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Now that it appears S scale is still an option, Here are a couple more thoughts for the OP:

eBay has a few ATSF rolling stock options available, 1 example : https://www.ebay.com/itm/29429...1:g:1kYAAOSw3f1g6LqW

American models also has the Baldwin S12 in ATSF.   American Models has other locomotives that are undercoated, so one can custom paint in ATSF road name.  

And as someone already pointed out Dave Blume, Pikesville models, has a great inventory of new and used S scale:  https://www.americanflyertrain...w_item?item_id=10110

"S" is for Superior,

Aflyer

I've been buying, flipping, and stockpiling for over a year now - all rolling stock.  I bought an AM 2923 Scale 4-8-4 but the same model just came available in AC Hi-Rail.  Trying to decide if I should get the Hi-Rail version.  I figure what's available for ATSF steam for me is basically the 4-8-4, 2-8-0, and the rare and scale only river raisin early berk. There's also the rare Pennsylvania L1.   If I want a ATSF Mikado, I'd have to bash an AM flyer light with Hi-Rail wheels. Thoughts?  Do you go scale wheels or stick with Hi-Rail everything and plan the layout to accommodate scale equipment?

I had my layout built to allow operating of either scale or high rail equipment. The MTH .138 tall rail is the smallest that will run high rail. All turnouts are #5, #6 or #8 handlaid and tested with both kinds of wheels.

I made three other somewhat limiting decisions. These were #1, oversize couplers rather than Kadees, #2, Legacy rather than DCC, and #3, a 30” minimum radius rather than 36” to 40” minimum.

I have some AM scale wheel engines and passenger cars with scale wheels and they run fine. I never tried a RR Berkshire, I doubt it will navigate the 30” radius curves.

@Jacobpaul81 posted:

bought an AM 2923 Scale 4-8-4 but the same model just came available in AC Hi-Rail.  Trying to decide if I should get the Hi-Rail version.



If I want a ATSF Mikado, I'd have to bash an AM flyer light with Hi-Rail wheels.



Do you go scale wheels or stick with Hi-Rail everything and plan the layout to accommodate scale equipment?

Stick with the scale wheel version you have. AM locos with scale wheels do great on code 100 and code 138 track.

Regarding the Mikado, you can get the Flyonel TMCC Mikado rather than modify an AM light Pacific. The Flyonel Mikados are beautiful models, but I can't comment on how accurate they are for ATSF's stable.

I use code 138 rail and run both high rail and scale wheels. I'd be happy to have code 100 rail and run all scale wheels, BUT that would mean no Flyonel Legacy steamers such as the Challenger, Y-3, or Berkshire, all 3 of which I love.  It would also mean never running any of my vintage Gilbert stuff which I do enjoy once in a while although I am primarily a fan of scale modelling.  Of course the key is what do you plan to use for turnouts.  Unless you plan to build your own, turnouts for 138 are very limited (mostly unrealistic #5's) whereas code 100 has lots of great choices for many radii.

@Chuck K posted:

Regarding the Mikado, you can get the Flyonel TMCC Mikado rather than modify an AM light Pacific. The Flyonel Mikados are beautiful models, but I can't comment on how accurate they are for ATSF's stable.

It's a USRA light which is a good base model for ATSFs 3129 class which proceeded the USRA lights.  Later ATSF Mikes are closer akin to USRA heavies but with drivers closer to lights - so chassis could be used for bash.  Either way, the cab and boiler needs a lot of work. 

@Chuck K posted:

Stick with the scale wheel version you have. AM locos with scale wheels do great on code 100 and code 138 track.



I stuck with scale wheeled version.  I'll stick it out and hope down the line Scale Trains re-releases the SHS 2-8-0.  That chassis would be better for crafting scale ATSF Mikes. 

As for a frustration of S scale...

I hate that everything has to be done online.  You can't trust anyone - and unless they provide detailed photos, don't buy it!  Case in point: I got in 6 cars the other day for what I thought was a good deal - no notes about issues - pics looked fine (but were taken inside boxes).  2 cars arrived with no trucks and one came with no lower door frame.  2 had ho size kadee couplers (I'm gonna use 802s).  The 2 cars with missing trucks were the only reason I bought the lot - so I'm gonna swap with the ho coupler cars and then try and sell the 2 cars without trucks - 1 without a door frame.  My guess is no one will buy that.

