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Garden Train StoreGarden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running well Best Choices for Beginning Garden Railroaders: a short list of things you're most likely to need when starting out
Large Scale Starter Sets: Begin with a train you'll be proud to run Bachmann Garden Trains: Narrow Gauge models designed to run well in your Garden Railroad
Large Scale Track order Form Buildings and accessories for outdoor railroading
Large Scale Christmas Trains: Trains with a holiday theme for garden or professional display railroads.Free Large Scale Signs and Graphics: Bring your railroad to life with street signs, business signs, and railroad signs
Garden Railroading Books, Magazines, and Videos: Where to go to learn even more
Collectible Trains and Villages: On30 Trains and accessories designed by Thomas Kinkade and others

Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains(tm) and Garden Train Store(tm)

Garden Trains are big rugged trains that can be run outside. Families all over the world have begun outdoor railroads, and the hobby is growing rapidly. Since 1998 our "parent" site, Family Garden Trains(tm), has been helping people start their own outdoor railroads by providing the information that beginning and intermediate garden railroaders are most likely to need. We have also answered over a thousand reader questions.

Some of those questions related to the best product for particular situations. Eventually it made sense to start a "buyers guide" that would help readers make the best choices for their own projects.

When choosing from the many products and suppliers available, we try to choose products that:

  • Beginning and intermediate garden railroaders are most likely to find useful.
  • Are available from multiple, suppliers, so you don't have to panic if one supplier runs out of stock on something we've recommended,
  • Are sturdy, reliable, and very useful, based on personal experience with the product, and
  • Can easily be used by anyone.

Garden Railroading Primer Articles We also provide you with more than just "a train in a box." Our sites, including the Family Garden Trains(tm) primer pages, have over a thousand free, professionally-written articles to help you save money, time, and headaches while planning, building, maintaining, and - above all - running your family's optimum garden railroad. To keep you from getting overwhelmed, our buyer's guide pages also link to specific articles that should help you make the best decisions at each stage of your involvement in the hobby.

If you're completely new to outdoor trains and you'd like a very quick summary of what it will take you to get started, our primer article "Go Outside and Run Your Trains" will give you some a pretty good idea in a very short time. For more details, we have many more introduction articles, as well as articles on planning, construction, plants, landscaping, wiring and lighting, model buildings, equipment maintenance, and many other topics. Plus we link to free articles by many other authors, to give you as many options as possible.

In other words, while we appreciate you using our buyer's guides, such as this one, our greatest reward is to keep building the hobby and hearing from readers we've helped.

Finally, if the storefront doesn't list something you would like to track down, or if our Primer articles don't provide information you need on a particular topic or product, please contact me and I'll help you if I can.

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.)

Update for September, 2017 - You may remember that there was a recession a few years back. Unfortunately that sort of thing has a delayed effect on the toy manufacturing cycle. Some of the manufacturers who were going strong just after the recession went away are somewhat "limping along" today. The good news is that LGB starter sets are available again and Piko seems to be going strong, but some of the other manufacturers haven't yet refreshed their stock for this year's holiday season.

Click to see a selection of Eggliners on Amazon.One delightful offering which is bound to sell out quickly is Bachmann's new "Eggliner." That's a reissue of AristoCraft's most beloved little locomotive. It's I have two of the old Aristo ones and they run like champs. Over the years, many garden railroaders collected one for each season; several clubs would have meets where all the members would bring their eggliners and run them together in one long train. Though very few locomotives that looked anything like these at all were ever built in the real world, they were extremely popular back during the peak of AristoCraft's popularity. I hope that this is a sign that some of the other Aristo molds and engineering have been saved, and that products based on them will become available again. However, Bachmann was clever to start with this one, and I don't think they'll be many sitting on the shelves for long.

That said, as we try to keep our catalog pages updated in advance of the holiday rush, we have discovered that several products that were widely available last year have all but disappeared this year. Knowing how many "garden railroads" actually start out as Christmas presents, I would recommend that you don't wait too long to pick up a product you think you would like to start with.

