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My 2 cents, regarding the OP's question.

"Yes", if you are willing to accept the pretty limited options.

Like most everyone, I feel 1/64 is the "perfect" size, so I dabble.

I've been able to collect some vintage "scale" rolling stock, and since my Flyer 300 and 310 run SO well, I picked up some spare tenders and converted them to Kadee couplers, so I can run these together.

310:

310

300:

300

Here's the 300 coupled to a Mid Gage boxcar:

S...

Not overly interesting, I know, but I have fun doing stuff like this... 

Mark in Oregon

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"All Santa Fe high-speed transcontinental lines have been designated as 131-132-pound rail territory. That means that much of that mileage and all new rail laid in that territory is 131-132-pound rail except in . yards and other localities where lighter rail is preferable. The new standard 115-pound section will shortly replace the present 112-pound. Other rail weights in use by the Santa Fe are 60, 75, · 90, 110 and 112-pound. The three last-mentioned sections were standard on Santa Fe main lines for many years and considerable presentday Santa Fe rail mileage consists of those weights of rail. All Santa Fe rails are steel and have been for many years. Beginning with 1936 all rails have been control cooled by the manufacturers to eliminate as far as possible interior defects in the head of the rail."  - Santa Fe Today, #5.  pg. 22

https://www.railsandtrails.com...Today%20No.%205r.pdf

So 155# isn't too far off for ATSF mainline as they upgraded their 75#, 90# and 112# mains to 132# or 115#.  I'm guessing Argentine to Topeka (IE: Lawrence) was probably upgraded to 132# as it was on the Chief route - so that's not a huge disparity.

@AmFlyer posted:

Tom, I am not clear how to convert the dimensions on that drawing. It says the scale of the rail cross section is 10:1. If I divide the dimensions, I assume these are inches, that makes the rail height .345", clearly not correct. What am I missing?

The dimensions are metric.  That's why I posted the drawing I made in another thread.  Here is is again...

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

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The MTH and Fox Valley rail scales to a prototype section height of 8.83". Modern 115# rail is 6-5/8" high, 132# rail is 7-1/8" high. Then 115# rail scales to Code 100 in S scale. Problem is no high rail equipment will run on Code 100 rail, nor Code 125. For high rail wheels the MTH and Fox Valley are the smallest rails that work. I have some Code 125 rail on my layout for the TT pit rails and all the guard/guide rails on the bridges. It is so close to the  .138 rail it looks the same on the layout. The most noticeable thing about the Code 125 rail is the railhead width is wider than the .138 MTH rail.

I have no issue with the appearance of the MTH rail on my layout, I know it is too tall for modern track but set in the scenery with the ballast detailing it looks close enough to scale.

This was the first item I ever bought as a kid that cost more than a candy bar.  It never ran well--it was only $18 at the time anyway--but I could not bear to part with it. So I dressed it up with a new motor conversion kit from Doug Peck at Portlines Hobbies and some decoration. It's slow and noisy but reliable and earns its keep.

Terry Baldwin

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@Strummer posted:

Those are all very nice; how did you manage to get a Kadee into the K5 pilot!?! 

Mark in Oregon

Hi Mark, first let me ask you, where in Maine is your brother?  Turns out there are several Mainers on this list, Gunny comes to mind.

Then to the K5. IIRC I bought a repo pilot from Doug Peck so I wouldn’t destroy the original.  I started out drilling the K5 coupler pocket out along with the cast fake coupler.  Then enlarged the opening by filing until I could insert a Kadee #5 draft gear box from the outside.  The lip on the box acts as a stop on the outside of the pilot.  Again, IIRC, I made a pad with JB Weld to seat the draft gear box on the inside.  I can’t tell now because our very own Jerry Poniatowski did a custom PRR repaint for me and he painted the underside of the pilot.  In hindsight, I don’t know why I just didn’t use a slab of styrene, I’m sure that would have worked just as well.  In the pix from the outside you can see the hole I drilled and tapped for a 4-40 screw to mount the coupler.

The underside pix shows the coupler mounted.  I did some filing of the box so the pilot truck wheels would clear while negotiating Flyer radii.  I believe I used a medium overset shank, # 42, in the #5 family but it cold be the #49 long, overset shank.  I did this in 2001, so please forgive my lack of recollection.

