The Bachmann Chattanooga electric train set is named after the famous railway line in Tenessee, and it's an affordable all-in-one model train set that includes 155 pieces and some scenic extras.
Bachmann is a reliable brand of model train, though one that doesn't always make the cut for our ranking of the best electric train sets. However it still makes good-value sets that you might consider as a gift or treat.
Anna Burleson hails from South Dakota and worked as a writer and reviewer for a number of sites, including Top Ten Reviews. She tested the Bachmann Chattanooga alongside some younger testers, and has tested other electric train sets to compare it to.
Bachmann Chattanooga: Price
The Bachmann Chatanooga train got high marks from our testers and is equal parts toy and model train. It’s an HO gauge set, which means it’s the ideal size for both play and viewing.
While the manufacturer price is upwards of $250, you should be able to find this train for sale through secondary retailers online or in-store for about half that, and frequent deals make it even cheaper. This is great considering the quality and durability of train along with the multitude of accessories that come with it. The train station signs even say “Plasticville,” which is a great detail.
This train is suggested for users older than 13, but we feel the scale would still be appropriate for kids around age 10.
Bachmann Chattanooga: What's in the box?
You get 155 pieces in the package including a station, 48 figurines, 36 telephone poles and 48 railroad and street signs. You also get five train cars in addition to the engine, which is more than any other train we tested.
The 0-6-0 steam locomotive has an operating headlight, and the open quad hopper, single-dome tank car and caboose are all highly detailed. The box car even has a working sliding door.
The set itself includes 14 pieces of train track made with the E-Z Track system. This means you simply slide two pieces of track together and plastic S-shaped latches on the back lock into place.
Bachmann Chattanooga: Assembly
You can set up an oval track as large as 47 x 38 inches, which will feel smaller than the Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer’s 60 x 40-inch track. Still, it’s easy to make this set feel big with all of the included accessories, some of which are clearly meant to be painted if you so desire.
If you're not sure on the size of set you need, check out our guide on which model train size is best for you.
Our testers had a lot of fun running the train into the included figurines and building the snap-fit train station. Even though the set pieces are supposed to snap together, there are some pieces you’ll need to secure with glue as it’s so delicate and lightweight.
Bachmann Chattanooga: Performance
The train runs via a power pack you plug into the wall. Our testers thought it was really easy to use, but beware: the track will spark if the train’s wheels aren’t aligned correctly.
The dial had amazing response though, allowing us to speed up and slow down the train on a dime. The upside to this kind of power source is you’ll never have to replace any batteries.
Several testers noted this train runs smoothly, and even though it doesn’t have any audio components it was still a lot of fun to use. It can get up to 1.32 feet per second on the track and our testers gave it an A- for overall design and detail.
Another reason this train is a great value is its durability. Along with having an exquisitely detailed design and feeling like a quality piece of machinery in your hand, this train can take a beating. We dropped it off a table about 3 feet high a total of four times and only after the last drop did we notice the engine sounded more strained and high-pitched while running.
This train did much better than most we tested and earned an A. As one reviewer put it, this train is “fun for the whole family,” at an affordable price.