Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains(tm)
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.|
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.
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.
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 check stock on an AristoCraft Freight Train starter set that is painted for Santa Fe railroad:
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.
Trainz.Com's Starter SetsTrainz.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 Trainz.com's starter set page, click on the following line:
Note: Family Garden TrainsTM, Garden Train StoreTM, Big Christmas TrainsTM, BIG Indoor TrainsTM, and BIG Train StoreTM are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications (www.btcomm.com). 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
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