I did a similar conversion to the Flyonel Mikado.  It was a little more work, but not bad.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

IMG_1238IMG_1249

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@Strummer posted:

Tom

1. My brother lives in Alna. 30 degrees and currently snowing.  He has zero interest in model trains.

2. So you used an HO scale #5 on that pilot: I suppose an Scale Kadee would have been a bit too large.

3. That is a beautiful paint job; noticed it straight away.

Mark in (currently 43 degrees) Oregon

Alna???  He’s our next-door neighbor!  Not to hi-jack this thread, my email address is in my profile.

Yes, I only use #5s and family.  I have many complaints against the, what is it, the 802?  The lack of close coupling is one, probably the cost is my biggest.  Also by comparison, it is complex to assemble.  The #5 family has various shank lengths and coupler placement, on the shank, options.  When it comes to Flyer conversions, I have used many of the variations.  As far as I know, there is only one shank with the 802s.

And speaking of cheap, check out my explorations for delayed magnetic uncoupling

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...magnets-and-kadee-5s

Tom Stoltz

in Dresden/Wiscasset, Maine

@Tom Stoltz posted:

Yes, I only use #5s and family.  I have many complaints against the, what is it, the 802?  The lack of close coupling is one, probably the cost is my biggest.  Also by comparison, it is complex to assemble.  The #5 family has various shank lengths and coupler placement, on the shank, options.  When it comes to Flyer conversions, I have used many of the variations.  As far as I know, there is only one shank with the 802s.

Tom Stoltz

in Dresden/Wiscasset, Maine

Your use of the #5 family certainly makes a lot of sense. Plus, there's not that much difference between the S coupler and the HO size.

Kadee was smart to offer early on such a wide range of couplers (for almost any application) in HO. I think that, as much as anything, had a lot to do with HO becoming "the" main scale. As 'bob2" would say..."opinion". 

Mark in (wet) Oregon

I've only used the Kadee HO couplers where I needed them a special application, like an offset shank on my SouthWind 2-8-0's:

and on any "vintage" cars I bought that already had them installed.  Otherwise, the HO couplers look too small to my eyes.

The distance between freight cars using 802's is about 3 scale feet, which is about what it is on the prototype, so I really don't see an issue there, but to each his own.

Distance PRS

I can see where cost can be an issue, but as I usually buy a package of 802's when I buy a locomotive or car, that difference is blunted somewhat.  Plus every "scale" locomotive I've bought directly from AM, they've thrown in a package of 802's.  They even installed them on my last purchase: UP E8's...

KGB 110818 008

The irony is I'll have to de-install them for body mounting and fill the pilot gaps with a modified insert, a project currently on a very crowded back burner.

Rusty

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I've only used the Kadee HO couplers where I needed them a special application, like an offset shank on my SouthWind 2-8-0's:



and on any "vintage" cars I bought that already had them installed.  Otherwise, the HO couplers look too small to my eyes.

The distance between freight cars using 802's is about 3 scale feet, which is about what it is on the prototype, so I really don't see an issue there, but to each his own.

Distance PRS

I can see where cost can be an issue, but as I usually buy a package of 802's when I buy a locomotive or car, that difference is blunted somewhat.  Plus every "scale" locomotive I've bought directly from AM, they've thrown in a package of 802's.  They even installed them on my last purchase: UP E8's...



The irony is I'll have to de-install them for body mounting and fill the pilot gaps with a modified insert, a project currently on a very crowded back burner.

Rusty

This is an old topic that I thought had come to an end.  The #5 is about as undersized (IIRC, undersized by one scale inch vertically) as the 802 is oversized.  I believe the #5 is closer to S scale than the 802, if you care.  To get close coupling with the 802 requires modification while mounting the coupler – no question about it.  Without the modification, there is no close coupling.

The #5 will be less forgiving for uneven track work and have a smaller grab area than the 802.  Also requires a different set of magnets if you don’t modify the coupler pin.  The link for that was previously provided.

I don’t care what coupler you choose, but you should be aware of the pro & cons of each before choosing.  The #5 and 802 do play well together.



