American Flyer questions

I have small (5'x10') layout. Two levels with three independent loops and run post war Lionel and command. I have thought about American Flyer pre/post war. I know prewar ran on three rail track and postwar on two rail. Can I run prewar on my present track or is the guage different. Also what curve radius minimum. Not familiar with Flyer.

Ralph
Original Post

Prewar Flyer 0 will run on Lionel track just fine.  The Gilbert 0 track radius is the same as the postwar S radius. You can still find AF prewar 0 track on ebay or you could also use Lionel 042 track.  Some guys get away with running the 3/16ths prewar stuff on normal Lionel 031 track but I've not always had good luck with that.  Depends on the loco.  I don't think the K5, Hudson, or the Challenger 4-8-4 like the 031 very much.  Just my opinion though.  Below are my 559 K5 and 531 Hudson both in 0.

15723440_569839616555659_7262642136573979836_o

Dennis Holler If its old and broke, I like it

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Maybe I should have asked you to clarify... Prewar 0 gauge does not equal postwar S in gauge. However, with the exception of the track gauge, the prewar 3/16ths 0 trains are dimensionally the same as the postwar 3/16ths trains. 

Dennis Holler If its old and broke, I like it

That's what I'm wondering. Postwar is two rail and would require different track than I have. My layout is also gargrave track. Also I have no switches to deal with. So, I can run prewar on my present layout but need different guage for postwar. Correct?

Ralph

Yes, if you have 0 gauge three rail track currently, you should be able to run some, most, or all of the prewar AF 0 gauge depending on the size of your curves.  If you want to run postwar S AF, then of course, you need different track, ie S two rail track.

Dennis Holler If its old and broke, I like it

Well, I think the larger AF S locos will need the larger radius although that is mostly based on experience trying to get the prewar AF 0 to run on Lionel 031 curves.  You may be able to get away with it using 036.  You would have to check, but American models or another of the recent S mfrs may have made 036 track, but I really do not know.  Worth a check though.  I'm guessing you want to end up with a loop of 0 and a loop of S?  Do some track homework, there are some options out there that should let you come up with a combination that you like.

Dennis Holler If its old and broke, I like it

radar493 posted:

I have small (5'x10') layout. Two levels with three independent loops and run post war Lionel and command. I have thought about American Flyer pre/post war. I know prewar ran on three rail track and postwar on two rail. Can I run prewar on my present track or is the guage different. Also what curve radius minimum. Not familiar with Flyer.

To amplify upon what Dennis has related to you, prewar Gilbert Flyer (3/16" scale O gauge) generally requires Lionel O-42 minimum to operate well. Gilbert Flyer was designed to run on Flyer "O-40". Another important caution is that any prewar Gilbert Flyer fitted with the die cast latch-type (i.e., "link") coupler will short on Lionel turnouts because of the frog design. If you plan to incorporate any switches in your route(s), you will have to use the prewar Flyer open frog design. These will work beautifully with the Gilbert Flyer, but their design and dependability are a bit on the nasty side. Generally, the Lionel crowd just punts and runs prewar Gilbert on 3-rail O gauge loops with no switches.

Hope this helps. Have fun!

Bob

Bob Bubeck posted:
radar493 posted:

I have small (5'x10') layout. Two levels with three independent loops and run post war Lionel and command. I have thought about American Flyer pre/post war. I know prewar ran on three rail track and postwar on two rail. Can I run prewar on my present track or is the guage different. Also what curve radius minimum. Not familiar with Flyer.

To amplify upon what Dennis has related to you, prewar Gilbert Flyer (3/16" scale O gauge) generally requires Lionel O-42 minimum to operate well. Gilbert Flyer was designed to run on Flyer "O-40". Another important caution is that any prewar Gilbert Flyer fitted with the die cast latch-type (i.e., "link") coupler will short on Lionel turnouts because of the frog design. If you plan to incorporate any switches in your route(s), you will have to use the prewar Flyer open frog design. These will work beautifully with the Gilbert Flyer, but their design and dependability are a bit on the nasty side. Generally, the Lionel crowd just punts and runs prewar Gilbert on 3-rail O gauge loops with no switches.

