Top critical review
19 people found this helpful
Great Buy, one BIG exception
on December 6, 2010
I am a newbie at model trains. Had a lionel as a kid (40 + years ago) and thought it would be a real kick to have a train around the Xmas tree. Had no idea what to buy but went with Bachmann because of the style of the set. I categorical love the train and cars, meets and exceeds all expectations. Everything works, great packaging, no assembly...except the track. Why go to the immense effort to create a high quality product and then provide junk for track. I don't get that. OK, I understand price point, but I would really pay more up front to get decent track.
So what's wrong? First, the plastic track clips simply do not clip. They are too small. The wonderful DVD provided shows a guy clipping track together. He must have thumbs of steel and the ability to stretch plastic. Then there is the manufacturing of the rails. The instructions say you might need pliers to even things out (bumps at connections, track out of shape). No kidding! There were many bumps. So I called the company. I got thru right away, that's good. When I explained the problem I was told, I am not making this up, to use rubber bands to hold the track together. Rubber bands?? I asked if he had any specs for the rubber bands and asked for a supervisor who insisted that the clips fit. Don't you hate that. They do not fit. The supervisor offered to send me a new set up clips, which they did, and those don't fit either.
I was going to return the entire set but luckily made a trip to a model train shop. I explained the problem and both salesman laughed. They said, keep the Bachmann engine and cars and get better track. Apparently they get a lot of business selling track to people who buy Bachmann trains. They led me to their Aristo-Craft display and showed me really good track. Solid brass or stainless steel. So good you can use the stuff outdoors. With this track, no plastic clips, they screw together with brass clips on the side of the track and you do not need, could not use, pliers to bend the stuff into shape. And although you don't want to, if you did step on the track it will hold up. That would not happen with Bachmann track. I know this product is not for children but there are 3 grandkids who are somewhat energetic and will jump on the track.
So, I spent about $100 buying brass track roughly equal (actually slightly larger) than the oval track Bachmann provides. I would have gladly paid that up front with Bachmann. And because of their short sightedness I have now learned a ton about the advantages of buying Aristo-Craft or other g scale rolling stock and will always consider product other than Bachmann. But I am keeping The Mountaineer and enjoying it hour by hour...with better track.
By the way, I could have bought an Aristo-Craft set which comes with brass track and a better engine for about the same money I spent on the Bachmann adding new track. I wish you well Bachmann but will not recommend you.