Ho Train Sets

Brayden Lawson
16 min readMar 18, 2024
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Ho train sets have long been a favorite among model train enthusiasts, offering an opportunity to recreate the charm of vintage railways in miniature form. In this roundup, we’ve carefully curated a selection of the best Ho train sets available to help you expand your collection or begin your journey into the captivating world of model railways.

The Top 10 Best Ho Train Sets

  1. Pacific Flyer HO Gauge Toy Train Set — Experience the thrill of HO train sets with the Bachmann HO Pacific Flyer Train Set, perfect for ages 14+ and packed with essential features to transport freight to its destination!
  2. Bachmann Track King HO Train Set with Union Pacific Locomotive — Experience the power and precision of classic railway action with Bachmann Track King HO Train Set!
  3. Bachmann Scout Special: Boy Scouts of America E-Z App HO Train Set — Experience seamless E-Z App control over this Boy Scouts of America-themed locomotive, featuring wireless touch-screen navigation, speed, and sound control via your smart device, all with the added convenience of an included power pack.
  4. Bachmann Ho Electric Train Set — Santa Fe Southern Railway — Experience the thrill of Bachmann’s Diesel Express HO Electric Train Set, featuring exceptional locomotives and cars, while preserving the charm of vintage models for stationary display.
  5. Diecast Master HO Scale Progress Rail 100th Anniversary Train Set — Celebrate Progress Rail’s 100th Anniversary with the meticulously crafted Diecast Masters HO Scale Train Set, featuring a motorized EMD SD70ACE Locomotive, accessories, and more!
  6. Accurail HO Scale 50-Ton Offset Twin Hopper with Magnetic Couplers — Create a fantastic HO Scale 55-Ton Panel-Side 2-Bay Hopper freight car kit with Accurail’s unassembled kit featuring a one-piece body, realistic details, and authentic paint schemes.
  7. Vintage Life-Like Super Chief Santa Fe HO Train Set — Santa Fe Engine, Cattle Cars, Perfect Gift for Model Railroad Enthusiasts — Experience the nostalgia of vintage model railway with the Super Chief Santa Fe HO Train Set from Life-Like, boasting excellent condition, added value features, and competitive pricing.
  8. Detailed Accurail HO Scale Wood Reefer 40' Refrigerator Car Kit — Bring the past to life with Accurail’s HO Scale 40' Wood Reefer, featuring detailed injection-molded body, realistic decoration, and easy-to-assemble construction, perfect for modelers of all skill levels.
  9. Complete Ready-to-Run HO Train Set with Union Pacific’s Iconic Challenger — Bachmann HO Challenger Train Set offers a complete ready-to-run layout, featuring a powerful EMD F9 diesel locomotive with an operating headlight and tender, along with authentic open quad hopper, gondola, and caboose cars.
  10. Restored Silverton Flyer G Scale Train Set with Vintage Details and Operational Features — Experience nostalgic charm with this Bachmann Big Haulers Silvertown Flyer G scale train set refurbished to mint condition, offering almost 100% of original pieces and complete with authentic vintage features.

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Reviews

🔗Pacific Flyer HO Gauge Toy Train Set

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In the spirit of Christmas morning, as I opened this HO Pacific Flyer Train Set by Bachmann, I couldn’t wait to see the magic unfold. Watching this little steam engine work its way through the intricate landscape, complete with detailed scenery, was nothing short of enchanting. The vibrant colors of the train cars, along with the detailed and authentic features of the locomotive, truly brought the train to life.

One feature that stood out to me was the smooth operation of the train set. The engine glided along the well-designed tracks, and the cars couplers locked and unlocked automatically, adding to the realism of the experience. Even the sound effects, from the realistic chugging of the train to the authentic whistle of the locomotive, only added to the overall charm of this train set.

However, one area where this train set could use some improvement was the durability and build quality of the trains. In my experience, some of the cars tended to derail and the plastic on other pieces seemed a bit too fragile. Additionally, while this set comes with a 36-inch track, it may not be the best choice for long-time enjoyment, as it quickly becomes repetitive.

Overall, the Bachmann HO Pacific Flyer Train Set made for a delightful addition to my holiday festivities. With its smooth operation and captivating scenery, it was the perfect way to spend a cozy Sunday afternoon. While there are a few areas in need of improvement, the joy and wonder this train set brought made it more than worth it.

🔗Bachmann Track King HO Train Set with Union Pacific Locomotive

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As a reviewer who has been thrilled to call this set a part of my daily life, the Bachmann Track King HO train set makes for an incredible cornerstone of any home or train-themed display. The EMD GP40 diesel locomotive is a powerful addition, proudly flying the Union Pacific’s Armor Yellow colors and boasting a functioning headlight that adds an air of realism.

