S Gauge Trains

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by 59_LesPaul, Aug 26, 2006.

  1. 59_LesPaul

    59_LesPaul New Member

    :wave: I am looking to start a hobbie that I use to be into when I was a kid. My first set of trains were Lionel back in the early sixties. My question is this What are the best S gauge trains to purchase? Also Is S gauge the most realistic gauge for trains to go with?

    I have been looking at American Flyer, Walters, I would like to get all original American Flyer from AC Gilbert if possible and in NM to mint condition.

    Any advise or help would be appriciated. Thanks

  2. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Welcome Bobby,

    An interesting question. American Flyer is now made by Lionel. Two other companies make AF compatible equipment and scale versions. AF is more realistic than Lionel 3-Rail O27 trains. If you want scale sized couplers and wheels while still in S two companies to look into are American Models SHS Showcase Line. American Models has a bigger selection of engine types to choose from. SHS has better detail but fewer types of engines and cars. For the most part, AM and SHS don’t overlap. Lionel is slowly expanding their AF line of equipment. They have introduced a few new items but their S line is really second fiddle to their O gauge and Standard O line of trains. That is ready to run trains. There are some small manufacturers who are selling some very nice kits in S scale. For the most part those will be scale models. If you want heft you might look into On30 from Bachmann. Bachmann has several steam engines and a growing selection of cars. The starter sets use HO track but the trains are O scale narrow gauge models.

    The link to American Models:

    The link to SHS Showcase Line:

    Hope this helps,
    Greg Elems
  3. 59_LesPaul

    59_LesPaul New Member

    Hi Greg,

    Thanks for your reply, Before starting this hobby the era in time that I am looking to create is an early 50's to mid 60's look. The engines must be from that time even the passenger cars as well to match. Plus engines to match the frieght lines in that time era to..

    I'm a man that likes original, vintage, goldenage, silverage collectibles. Money is not the object when it comes into investment. Can you tell me if S Gauge is the best when it cmes to realium and scenes looking realistic as well as trains. Do they or can you find prewar S gauge original A.C Gilbert American Flyer model trains out there.

    Greg I guess what I'm saying here is What are the very best S gauge model trains made today? Also they best gauge or scale to work with and collect when it comes to being the most realistic in looks, detail, craftmanship, etc..and to invest in.

    I only want the best of the best to choose from the reason being is because I have a room of 40'x50' where I am looking to build a beautiful plan. IN this vision of mine it will have beautiful bridges, mountains, tunnels running water falls, shopping plazas cars, people, towers, buildings ,I meen the works with Train yards, switches, just about everything you could imagine. But before this can get created and come together I need to know that S gauige is the best gauge to go with when it comes to realisum in trains, scenery, detail, craftmanship, etc...and in the end worth the investment so it grows as well.

    Greg, I have an original 59 Les Paul, I also own a reissue 59 Les Paul one is $375,000 if I sold it tomorrow, the other would sell for $7500 if sold tomorrow. My point is I like the real deal not reproduction. Hope you can help me with this matter. Thanks

  4. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Hi Bobby,

    I see where you are aiming. If you want vintage AC Gilbert S gauge trains then I'd join one of the collectors groups. Both of these are national. The TCA (Train Collectors Association) will have big meet this October called the York Meet. They do allow non members to participate on Saturday and maybe Sunday. TTOS (Toy Train Operating Society) has meets monthly with-in the divisions and twice a yr on the east and west coast meets called Cal Stuart. TTOS is easier to join; TCA needs two members to refer you IIRC.

    Take a look at the two links I posted. Both have engines and cars that will fit your time frame. They are not knock off AF equipment but are compatible with AF transformers and engines. Both sell track that looks very good and AF will run on.

    There are three other sources of track. One is Gargraves and is available fairly easy. http://www.gargraves.com
    A second one which has been around maybe 5 yrs or so and looks good is American-S-Gauge http://www.classictrains.com
    The third is K-Line, which sold track like the original AF sectional track. K-Line was leased or licensed by Lionel to sell their products. Long story on that and better told at another time or thread.

    I'll give more thought to your reasons and aims. Lots to consider and think about.

    Also give this web page a once over, it should help answer some questions.

