7 Model Train Sets to Kick Start Your Railroading Journey

Are you looking to start model railroading in 2023? Whether you’re picking up a new hobby for the new year, have been considering model railroading for years, or felt severe FOMO after seeing a loved one get a train set during the holidays, Model Train Stuff has you covered.

Whether you’re reading this in January or later in the year wondering what to buy someone as a gift, here are seven fantastic model train sets suitable for beginner railroaders.

1. Hornby HO (OO 1:76) R1276T Coca-Cola Summertime Train Set

We all associate the Coca-Cola train with the iconic Holidays are Coming advertisement and song, but this train set is a great buy to adorn a newly built model railroad scene all year round.

This officially licensed HO scale train set is an excellent buy for yourself or as a gift for any adult just getting into model railroading and is a stunning representation of the logistics that bring Coca-Cola into our lives.

While the trains are OO gauge models, they run flawlessly on HO scale track, so you can easily add other HO scale products to your collection as and when you want to.

In addition to the Coca-Cola branded locomotive, this set includes Coca-Cola boxcards, Diet Coke boxcars, Cherry Coke boxcars and a Diet Coke tanker. A wonderful start to your modeling journey!

Buy this Hornby Coca-Cola train set here.

2. Kato N 101763 Ouigo 10-Car Passenger Set

If you want to go big when starting your model train collection, this Kato N scale train set is for you!

Despite only celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2023, Ouigo is already one of the most iconic train companies and services operating in Western Europe. Famed for their speed and efficiency, why not bring these features into your model train collection from day one?

This beautiful train set captures the spirit of Ouigo perfectly. It comes with two locomotives and eight passenger cars, all painted in bright blue with Ouigo’s trademark polka dot and branding. If you want to make Ouigo trains the primary service on your railroad, you can even create an up to 20-car train formation by using the supplied drawbar in conjunction with additional carriages!

3. Bachmann HO 00710 Durango And Silverton Train Set With E-Z Track

This HO scale train set is an excellent buy if a love of history started your interest in model railroading or will inform your choices as you grow your collection.

The iconic Durango and Silverton line has run continuously since 1881! While initially built as a mining line, today, the Durango and Silverton is a hugely popular tourist attraction offering an over five-hour historical and vintage experience all year round.

This Bachmann train set includes:

  • 2-8-0 locomotive and tender with operating headlight
  • Open excursion car
  • Old-time combine
  • Old-time coach
  • 47″ x 38″ oval of E-Z Track, including 12 pieces curved track, one piece straight track, and one plug-in terminal rerailer

All of these features make for the perfect model train starter set – and might also inspire you to build your own version of the Durango and Silverton’s landscape when you become a more experienced model railroader!

4. Bachmann N 24025 The Stallion Train Set, Norfolk Southern

If you’d like your first train set to be an unassuming yet stylish combination of locomotive and rolling stock powering around your new track, look no further than this Bachmann N scale train set!

An incredible start to any N scale collection, this iconic Norfolk Southern set includes:

  • F7-A diesel locomotive with an operating headlight
  • Gondola
  • Single-dome tank car
  • Wide-vision caboose
  • 24″ circle of snap-fit E-Z Track including 11 pieces curved track and one curved plug-in terminal rerailer

Another thing to consider when starting your collection is whether you’ll want to always have trains from the same railroad on your tracks. If you think you will, then Norfolk Southern is a great choice. We stock a fantastic range of locomotives and freight cars spanning the Transition and Modern railroad eras, so you’ll always have an incredible choice of buys when it’s time to expand your railroad and collection!

5. Bachmann HO 00501 Digital Commander Train Set Featuring E-Z Command Control Center

Rather than dedicating your entire collection to a single railroad, you may want to include items featuring as many iconic and historic American railroads as possible.

If that sounds like something you’d love, then this brilliant HO scale train set is the one for you.

It features two Santa Fe railroad locomotives, a Western Maryland Railway boxcar, a CSX hopper, and a Santa Fe (ATSF) caboose.

What’s more, this train set includes our easy-to-use E-Z Command system, allowing you to control the speed, direction, and lights on both locomotives as they power around your track. This stunning feature will come into its own as you expand your collection and turn your first train set and track into a living and breathing landscape.

Buy this Bachmann HO train set here.

6. Bachmann HO 01205 Amtrak Acela Express Set

The Amtrak Acela Express revolutionized train travel along our northeast coast, and this brilliant train set will undoubtedly revolutionize how you spend your spare time!

This officially licensed HO scale train set includes everything you need to get started with your very own express line, including a first-class passenger car, an end business class passenger car, and a Café Acela car along with an oval track.

The locomotive is DCC-equipped and features incredible detail, including working headlights, ditch lights, and operating doors. In addition, the passenger cars feature a tilting chassis, so your Acela Express can travel smoothly around your curves at high speeds.

7. Lionel O 2223060 Lionel Lines Mixed Freight LionChief Bluetooth 5.0 Set

When it comes to model railroading for beginners, Lionel products are always a superb choice. And this O-scale train set, which includes everything you need to get started while being equipped with the latest technological and digital features in model railroading, will make an incredible first train set for anyone.

This O scale train set is inspired by Lionel’s early train sets and gives you an iconic 4-4-2 steam locomotive and tender, a Timken boxcar, a Railway Express Agency flatcar with removable trailers, and a Lionel Lines caboose. The differing colors mean it’ll be easy to mix and match rolling stock as your collection grows, while the level of detail visible on the all-black locomotive is fantastic.

In addition, the locomotive features Lionel Voice Control and Voice Streaming & Recording for a truly unique and personalized model railroading experience.

How will you start your collection?

A train set is always a smart choice for kickstarting your model railroading journey.

In addition to these seven incredible sets, our entire range of train sets are packed full of fantastic buys for beginners, whether you’re buying for yourself or someone else.

Welcome to one of the most fun and engaging hobbies around!

Happy railroading!