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Author Topic: Advice--Durable Lasting Train set for 6 year old, what you your recommendations?  (Read 11393 times)

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« on: December 07, 2007, 10:54:28 AM »

  I do not know much about Trains, my husband has Lionels, the O gauge?  I was thinking it would be nice to get our 6 year old something else, I was thinking of this G gauge, but know nothing about them at all.   I am seeking advice on what is Best for children, and train sets.  I didn't know if these Bachmanns are metal or plastic, how durable they are, are these considered "LGB" or is that another manuacturer?  As you can see, I need to learn a little here.  Help !  All advice greatly appreciated,  Thanks  Huh?

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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2007, 11:12:47 AM »

As a general rule, the younger the child, the bigger the gauge is a good rule of thumb.  Your husband's Lionel would be good for a six year old.  I had Lionels at that age.  Two suggestions would be the Lionel Polar Express or their Hogwart's Express, though I have no idea the cost of either set. 
LGB is a brand name - it's the initials of the German words for "Very Big Trains," but it's also used as a catch all for any large scale model trains. 
Current Bachmann trains are of first rate quality.

Chief Brass Hat
Virginia Tidewater and Piedmont Railroad
"Only coal fired steam locomotives"

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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2007, 11:53:54 AM »

Thank you for  your reply...Why do you think Lionels are more popular than G gauge?  OK another question, what makes this LGB brand so much more expensive than Bachmanns?   MY husband and 6 yr old have about 4 Lionel engines already, I just think instead of buying another set like that, we should get him a G gauge set, just my opionon of coarse.  HUsband prefers Metal engines, does Bachman make Metal engines, or is everythign plastic these days?    You say "Current" Bachmans are 1st rate quality.  Generally, what is metal on thier newer train sets?   If you know off hand?  I seen some on Ebay for Buy it nows at $155 , $20 shipping, I was considering one of those.  Thanks for all your help

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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2007, 11:58:44 AM »

I just emailed a Ebay seller about a Bachmann Train set, he answered me like this ......"These are not suitable. They are rated for eight and up, but I think that's too young. They have MANY small parts and delicate details. these are mostly used by adults."...     So I guess not everyone thinks G gauge is Ok for kids.   I wonder if this is the same recommendation for O gauge trains-Lionels. 
Terry Toenges

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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2007, 12:25:55 PM »

For younger kids, I'd stick with Lionel. The set I got for Christmas in '58, I still have. The loco is still going strong.
I am a big time Bachmann fan, but, as previously mentioned, they have a lot of small detail parts. This is great for older kids and adults who can appreciate the detail. Younger folks just want to run them fast and furious.
Maybe Bachmann's Thomas line would be good for younger kids.

Feel like a Mogul.

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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2007, 02:15:16 PM »

With our kids, our experience is that most any detail that can break will break.  So part of the decision could be cost.  In that you will not want to regret spending all that money on something, that you will be unhappy with after it has been really played with.  It is amazing what will break.  Maybe our kids were just rougher on things than other people's kids.

But I think you definitely should get some trains.  All of us in my family have enjoyed electric model trains.

All the best,
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.

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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2007, 09:23:00 PM »

Large scale trains would be a good choice, particularly if you have room outside for a possible garden layout in the future.  Marklin makes metal trains that run on G-gauge track so a garden layout would let Dad run some highly detailed (but relatively fragile) Bachmann or other plastic trains outdoors too.  The Marklin trains use a smaller scale (1/32 full size) compared to Bachmann's 1/20 full size trains, but the track is the same.  Indoors, the slightly smaller Marklin trains take up less space or, putting it the other way around, you can put more trains in the same space.  Clicking on the link below will take you to the Marklin large scale website.

Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.

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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2007, 12:29:37 PM »

Thank you for all of your advice, we are still deciding !   But nice to  hear about these Marklins, they sound like just what I was hoping to find.  Metal, bigger than Lionels, I know he wants smoke for whatever I get, and I personally want the lights and sounds too.   ANy more advice, please reply, I will keep checking here.
Guilford Guy

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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2007, 12:50:53 PM »
Actually, LGB are very robust IMHO. My first  large scale set I got when I was 8(14 now), with a German steamer and 2 coaches, and I don't think anything has broken to date. The set came with smoke and sound as well.



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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2007, 01:03:42 PM »

Dear Friends,

A big Thank You! and Merry Christmas! to Bachmann and our dear Mr. Bach-Man for allowing this thread.  Just another testimony to their good intentions and dediction to the sport of model rail roading!!  Three Cheers!

Best Wishes!

C.K. Eddlemon

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« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2007, 01:05:31 PM »

Agreed -- if money isn't a concern, DEFINITELY go with G-scale (1:24 scale), G-Gauge equipment, preferably LGB.