Hope this helps. Have fun!

Bob

Thanks, Bob. Yes I would intend to run with no switches.

Ralph

In the world of 2 rail S gauge American Flyer the track is referenced by it's radius. (except in the new Lionel/AF catalogs which refer to S36 which has no meaning at all).

So the standard AF track such as the original postwar Gilbert track is referred to as r20 meaning a circle of track has a 20" radius. This available at train shows, etc.

American Models offers S gauge track in 3 radii...r21, r24, r27

MTH offers 3 radii also in a molded roadbed track....r20, r25, r30. This track is also still available on the secondary market from the old S-Helper-Service line.

Lionel offers AF Fastrack in 2 radii...r20 and r27.

Fox Valley Models offers S track.

Gargraves offers S gauge track in 4 diameters...42, 54, 63, 72

There may be other manufacturers out there but that's all I can think of.

Mark

I recently discovered the world of American Flyer 3/16 O gauge. I was an S gauge guy most of my life but also loved Lionel Standard and O. I run my Gilbert American Flyer O on Lionel O31 track without any issues. That includes my Northern. Of course, the larger the radius the better running and better looking it is. If you want to try Gilbert O and not spend a fortune, run it on your O42, then you have no expenses and time lost ripping out track and obtaining then installing the S track.

American Flyer O comes in a variety of looks and styles. That is why I never got into it as I thought it to be ugly myself. I knew that Gilbert purchased Chicago Flyer in 1938 and started to morph some of the engines into better looking models. I did not realize they made a full line in the 3/16 scale until recently. In my opinion, its the best looking and running pre-war O gauge out there aside from Lionel's scale and semi-scale products. Gilbert then switched out the chassis and trucks during the war break to change his line to 3/16 S gauge.

The hardest thing is going to be finding nice clean complete undamaged equipment. Many of the Gilbert 3/16 cast products have been lost due to zinc pest. Its a shame too as they are nice models. Finding complete K5 or Atlantic loco's should not be too hard, but the Hudson, I've not seen complete yet, and the Northern shows up, but the tenders are gone. If you like the thrill of the hunt then this may appeal to you. Early passenger and freight cars that were die cast are exceedingly scarce due to the zinc pest. However the tin bodied cars can be located fairly easy.

Tin

Thanks, Tin for the info. I agree the simplest approach track wise would be to look at prewar Flyer and run on the track I have now. There is the possibility I could extend my upper level to accommodate a r20 at both ends also. Thanks again. Ralph

Ralph
banjoflyer posted:

 

MTH offers 3 radii also in a molded roadbed track....r20, r25, r30. This track is also still available on the secondary market from the old S-Helper-Service line.

Lionel offers AF Fastrack in 2 radii...r20 and r27.

 

Hi,

I am new in S-scale (1/64) and wanted to ask few stupit questions:

For starting my layout I bought few S-Helper tracks and few MTH S-Trax, which are probably the same. But are they compatible with Lionel's AF FasTrack ? Can I use vintage Gilbert's AF hi-rail rolling stock mixed together with scale rolling stock on S-Trax ?

When looking at the rolling stock, are the MTH couplers compatible with American Models couplers? When I have TMCC and DCS in my existing 3-rail O gauge collection, can I control remotely the coupling/uncoupling of S-scale engines with those command control systems? I assume TMCC would be for Lionel AF engines, DCS for MTH S-gauge engines and American Models engines would be manually without any coupler control just analog. Or is it better to replace all the couplers with Kadee's prototypical and mechanical couplers (#802 or #808)?

Thanks.

BetaNuSigmaPhi

BetaNuSigmaPhi posted:
 

 

Hi,

I am new in S-scale (1/64) and wanted to ask few stupid questions:

There are no stupid questions. Unasked you get no answers.

