Customer Reviews: Bachmann Trains Santa Fe Flyer Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set
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on November 20, 2008
I ordered the H0 Santa Fe Flyer Train Set from Creative Toys & Hobbies. I had a large collection of H0 engines and cars as a child. The tracks they have now are much more durable and adaptable. I was suprised that nothing was loose in the package. Everything came in great condition, and earlier than expected. No complaints.

For those of you considering ordering this for a child under the age of 10, keep in mind they should be supervised. H0 trains run on an electrical current. While durable, they are not intended to take a beating from children.
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on August 13, 2009
I got this for my birthday, and I love it. It is so good - the track is good, the train is good, every thing is good. I am 11 years old. I think someone would need to be at least 10 to enjoy it.
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on December 25, 2011
Management Summary:
My train was not at all ready to run "out of the box". I am happy now, but I was ready to return it after about 1 hour of troubled use. I eventually settled down and troubleshot a few problems with the set and it is now running very reliably. The controller has fine control and locomotive runs very smoothly. It took me about three hours to fix the problems I found. 1 hour tearing my hair out, 2 hours fixing the problems.

Major Problems:
1) The cars would always decouple and/or derail when backing up. Some times they would decouple while running forward.
2) The train would "stick" on certain portions of the track at low speed, but not at high speed. Once it got stuck I had to use full throttle to get it moving again.
3) The couplers do not line up. You have to push them into alignment. They are difficult to decouple.
4) The train is difficult to line up on the track.

1) Every metal rail has sharp burrs sticking up on the ends where it was cut from the stock used to make it. I filed them smooth with a fine file, but level with the rest of the track face.
2) The caboose had 3 wheels that were not rotating freely, the hopper had two. I had to gently spread open the trucks until the wheels rolled freely. I used a tiny spot of light gun oil on each pivot point. 3 in 1 oil would probably work well.
3) The couplers appear to need a straight piece of track in order to self-couple. There is no straight track included in this set. I used my fingertip, or a pencil eraser to push from the "outside of the curve" side to keep them aligned. I have been lifting the cars in order to decouple them. A pencil tip, or straightened paperclip can be used to decouple them.
4) The train set comes with a "rerailer" section of track that is designed to realign the wheels back on the track if there is a minor misalignment. I set the locomotive on it as close as I can get and then gently roll it back and forth over this section then once it rolls free, I use the controller to drive it around the track a couple of times to make sure it is running smoothly. I then stop it beyond the rerailer and set the next car I want on the rerailer and run it back an forth across it. I couple it to the locomotive. Repeat.

My train set was securely packed and undamaged. The packaging is a little daunting as the locomotive and rolling stock have some very fragile details on them. They are held in-place within a vacuum molded plastic that took a few minutes to figure out. Just push up or down on the cavity that holds the piece and then gently lift them out one at a time.

The rails are tied in very securely with something I find annoying, twisted plastic-wrapped stiff wire. Pliers are very useful in order to untwist it, or cut it if you don't plan on repackaging them.
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on December 28, 2009
I purchased this train for my 4 year old despite the bad reviews. The reason why I purchased it was because I knew what I was getting. A good quality train set would cost 3 to 4 times the amount I paid for this train set. Also this train has a recommended age for an older child so I knew I would need to closely supervise my son. Setting up the train was a pain but once we got the train going it was fine. Just to note the engine is very sturdy and the wheels are made out of metal but the rest of the trains, the hopper, gondola and caboose is made out of plastic. I feel this is a good starter set and I can slowly replace the rest of the train cars with higher quality cars. I also appreciate that I can plug in this set instead of constantly replacing the battery.
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on November 2, 2007
The main reason for buying the Santa Fe Flyer train set was to get a christmas present for my "old man", who loves trains with the Santa Fe logo on it. To make him happy I decided to get a locomotive as well as a freight car with the Santa Fe logo on it and place both on a track in a nice display box.

Coincidentally, as I browsed through the toys section of my local supermarket, I ran into the Santa Fe Flyer train set from Bachmann. It comes with the needed Santa Fe locomotive as well as three freight cars. So instead of spending around 60 US$ (MSRP according to Bachmann's website) for the locomotive itself, I got away with only a portion of it.