The catalog pages that you will probably find most helpful when you are first starting out are:

Best Choices for Beginning Garden Railroaders

Best Choices for Beginning Garden Railroaders
- This is probably your best single starting point. It contains a short, clear list of cost-effective starter sets, track pieces, and structures that will help you get a "jump start" on your Garden Railroad equipment.

Garden Train Starter Sets - The Starter Train page describes trains that make a good initial investment in the Large Scale/Garden Railroad hobby. They are reliable, cost-effective, and fun.

Buildings and Bridges for Garden Railroads

Buildings for Garden Railroads - Stations give your trains a reason to get from "point A" to "point B," while houses and other structures give your railroad a community to serve. These weather-resistant buildings and bridges are scaled to look good with any commercially-available garden train.

Large Scale Track order Form

Large Scale Track Order Form - The Track Order page lists most of the track pieces you will ever likely need by product number; this page also contains links to articles that describe all the various kinds of track you may choose from, and why some kinds may work better for you than others.

Garden Railroading Books, Videos, and Magazines

Garden Railroading Books, Videos, and Magazines - Garden Railroading was reinvigorated in the late 1980s by LGB's introduction of practical garden trains. Since then, many books and other materials have become available to help both new and experienced garden railroaders and Large Scalers. We have tried to link this page to the best resources.

Large Scale Christmas Trains - I believe that every Large Scale train looks as good around a Christmas tree as it does in the garden. But if you are looking for a train that says Christmas, this page will bring you to some attractive models that are accurate in everything but the Christmas paint colors and labeling.

Train Movies and Railroad Videos - Okay, technically, this isn't a garden train product, but several of our readers have been shopping for movies about trains, or for feature movies that feature trains, and so on. This page is new, but growing.

A Note about Pricing and Availability - Although I try to keep an eye on things and to recommend products that are reasonably available, the model train market fluctuates, especially in December, and any product in our buyer's guides may change price or become unavailable without prior notice. If you "click through" to see details on a product, and nothing happens at all, or you are routed to a supplier's home page, please let me know and I will remove the product from the online catalog until I can find a replacement or another supplier. For more detailed information about why products seem to come and go and why I have stopped listing prices for most products, please see my article "About Pricing and Availability."

Questions about Orders or Returns - Technically, we don't sell the trains in our buyers' guides. We review products we like and, when possible, provide links to vendors we trust. We can usually answer questions about the quality or size of the product, but we can't answer questions about orders or returns. If you have questions about an order you placed with one of our recommended suppliers, please check the links below:

  • If you ordered a Bachmann or AristoCraft product, please go to the general Order Tracking page.

  • If you ordered a Lionel product, the best place to start is on the Lionel Order Tracking page.

  • If you ordered a Hawthorne Village product, please find a copy of your order or invoice and go to the Bradford Exchange Contact Page or call the Bradford Exchange customer service phone number: 1-866-907-3607. In Canada, call 1-866-285-0932. (This used to be called "Collectibles Today," in case you wondered.)

    How To Help Our Site for Free: If you find our tips, explanations, and recommendations helpful when picking out a product, Please Bookmark This Page and come back through it when you're ready to order. It costs you nothing, and we never see who placed the order, so you don't have to worry about us pestering you with followup e-mails or some such. But it helps us know what pages you find useful, and it helps our advertisers know who to support.

    And that, in turn, helps us provide more useful resources. Thank you!

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Return to Family Garden Trains Home page Return to Big Indoor Trains Home page Garden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running well Big Indoor Trains Primer Articles: All about setting up and displaying indoor display trains and towns. Garden Train Store: Index to train, track, and other products for Garden RailroadingBig Christmas Trains: Directory of Large Scale and O Scale trains with holiday themes
On30 and O Gauge trains to go with indoor display villages and railroads

Note: Family Garden Trains?, Garden Train Store?, Big Christmas Trains?, BIG Indoor Trains?, and BIG Train Store? are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications ( All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
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Click to see new and vintage-style Lionel trains.
Click to see new and vintage-style Lionel trains