The problem with the Freightmaster isn’t that it’s an inherently bad train; it’s that our reviewers couldn’t stand how small it is. Its size makes it incredibly hard to get on the track, and most of our reviewers struggled. As one put it, “This is N scale. That’s N for no thank you.” It also comes with miniature props like a train station, telephone poles and railroad signs. These props are so small and so lightweight there’s no way to use them unless you glue them to a display.
All that being said, this isn’t technically a bad train. The details are beautiful, and the engine and cars are well built. You get 60 pieces total with the set, including all of the fragile miniatures and scenery pieces, so setting this up takes some time. The diesel locomotive has operating headlights and comes with a flat car, gondola, boxcar and caboose. There are 16 pieces of track in total you can use to build a 34 x 24-inch oval, but what we really loved was the E-Z Track system. Instead of struggling with rough pieces of plastic, the E-Z Track pieces slide together seamlessly as the S-shaped locking mechanism clicks into place. Just make sure the metal pieces on the track are connected properly or your train will derail when it hits them.
Let’s talk about accessories! This set really blew us away in that department. You get a freight station, 24 railroad and street signs, 12 telephone poles, and a myriad of other little tiny pieces you can use to not only build a train, but to build a world. This set is recommended for users aged 14 or older, and we’d have to agree with how finicky all of the parts are. The train also runs via a power pack you’ll need to plug in, and trains of this sort occasionally spark on the track if the wheels aren’t aligned. This isn’t ideal for youngsters or teenagers who lack patience.
Our reviewers struggled to get this train to run. One of our reviewers who got increasingly frustrated said, “This is more of a pain in the butt than it should be.” Some noted the couplings between cars were hard to work with and others couldn’t get the train’s wheels to align with the delicate track. Several testers really enjoyed the set’s flawless paint job and tiny details on the train, so it earned a C+ for design. When the train does run it has a functioning headlamp but lacks any moving parts, sounds or smoke. If you want something bigger and flashier, try the Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer. We also tested the locomotive’s durability by dropping it off a table several times, and as expected, this tiny model train didn’t do well and earned a C+. The wheels fell off after every single drop, and while we were able to pop them back on and make the train run, the delicate metal banister around the engine bent to oblivion and the decorative casing that makes the entire unit look like a train popped clean off the base after the third drop.
Despite this train’s delicate build and finicky track, some of our testers really liked it. Once on the track, this train can travel up to 1.69 feet per second, making it the third-fastest of the sets we tested. The power pack dial is really responsive and allows you to speed up or slow down the train very quickly. The power pack also means you don’t have to mess with batteries, which is convenient. If you’ve got patience, this train would be hours of fun.