A Model Train Beginners First Train Set

model trains for beginners

A question that I am asked A LOT is by beginners is

“What train set would you recommend as a good start for my first layout?”

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been into model railroading for more than 30 years now, so it’s been a while since I’ve bought a “starter” train set. 

However, what I would suggest to anyone looking to get the hobby to go straight into DCC (Digital Command Control) rather than DC (Direct Current) – for more information about DCC have a look here.

Another suggestion would be is not to be over ambitious with your first layout, Many of the amazing layouts that you see which take up whole rooms started out as a simple 4 x 8 layout which just grow overtime, usually due to a modelers confidence in creating layouts.

Anyway, I’ve asked around some of the members in the Insiders Club who have started on their layouts within the last year what their recommendations are for a beginners first train set.


For modelers in the US the train set recommended for beginners most was the Bachmann Trains Digital Commander Ready – To – Run DCc – Equipped Ho Train Set


This set comes with everything that a beginner could need to get started: 2 DCC trains, an EZ command DCC controller and the track is Bachmanns own EZ track (EZ track is essentially track that is already fitted to a roadbed)

While this set only comes with a loop of track, EZ track is available in extension packs to help you increas the scale and complexity of your layout.

Bachmann Digital Commander trains sets on Ebay


For modellers in the UK and Australia the highest recomended train set for a beginner was the Hornby R1126 Mixed Freight 00 Gauge Digital (DCC) Train Set

This set includes 2 DCC trains, a loop of track with a siding, and a Hornby Select Digital Control.

As with the Bachmann set, Hornby also sells additional expansion packs, making it easier to expand your layout.

Hornby Digital Train Sets on Ebay (UK)

Hornby Digital Train Sets on EBay (AUS)


I’m hoping to add to this list of recommended trains, but I’ll need your help to do it.

If you know of a good train set that you would recommend to a beginner in the hobby then let me know in the comments or contact me.

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Dan Morgan

Dan Morgan fell in love with model trains at the age of six when he visited an NMRA Convention in Seattle with his father. Forty two years later, his passion remains just as strong. After achieving a successful career in architecture, Dan’s particular interest is within layouts and buildings. With a wealth of knowledge on the subject, Dan loves nothing more than sharing this with others and is delighted in the forum of members who are brought together over the hobby they have in common. Dan lives with his wife Helen in Washington. As a professional painter, Helen has learnt through Dan about Model Trains and they now enjoy working on projects together. The only member of the family who isn’t allowed to join in is their over-enthusiastic Labrador called William who has been strictly banned from the workshop! You can find Dan on Google here!


Leave A Reply (4 comments So Far)

  1. Bruce Oliver
    5 years ago


    The answer is fairly simple, any train of any gauge. I am a Lionel O gauger for the past 60+ years that has recently gotten back into trains pretty heavy. One of the things I have found out, when talking about my hobby is that most kids don’t know about trains. Lets bring back the popularity of trains of the 1950’s. I try to find inexpensive old or new starter sets on ebay and give it to a young child that dosen’t have the means of getting one for themself as a way to introduce them to trains. I


  2. Richard ( Puff) Reading
    5 years ago

    Hi everyone, I am a total beginner, but after reading many many web sites about starting a model railway from scratch, I totally agree with Dan, Patience Patience Patience is definitely required. I am lucky that I have a room I can use, but even so my biggest layout will have to be 10ftx 4ft, or 3mx 1.2m.
    I thought I would go HO but this would not fit the layout I have designed that is based on the Clacton-on-sea station, sidings, and car sheds in the UK. So with limited space and the layout that I want, I have decided to go N scale, then if there is any room left after my layout is done, I can still add something else.
    I really do think it depends on the maximum area you have available, but I do reiterate do your homework first, then Patience as you proceed.
    I hope this will be able to help someone. Richard ( Puff)

  3. Dale
    5 years ago

    What about a Kato set for N scale? M1 + V1 + V3 kits.

  4. Anghelo
    1 year ago

    thanks ,see some of my newer vids ,as this is a old vid of its templary place, badros have now been put up and track has been laid

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model trains for beginners