For starting my layout I bought few S-Helper tracks and few MTH S-Trax, which are probably the same.

Yes they are

But are they compatible with Lionel's AF FasTrack ?

Sort of. You need to do a bit of "surgery" on the Fastrack to join the two brands. See this post. 

Can I use vintage Gilbert's AF hi-rail rolling stock mixed together with scale rolling stock on S-Trax ? 

Yes. 

When looking at the rolling stock, are the MTH couplers compatible with American Models couplers?

Yes.

When I have TMCC and DCS in my existing 3-rail O gauge collection, can I control remotely the coupling/uncoupling of S-scale engines with those command control systems?

If the engines are equipped with coil couplers and the operating system you are using then the answer is yes.

I assume TMCC would be for Lionel AF engines, DCS for MTH S-gauge engines and American Models engines would be manually without any coupler control just analog. 

Correct.

Or is it better to replace all the couplers with Kadee's prototypical and mechanical couplers (#802 or #808)? That is just a matter of preference. Some prefer the more prototypical size of the Kadee couplers vs. the large "claw" couplers

Thanks.

Mark

BetaNuSigmaPhi posted:
banjoflyer posted:

 

MTH offers 3 radii also in a molded roadbed track....r20, r25, r30. This track is also still available on the secondary market from the old S-Helper-Service line.

Lionel offers AF Fastrack in 2 radii...r20 and r27.

 

Hi,

I am new in S-scale (1/64) and wanted to ask few stupit questions:

First of all, there's no such thing.  Only a question never asked, because then you'll never have the answer!

For starting my layout I bought few S-Helper tracks and few MTH S-Trax, which are probably the same.

Yes, they are.

But are they compatible with Lionel's AF FasTrack ?

Only with a bit of modification.  The rail height is the same, and roadbed also.  But their respective mating isn't.  With a bit of cutting, they're compatible.

Can I use vintage Gilbert's AF hi-rail rolling stock mixed together with scale rolling stock on S-Trax ?

Gilbert rolling stock has larger flanged wheels.  Scale rolling stock has much smaller flanges.  However, since the gauging is the same, they can roll on the S-Trax equally well.  It's the turnouts (switches) that may be a problem.

When looking at the rolling stock, are the MTH couplers compatible with American Models couplers?

As long as both pieces of rolling stock have the "Flyer compatible" sized couplers, they will play nicely with each other.  Scale sized couplers are much smaller and are closer to HO size.  There are couplers that are smaller than the Gilbert ones that are compatible with each other.  American Models has a dummy coupler that works, as will as Kadee's couplers for S and Sergant's couplers.  HO size, in ger=neral, will be compatible with these.

When I have TMCC and DCS in my existing 3-rail O gauge collection, can I control remotely the coupling/uncoupling of S-scale engines with those command control systems?

Yes, but only those S locomotives equipped with that feature.  Include Legacy in that list.  Generally, S hasn't had that in theirs until recently.  Even so, the lower priced ones don't.  However, the Flyer Chief ones recently released have that feature. 

I assume TMCC would be for Lionel AF engines, DCS for MTH S-gauge engines and American Models engines would be manually without any coupler control just analog. 

Correct.

Or is it better to replace all the couplers with Kadee's prototypical and mechanical couplers (#802 or #808)?

That's a choice you'll have to make if you go with the smaller, more scale sized ones.  I prefer manual uncoupling.  I guess that's what a brakeman is for...

If any of my advice is "off the rails" (pun intended), I'm sure others will correct it. 

Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

banjoflyer posted:

Hey!! Is there an echo in here?......here?.....here?....here?...here?..here?.here?  

Mark

No echo.  Just that great minds tend to either think alike, or are in the same gutter...  It took me so long to answer, that by that time you, speedy guy, already did! I just hope the BNΣΦ gets his S trains running like he wants!

 

 

poniaj posted:
banjoflyer posted:

Hey!! Is there an echo in here?......here?.....here?....here?...here?..here?.here?  