Its single-dome tank car, off-set cupola caboose, boxcar, and flatcar all come together to complete the freight train ensemble. I’m a huge fan of the snap-fit E-Z Track, which is versatile and easy to install, making this train set the perfect addition for any railroad enthusiast. My only suggestion would be for a more robust dusting mechanism to prevent frequent maintenance.

Other than that, the Track King HO train set is a dream come true.

🔗Bachmann Scout Special: Boy Scouts of America E-Z App HO Train Set

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A few weeks ago, I came across the Bachmann Scout Special — Boy Scouts of America E-Z App HO Train Set. As a train enthusiast and a proud member of the Boy Scouts of America, I couldn’t resist giving it a try.

This train set offers a convenient and innovative way to control it with my smartphone, making it perfect for a train lover who’s always on the go. The wall power pack ensures that the locomotive stays powered throughout my adventures. The sleek design of the train set even fits seamlessly in my Boy Scout scoutmaster’s office.

However, I must admit that the high cost of the train set was a bit of a drawback. Additionally, the restocking fee for a returned item made me think twice about investing in such an expensive product without thoroughly researching it. Despite these minor setbacks, I still believe the Bachmann Scout Special — Boy Scouts of America E-Z App HO Train Set is a unique and exciting addition to any train enthusiast’s collection.

🔗Bachmann Ho Electric Train Set — Santa Fe Southern Railway

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Hop aboard the Bachmann Diesel Express HO Electric Train Set and experience the joy of railway modeling. Having used it for a couple of days now, I must say, it’s been an absolute blast! The locomotives and cars are of exceptional quality — they’re smooth, fast, and oh-so realistic. The instructions are straightforward and easy to follow, making assembly an enjoyable task.

However, there were a couple of quirks that I noticed. The track seemed a bit frail, and I’m hoping a replacement will be in order soon. Additionally, I found myself wishing for more accessories to truly bring the railway to life.

Overall, the Bachmann Diesel Express HO Electric Train Set has certainly brought a smile to my face. With its stunning quality and intricate details, it’s a must-have for any railway enthusiast. Just remember to keep the model boxed away for younger guests, as these models are designed for stationary display use only.

🔗Diecast Master HO Scale Progress Rail 100th Anniversary Train Set

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I recently came across this unique product by Diecast Masters, the 100th Anniversary Train Set in HO Scale. The set is a meticulously crafted die-cast replica featuring an EMD SD70ACE Locomotive, a CAT M323F Railroad Wheeled Excavator, and a 12M3 Motor Grader, all motorized and adorned with Progress Rail’s 100th anniversary decorations. It also includes a Sunoco 10K 3Dome Tank Car and a variety of other accessories.

One impressive aspect of this set is the track, which is the perfect size for any enthusiast with an approximately 38in x 54in oval layout. Additionally, the set comes with all the necessary controllers and a transformer to get everything up and running.

However, for those who are considering this for their young ones, be warned that the recommended age for using this set is 14 years and above, as it is made primarily for display purposes and not for play. Despite this caveat, the model itself is a true masterpiece and an excellent addition for any railroad enthusiast’s collection.

🔗Accurail HO Scale 50-Ton Offset Twin Hopper with Magnetic Couplers

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As a seasoned modeler, I recently gave Accurail’s HO Kit 50-Ton Offset Twin Hopper a try. The build process was straightforward and user-friendly, making it an excellent option for both novice builders and experienced modelers. The one-piece body with intricate details molded in place added a touch of realism that I appreciated.

One of the standout features for me was the authentic paint and lettering schemes, which really brought the hopper to life. The nonmagnetic axles, engineering plastic wheels, and AccuMate magnetic knuckle couplers were also noteworthy as they provided smooth operation and added to the overall quality of the model.

However, one area that could use improvement is the instruction manual. It could have been more detailed, and maybe even included some additional photos for clarity. Despite this minor flaw, the overall experience of building this twin-bay hopper was quite enjoyable, and I found myself eager to explore more Accurail hopper car kits in the future.

🔗Vintage Life-Like Super Chief Santa Fe HO Train Set — Santa Fe Engine, Cattle Cars, Perfect Gift for Model Railroad Enthusiasts

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I recently had the chance to try out the Vintage Life-Like Super Chief Santa Fe HO Train Set, and I must say it was an enchanting experience. The nostalgic charm of this vintage train set was palpable, transporting me back to a simpler time in the world of model railroading.