Needless to say I had to try out the train set, even though the locomotive will be a display item only. After reading the posted reviews on Amazon I was frightened to do so, but got pleasantly surprised. The set comes with an easy to read, step by step manual. Putting together the so called E-Z track system was actually easy, even though it takes some patience to do so (it gets you a 36" circle). It also takes a little bit to get the locomotive and the freight cars onto the rails, but this is a very detailed toy in a small scale and not a Tonka truck. Power comes via the included speed controller, which is connected to the rails via plug-in wire (cannot be mixed up). The locomotive runs very smoothly, even at a slow speed. The knuckle couplers make adding cars to the locomotive/train an easy task. All in all, this set comes with all you need to get started and the items are of a very good quality.

On the package it recommends an age of 8 years or older. This is o.k. if your kid is patient enough to deal with something detailed and delicate like this. Otherwise you might have to help a little bit.

Considering the price of it (I paid only 30 US$), the set is a great deal. Especially if you want to find out if your kid is into model railroad as a hobby. And if not, use the set for yourself, buy additional equipment and turn your attic into a big HO scale train scene. ;-)
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on March 4, 2016
While Bachmann HO trains are regarded more as "toys" in the professional HO model railroad community (rather than authentic models of actual prototype railroads), there must always be an entry point for those new to the hobby. Bachmann faithfully fulfills entry-level, "new hobbyist" interest quite well and quite inexpensively.

This set comes with a locomotive (Santa Fe RR EMD FT Diesel with all-wheel drive and operating headlight); 2 rolling stock cars (an open quad hopper car and a gondola), and a "generic" caboose in Santa Fe livery - all that any kid / person needs as an entry to the hobby. As usual with complete, inexpensive train sets, this set also comes with a 36-inch circle of curved "Snap-Fit E-Z track" (18-inch radius, black roadbed). The "Snap-Fit E-Z track" system is designed especially for young people to easily align and push the tracks together and they snap into place making it immediately usable on floors, carpets or wood platforms without much hassle. For a more realistic look, the tracks are Nickel-Silver and don't rust or get tarnished as much as the old brass rails did. The cars couple together with the Bachmann "E-Z Mate" knuckle couplers (somewhat compatible with HO professional modelers standard "Kaydee" style knuckle couplers). Finally, the set includes a generic DC power pack (speed controller) with wiring, power indicator light and direction switch. One of the curved tracks holds the plug-in terminal "re-railer" to power the train. (A "re-railer" is a piece of track that is designed with embedded guides between and outside the track rails. One simply sets the car or locomotive down on it, rolls the unit back and forth a few times and the track easily aligns the wheels of the unit inside the rails so the trains roll on the tracks. No eyestrain or careful adjusting of the wheel trucks necessary.)

The set says ages 14+, but I got started with trains at age 7-8, so use your own judgement about who the set is intended for. The set is R-T-R (Ready-to-Run - meaning no extensive assembly of anything) and with the purchase of some extra 9-inch straight tracks and a pair of turn-outs (commonly and IMPROPERLY called "switches"), one can begin to make all kinds of track layouts.

I also strongly suggest getting the Bachmann E-Z Track Expander Set, which comes with both left and right powered turnouts; 9-inch straight track (4-pieces); 18-inch radius curved track (4-pieces) and 2 Hayes bumpers (to put at the end of short stub tracks or sidings off the main line. Get a couple of books on HO model railroading, some buildings, some figures and a 4x8 foot piece of plywood and join MILLIONS of us relaxing and watching the trains go in and out of tunnels, rolling down the mainline, changing tracks and "delivering goods" in your own miniaturized world! Similar to ANY hobby, your pocketbook will be the limit, but your imagination will take you past that.
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on June 25, 2015
Got this for some track to display my 1958 Revell which I got running again. Problem this diesel set is pretty dam good ! All looks like it will last , made well. Got expansion set so I can run both trains. Watch out you will get hooked. Started 3x5 now at 4x6 and want more. Working on an 8x10. For the money this steel track is good , diesel engine is strong , and couplers are well made but plastic. Just take a little care and they should last. Like the plastic couplers on my 1958 Revell , little care and they still work fine. I could not wait I got another Bachman set , Thoroughbred set , it's very good also. You may if you want to keep up with the Joan's and get n/s track , computer engines , and all the bells and well ... but with some homework you can run more than one train on one track. Me being on a fixed income the black steel track is good. The idea of this hobby is for you to like what you have and enjoy ! Not to keep up with others. Do not be fooled by others that say you have to spend $800 or more on a set... this set will last and made very well ! I'm getting back into the hobby at 60 and the memories...Be happy ! If for a child just teach them to have a little patience and care and maybe about 10 years of age...then the fun is on ! Who knows even you like me may get hooked too !