Mark

No echo.  Just that great minds tend to either think alike, or are in the same gutter...  It took me so long to answer, that by that time you, speedy guy, already did! I just hope the BNΣΦ gets his S trains running like he wants!

Thanks a lot, Mark and Jerry, for your quick responses and extremely informative replies.

Your echo is like the sound of music or better...like the noise of a diesel engine!

Yesterday I received my first package from AM, which contained a FM Trainmaster engine, two tank cars and some spare parts, all with scale wheels equipped. I am now proud of my very first S-scale rolling stock. Some of the delivered extra spare parts are the massive AF-compatible couplers and the tiny Kadee-compatible couplers. When comparing S-Trax vs. FasTrack, I like more the visual appearance of MTH's trackbed, but I guess everyone has a different taste.

In parallel I have started my own scratch-building projects in 1/64, where I combine various techniques, such as coated tinplate and 3D-printing. One example are my heater cars, which I made before for 3-rail O-gauge and now am repeating the same procedure in S scale for many roadnames. At the moment I will put hi-rail wheels, because I don't have any spare scale wheelset. If someone is interested, just let me know.

BetaNuSigmaPhi

radar493 posted:

No problem here but this op was hijacked. Guess my post title was too general too begin with.

Happens all the time here...one minute your talking about track radii and the next thing you know your commenting on sassafras canoe paddles.

Now that you mention it I once had a canoe made entirely out of sassafras and...oops See? 

Mark

Hi again,

I made some progress with my 1/64 activities (mainly analog operation, scale wheels and scale couplers), which I will describe later in detail.

Because I scratch-build also rolling stock equipped with hi-rail wheels and classic couplers, now my questions to the AF experts:

I tested hi-rail wheels on S-Helper tracks / MTH S-Trax but didn't roll well. Probably wheel flanges and rail profile don't match. Is the same problem with hi-rail wheels on Lionel AF FasTrack?

Is it better to use hi-rail wheels on Gargraves tubular track?

 

BetaNuSigmaPhi

BetaNuSigmaPhi posted:

Hi again,

I made some progress with my 1/64 activities (mainly analog operation, scale wheels and scale couplers), which I will describe later in detail.

Because I scratch-build also rolling stock equipped with hi-rail wheels and classic couplers, now my questions to the AF experts:

I tested hi-rail wheels on S-Helper tracks / MTH S-Trax but didn't roll well. Probably wheel flanges and rail profile don't match. Is the same problem with hi-rail wheels on Lionel AF FasTrack?

Is it better to use hi-rail wheels on Gargraves tubular track?

 

MTH/SHS S-Trax and Lionel AF FasTrack are virtually identical.

I occasionally throw down some S-Trax to run my Hirail and Flyer stuff.  I haven't had any problems except for when the occasional AF wheelset was too close back-to-back.

Rusty

BetaNuSigmaPhi posted:

Hi again,

I made some progress with my 1/64 activities (mainly analog operation, scale wheels and scale couplers), which I will describe later in detail.

Because I scratch-build also rolling stock equipped with hi-rail wheels and classic couplers, now my questions to the AF experts:

I tested hi-rail wheels on S-Helper tracks / MTH S-Trax but didn't roll well. Probably wheel flanges and rail profile don't match. Is the same problem with hi-rail wheels on Lionel AF FasTrack?

Is it better to use hi-rail wheels on Gargraves tubular track?

 

Hi-rail (or scale) wheels should roll nicely, both from American Models and S Helper Service (now Mike's Train House).  If they don't, check to see that the axles are seated correctly in the side frames of the trucks.  Sometimes they can be dislodged in shipment.   If you're referring to the Gilbert style trucks, they aren't as well rolling as the modern ones.  But with a bit of lubrication, they can perform much better.  The modern trucks are very free rolling and have tapered axle ends which fit into cone shaped recesses in the side frames.  So if yours aren't check the axle's position in the side frames.  They DO NOT require lubrication since the frames are of a nylon type material.  

 

 

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