One of the most impressive features was the meticulous detail put into each train car. The Santa Fe engine, along with the 3 accompanying cars, were incredibly realistic, showcasing the high-quality craftsmanship of Life-Like. The 36" steel circle track was not only durable but also easy to set up, allowing me to create a captivating little world right on my desktop.

However, there was one minor issue I encountered — the Cattle Car was missing a truck. But don’t worry, I was able to source a replacement part and quickly had it up and running. This minor inconvenience didn’t deter me from enjoying the train set and discovering its hidden potential.

Overall, this Vintage Life-Like Super Chief Santa Fe HO Train Set offers a delightful and immersive experience for model railroad hobbyists. Coupled with its unique charm and detailed construction, this train set is an excellent addition to any collection, and the competitive pricing is a cherry on top.

🔗Detailed Accurail HO Scale Wood Reefer 40' Refrigerator Car Kit

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I recently tried my hand at assembling the Accurail HO Scale 40' Wood Reefer kit, and boy, was it a treat. The intricate, injection-molded body was a delight to put together and seemed to withstand the rigors of playtime quite well. With realistic end reporting marks and underbody details, it really felt like I was working on a genuine model.

One thing I truly appreciated was the easy-to-follow instructions, making it perfect for both newbie and seasoned modelers. And, let’s not forget the sturdy trucks equipped with slippery plastic wheelsets and nonmagnetic axles, ensuring smooth operation. However, one area that could use improvement is the magnetic knuckle couplers, as they sometimes needed a bit of tweaking before they held securely.

Overall, this Accurail HO Scale 40' Wood Reefer kit would make a great addition to any modeler’s collection. While there’s always room for improvement, I believe it’s a fantastic product for its price. Happy modeling!

🔗Complete Ready-to-Run HO Train Set with Union Pacific’s Iconic Challenger

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Oh, the thrill of unboxing this Bachmann HO Challenger Train Set! I was instantly drawn to the classic Union Pacific Railroad roadname and the vibrant colors of the train pieces. The set comes with a powerful EMD F9 diesel locomotive, which makes it a perfect match for tackling challenging terrain. Plus, it’s equipped with an operating headlight that adds realism to the experience.

I was pleasantly surprised to find open quad hopper, gondola, and caboose car designs included in the package. These vehicles give the set a more realistic, detailed feel. The 36" circle of snap-fit E-Z Track is a neat touch too, making it easier to set up the layout and enjoy the train’s movement.

The instruction manual is a great help, providing plenty of information to get started right away. One downside, however, is the durability of the train cars. I found the wheels on two of the cars to be somewhat flimsy and prone to breaking, which may be a concern for younger users. Still, overall, it’s a fantastic train set for both beginners and enthusiasts alike!

🔗Restored Silverton Flyer G Scale Train Set with Vintage Details and Operational Features

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I recently had the opportunity to try out the Bachmann Big Haulers Silverton Flyer G Scale Train Set #90025. The set boasts almost 100% completion with only the hook and loop couplers missing. The vintage nature of this set is evident in the box’s slightly worn condition, yet the loco, tender, and rolling stock remained cherry in their original boxes.

One feature that stood out was the loco’s generation 3 design, which featured metal details instead of plastic. Additionally, the tender and rolling stock had metal wheels instead of plastic for added durability. The set also included an operating headlight and speed synchronized steam sound & smoke, which was a delight to experience.

However, one downside was the track’s somewhat scuffed appearance, which didn’t meet my expectations. I also found the set’s instructions to be quite vintage, meaning no CDs were provided, and reading them required patience. Despite these minor drawbacks, overall, I was happy with the set and its performance.

Buyer’s Guide

Welcome to the Ho Train Sets buyer’s guide, your go-to source for essential information and helpful tips when considering purchasing a train set for your home. This guide will cover important features, considerations, and advice to ensure you make an informed decision and acquire a high-quality Ho Train Set that best suits your needs.

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Sizing and Scales

The most critical feature of a Ho Train Set is its scale and size. Ho is the smallest of the standard scales for model trains (others are O, G, and Z). With Ho-scale trains, you can expect a 1:87 ratio, making the trains slightly smaller than the human hand. When deciding on the right size, consider the available space in your home and your preferences for a miniature or larger train set.

Power Supply

Ho scale train sets typically operate on 11–18v DC power supplies. It’s essential to choose a reliable power supply to ensure smooth operation of the trains and accessories. When selecting a power supply, consider the current capacity needed for your chosen set, as well as any additional accessories or extensions you may require.