LGB equipment is not only the best quality (plastic or metal) but it's very attractive and well worth the price.  Some will hate me for saying this, but Lionel is overpriced, ugly (awkward preportions), and has that ugly non-authentic third rail.

Bachmann makes excellent G-Scale trains, too.

If you're already established in O scale, however, your child is old enough for On30", that is,  O scale that runs on HO scale track. But I still think it would be better to stick with large scale, G-scale and G-gauge train sets. They are attractive and flawless and will certainly last forever.
Atlantic Central

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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2007, 01:46:57 PM »


What no one has told you is that, regardless of size, there are toy trains and then there are model trains. Some products made by all of these companies, in all of these different sizes are more basic, have less fragile detail and are intended for younger people to be able to handle without damage.

Other products are more detailed, more expensive, and really intended for more serious adult use as models, not toys.

I have been in this hobby since 1968, and worked in several hobby shops over the years, and the anticdotal comments of some not withstanding, HO trains, or On30 trains, are not for 6 year olds unless they will always be closely supervised.

O gauge items from Lionel and other companies that are aimed at the train set market are you best bet. Next would be the G gauge items aimed at the Christmas/set market.

I would expect some "accidents" in any case unless they are closely supervised or you have already trained them to be neurotic little property owners.

It is usually about age 12 when boys develope the dexterity and patience for HO scale or other more detailed "model" trains. Not to mention the fact that that is also the age at which any true interest in trains as a life long hobby is likely to become apparent.

A good hobby shop is the best place to sort out these differences, but they are becoming few and far between these days.


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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2007, 03:01:11 PM »

I tend to agree with Sheldon ... but I have never worked with anything larger than Lionel 'O' scale.

Setting aside 'realism' as in prototypical model railroading, I really believe that for a 6 year old, something that can take lots and lots of 'bangs' and 'hard usage' and still get 'back on track and run' is the ideal.

Since I don't know about anything above 'O' scale I defer to other who do know ... but this is for a 6 year old boy, and I personally can think of nothing more discouraging that a beautifully detailed and expensive large model that slowly (or quickly) looses parts and perhaps breaks down from 'six year old' hard usage.

I also can think of nothing more discouraging to a 6 year old then constantly being told 'don't play so rough with that train!'

While I am not a Lionel fan, they do make a large variety of engines and equipment that, though not prototyical scale, are rugged. I would seriously consider the 'rugged' aspect more than anything else.

Have a wonderful and happy holiday whatever your choice may be!


ICRR Steam & "Green Diamond" era modeler
Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947

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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2007, 04:43:39 PM »

When I was six I managed to wreck(have accidentswith) just about every train I got.

I managed to wreck a real nice American Flyer Santa Fe Passenger train set.  Ruined the motor, got scratches and dents all over it, broke the couplers, bent the track, and lord only knows what else.  At eight my brother and I blew up a boxcar with firecrackers!  We really caught heck over that one. 

When my grandson turned four, we got him some Thomas trains with the wooden track. three years later he still enjoys it and loves to get new pieces.   He makes all kinds of track plans and switches cars, and now has some of the motorized engines.  It seems to me that it has had a great play value, is hard to break, and stands up to heavy use, but most of all is very educational.

Hmmmm, maybe I'll blow up another boxcar for my 68th birthday next year!!

Have a Great Christmas everyone and stay young at heart!!!!


Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway-Missouri Western Railway
Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
Colorado RR Museum-Brakeman-Engineer-Motorman-Trainman
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!

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« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2007, 05:52:20 PM »

My personal recommendation for a train set for the six year old would be a Bachmann G gauge. When I ran a train store in a local mall, we had a play area for wooden Thomas and Brio trains. Nearby the play area, we had a Christmas tree set up with a Bachmann G gauge train set running around it. I was amazed at how rugged the set was. Several times I looked over and saw a toddler trying to sit on the engine! While it knocked the train off track, the only damage done was to cars whose trucks were broken by the weight of the toddlers... but the engines made it through. (I am specifically referring to the little tank engine.)

Actually, the best recommendation I'd make is to buy two sets. The price point (on the street) is so much better with Bachmann that you can buy two for about what one LGB costs. And the lifetime guarantee and great service policy leaves you with an operating engine, even if the other is off getting repaired. And if the train breaks from real abuse, the replacement cost is much more reasonable with Bachmann. Also, as far as the cars go, there is very little difference in the cars form LGB ad Bachmann, except that the LGB ones are much more expensive.

While I don't expect to see my earliest Bachmann products (70's and 80's) get passed down to generations, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see my grandkids (maybe someday!!) playing with most any of my current stuff.

- Mike S.
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