Picking a Train Set
How to pick a train set
Train Sets Only has one of the most comprehensive inventories of train sets found on the Internet. This means that we have a set to suit your needs.
How to pick a model electric train set
Many people get their start in the model railroading hobby with a train set. While most train sets do not include high end components, the benefit is that you get everything you need to start in one box and you know that it will all work together. When first getting into the hobby (or picking a set as a gift for someone else), you first need to decide on a scale. HO Scale is the most popular. Click here for information on scales if you are not familiar with them.
Once you have decided on a scale, here are some other things to consider:
- Do you want a set with a steam locomotive or diesel locomotive?
- Do you want the train to consist of passenger or freight cars? Tip: Children seem to enjoy freight trains as they appear more varied in terms of consist.
- What road name do you want? Tip: Many people like to model trains they see in real life. Therefore, it is very common to pick a railroad that runs in their area.
HO specific things to consider:
If picking an HO Scale set, you should consider the coupler style that is included. Couplers are the parts that actually connect, or couple, the cars together. Some of Life-Like's standard sets come with horn-hook style couplers, but they are transitioning to knuckle-couplers. Some of their newer sets do come with knuckle-couplers. Most other sets (Athearn, Atlas, Bachmann, and Walthers) now come with the more standard knuckle style. Please keep in mind that you can change couplers if needed. We sell a wide variety of HO Scale Couplers, which can be found here. The plus side of the standard Life-Like sets is that they tend to come with more accessories, which appeals to children.
Most beginner sets come with steel track. The better sets, including those by Athearn, Atlas and Bachmann Spectrum, come with the better Nickel-Silver (NS) track. Nickel-Silver does not rust and therefore requires less maintenance. Many sets come with Bachmann EZ Track, which can be easily expanded by purchasing additional track. Life-Like sets can be expanded using their Power Loc track which can be found here. Some Walthers sets come with Atlas code 100 track, which can be found here. Read the train set descriptions for information on the included track type.