The Ultimate Electric Train Set Buying Guide 

INTRODUCTION 

When asked what are some of the best toys for children, parents will inevitably list electric train sets among them. But if you ask them why, they might not be sure of the reasons. Instead, parents try to paint a picture of their youth where childhood was simpler, where toys lasted longer and helped to foster creativity. Electric train sets are just good, they know instinctively. If you’ve ever felt like you want to be able to more accurately express why electric train sets play such an important part in childhood play, this Ultimate Electric Train Set Buying Guide serves to help you. By looking at the benefits of electric trains, it will also give examples of current trains and train accessories that are available.

LONGEVITY 

If you look around your child’s play area, chances are most of the toys are made of plastic. Lurid colours and obnoxious sounds paint the landscape. Nothing seems natural anymore. And most of the plastic is thin; it will snap apart or wear itself down and because it is cheap you won’t feel too bad about having to replace it.

Electric trains are the opposite. Made of metal and often with wooden scenery, electric train sets are meant to be cultivated. They last through childhood and have the ability to be kept, treasured and used by the next generation.

Best Electric Train Sets to Invest in for Future Generations

#1 Bachmann Trains Santa Fe Flyer Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set

PRICE: $

TRAINS INCLUDED: 2 freight cars and a caboose

TRACK SIZE: 36 inch full circular loop with snap-fit EZ track pieces

RECOMMENDED AGE: 14 to 15 years

CONSTRUCTION TIME: 30 minutes

MECHANICAL ELEMENTS: power pack and speed controller

OTHER DETAILS:

-made for the HO scale of an electric train set

-Bachmann is a reputable and trustworthy brand of electric trains

-can start with a basic train set and add more

#2 Lionel Polar Express Train Set – G-Gauge

PRICE: $

TRAINS INCLUDED: locomotive, coal train and 2 passenger cars

TRACK SIZE: full circular track measures 55 inches by 72 inches with 12 curved rail tracks and 4 straight rail tracks

RECOMMENDED AGE: 8 years and up

BATTERIES NEEDED: 2 AA batteries or optional 9.6 volt rechargeable battery

CONSTRUCTION TIME: 30 minutes

MECHANICAL ELEMENTS: RC remote controller

OTHER DETAILS:

– made for the G scale of an electric train set

-very detailed with authentic train sounds and working headlight

-passenger cars feature fixed knuckle couplers

-Polar Express theme which makes it great for Christmas but can also be used year-round

-includes 3 figures about 1 ½ inches tall

#3 Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer O-Gauge Remote Train Set

PRICE: $$$

TRAINS INCLUDED: locomotive, boxcar, tank car and caboose

TRACK SIZE: full circular track with 8 curved rail tracks and 1 10 inch straight rail track

OTHER ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: truck, forklift, 4 people

RECOMMENDED AGE: 8 years and up

BATTERIES NEEDED: 3 AAA

CONSTRUCTION TIME: one hour

MECHANICAL ELEMENTS: 1 wall-pack terminal track piece and remote controller

OTHER DETAILS:

– made for the HO scale of an electric train set

-each train piece comes with fixed couplers and Pennsylvania Flyer decoration

#4 Life-Like Trains HO Scale Salute To America Electric Train Set

PRICE: $$

TRAINS INCLUDED: powered F7 diesel train with working headlight, stock car, gondola, tank car, boxcar and caboose

TRACK SIZE: full circular track that measures 47 inches by 38 inches

RECOMMENDED AGE: 14 to 15 years

CONSTRUCTION TIME: one hour

MECHANICAL ELEMENTS: 7 speeds for the train

OTHER DETAILS:

-made for the HO scale of an electric train set

-everything is designed under a patriotic red, white and blue theme

-accessories include utility poles, street lamps and road signs

-includes a 10-Piece Snap-In Bridge and Pier Set

#5 Bachmann Rail Chief Ready To Run Electric Train Set – HO Scale

PRICE: $$

TRAINS INCLUDED: locomotive, coal car, 2 box cars, caboose

TRACK SIZE: full circular track that measures 47 inches by 38 inches; includes 12 circular track pieces and 1 straight track piece

RECOMMENDED AGE: 14 years and up

CONSTRUCTION TIME: one hour

MECHANICAL ELEMENTS: power pack, speed controller and plug-in terminal rerailer

OTHER DETAILS:

-made for the HO scale of an electric train set

-includes signal bridge, 36 people figures, 24 telephone poles and 48 railroad and street signs

-trains have authentic logos on them

#6 Bachmann Industries Durango and Silverton – N Scale Ready to Run Electric Train Set