Last edited by Jacobpaul81

The lowest I could get River Raisin Berkshires to run on was 33" radius.

Rusty

I'm thinking 40" radius for the future layout... but I'm in standstill as my lovely wife is contemplating yet another move. Ugh.  I've flipped 4 houses in 10 years.  I've been remodeling this one for the last 3.  Was hoping I was going to get back to work on a railroad soon - but it might have to wait another year.  I was already contemplating doing it as modular given our propensity for moving.

@Jacobpaul81 posted:

I stuck with scale wheeled version.  I'll stick it out and hope down the line Scale Trains re-releases the SHS 2-8-0.  That chassis would be better for crafting scale ATSF Mikes.

As for a frustration of S scale...

.  2 had ho size kadee couplers (I'm gonna use 802s). 

A fair number of S gaugers use Kadee #5s.  They have much closer coupling... some even think they look closer to S scale in size.  And they don't have that slack action, easier to put together, and the new whisker versions are even better.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

@Tom Stoltz posted:

A fair number of S gaugers use Kadee #5s.  They have much closer coupling... some even think they look closer to S scale in size.  And they don't have that slack action, easier to put together, and the new whisker versions are even better.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

I've had a few cars with both, I definitely prefer the appearance of the 802 / 808.  I think the #5 is  too small.  But I do understand why folks use them - way cheaper!

@Jacobpaul81 posted:

I'm thinking 40" radius for the future layout... but I'm in standstill as my lovely wife is contemplating yet another move. Ugh.  I've flipped 4 houses in 10 years.  I've been remodeling this one for the last 3.  Was hoping I was going to get back to work on a railroad soon - but it might have to wait another year.  I was already contemplating doing it as modular given our propensity for moving.

Go with modular/sectional.  I did that with my layout and it took the move perfectly.  You won't regret it.  I've seen too many layouts destroyed by moves.

@Tom Stoltz posted:

A fair number of S gaugers use Kadee #5s.  They have much closer coupling... some even think they look closer to S scale in size.  And they don't have that slack action, easier to put together, and the new whisker versions are even better.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

I've pretty much minimized the slack action of the 802's by doubling the spring in the draft gear box.   There's enough extras in the package and half the time there's some doubled up anyway.

Rusty

I do the same thing with Kadee 802/805 springs. There is still some slack action when starting up from a full stop that looks fairly realistic, but the conductor and brakeman in the caboose no longer get headaches and complain about being jerked back and forth in the caboose if the train motion is not smooth. The double-spring tightens knuckle in the draft gear box and better dampens small, sudden changes in speed.  I use two of the larger springs together. The smaller springs are meant to force the knuckle to close.

@poniaj posted:

Go with modular/sectional.  I did that with my layout and it took the move perfectly.  You won't regret it.  I've seen too many layouts destroyed by moves.

I'm 100% on board.  I've been exploring construction styles to work out what will be best. I want to keep it super light.  I'm leaning towards doing a reverse loop - to - reverse loop layout (instead of a circle) to get the most length with a single track main and keeping the modules very narrow - like 18-20" wide. 

@Jacobpaul81 posted:

Been there!  My O gauge layout was a ridiculous L-girder monster. By the time I had it running a train, I had to tear it out. Never again.

I'm exploring PVC screw in legs connected to a thin plywood frame with foam top as a possibility.

Our club display layout (Southeastern Michigan S Gaugers) was made with thin foam topping framework made from ripped plywood.  The sections are as light as can be made and still withstand constant set up and tear down.  We used PVC legs that simply slide into pockets and have carriage bolts at the bottom for leveling purposes.  My home layout is similarly done.  I used 2x2 legs with an occasional diagonal brace for stability.

The first shot is of my layout's construction and the other two are of its tear-down for the move.  Yeah, I went with a "race track" type layout simply because in addition to basic operations, I like to see trains run.  Very zen.   BTW, my home layout was made with salvaged bleacher wood from the local high school.

In any event, please keep us all informed as to any progress!

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