Classic Trains American "S" Gauge track

The NASG "S Resources" section lists Classic Trains [http://www.classictrains.com/track.htm] as the manufacturer of American "S" Gauge code 172 nickel-silver T-rail track. According to their website, these products, which currently include 60-inch-long flex track, a pair of turnouts, and a variety of sectional track, are compatible with both hi-rail and scale wheel flanges. Is anyone familiar with this brand of track?

Bob G (WNY)

Original Post

I have a good amount of their flex-track, sectional straights and a few switches waiting for me to do something with someday that I got on the secondary market. From what I remember Classic Trains was a victim of the Sanda Kan debacle a few years back and stopped production. What you see on that page is probably what's left of their inventory. While not inexpensive, it is very good looking track.

Thanks for the update. I wish that Classic Trains would update their website to indicate exactly how many of each item they have in stock so I could decide whether enough of their product is currently available to construct at least a modest first layout. Thus far my repeated attempts to get this information via email have been unsuccessful; hopefully the phone number listed on the website is still in operation and somebody can provide me with these counts.

Bob G (WNY)

Bob, I am not sure what you want to obtain and achieve with the resulting layout. I will make a stupid statement, track is track, it just comes down to the appearance. All brands of solid rail track greater than .138" high will allow operation of both scale and high rail wheels. The ability to actually operate scale equipment on the track is dependent on the minimum radius the coupled cars and engines require. Some operate on R19 and some engines can require R36. All high rail will operate on R19.

The real issue is with the turnouts. American S gauge turnouts are supposed to accept both scale and high rail but good luck finding any significant quantity of their turnouts.

American models makes a code 148 track system. Their turnouts can be made to operate scale wheels with a minor modification. Visit tuveson.com to see Carl's beautiful layout using AM track. He also describes the turnout modification. MTH makes a code 138 track system but not 27"R turnouts. Fox Valley now makes #5 turnouts and flex track in code 138 that operate high rail and scale. .138 rail is the smallest that will allow high rail wheel operation.

I have seen two layouts made with American S gauge track. It looks good and the trains (all Gilbert) ran well. Given the realities of availability I would use the AM track since it has a lower rail and is available in any quantities. AM also makes crossings for their track. The problem with MTH track is they only make R20 turnouts for it and I have found those to not be reliable. There is also of course FasTrack from Lionel with .138 rail. My layout is MTH flextrack with hand laid turnouts.

Tom

I have considered using the American Models track system, Tom. Unfortunately, this company also seems to have an ongoing problem maintaining sufficient product for sale. Indeed, their website [http://americanmodels.com/inde...ex&cPath=252_266] indicates that ALL of their turnouts are currently out of stock; moreover, their available sectional track consists only of 21- and 27-inch-radius curves. Oy vey!

For those who may be interested, I recently spoke with Tom Mescher of Classic Trains [626.482.7975]. He said that the company plans to stay in the business of marketing American "S" Gauge track and is currently looking for a U.S.-based manufacturer. Their sectional track is currently being sold only as part of two different "starter kits" [instead of separately] because they have a somewhat limited number of these items available. They still have plenty of turnouts in stock, however.

Bob G (WNY)

I have a small quantity of CA track and like it, the only problem I have against it is the price.

CA is roughly twice the cost of AM track. On a per 3 foot comparison AM NS track is $12 a section and CA is $23 (but comes in 5 foot lengths).

i know the track is .172 against AM’s .148 but I don’t see that the CA track material is that much more pro-rata.

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