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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 30, 2016
This is an excellent little beginner HO train set. The track all fit together perfectly and the locomotive and cars are pretty easy to get set up. This set worked great directly out of the box with no adjustments needed. The track is designed to work on a wide variety of surfaces and is a lot more rugged and resilient than the old HO track we had when I was a kid. Our 8 year old disassembled the train set and put it back together in his room completely on his own and it worked fine. The circular track was definitely big enough to go under the Christmas tree and it looked great under there. The set has gotten the 8 year old interested in building out a more complex layout and getting more involved in model trains. Highly recommended!
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on January 15, 2016
This is a FABULOUS train at a FABULOUS price! Our ten-year-old son just really got interested in the model trains and the landscaping aspects and he just adores this train. There was one piece of curved track that was damaged but we bought three add-on packs for Christmas so he was still able to assemble the set. I don't feel that really warrants dropping the rating a full star...I would drop it half a star if that option were available. When I called Bachmann, they were happy to send out a replacement piece of track for the damaged piece and their customer service was awesome! Great packaging and shipping from Amazon as well.
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on January 9, 2017
The tracks were easy to put together and the train works great. We purchased this for our 3 1/2 year old son after returning a battery powered train set that kept falling off the tracks. Our son is able to use the controller and loves the look of the engine and other cars. We do need to set up the tracks and put the train on the tracks for him but that is quick and easy for us to do. We like how easy the tracks are to put together and the fact that the train stays on the track. The controller dial is easy to use. The amount of track that came with the set is fine but we did purchase additional track and are happy we did that because it allows us to be more creative when setting things up for him. We are so happy with this product that we are posting our first feedback.
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on January 25, 2017
The train tracks are easy to assemble yet when train components were placed on them they were not heavy enough to stay on tracks. For the cost the components could have been higher quality. The on coal car had metal plates that had to be re-glued to and one of the tracks would not sit evenly on the table which made the cars following the locomotive stay attached. All in all $69 dollars not well spent and product needing redesigning.
Thank you,
Ron
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on March 12, 2017
Ordered this for our 9 year old, but had to return it. It's a wonderful train for the more advanced. The engine was very hard to place on the track, as you cannot see the wheels very well to line them up on the track. Don't get me wrong, if your advanced with train hobbies, this would be an excellent set for you! I just don't think it is quite meant for smaller children.
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on December 25, 2016
Setting the train on the track is really a problem. Son is 4 years old, smart, but with this we have to help and it's a problem also for us.
Connecting of wagons does not work, one wagon was broken to two parts after 4 hours of using, the wheels are falling from the second wagon.
Honestly, this was a bad choice, I expected better quality.
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on January 12, 2017
I like the look of this train set, and the locomotive seems great, but the build quality of the remaining three cars is pretty terrible. They uncouple easily, and derail frequently. They feel light and flimsy, and the plastic wheels seem to get stuck on any imperfection in the track.
One person found this helpful
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