  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    It seems like you have two radically different goals: to collect vintage models, and to build a realistic layout.
    I'm not a collector, so I won't feign knowledge of that. For realism... that's more an issue of the modeller's skill and the quality of the models they're using than the scale. Larger scales like S offer some advantage, but not consistently so.
  6. swinging_meat

    swinging_meat New Member

    While I am new to the gauge, i'm no stranger to modeling. S is really a scratchbuilder scale now and costs no small amount in time and money to pursue. Here is a Santa Fe F7 abb set I have modeled from brass using only commercial trucks, couplers, and detail parts. I have about 6 months of free time in each plus about $150 in materials. Pete

    Attached Files:

  7. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Pete,:thumb:
    I hope you're a butcher!!
  8. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    I personally build with HO, and it seems the realism is, well, pretty realistic. HO is 1:87, and I believe S is 1:64. Obviously, the larger scale could be made to look more realistic with the finer details. I have a lot of Ertl Farm Country stuff, and I know people have made layouts simply of a farm, no trains in sight.
  9. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Pete, sure would like to see those F units you built. I'm a big F unit fan, and most of my S scale engines are f units.

    S scale isn't just a scratch builder’s scale. SHS has beautiful F units including the Santa Fe silver and red War Bonnet scheme. AM has a pretty nice FP-7 and F-7 b unit, along Alco FA/B-2’s. Granted the variety isn't the same as HO or O but there is a good choice out there to get started with. There are also a couple of producers of kits that have recently joined in the S market. There are others kits out there from yrs back and still offering them. There are on going brass projects which have produced some nice steam engines and even UP's gas turbine. While any scale can have scratch built items, S isn't just American Flyer tin plate or scratch building.

    Greg Elems
  10. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    Any pictures of this turbine you speak of? Model or proto?
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Bobby: American Flyer S gauge has a limited production period: 1946 to early 1960s. Before the war, they used some of the same bodies on O gauge wheels, so pre-war S gauge didn't exist.
  12. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Yes there is, I'll have to look for my links and post them.

  13. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    All right then, here is the link I was thinking of.


    Sweet machine, saw one run in San Jose durning the last O Scale West meet.

    Greg Elems
  14. viperman

    viperman Active Member

    Thats a cool loco. I wonder if any have been built in ho
  15. 59_LesPaul

    59_LesPaul New Member

  16. 59_LesPaul

    59_LesPaul New Member

    THank you for that information-I appriciate it now knowing that pre-war S gauge did'nt exist. I'm looking into SHS and American Model to start my S gauge collection and grow from there. I decided to go with S gauge because from what I have seen it is the most realistic, not to mention detail and craftmanship. Although HO is another fine choice it is too small a scale where S gauge is in between O and HO sitting just right giving in the end a beautiful display. My setup will be built in a room 40x35 with probably 6 to 8 lanes of track. Thanks

  17. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    There was a small amount of pre-war S production -- but not much -- I think it was all scale. A Cleveland hobby shop started producing what they called C-D gauge. When other manufacturers balked at advertising a competitor, Al Kalmbach suggested S for three-Sixteenths, one-Sixty-fourth and Seven-eighths. American Flyer used the war hiatus to change gauges because their locos had always been small on O gauge track. They then became the biggest player in S, although there were also a lot of scale manufacturers.
    RMC has a page of S scale advertisers in most issues.
  18. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi all:
    The National Association of S-Gaugers, NASG, has a listing of manufacturers on their web site. This is their links page: http://www.nasg.org/links.html. There are a number of good suppliers in S that don't really have web sites. Lehigh Valley Models comes immediately to mind. TAke a little time to cruise the web and see what's up. Pick up a copy of Walther's S catalog.

  19. AFlyerGal

    AFlyerGal New Member

    I'm confused.....I am looking at a pre-war Gilbert American Flyer, which was given to my father in the 1930s...i think they exist.. it is true standard gauge????
  20. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    The pre-war Gilbert set I saw was made to run on O gauge 3-rail track. It had rollers between the drivers for power pick up. I don't remember exactly what the post war steamers looked like when they were made for 2-rail S guage but there weren't rollers between the drivers. Maybe TR-Flyer can help here.

    Greg Elems

Share This Page