PRICE: $$$

TRAINS INCLUDED: locomotive and 3 passenger cars

TRACK SIZE: full circular track that measures 34 inches by 24 inches;

RECOMMENDED AGE: 14 years and up

CONSTRUCTION TIME: one hour

MECHANICAL ELEMENTS: power pack and speed controller

OTHER DETAILS:

-made for the N scale of an electric train set

-emulates the historic Durango and Silverton train line

-very authentic looking train set

#7 Bachmann Trains Thomas with Annie and Clarabel Ready-to-Run HO Scale Train Set

PRICE: $$

TRAINS INCLUDED: locomotive and 2 passenger cars

TRACK SIZE: full circular track that measures 36 inches with 11 snap-fit EZ track pieces

RECOMMENDED AGE: 8 to 15 years old

CONSTRUCTION TIME: one hour

MECHANICAL ELEMENTS: power pack and speed controller

OTHER DETAILS:

-made for the HO scale of an electric train set

-great way to start a toy train collection of Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends

CREATIVITY 

The best toys for children, no matter what the age, are those that have multiple uses. Toys that inspire and lead to creativity. Electric toy sets have an infinite amount of possibility. From track configurations to train configurations, each journey can be new. The purpose, the destination, the speed, all are determined by your child’s imagination. Electric train sets let children discover worlds they didn’t even know about.

Create New Settings for your Electric Train Set

#1 Bachmann Trains Trestle Bridge

-for O scale trains

-parts are molded in color

-bridge spans the length of about 1 track

#2 Bachmann Trains Snap – Fit E – Z Track Crossing Gate – HO Scale

-compatible with a Bachmann E-Z Track

-bright, colorful design

-adds extra dimension with a train crossing grate

#3 OrgMemory 29pcs Mixed Model Trees

-29 pieces of plastic trees

-trees are 1 inch to 6 inches

-can position them anywhere around your track and can move them at any time

#4 HO People (16)

-made for the HO scale of an electric train set

-people are about 1 inch tall

-pre-painted in great detail

#5 Bachmann Trains Covered Bridge – HO Scale

-made for HO scale of an electric train set

-realistic representation of actual covered bridge

-dimensions are 9 inches x 3 inches x 2 inches

#6 Bachmann Trains Crossing Signals and Gates

-made for HO scale of an electric train set

-set contains 12 different pieces

-black and white gates are fully movable

ROLE PLAY

Children learn through play. Not just numbers and letters, but real world issues. They learn how to take turns and to share. They learn how to be patient and that hard work does eventually pay off. And they take concepts that they are exposed to in real life and practice them in a safe setting, at a pace that they are comfortable with.

Accessories to enhance role play with your Electric Train Set

#1 Thomas the Tank Engineer Hat

-good for children ages 3 to 5

-helps children immerse themselves in the train world

#2 Brooklyn Peddler 4-Tone Pinewood Train Whistle

-good for all ages; no small parts so no choking hazard

-authentic steam whistle sound

-auditory senses are vital to role play

#3 Fun World Costumes Baby’s Train Engineer Toddler Costume

-whether your toddler is into trains or you need a helper, this outfit is adorable

-comes with striped overalls, hat and neckerchief

-small to extra-large accommodate children aged 2 years to 6 years.

 

#4 Adult Train Engineer Cap

http://www.amazon.com/Mineola-Hat-Store-Adult-Engineer/dp/B000BBS82K/ref=pd_sim_21_5?ie=UTF8&dpID=51fnxoA%2BGrL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=02NJNJYBPN4SK809FV3P

-for the older child or younger adult who loves trains

-100% heavy cotton material is durable

 

 


 

MECHANICS

 

Electric train sets have electrical parts and what child isn’t fascinated with the mysteries of electricity? Circuits and power sources need to be explored hands on to be understood. With new technology, trains are authentic and intricate and accurately capture their real-world counterparts.

 

With today’s educational push for more engineering and design related toys, electric toys fit perfectly into this category. They use real electric currents, have lights, bells and whistles, and a lot of trains even come with smoke!

