Sounds like a great idea. One idea you might consider- LGB made an "Americanized" 0-4-0 based on the Stainz motor block. It was used in quite a few starter sets over here. I'm not sure how common they are in Europe, but they look good (even though they are not true to any US prototype) and are relatively bulletproof (which Bachmann stuff isn't). This is the model I used for my kitbashed conversion I posted here a while back.
There is also a stand-alone version with a matching powered tender, available in US (LGB 2017) and German (LGB 2015) versions. The powered tender was also sold separately. These all show up on eBay regularly. The powered tender generally commands a higher price than the Loco itself.
BTW, Casey Jones drove a ten wheeler (4-6-0) to his demise.
"It is one of the happiest characteristics
of this glorious country that official utterances are invariably
regarded as unanswerable."
-Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty (HMS Pinafore)