My response from 11/30/13:

Finally got around to trying to photo the 802 and the #5s. IPhone camera is not too good, but I think you will be able to see the difference in coupling distance comparing the 802 and the #5.

The 802 is spring loaded, which is why it has the rectangular shape for a mounting hole.  When sitting still the spring will draw the cars together as in Rusty’s photo.  When the train is in motion (and depending on the drag of the rolling stock) the spring will compress and the space between the cars will increase.  This accounts for the large distance I mentioned with the AM 85’ streamliners.  They are heavy so they put a lot of compression on the springs.  Longer trains will also tend to stretch out the car spacing.

By centering the 802 on the line for the photo, I gave it the benefit on the doubt.  The spring can actually compress more (allowing of an even larger space between cars).  The line with the couplers centered is my attempt to show the difference between the 802 and the #5 if you would get using the mounting hole as the car comes form the factory.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

802 vs #5

It's been 3.5 months, I've not been able to find a single piece of ATSF rolling stock - scale or hi-rail.  When they've popped up, they sell before I have a chance at them.  When they sit, it's cause someones asking twice market - and they will get it given the lack of availablity.  I guess that while there aren't enough bodies out there for the companies to justify building stuff, there are a ton of scavengers picking at the carcass.  Back to the drawing board for me.

And 72' ATSF heavyweight passenger 5 car set is 9% off.  They also have the 4 car Santa Fe Budd sets.  Plenty of engines, also... 4-8-4, S-12, E-8, EP-7, GP-9, GE U25B.

Doug Peck as both AM and SHS Santa Fe flats cars.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

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@Jacobpaul81 posted:

It's been 3.5 months, I've not been able to find a single piece of ATSF rolling stock - scale or hi-rail.  When they've popped up, they sell before I have a chance at them.  When they sit, it's cause someones asking twice market - and they will get it given the lack of availablity.  I guess that while there aren't enough bodies out there for the companies to justify building stuff, there are a ton of scavengers picking at the carcass.  Back to the drawing board for me.

Are you looking for a particular brand of product, era or car type? As Tom and Rusty note, plenty available direct from AM and Port Lines. Plus Pikesville Models, the other S-only online retailer, has quite a few.

@Chuck K posted:

Are you looking for a particular brand of product, era or car type? As Tom and Rusty note, plenty available direct from AM and Port Lines. Plus Pikesville Models, the other S-only online retailer, has quite a few.

Seems most of what I'd be into was manufactured by PRS or S-Helper with some exceptions. Given the lack of availability - I just don't think S is the right fit for me - despite me really liking the scale of it.  Anything I'd want is simply too long out of production.

jacobpaul81:

Sadly, I understand firsthand what you're up against.

I too, loved the size. I tried my best to be satisfied in S scale in view of the state of the scale. The SHS quality was excellent, AM's quality was good, as were many of the products I was able to find.

Unfortunately, the lack of availability (took me a couple years or so to find only one OMI S-2, I had originally allowed for more than one), the lack of variety (missing key engine types I was wanting to model) and the demand in the secondary market (prices) were what put me back into HO.

Though S is a wonderful size, I was not the type that could deal with the shortcomings in view of my layout and theme goals. Alas, after moving to HO I've never looked back and thoroughly enjoy what I'm doing in HO scale.

Andre

@laming posted:

jacobpaul81:

Sadly, I understand firsthand what you're up against.

I too, loved the size. I tried my best to be satisfied in S scale in view of the state of the scale. The SHS quality was excellent, AM's quality was good, as were many of the products I was able to find.

Unfortunately, the lack of availability (took me a couple years or so to find only one OMI S-2, I had originally allowed for more than one), the lack of variety (missing key engine types I was wanting to model) and the demand in the secondary market (prices) were what put me back into HO.

Though S is a wonderful size, I was not the type that could deal with the shortcomings in view of my layout and theme goals. Alas, after moving to HO I've never looked back and thoroughly enjoy what I'm doing in HO scale.

