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Easy Entrance to HO Trains
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.