|Written by Paul D. Race for and|
For many people, nothing brings interest and nostalgia to a Christmas village like a moving train. Now Bachmann's O-scale trains that run on two rail (HO-gauge) track have made the combination easy, fun, and affordable. In spite of the Christmas paint jobs, these are not toys; they are detailed, accurate models of real trains that once ran in real cities in North America. Even better, Bachmann chose to model trains and streetcars that look like they belong with most Christmas village structures such as those from Lemax and Dept. 56. The trains on this page mostly are decorated with Christmas colors. However, Bachmann also makes On30 trains in other color schemes that you would enjoy running all year 'round.
For those without enough room to put a circle of track around their Christmas villages, Bachman has made a streetcar set that has a reverse mechanism, so your Christmas trolley can go back and forth automatically. Note: As of November 2006, these are in extremely short supply, so check them out soon if you're interested.
Update for 2010 - As of August, 2010, most On30 Christmas trains are out of stock at many stores. However I expect them to be back in stock in a few weeks. So I'm leaving the descriptions online for when they become available again. Please forgive any inconvenience this causes and check back later.
One new Bachmann On30 train that has just come in is available at Amazon. The Bachmann Trains Santa's Express Ready-to-Run On30 Scale Train Set uses the same locomotive as I show the blow-ups of on this page, and includes two freight cars and a passenger car instead of a caboose. It is a very nice set. I just haven't had my hands on one yet to take photos. Please click on the "check stock" button to the right for more information.
Note about Availability and Pricing: Although I try to keep an eye on things and to recommend products that are reasonably available, the model train market does fluctuate, and any product on this page may change price or become unavailable without prior notice. In fact, I've inadvertently caused a "rush" on several products just by listing them on these pages. (In fact, one train I listed about November 1, 2006 had become completely unavailable by November 20.) When I have access to more than one source, I have provided multiple supplier buttons to give you a better chance of getting the trains you want (as long as you don't wait until mid-December to make your choice, in which case all bets are off). For more detailed information about why model train products seem to come and go and why I have stopped listing prices in our "buyer's guides," please see my article "About Pricing and Availability."
Note about Suppliers: While we try to help you get the products you want by recommending suppliers with a good record of customer service, all transactions between you and the supplier you chose to provide your trains or other purchases are governed by the published policies on the supplier's web site. So please print off any order confirmation screens and save copies of invoices, etc., so you can contact the appropriate supplier should any problems occur. (They almost never do, but you want to be on the safe side.)
If you have any questions about any On30 train, collectible train, Large Scale train, or Christmas train, contact us and we'll try to help.
In the meantime, Happy Holidays! - Paul Race, Big Christmas Trains.
|Bachmann Northern Lights Limited - This Bachmann Christmas set was especially designed to look good with Christmas village buildings. (In fact, one version of this train, in black and dark red, was sold under the Dept. 56(tm) label.) That said, this train is also big enough to look good around your tree and great around your town. The set comes with a power supply and a loop of track. The engine is reliable, and the paint job and details are attractive.|
|You may notice a similarity between this train and the Hawthorne Village Subscription Trains. That's because all the designers start with the same basic kit, which they prize for its overall quality and reliability.
So even if you subscribe to a Hawthorne Village collectible series, there's a lot to be said for getting a whole, solid and charming train set (that you're not afraid to let the kids run) in one single box.
Note: In early 2007, I bought the predecessor to this train (North Pole Express) for a project. It was the first Bachmann On30 Christmas train I've owned for a while, and was very pleasantly surprised in a number of ways. This train had exceptionally sharp graphics, a flawless paint job, and other signs of close attention to detail. In other words, Bachmann's continuing commitment to quality improvement has made this a train that anyone would be pleased to own or display.
Update for January, 2008 In late 2007, the North Pole Express disappeared from the shelves and was replaced by the Northern Lights Limited; it seems to be identical to the train I own except for a few more color variations on the coaches. According to Bachmann's materials, the new version includes the ability to couple and uncouple the cars remotely for "operations."
Bachmann Jingle Bell Express - In late 2004, Bachmann also introduced a charming and reliable On30 Christmas Freight set, called the Jingle Bell Express. For details, pricing, or availability, please click on a "check stock" button.
|About Extra Track - The train sets on this page come with an oval of track that is about 38" x 56", although if you order a subscription train, you don't receive all of the track and power supply right away. To get a jump start on your railroad, or to make your railroad a little larger, you may easily add additional track. |
In addition you can easily convert any of the train sets on this page to remote control with the Crest Basic Train Engineer.
Bachmann Automated On30 Christmas Village Streetcar Set- Sadly, this set is in very short supply at the moment, and none of my suppliers have them in stock. (The last one who did went out of business in late 2008.) I'm leaving this description up, so you'll know what it is, in case it becomes available again. Bachmann's On30 Street Car set is our best-selling solution for Christmas villages that aren't big enough for a loop of track. The weathered "car barn" hides a reversing mechanism, so your trolley can deliver passengers from one end of your village (or your fireplace mantle) to the other automatically. The Bachmann streetcars are models of real streetcars that graced US towns and villages a century ago.
Note for late 2009: Unfortunately our only remaining supplier for this set went out of business in late 2008. Worse yet, Bachmann has either cut production of these sets off or has rolled it way back, so I can't find them anywhere in enough quantity to justify putting up a vendor link. If you would like help tracking one down, or if you'd like to be put on a list of people to be notified if I DO track some more down please contact us. In the meantime, this is a reminder of how fast a popular product can disappear from the store shelves, especially as we approach Christmas. Again, if you want any On30 train you see on our pages, please order early to avoid disappointment.
Note: To extend a "back-and-forth" railroad, you will need to use special track. (Regular HO track, even the EZ track that comes with the trains below, won't work, because of the extra wiring necessary to run the reversing mechanism.)
If you have questions about this, please contact me and I'll try to help you out.
Note: These sets have been bestsellers every year that we've been able to get them. This year we are using a supplier we don't usually use because all of our regular suppliers are out of stock and not likely to get any in between now and Christmas. In other words, if you are remotely interested in this set, don't wait too long to decide; the supply is definitely limited.
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