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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 RailroadingBachmann Garden Trains: Narrow Gauge models designed to run well in your Garden Railroad
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 train sets you buy in a box. Each starter set includes a loop of track and a power supply so you can it them up around the Christmas tree or whatever as soon as you open the box (although you generally need to buy larger track circles to use them effectively outside). You will almost certainly "outgrow" any of these sets as you get more into the hobby, but in the meantime, they give you something to experiment with and to let the kids or grandkids run when they come over. That said, each set on this page is chosen for its value and quality, and the fact that an investment in a reliable, attractive starter set will probably get you even more excited about the possibilities of a Large Scale or Garden Railroad

The starter sets on this page are divided into two major types:

More accessories are made to match the scale of the Narrow Gauge trains than to match the Standard Gauge trains, but both choices are well-supported. Which you choose depends more on what kind of train you like than anything else.

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."

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.)

Notes for 2009! The good news is that:

So if you click on an Amazon button you may have your choice of several providers, so you can do a little price comparison, just on that page. We hope that's not TOO confusing. If you have a question about vendors, or availability, or the quality of any product listed on this page, please contact us.

Bachmann Narrow Gauge Trains

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. 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.)

Bachmann Starter sets

Bachmann Starter Sets include a power pack, a speed controller, and an illustrated Bach Man instruction manual. Many include a "how-to" video as well. They also include an oval of track (14-20 pieces) useful for running indoors, but not solid enough for outside use. Frankly, you want bigger curves outside anyway, so this shouldn't be a problem.

Several of Bachmann's recent and most popular sets are shown below, including popular sets that were just reintroduced. For more information or to purchase from one of our suppliers, please click on a "Check Stock" button.

Durango and Silverton Passenger Set - Back by Popular Demand - This is a classic model of a classic locomotive and passenger car set. The last issue of this product has been unavailable for about 2 years. Now it has been brought back so a new "generation" of garden railroaders and Narrow Gauge fans can enjoy it.

Built originally as a mining line, the scenic value of the Durango & Silverton was quickly recognized in passenger service. After surviving natural disasters, wars, and financial instability, a determined staff (and starring roles in several Hollywood movies) promoted the tourism that ensures the line’s survival to this day. Now recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, the Durango & Silverton continues to provide year-round tourist service. Our Durango & Silverton 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, observation car with lighted interior, 8'2" x 4'3" oval of track (20 pieces), power pack and speed controller, illustrated instruction manual, and DVD format video instructions.

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

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 the "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.

Other Bachmann Trains - Bachmann makes many other Large Scale products. For 2009, Bachmann is offering five sets that are new or reintroduced in improved versions this year! The Bachmann Starter Sets page lists these and links to other products.

AristoCraft Standard Gauge Starter Sets

Note for 2011: The AristoCraft train sets are in very short supply this year. I'm leaving them posted because they're still among my favorites. I hope to see them back in stock soon, and in the meantime, I wanted you to be able to see my reviews of these delightful products. If you click the Amazon buttons and nothing happens, try the "Trainz" link at the bottom of the page. If TRAINZ is out of them, you'll probably have to "google" them yourself and try to find them. My apologies, but as we used to say when I worked at Radio Shack thirty-odd years ago, "We can't make them here."

AristoCraft manufactures more different kinds of Large Scale Standard Gauge trains and related equipment than anyone else in the world. They are also continually reengineering their equipment, so that any AristoCraft train you buy today will probably be a substantial improvement over a similar product made ten years ago - and most of those are still in operation. AristoCraft trains represent standard gauge railroads, which have rails that are 56.5" apart and represent 99.999% of the railroad lines you will encounter in North America today. Although AristoCraft starter sets feature models of small locomotives and cars, you should also know that if you eventually want to have very large modern trains in your garden, most of those are either made by, or compatible with AristoCraft. (You'll need much wider curves than the ones that came with your starter set, though.)

AristoCraft Freight Set - This cheerful, well-detailed and very solid little train includes a Crest Train Engineer remote control that you can use to speed up, slow down, or stop your train from across the room or across the garden. No having to run to the power pack when you need to stop the train in a hurry. And you can use this system to run ANY train on this page, even in the garden (providing you don't get over 30' or so away from your railroad).

The 0-4-0T locomotive is based on a real Pennsylvania Railroad prototype, the A-5. This version of the model has been reengineered to provide years of trouble-free service indoors and out. If it sounds like I'm a little prejudiced toward this train, you should know that I've owned several different versions of this locomotive, gondola, and caboose, and have been quite pleased with each of them. To check on availability, please click on a "check stock" button. Click this button to see the AristoCraft PRR Freight starter set listed on Amazon

Click to see a bigger photo.Click this button to check stock on an AristoCraft Freight Train starter set that is painted for Santa Fe railroad: Click to see this product on Click this button to see the AristoCraft Santa Fe starter set listed on Amazon

AristoCraft Passenger Train - The same sturdy locomotive also pulls a passenger train that is available in several road names. This train also comes with a remote control. Most dealers only carry a couple of these, so they are constantly running out. If you have to have one at a particular time, say for an "open railroad," or for Christmas, don't wait too long.

Click this button to see the AristoCraft Pennsylvania starter set listed on AmazonClick a button to check stock on the Pennsylvania passenger set.

Trainz.Com's Starter Sets

Click to see Large Scale starter sets on Trainz.comTrainz.Com is a train superstore that 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:

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On30 and O Gauge trains to go with indoor display villages and railroads

Note: Family Garden TrainsTM, Garden Train StoreTM, Big Christmas TrainsTM, BIG Indoor TrainsTM, and BIG Train StoreTM 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, 2010, 2011 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
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