|Written by Paul D. Race for and|
Bachmann is one of the world's largest model railroad manufacturers. When Dept. 56® asked them to make a model train to go with their display villages, Bachmann chose to make real model trains - models of specific real-world locomotives and cars, crafted in realistic proportions. The result was today's On30 trains.
These trains are about 1/48th the size of the real thing (similar to Lionel), but they run on HO gauge track, so they fit almost anywhere. Bachmann's On30 trains soon attracted the interest of model railroaders who appreciated their craftsmanship. The real narrow gauge railroads that Bachmann has chosen to model include logging and coal trains, as well as smaller railroads that reached places the big railroads could not afford to serve. So, while the trains are ideal for display villages such as those by Hawthorne village® and Dept. 56®, the history they embody makes them a great resource for anyone who wants to fit a great deal of model railroading into a fairly small space - without using trains so small that you can barely see the accessories with the "naked eye."
The power supply is adequate to provide power to a track loop several times the size that comes with the train, so that is a good investment, too.
In other words, with a Bachmann On30 starter set, you get a complete train that is a detailed, accurate model of a real-world train that once served customers in North America, along with a quality reliable track plan and power supply - everything you need, not only to get started, but also to run smoothly with little maintenance once you have got started.
Update for 2015 - With all of the nice things I've been saying about Bachmann's starter sets, this announcement is a little embarrassing. We only had on starter set on this page last year, and it's the same starter set we have on this page this year. Apparently, Bachmann made so many different sets before the recession, that once 2008 hit, vendors stopped ordering new sets, and Bachmann had no choice but to wait until the shelves emptied. In 2013, Bachmann introduced one new train, but some of the old ones were still in stock. In 2014, they introduced one new train (the C&S freight train below), but most of the older sets, including the one they introduced in 2013, are out of stock most places.
That said, if you click on an Amazon link for any 0n30 train, scroll down to the "Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed" section, on the off chance that something has been added recently.
We are leaving this page more-or-less intact since we hope to be able to post more trains in the coming year, but in the meantime, we are sorry for any inconvenience.
Note about Availability and Pricing: Before Bachmann started making On30 trains, only a few handcrafted brass pieces a year were usually available for On30 hobbiests, and the market was very small. The number of people modeling any particular narrow gauge line was even smaller (unless you count Rio Grande, which has a relatively large following). To this day, Bachmann tends to make relatively small runs of most On30 products. For example, they may order one batch of an East Broad Top (EBT) set, then not make another EBT set again until they've also modeled a dozen other lines. So if you see any On30 products for a railroad you want to model, get them now - they may not be available for long, and once they become unavailable, they may remain so for years. If you "click through" to see details on a product, and nothing happens at all, or you are routed to a supplier's home page, please let me know and I will remove the product from the buyer's guide until I can find a replacement or another supplier. For more detailed information about why products seem to come and go and why I have stopped listing prices for certain products, please see my article "About Pricing and Availability."
Note about Suppliers: While we try to help you get the trains and other products you want by recommending suppliers with a good record of customer service, all transactions between you and the supplier you chose to provide your trains are governed by the published policies on the supplier's web site. So please print off any order confirmation screens and save copies of invoices, etc., so you can contact the appropriate supplier should any problems occur. (They almost never do, but you want to be on the safe side.)
Bachmann On30 Starter Sets
All of the Bachmann On30 train sets shown below look great with display village structures, model railroads, and even - in case you wondered - Christmas trees. They are warranteed by Bachmann, who in my experience, provides excellent customer service.
To see a bigger photo of any train below, simply click on the photo you want to see "blown up." As always please contact us with any questions about any train, village, or accessory on this site.
Bachmann On30 Colorado and Southern Freight Train Set
The Colorado & Southern "Rocky Mountain" set comes complete with: a lighted 2-6-0 steam locomotive and tender, three freight cars, a caboose, 56 inch x 38 inch oval of nickel-silver E-Z Track, magnetically-operated E-Z Mate knuckle couplers on all cars, under-track magnet, Spectrum power pack, and helpful video with assembly instructions.
About Extra Track - The train sets on this page come with an oval of track that is about 38" x 56", although if you order a subscription train, you don't receive all of the track and power supply right away. To get a jump start on your railroad, or to make your railroad a little larger, you may easily add additional track. The Bachmann EZ Track #44501 is an exact replacement for the curves that come with the train sets. #44411 matches the straight pieces.
Automated On30Streetcar Set - Bachmann's On30 Street Car set is the perfect solution for display villages that aren't big enough for a loop of track. The weathered "car barn" hides a reversing mechanism, so your trolley can deliver passengers from one end of your village (or your fireplace mantle) to the other automatically. The Bachmann streetcars are models of real streetcars that graced US towns and villages a century ago.
Note:These sets come and go quickly. Right now Amazon lists some vendors who have stock but that may change quickly - this is a very popular product.
The On30 Christmas Train page offers some versions in holiday colors if you prefer.
Note: To extend a "back-and-forth" railroad, you will need to use special track. (Regular HO track, even the EZ track that comes with the trains above, won't work, because of the extra wiring necessary to run the reversing mechanism.) For straight pieces, use Bachmann #44548 track. For curves, use Bachmann #44549 track. .If you have questions about this, please contact me and I'll try to help you out.
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