam locomotive (with operating headlight, smoke, and speed-synchronized sound), coal tender, coach with lighted interior, and observation car with lighted interior.
To check availability of this train, please click the "check stock" button.

ET&WNC Freight Set - Unlike large mainlines, narrow gauge trains often served double-duty hauling freight and passengers together on light routes. For this set, a baggage/passenger combine with metal wheels and interior lighting has been substituted for a caboose, so the handful of passengers the line expects can ride in comfort.
To check availability of this train, please click the "check stock" button.

The Durango and Silverton Freight Set - This is a classic model of a classic train. The last issue of this product has been unavailable for about 3 years. Now it has been brought back so a new "generation" of garden railroaders and "Rio Grande" fans can enjoy it. The Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) started as the Denver and Rio Grande, a narrow gauge railroad with small equipment and big ambitions. The D&RGW eventually became the largest and one of the longest-lasting narrow gauge railroads in the world.

This train represents the Silverton Branch line, which was carved out of sheer canyon face high in the Rocky Mountains. This train is pulled by the popular Baldwin 4-6-0 steam locomotive (with operating headlight, smoke and speed-synchronized sound).

The yellow and black "bumblebee" paint scheme became popular in the twentieth century. The locomotive pulls a boxcar and caboose that represent typical narrow gauge consists 1860 and 1920.

By the way, I own the previous version of this and it's a pleasure to look at and a pleasure to run. This locomotive has been substantially reengineered since I bought mine, so I know you'll enjoy it.

To check availability of this train, please click the "check stock" button.

The Durango and Silverton Passenger Set - This is another reintroduction of a perennial favorite. The locomotive and passenger cars that these were modeled after were built in the late 1800s. But when these trains started appearing in cowboy movies, the studios wanted them to stand out more, so the "bumblebee" colors emerged. And when tourist started coming in droves to see the old trains and trestles, the color scheme "stuck."

This is one of Bachmann's most popular sets, so if you want one for your railroad, don't wait too long.

To check availability of this train, please click the "check stock" button.

The Pennsylvanian - Bachmann has offered this set as a "special offer" or "limited edition" from time to time, but it is now available as part of their 2009 lineup. The train is big enough to draw attention in your back yard, or to cause jaws to drop if you put it around your Christmas tree. If you get this to run outside, though, save the track for indoors - you'll need sturdier track, like that from AristoCraft, to hold up to real weather.

By the way, I own one of these and know you will be delighted with it.

To check availability of this train, please click the "check stock" button.

The Summit Pass - Back in the golden age of toy trains, the real railroads were delighted when a toy train carried their logo and railroad name - it was free advertising for them. But a few years ago, certain "real railroads" started insisting that model train companies pay them a royalty every time they used their name or logo on a product. Their legal action even included the names and logos of many railroads that haven't been in business for decades, so simply delving into the past for obscure railroad names wasn't enough to keep you safe from legal action. To keep customers who didn't really care about railroad names from having to pay the "up-charge" for products that used the "sanctioned" railroad names and logos, Bachmann invented their own railroad name, the Glenbrook Valley railroad.

Bachmann patterns their "Glenbrook Valley" offerings after hundreds of real-world railroads you never heard of. Many of them served one or two industries or only connected two or three cities, but they provided a vital link in the chain when the vast majority of people and freight traveled the reails.

For this set, Bachmann uses a wood-burning version of their most popular locomotive, their 4-6-0, based on a Baldwin prototype that powered big and little railroads alike in its day. This is a quality set with professional paint and graphics you have to see to appreciate.

To check availability of this train, please click the "check stock" button.

The Pioneer - In 1990, Bachmann Trains introduced their Big Hauler line of Large Scale model trains with a battery-powered locomotive that ran on plastic track. It was green and silver, and labeled for the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe railroad. Soon after, Bachmann made a track-powered version, painted red and silver and also labeled for the ATSF. This reintroduction of that early favorite includes many upgrades, including much better wheels, motor, and gearing than those early sets. But the eye-catching graphics that made the 1990s version a huge hit from the start. The slogan for the "Big Hauler" line was "Any Bigger and You'd Have to Buy a Ticket." If you haven't learned the truth of that slogan by running your own Large Scale train, this is a good place to start.

This train runs indoors or out, but to set up a permanent railroad outside, you'd want to get solid track like the kind AristoCraft makes (see below).

To check availability of this train, please click the "check stock" button.

The Big Top - This is at least the third circus train Bachmann has offered. This set is smaller (and costs less), but it's a great starter set if you don't mind picking up additional pieces here and there, or if 90% of your display is a circus, and you just want a train to run around it. By the way, "small" is relative when you're discussing garden trains. The locomotive and tender (coal car) are about 30" long all by themselves. The train is pulled by the same upgraded 4-6-0 locomotive that pulls most of Bachmann's starter sets, so you will be pleased with the quality or durability of this set.

To check availability of this train, please click the "check stock" button.

New! To see other cars and accessories for Bachmann's circus trains, Click the "check stock" button.

