Recently I got the chance to test my first H0 (1:87 scale) electric train set: the Bachmann Trains Chattanooga Electric Train Set (which is modelled after the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railroad dating back to 1845). If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying one of these highly detailed and extremely impressive train sets for yourself—or even if you have, join me below as I give you all the features, specs, and details of my own experience as conductor on the famous Chattanooga Line.
Chattanooga Electric Train Set Features, Specs, Bits, and Pieces
The Bachmann Trains Chattanooga Electric Train Set comes with more bits and pieces than you can shake a stick at (whatever that means…). There are 6 different train cars (including a 0-6-0 steam locomotive and tender, a plug-door box car, an open quad hopper, a single-dome tank car, and an off-centre caboose.
The coolest part of the locomotive itself is that it has a working headlight and real smoke comes out of the stack (there’s a small vial of extra oil included for making the smoke, though this quantity won’t last long—you can always buy more yourself). The locomotive is also by far the heaviest car of the bunch, what with it’s electronic components and being the only car in the set that actually moves by itself.
Other components (shown above) include 14 total pieces of 47″ x 38″ snap-fit E-Z track that create a nice sized oval track, a very cool little suburban train station that you have to assemble yourself, a signal bridge (you’ll also have to assemble this), a whopping 48 different railroad and street signs, 36 telephone poles, a power adaptor and speed control box (shown below), and nearly enough people to populate a small city (as in 48 different assorted human figures).
The only thing that I’d say was missing here is a few trees, which might have been nice as extra decorations. Still, it was a whole lot more stuff than I expected to see in the box, and I found it pretty impressive, if a bit overwhelming to sort out, assemble, and set up.
Fun on the Chattanooga Line
I had an absolute blast assembling, learning, and playing with this set. Building the track took mere minutes, and while the station house (and, in particular, the signal bridge) were a bit tedious and time-consuming to assemble, it was totally worth it in the end to have them in place on the line.
I must say, though, that the extremely tiny lights in the signal bridge were very difficult to seat into place on the signal light housing. Luckily, the pieces of the suburban station were much bigger and far easier to handle for the most part, though getting the telephone poles, street signs, and human characters to properly stand in place did take some doing. Thankfully, it was really fun to set everything up just the way I wanted. In the end, I tried a number of different setups and configurations.
One thing that didn’t get reconfigured, however, was the large oval track. I’m pretty sure I would have needed more track pieces to do anything different from what I did, though that was fine with me because I was already taking up about as much space as I could afford with this set.
Once fully assembled and set up, the train could go forward or backwards (depending on which way a switch on the control box was set), and it could also go at variable speeds thanks to the design of the accelerator knob, which you turn just a little for slow speeds and more and more to gradually go faster. It was really fun to make the train go as fast as it could travel, but it was also sometimes fun just to make it chug along slowly (this was also ideal for shooting footage for the video embedded below).
My only real complaint about my entire Chattanooga experience isn’t even a fault of the set itself. Rather, it’s the fact that I didn’t have a proper bench or table to set it up on, meaning I had to use the very unforgiving floor in our kitchen (and let me tell you, my knees certainly paid the price for that!).
On my first real day of building and testing the set, I got up and down so many times that my legs ached something fierce the next day, and I was hobbling around like a person twice my age for at least two more.
Also, having to get so low to the ground to see the wheels on the various train cars to get them properly aligned on the very narrow rails was absolute torture. Of course, this too would have been avoided with a big enough table.
Examining the Video Evidence
Please take a few minutes to ride with me on the amazing Chattanooga Line. In the video I show each of the set’s cars up close (so you’ll see all the tiny details), the station house fully built and decorated with a few passengers, and plenty of footage of the train riding the rails. Get your ticket and ID ready… ALL ABOARD:
What can I say? I absolutely loved this Bachmann Trains Chattanooga Electric Train Set! The only issue I had was that it was a bit difficult to get the tiny train wheels to line up perfectly on the track, though having a bench or table to play on would have mitigated this issue a good bit. It also would have made things a whole lot easier on my knees and legs.
Even so, I 100% recommend this set to anyone with an interest in scale models or model train sets of the H0 variety. The detail is amazing, the build quality is seriously impressive, and the fun is practically endless—particularly if you have other compatible track pieces with which to build a longer line. This set is easily one of the coolest toys I have ever reviewed for Best Buy, and I was sad to take it apart.
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