UPDATE: I have found that this little engine can pull ( 9 cars ) with no problem.
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on April 2, 2015
I purchased the Santa Fe Flyer set about a month ago to test my interest in the hobby of model trains. Up front, I’ll say I’ve had no issues with wheels coming off and while it took a bit to initially set the engine and get it to run (it needs to be on the rails correctly), it’s been great since that point.
HO Scale: It’s a nice mix of not being so big that it takes up your entire room without being small enough to lose the details. The approximate size of the engine (in inches) is 7 long by about 2 high and maybe 1 wide. Other cars are of similar dimensions or a little shorter in length or height.
Rolling Stock: The set came just as described with the engine and three cars as well as track pieces sufficient to build a circle. While setting the engine on the rails was initially challenging (the diesel engine design makes it tough to see the wheels and if they are on the rails), the re-railer does help some (I believe there is also an inexpensive item that sets cars on the rails pretty easily: EZ Railer I think). The other cars are not difficult since the wheels are relatively exposed (again, the rerailer helps set the wheels onto the track properly). The couplings work easily and hold well. While the engine has a weighty, solid feel, the other cars are very light-weight plastic so treat them appropriately. Some find that a problem, but the weighting is necessary if you want the engine to be able to pull them around the track with any speed or if you plan to add more cars later. The details on the cars are very nice giving some feel of realism. Once seated on the track, the transformer makes running the train an easy process as the train glides smoothly along the rails.
Tracking: The EZ track does connect and disassemble pretty easily as long as you line it up well. The initial circle quickly becomes tiresome, so if you like model trains or gain interest with them, I’d suggest getting extra curved and straight track to make more interesting designs. Also, having some straight track makes it easier to set the cars on the rails. Keep in mind that the HO scale train track is set up to make a three-foot circle so you need some space if you want a figure eight or an oval or what have you (probably at least 6 by 4 foot area depending on your available space). On the upside, the track can go directly on carpet or flooring so as long as you don’t have youngsters or pets that will trouble it, the train doesn’t have to be on a table.
Derailing: Some have suggested that this train easily derails. While I can’t speak for their specific situations, I would suggest that they check their tracks. I have personally had this engine running forward and reverse at top speed with no cars attached and with all cars attached along as steep a curve as Bachmann appears to provide (the 3 foot circle curve) and have only had any derailments when the track was not connected properly. If you find the wheels easily unseating: slow the train down, see if it derails in the same spot(s), turn OFF the power to the train, and run your finger along the rails. If it’s not smooth (either gaps or a raised spot) you need to separate and recombine those track pieces. Once it’s all smooth, you shouldn’t have any more problems.
Bottom Line: For the price, this has been a great starter train set. I enjoy the details and the size of this scale model. There is plenty of room to expand the set in rolling stock, track, and other features. If you are an enthusiast and have an interest in model trains for you or your children, this is a nice item to buy.
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on December 14, 2011
Despite reading some negative reviews here on Bachmann trains, I took a chance and ordered the Santa Fe Flyer kit. I don't know what some of these reviewers are doing wrong or what they expected, but my experience with the train is nothing but positive. Well, almost (more on that later).
Opening the box I was impressed at how well packaged the whole kit is. Nothing loose to bang around or do damage. Within 15 minutes I had it all together and running without once looking at the instruction sheet. This stuff is pretty straightforward for anyone with a modicum of common sense and technical ability. None of the wheels on the cars came off and once I figured out that the EZ-track has to go together smoothly (do not force it or the rails will be uneven causing derailing) I was good to go.
I had also bought a handful of other Santa Fe line cars and some more track, which brings me to my one and only gripe about this set. The two freight cars included (a gondola and a coal car) are from different freight lines. Why put together a kit called the Santa Fe Flyer and then not include matching cars from the Santa Fe line? Makes absolutely no sense. Thankfully, the caboose has the Santa Fe logo on it.
Other than that I am more than pleased with the quality, detail and operation of this train set. It will be circling the Christmas tree for years to come and is a viable replacement for the original Lionel train we had when I was a kid growing up in the '60s.
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on January 21, 2010
My husband and I bought this trainset for his Grandmother who has always wanted a "real" trainsset. She is obviously not a fanatic who needs state of the art stuff, just got happy seeing it going round and round, and this train was perfect. The track was easy to put together for me, with good eye-sight and patience, but it was still a bit tricky. The only time it de-railed was when the rail was on the floor and I was walking around making the floor move a little.

I don't think this is a toy for kids at all, but it's a great buy if your looking for a basic train set for an older kid or a grown-up.
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