"Silverado" Virginia and Truckee - In the old Wild West, the Virginia & Truckee Railroad Company used trains like this one to connect silver mines like the Comstock Lode to the boom towns that sprang up around them. This ready-to-run G Scale electric train set comes complete with a 4-6-0 steam locomotive (with operating headlight, smoke, and speed-synchronized sound), coal tender, combine with operating door and lighted interior, and observation car with lighted interior and drumhead, 8 foot 2 inch x 4 foot 3 inch oval of track (20 pieces), power pack and speed controller, illustrated instruction manual, and DVD instructions.

Note: After several years of unavailability, this set has just been reintroduced with an improved mechanism and other improvments. We apologize that we had to use the cover art for an illustration, but we assure you that you will not be disappointed with the quality and attractiveness of this quality set.

To check availability of this train, please click a "check stock" button.

White Pass and Yukon - Ever read White Fang or The Call of the Wild? Jack London wrote about the brutal conditions that Alaskan gold miners faced over a century ago. Facing those same conditions was the White Pass and Yukon, which still operates over a portion of its original trackage, drawing thousands of tourists a year.

Note: Like several of the other trains on this page, this set was an early favorite Bachmann Big Hauler fans, but was unavailable for several years. This reintroduction includes many mechanical improvements over the 1990s version.

To check availability of this train, please click a "check stock" button.

Large Scale Christmas Trains: Trains with a holiday theme for garden or professional display railroads.Bachmann Christmas Sets - To see Bachmann Large Scale trains that are painted specifically for Christmas, please check out our more track options for garden railroads, please check out our Large Scale Christmas Trains page.

Give your Trains Room to Run

Trains look better and run better on wide curves. And the best widely available track for garden trains is made by AristoCraft. The following track products use UV-resistant ties and solid brass rails in a formula that weathers to a nice realistic brown color in a few years outside. AristoCraft track makes an especially good electrical and mechanical connection, and it is extremely low-maintenance. When you run trains with all metal wheelsets (such as the sets sold above), you can keep the AristoCraft track clean enough to run outside by wiping it down with a Scotchbrite cleaning pad or the like once or twice a year (except for bird poop and pine sap).

Think of your train as the "software" and your track as the "hardware." No matter how nice your trains are, they will never run like they should unless they are running on the best track.

Note: The Bachmann track that comes with Bachmann's starter set, is not made to be used outside or in permanent installations. Neither is it compatible with anyone else's track. That's fine; keep it indoors for use around your Christmas tree. Bachmann trains, on the other hand, run better on AristoCraft track than they do on the track they come with. AristoCraft track is also compatible with all major brands of Large Scale track. In other words, once you've upgraded to good track with wide curves, you'll have even more fun operating your trains.

8'-Diameter curves - This package makes a track circle approximately 8 feet in diameter, the minimum curve that most people recommend for use in a garden (I like 10'-curves better, but if you're strapped for space. . . . ).

Although most Large Scale track circles use 12 pieces to a circle, this track is designed to be mechanically compatible with LGB's 1600 curves (also called R3), which use 16 pieces to a circle.

10'-Diameter curves - This package makes a track circle approximately 10 feet in diameter. Although the trains on this page will run on track circles as small as 4', this is the minimum curve that some big modern Large Scale trains will run on. 12 pieces make a circle, so if you're used to "indoor" S gauge or HO gauge trains, you'll have no trouble figuring out your track plan with these curves.

1'-Straight Pieces This package gives you twelve straight pieces of track to give you maximum flexibility when designing your railroad, indoors or out.

Large Scale Track order FormTo see many more track options for garden railroads, please check out our Track Order Page.

Trainz.Com's Starter Sets

Click to see Large Scale starter sets on Trainz.comNew for 2009! Our new supplier Trainz.Com is constantly looking for hard-to-find trains. They often buy overstock and closeout merchandise from other suppliers and wholesalers that the rest of us don't usually have access to. As a result, at any given time they have a handful of Large Scale starter sets in "onesies" and "twosies," some new in box, and some mint in box, and some from broken sets. Today, they are advertising three used but great condition Bachmann starter sets for a very good price, and four used, but great condition LGB starter sets that are almost impossible to find period. Tomorrow some of those sets will be gone and others will be listed. In fact, two more sets appeared while I was typing this note, and one disappeared - that's how fast things change on this page. So you'll understand why I just link to their page and not to the individual trains.

To go to the's starter set page, click on the following line:

NEW FEATURE! Click to search our Buyers' Guide Pages!

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Return to Family Garden Trains Home page Return to Big Indoor Trains Home page Garden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running well Big Indoor Trains Primer Articles: All about setting up and displaying indoor display trains and towns. Garden Train Store: Index to train, track, and other products for Garden RailroadingBig Christmas Trains: Directory of Large Scale and O Scale trains with holiday themes
On30 and O Gauge trains to go with indoor display villages and railroads

Note: Family Garden Trains?, Garden Train Store?, Big Christmas Trains?, BIG Indoor Trains?, and BIG Train Store? are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications ( All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
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