Well I had this very long dissertation on how I came to buy my new Athearn BNSF Freight set, but for some unknown reason it disappeared on me. I hate when that happens. Anyway, I am new to this hobby but I'd like to add my 2C to this forum, so here goes. Several weeks ago I bought this set at a train store (NOT a hobby shop, but a real train store), in Fresno. The store was chaos at it's very best, with trains, magazines and spare parts scattered all over the place. You couldn't find any open counter space for all the debri laying about. I immediately fell in love with the place. The owner (a strange, but likeable guy), suggested Athearn with Kato UniTrack on the side. I took his advice after reading negative stuff about Bachmann EZ Trac. Anyway, I set the train up inside my old Lionel O set around our Christmas tree and it all looks great. It runs great too, right out of the box. It's very quiet and the throttle response is smooth and linear and the train starts moving at around 35% throttle. It will run just as smooth at very slow speeds as it does at high spreed. Turns in the oval do not seem to slow the train down much at all. Converse to that, the Lionel will lose over 50% of it's speed in the turns. I have it set up on carpet (I was told it wouldn't work on carpet do to track flex and subsequent derailments), with absolutely no operational problems. The train probably has around 50 hours on it now. I'm very happy with this train and I plan to do a 6 spur layout this coming year in either HO or N, building a San Joaquin Valley, Southern Pacific scheme. It will most likely be Athearn locos and rolling stock.