Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Digital Command Control (DCC) trains are constantly gaining popularity among model railway enthusiasts, and the Bachmann Digital Commander set is a great way to get started in that realm.
With DCC you get the ability to direct multiple trains with one controller right out of the box. One of the standout features about this set is you get to experiment with that capability right away because there are two locomotives. This controller can operate up to 10 trains, and having the two to start is a good way to learn about how all of that works. You can learn to do some simple programming to link the power of each train to a button on the control center. The controller is compatible with DCC-capable locomotives from other manufacturers too so that offers a lot of flexibility as you expand.
Both locomotives offer operating headlights and both are modeled after Santa Fe line originals. Aside from the two locomotives you get two freight cars and a caboose. Bachmann suggests a minimum age of 14 for this set but we think younger children with a little supervision also would enjoy it very much.
Bachmann's E-Z track system really does make it easy to assemble. An included roadbed supports painted ties and a nickel silver rail. It looks sharp and snaps together snugly in minutes. You should not have to tack this down to anything and it forms a sturdy track on multiple surfaces, even carpeting. The 18 pieces of included track will not seem like a lot, especially with two locomotives using it at the same time. The manual turnout will free up some space but you will probably still want to buy more track pretty early on. That will not be hard to find. This is an HO-scale train, the most common size, so you will be able to find just about anything to add to this set easily.
This is perhaps not the set for someone who has a strong interest in the creative side of this hobby. There are not many included accessories and the details on the train are not spectacular, but you can always craft your own scenery. That might be more fun anyway.
Bachmann offers good quality customer support. This train comes with an instructional manual and DVD, and there are easy ways to contact them if you have questions not covered in those. The website also is well-organized and user-friendly.
The Bachmann Digital Commander set puts less emphasis on some of the artistic aspects of the hobby. There is not a ton of detailing on the locomotives or anything else, and there are few accessories. This set really appeals more to the technical side of the hobby with its DCC controller, and that will be great for certain aspiring model railroading hobbyists. The inclusion of the second locomotive is a wise addition. It helps show off the capabilities of a DCC system. This is an ideal model railroad for beginners with lots of potential for expansion.