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on December 21, 2016
This kit contains everything you need for a very basic setup. It's pretty bare-bones but it doesn't sell itself as anything more than that. You get 1 locomotive, three rolling stock (cars to follow the locomotive), 12 pieces of track that make a circle, one controller, and one AC adapter. $70 seems like a pretty good value for this.

However the set cuts some corners in some pretty upsetting ways. The controller in the kit cannot power remote turnouts. The couplers LOOK like the couplers from other Bachmann products, but they aren't; these couplers lack magnets and perform really poorly. Due to this frustrating to get the components of the train to link together. You need to spend an additional $20 for a controller that is compatible with turnouts.

I don't recommend this kit for these reasons.

That said, the track is the same as normal Bachman track and the locomotive is pretty nice for the price. It seems identical to the same make and model sold separately, except the cheaper couplers. These couplers are even called "dummy couplers" in the instruction manual. That's... insulting. Even Bachmann admits how crappy the couplers are.

Let's look at how expensive it would be if you were to buy these components separately:
Bachmann GP40 N Scale: $40
2x Bachman N Scale 11.25" radius curved track: $10 x 2 = $20
AC adapter + Controller: $70 on Amazon but $20 on Ebay (multiple listings): $20
1 Pack of Bachmann Rolling stock from their website (includes 3 freight + 1 caboose): $20

So for $100 instead of $70 you can have all these components with an extra freight car, a remote compatible with turnouts, and working couplers instead of the cheap-O ones included here.
Better deal on the whole. You won't have to spend $20 for a pack of couplers and $20 for a better controller.
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on November 7, 2016
Put train on my track, the engine lit and did not run, tried my other transformer thinking it was the transformer but the same thing happened. The transformer that came with it was inferior quality. I did not want to wait for a replacement from Amazon so went to a local Hobby store and purchased the exact same Thunder Valley Bachmann set. It was $10 more.

Not only did the engine work, but the transformer with the set from the Hobby store (which again was the exact same Bachmann Thunder Valley set in the same box) was the same quality as the transformer I have on my other set and the whole system worked like a charm. It was very clear as soon as I opened the box that there was a much higher quality transformer included with the set from the Hobby store.
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on September 2, 2017
I've all ways wanted a train set. I'm 56 yrs old and my dream has come true. I bought the Bachman Trains Thunder Vally. It was easy to put the track together, the transformer worked great and even the lights come on as it runs around the track. I found a new hobbie!
Its a great starter set. From this set, i will built city!
Thank you Bachman and thank you Amazon. It arrived in 2 days and packaged it perfectly. Can't wait to grow my city.
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on July 12, 2017
I'm just getting into trains and did enough research to know that Bachmann is good for me because I want to slowly expand my set going forward. This set has a controller that won't work with any accessories. I wanted to add a turnout, but have found I would need to buy a new controller first. I wander how much they saved cutting that corner. I've done more research and plan to stay with Bachmann, especially since I already have this set, but I still wish I had purchased a different starter set than this one. I thought it was cheapest because it had no straight pieces... but everyone should be aware that THE CONTROLLER WON'T WORK WITH ACCESSORIES.
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on February 23, 2018
This set is good. The locomotive is fast however it is a bit more noisy than others I have. One thing I did not like is that the set I ordered showed that is contained the model 44212 power pack however came with a model 44211 power pack. I specifically ordered it thinking I was going to get the first power pack as I had switches to use and needed the accessory hook up on the 44212. It seems to me that Bachmann is no longer providing the 44212 power packs in their sets.
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on September 16, 2017
I bought this as a started set because I needed the track. I have a few engines and no way to run them. This set went together and was running in no time. It came with instructions but I never opened them.
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on October 23, 2016
Great N-Gauge train set! Assembly is easy and well thought out. Diesel engine starts smoothly and has no dead spots in the commutator. A nice train set for under the small Christmas Tree this year. Nicely constructed and close-up images with a camera, it looks like the real thing. Very good detail.
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on December 27, 2016
Let me preface by saying that N-Gauge trains are quite delicate and need to be handled with care. Having said that this particular set has a design flaw that will stop you in your tracks--The GP 40 Diesel Locomotive couplers have a "snap fit" type cover that holds the actual coupler in place. The rest of the included cars use screws and have replacement couplers. But because of the locomotive's coupler design, the coupler cover "pops off", which in turn allows the coupler to fall out. This will happen under normal use, i.e just while pulling the three included cars around the track. I have included pictures of my attempt to keep the coupler cover attached, but in the end the coupler still fell out from the cover.
Soooo, long story short: Because of this design flaw the engine is very soon rendered useless. Buy only if you also buy several other locomotives to replace the included one that will break.
1) Nice details (on par with Lionel O Gauge), and other than the explanation above, good build quality
2) E-Z track is actually easy-- a 6 year old can figure it out.

1) No straight track pieces included in this set--all you can build is a perfect circle track
2) Aforementioned coupler system on locomotive is a design flaw
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4 people found this helpful
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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 13, 2017
Great model train for the Christmas season.
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