 

 

Realistic Electric Train Sets

 

#1 VT Classic Train Set For Kids

http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Lights-Battery-Operated-Railway/dp/B017MP6VAI/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1454296795&sr=8-11&keywords=electric+train+set

 

PRICE: $59.95

TRAINS INCLUDED: locomotive and 3 cargo wagons

TRACK SIZE: full circular track

RECOMMENDED AGE: 3 years and up

BATTERIES NEEDED: 4 AA batteries

CONSTRUCTION TIME: 30 minutes

OTHER DETAILS:

-authentic sounds include bells, choo sound and a running locomotive engine

-trains can blow real smoke

-working lights on the front of the locomotive, in front of the chimney, and above the cowcatcher

 

 

#2 AUTHENTIC STYLING Electric Classic Western Railway Express by 84-Z

http://www.amazon.com/AUTHENTIC-STYLING-Electric-Classic-84-Z1/dp/B00AB1MFWE/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1454299913&sr=8-12&keywords=best+electric+train+sets

 

PRICE: $59.99

TRAINS INCLUDED: engine, 2 passenger cars and coal car

TRACK SIZE: full circular track with over 9 feet of track pieces

RECOMMENDED AGE: 3 years and up

BATTERIES NEEDED: 2 D batteries

CONSTRUCTION TIME: one hour

OTHER DETAILS:

-has a working engine car, real headlights and realistic smoke

-track pieces are easily attachable and can be configured into multiple designs

 

 

 

#3 Ginzick RC Remote Control Super Fun Electric Train Set

http://www.amazon.com/Ginzick-Remote-Control-Electric-Accessories/dp/B00UI6F1AK/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1454297730&sr=8-6&keywords=electric+trains+accessories

 

PRICE: $99.99

TRAINS INCLUDED: 1 locomotive, 1 passenger wagon, 1 cargo wagon, 1 coil wagon

TRACK SIZE: full circular track with 8 curved rail tracks and 12 straight rail tracks

RECOMMENDED AGE: 3 years and up

BATTERIES NEEDED: 6 AA batteries

CONSTRUCTION TIME: one hour

MECHANICAL ELEMENTS: transmitter to control train

OTHER DETAILS:

-also includes 8 traffic signs and 2 trees

-blows real smoke

-train has authentic sounds and lights

 

#4 Railway King Electric Steam Locomotive Classical Train Playset with Lights and Train Sound

http://www.amazon.com/Railway-Electric-Locomotive-Classical-Playset/dp/B015975ER2/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1454388233&sr=8-14&keywords=electric+train+sets

 

PRICE: $49.99

TRAINS INCLUDED: 1 locomotive and 3 wagons

TRACK SIZE: full circular track that measures 40 inches by 30 inches with 10 track pieces

RECOMMENDED AGE: 3 years and up

BATTERIES NEEDED: 4 AA batteries

CONSTRUCTION TIME: one hour

OTHER DETAILS:

-includes 1 tree and 1 rail station

-comes with environment-friendly smoking oil

-locomotive smokestack moves up and down

-locomotive has lights and sound

#5 Best Choice Products Classic Train Set For Kids with Music and Lights

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Choice-Products-Classic-Operated/dp/B015JQVHT2/ref=sr_1_48?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1454390527&sr=1-48&keywords=electric+train+set

PRICE: $19.95

TRAINS INCLUDED: 1 locomotive, 1 coal train, 1 box train, caboose

TRACK SIZE: full circular track that includes 4 curve track pieces and 2 straight track pieces

RECOMMENDED AGE: 6 years and up

BATTERIES NEEDED: 2 AA batteries

CONSTRUCTION TIME: one hour

OTHER DETAILS:

-realistic train sounds and lights

-each car is 5 to 8 inches long

 

VOCABULARY – Types of Electric Train Sets

Name: HO Scale

Scale: 1:87

Rail Spacing: 16.5 mm

-most popular model railway scale in the world

-became popular in the 1970s when many toy trains were built at this scale

Name: G Scale

Scale: various

Rail Spacing: 45 mm

-G stands for the German word gros, meaning big

-G now commonly stands for the English word garden

-most train sets at this size are used outdoors or in gardens

Name: O Scale

Scale: 1:48

Rail Spacing: 32 mm

-name comes from Zero gauge because it was smaller than Gauge 1 standards

-was the most popular train scale in the US until the 1930s 

Name: N Scale

Scale: 1:148

Rail Spacing: 9 mm

-model trains are smaller by almost a half than the traditional HO scale

-second most popular model train scale


 

Conclusion

 

 

Electric train sets are a fun, engaging part of childhood and are often used well into adulthood. Electric train sets combine all of the important elements of balanced play. They offer creative, open-ended situations for children to role play in while exposing them to the mechanics of electricity, smoke and noises.

 

Choosing an electric train set that is right for you can be overwhelming. Do you want it to be a starter set, one that you can build on to, one that is made for small hands or big hearts? Rest assured, however, that no matter which way you choose to go in purchasing an electric train set, it will make everyone involved a happy person.