Customer Reviews: Bachmann Trains Thunder Valley Ready-to-Run N Scale Train Set
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on December 4, 2008
The Bachmann Thunder Valley train set makes a nice entry-level set for anyone looking at getting into N-scale model railroading. Keep in mind that N-scale is approximately 1:160 scale, so this train is SMALL. That makes it ideal for people with limited space, but less appropriate for the very young.

I purchased a few Bachmann sets to get a small stable of trains for the layout I'm building, and this one, while cheapest, is also my favorite. The engine is strong, and not as tempermental as some of the steam locomotive models from Bachmann. It can easily handle a 4% grade with a full consist, and runs smoothly.

This set only comes with a circle of EZ Track, so you'll be needing more. I initially wasn't thrilled with the idea of EZ Track (which has the trackbed permanently attached) but it actually works very nicely, and is far superior for use as a temporary tabletop or floor setup than traditional track would be.

The electrical components of the set are also solid, if somewhat simplistic.

This is a solid set for anyone getting started with N-Scale model railroading, and given the price, it would be hard to beat.
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VINE VOICEon August 29, 2011
This handsome set is a perfect choice for your first N scale train set. Led by a colorful Santa Fe EMD Diesel locomotive, it'll grow with you. Bachmann is a leader in model and toy trains and there is a limited lifetime warranty on this. The locomotive is quite capable of pulling many cars. Add a few sections of straight track, a couple more freight cars and you'll have a really great beginning to your railroad empire. Highly recommended!
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on February 3, 2014
I have been messing around with toy trains since i was 4, and im now in my mid thirties. I read some of the posts on these train sets and i was a bit concerned when i purchased, but knowing the simpliciy of the build i was not too concerned.

Out of the box, everything was great. Packaged well, seperated well, and the documentation was what i expected, not that i read it. The New EZ track has its advantages, such as being able to run this on a carpet without having lint buildup on the wheels and trucks like on the open track styles. A distinct disadvantage is the incompatability with existing track types out of the box. It is possible, especially if you are handy with a saw and can cut wedges to gently ease the track down from the "fake trackbed" to the layout level like i did.

Installation was easy, just like all other train sets that are out there. Took me about 20 minutes at a moderate pace. The speed controller uses a 1/4 inch jack to power the rails and a "wall wart" (on wall transformer) style power pack instead of placing the transformer in the control module. These made this a easy install to test it out on the kitchen table.

As far as operation goes, i had no problems getting it on the track or getting it to function properly, without any real issues. I will say this. i have about 3 hours of operation on it at about 50 percent power. The Manual does state that these engines require a break in period before you can expect top performance, and i would imagine, the best longevity. Mine seemed like it functioned without strain after 20 minutes of continous run in one direction, and then again in reverse.

I would have to say, if you slow down and come to a stop before changing direction, operate at a moderate speed (not fully open), and dont "rev" the engine speed like a motorcycle, i would assume one would have years of fun with this model.
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on January 26, 2011
My eleven yr old nephew was thrilled to get what he wanted-a train! He was able to quickly assemble the train to Mom's pleasant surprise. He does state that the train will stop
1/10 of the time for unknown reasons. It must be noted that the Bachmann Trains Thunder Valley Ready-to-Run N Scale Train Set is still highly valued a month after he rec'd it for his Christmas gift.
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on January 7, 2014
I, a retired woman, have enjoyed my train set, although I had to figure out some things at first, being totally unfamiliar with model trains. Getting the cars on the track was a touchy task at first, but I kept taking "patience" breaks and finally nailed the knack. I had to use a pair of tweezers to get two cars to couple, but it worked. Patience is required. This is good practice for when I want to expand this new-found hobby. I've always wanted trains, and now I have them. N-scale is a little pesky to work with, since the cars are small, but I like the fact that they take up so much less room than bigger units. More women should take up this hobby -- it's not just for kids and old men!
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on October 26, 2013
This is a very we'll made train set. Small scale but works very well. Not for very young but my 11 year old grandson can assemble and operate it.
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on June 15, 2013
If you are gifting this for a child, be prepared for them to run the train in circles a few times before they put it away and fire up the computer... UNLESS you are really prepared to take on the task of providing this as a start toward a hands-on hobby the old fashioned way. That means getting a permanent or temporary use train layout board, and then planning the track route, the scenery, buildings, vehicles, people and all the other imagination focused ideas from plan to completion to make this a long lasting project that does not need to have a video display to use or operate.
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on March 9, 2016
 This a great starter set. Nice for running on a tabletop or floor. Bachmann Track and Rolling stock are perfect for investing little dollars compared to other high end brands like Kato. The quality of the set is very nice. Very detailed Engine and Cars for the price. I haven't had any problems with derailing or uncoupling of Cars. The Train can run in reverse and forward from crawling to crazy fast. It looks like it's just about to fly off the Track at the highest speed.

Set up is quick with EZ Track. The Engine and Cars are packed with plastic sheets behind them to help you pull them out without damaging them. The Dummy Knuckle Couplers (yes that's their name) had fallen off the back of my engine into the box. It had a snap on cover but no itsy bitsy screw like the Cars have. It took a little time and lot of swearing before I could trap the coupler in and snap on the cover. The Knuckle couplers themselves are touchy. They are tiny and made of of plastic with the smallest of "tabs" to grab each other. Just sliding the cars or engine into each on the track only coupled them some of the time. Manipulating by hand didn't help much either, I found a gentle "slamming" of the cars together instead of finesse coupled them easily. As suggested by another reviewer you can change out the couplers with Bachmann EZ Mate Mark 2 Magnetic Couplers which do work with the mounted stock Dummy knuckle Couplers. (Couplers come in 3 different lengths. The Thunder Valley set uses 2 pairs of Smalls and 2 pairs of Mediums) The set does have a complete set of the older 4 "Rapido" couplers included (in various sizes) if you need to go backwards in compatibility. If you buy used Bachmann Cars online they may come with older squarish "Rapido" couplers. You will need to change them out to Knuckle type or change the Thunder Valley Set back to Rapido's.

As mentioned by other reviewers, Buy at least four 10 or some 5 inch straight sections. The curved tracks can be assembled where you can easily insert straight track and make an oval . And when adding more Bachmann Cars remember the different couplers and how you may have to switch them out for compatibility.

(In my Video, The Train can actually go a bit slower than shown)
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on July 10, 2013
Not a bad set for the money. The only reason i bought this set was for a comparison of N scale to my existing HO scale as i have the same locomotive in HO scale. runs good out of the box and easy to set up with Bachmanns ez track. In the end i decided that N scale was too small for me to work with as i like to do mods to the locomotives and rolling stock so this set will go to the kids.
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on December 26, 2008
Good price and buy, they are under our Christmas tree and the grand kids got a big kick out of them. Will shop again.
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