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Track and Layout

A well-designed track layout is crucial for a realistic and enjoyable train set experience. Look for a set that includes a variety of tracks, curves, and accessories to create an engaging and dynamic layout. Consider the length and complexity of the layout to ensure it matches your available space and desired level of challenge.

Ease of Assembly and Maintenance

Choose a Ho Train Set that is simple to assemble and maintain. Some sets require minimal assembly, while others may demand more time and patience. Additionally, consider the materials used in the set and the maintenance required to keep it running smoothly. A well-built set with durable components can offer long-lasting enjoyment.

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FAQ

What is the difference between an HO and OO train set?

The main difference between an HO and OO train set lies in their size. HO scale models are smaller than OO scale models. HO stands for “half-O” and indicates that the model is half the size of OO gauge. This means that HO scale models are more suitable for smaller layouts and can take up less space. Additionally, HO scale models are generally cheaper than OO scale models.

A typical HO train set includes a locomotive, a few carriages, a track set, and a power supply unit. These sets can be used for various applications, such as displaying or operating miniature trains in a home or office setting. While both HO and OO train sets have their advantages, choosing between them depends on the available space, budget, and the level of detail desired in your train model.

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What are the benefits of using digital command control (DCC)?

Digital command control (DCC) is a popular technology used in train sets that offers several advantages over traditional analog control. One of the main benefits of DCC is the ability to control multiple locomotives simultaneously with the same controller. This feature allows for more complex train operations and better control over speed and direction.

DCC also enables users to program and store different speed and motion profiles for their locomotives, which can be easily recalled with the push of a button. This feature can be especially useful for creating realistic train movements and effects, such as smoke and sound. Additionally, DCC allows users to easily update or expand their train set by adding new locomotives or carriages without the need for additional wiring or track upgrades.

How do I choose the right power supply unit for my HO train set?

Selecting the appropriate power supply unit (PSU) for your HO train set is crucial for ensuring smooth, reliable operation. First, determine the voltage and amperage requirements of your train set, which can be found in the user manual or on the manufacturer’s website. Make sure to choose a PSU with a voltage rating that matches your train set’s specifications. Additionally, consider selecting a PSU with an amperage rating higher than your train set’s actual requirements. This will allow for better performance and more capacity for future additions to your train set.

When selecting a PSU, it’s also important to consider the number of outputs and the type of connectors it offers. Many HO train sets require multiple outputs for different components, such as locomotives, carriages, and accessory power. Make sure the PSU you choose has the appropriate number of outputs and connectors that match the ones used in your train set. It’s also recommended to purchase a PSU with over-current protection, surge protection, or both, to ensure the safety and longevity of your train components.

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How should I maintain and clean my HO train set?

Proper maintenance and cleaning are essential for the longevity and enjoyment of your HO train set. Regularly inspect your train components for signs of wear, such as frayed wires or loose connections, and repair or replace damaged parts as needed. It’s also important to keep your train set clean, as dirt and debris can accumulate on the tracks and interfere with the smooth operation of your locomotives. To clean your tracks, gently wipe them with a soft, damp cloth or use a track cleaning solution specifically designed for HO train sets.

When storing your train set, ensure that it is kept in a cool, dry place to prevent dust buildup and potential damage from humidity. Store your locomotives, carriages, and track sets separately to prevent scratches or damage. It’s also a good idea to disassemble and clean any battery-operated components, such as LED light units, on a regular basis to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

What are some tips for building an HO train set layout?

Building an HO train set layout can be a fun and rewarding experience. To create a successful layout, consider the following tips: determine the theme and era of your layout, research the specific track and scenery requirements for your chosen theme, and plan the arrangement of your track and scenery elements. Always make sure to test your trains on the track before assembling the layout to ensure proper operation.

Additionally, consider the size and complexity of your layout. HO scale models are smaller than OO scale models, so it’s essential to plan your layout accordingly. Remember that more complex layouts may require additional wiring or track upgrades. Finally, take your time and be patient when building your HO train set layout. With proper planning and attention to detail, you can create a beautiful and realistic train model that brings hours of enjoyment.

What are some recommended brands for HO train sets and accessories?

There are numerous brands that offer high-quality HO train sets and accessories. Some of the most popular and highly regarded brands include Athearn, Atlas, Bachmann, Lionel, and Walthers. These brands offer a wide range of products, including locomotives, carriages, track sets, and power supply units, catering to different preferences and budgets.

When choosing a brand for your HO train set, consider factors such as the availability of replacement parts, customer service, and the overall reputation of the brand for quality and performance. Additionally, research user reviews and comparisons to determine which brand best suits your needs and preferences. By investing in a high-quality HO train set and accessories, you can ensure years of enjoyable operation and collectible value.

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