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Questions on S Scale

Now that MTH has announced they will be going into S scale I am considering selling most of my equipment and going over to S scale. A little information about me: I like scale models but I’m not a rivet counter. I have no interest in AF or postwar S scale. I like steam and my preferred CC system is DCC. The main reason I am thinking about leaving O scale is the cost seems to be pricing me out of the market. Not just locomotives and cars but track especially. Atlas O 2 rail track and turnouts are prohibitively expensive and the alternates are not much cheaper. At the current rate of rising prices what I will I be able to afford in 10 years?


The things I like about S scale are (not in any particular order), it would seem to be cheaper for locomotives and rolling stock, it takes up less space, scale sized vehicles are easily and readily available at very low cost, in S scale you don’t have to convert from 3 rail to 2 rail, and S scale would seem to be the perfect size for model trains—it has some of the heft of O scale and some of the space savings of HO scale.


The things I don’t like about S scale are track seems to cost almost as much as O scale track, not a large variety of steam locomotives available, not a large variety of structures, not a large variety of passenger cars and some brass may cost even more than O scale brass.


For the two above paragraphs my perceptions may be off because I don’t know a lot about S so please correct anything I say that is inaccurate.


The biggest thing that is holding me back is that over the last 14 years I have a lot of $$$$ invested in O scale (both 3 rail and 2 rail but I won’t sell most of my 3 rail stuff). I realize I will take a serious hit if I sell out.


Here are my questions:


#1)Are turntables and transfer tables available in S scale?


#2)Are there any S scale companies that make “Atlas like” rolling stock and Passenger cars?


#3)What about couplers? I don’t care at all for the Lionel/AF bear claws. Do other companies have good working more scale like couplers?


#4)I’ve always wanted a scale Trainmaster but don’t have one because I don’t like most of the Trainmasters that were done in O scale. I know these were done very well in S scale but what about other diesels? Are E7, E8, Fs, FAs, PAs, and GP7-9s done well in S scale?


#5) Does anyone make Atlas like flex track for S scale? How about roadbed?


#6) What are the predominant minimum radii for running scale steam equipment in S? In O this is O72 for 3 rail and either 56" or 72" radius for 2 rail.


I saw the thread about the drive system China drive vs. horizontal drive and not to get into a debate I think the China drives are great for museum type operation where the trains run fast and for many hrs but for a hobbyist like myself I much prefer the horizontal motor which usually has smoother start up speeds. Does Lionel use the China drive system in their S scale diesels? If not, I doubt that MTH will either but I have no official information this is just my opinion.


BTW, back in the mid-90s for a time S Helper Service was located in New Brunswick,NJ and many times I delivered their mail. One time the gentleman was home and I mentioned that I liked trains so he took me in the garage and showed a small test layout and many brand new boxes of S scale trains. Oh, how I wish he would have talked me into S scale back then! I would practically be on easy street now!


This is a tough decision and I am going to take my time making it. Thanks in advance for any help or advice.



Last edited by Hudson J1e
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