Andre

100% my feeling.  I'm sure it's made worse right now due to a lack of non-internet market - but it's just bad.  I'll probably go up rather than down a scale and go with O and go back to dealing with the extra rail.  There's at least 3 x 3rd Rail locos I could see running and the Pecos Hudson.  Boxcars and Reefers are cheap and plentiful.  Such is life. 

Hi Joe:

You are correct that if one models a concept with a small scope, S scale can fill the bill.

Yes, there was a lot of product made over the decades.

If one can accept the limitations imposed by the state of S scale: One's S scale boat can sail merrily off into the sunset.

The caveats for me were:

* Though a lot of product was made over the decades, the trick was trying to find it, obtaining it, and if you do obtain it, then often you had to get it up to one's personal goals in looks and performance. Those aren't easy tasks for many modelers. The only products that performed in a manner I was used to (HO Kato-type performance) were the engine products of SHS. All the others had to be fiddled with and often re-powered, or worse.

* Plus, no matter how you slice it, the variety just isn't there for diesel-freaks like myself that like a wide spectrum of engine makes, models, variations, etc. The main downfall point for me was switcher selection. (At the time I was going to attempt an urban KC industrial switching district.) Aside from white metal kits for an EMD and an Alco S, or a limited run resin flat-kit for an FM, your only two options in easily worked plastic were SHS EMD's and AM's Baldwin S-12. Unfortunately, the AM S-12 has road trucks under it which really needs to be replaced with the correct type trucks for the engine to ever truly look like it should. Guess what trucks it needs? Yup, SHS trucks that SHS used under their EMD switchers. Those are long gone as single purchases, so now the only way would be purchase an SHS EMD and take the trucks off it. When finished adapting the trucks to the AM frame, you finally have a Baldwin S-12 that has accurate trucks... and a high $$ SHS EMD that doesn't.

Then there's the ubiquitous GP7 in S scale: None. You have to purchase the AM GP9, then find/purchase the GP7 long hood kit and bash/modify to get a GP7. The railroads I was trying to model had scads of GP7's... but only a few GP9's.

I truly gave it the old "Gung-ho!" attempt to model in S:

12thStYd_South

Now, IF I had been able to accept the following:

* Go with high rail wheels.

* Go with a track system available for same.

* Accept what could be found and obtained, and accept that additions to the S scale offerings were going to be a long time coming, or never.

...then maybe it could have turned out different.

However, I couldn't accept the above then, and doubt that I could now. I still seem to enjoy small profile rail and product variety way too much. (Besides, IF I was going to up-size, it would be because of dexterity and eyesight issues, and then it would be traditional 3-rail, with a heavy Lionel PW presence, and enjoy model trains until I can't.)

Thus I wasn't able to "do it my way" in S, so I made like a rat and abandoned ship.

Andre "Fleeing Rat" Ming

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@laming posted:


Thus I wasn't able to "do it my way" in S, so I made like a rat and abandoned ship.

Andre "Fleeing Rat" Ming

Don't be so hard on yourself, Andre.  Your feelings about S are nothing I haven't heard in some form or another over the past 30 some-odd years.  With what the likes of Athearn, Scale Trains, Rapido, Walthers and others are putting out in HO, it's a siren song that is almost impossible to resist.  In fact, some of Rapido's announcements have made me weak in the knees.

I was fortunate by getting into S back in 1985 as the scale grew in the same direction I was interested in.  That doesn't mean I don't recognize it's shortcomings.  I was always uncomfortable telling folks when displaying with my modular group at train shows that you really can't find this stuff in most hobby shops (even though the local Des Plaines Hobbies is pretty well stocked) and they would either have to special order or scour the internet for S.

It takes a certain fortitude to be in S, even during the "glory years" of mid-1990's-early 2000's.

Rusty

I could live with the limited motive power options - which is why I considered testing the S waters  - but I can't live with the inability to locate even one piece of period rolling stock for my road - which isn't exactly some off-the-beaten path railroad.  It was only the largest railroad in the US.   Not that the climate in O is any better - the Atlas / MTH announcement does not appear to include steam era equipment.  At least in O, there's plenty of Atlas / Weaver floating around to purchase.  HO would certainly be the better long term choice - but it lacks heft.   

Every scale has it's problems.

Please forgive me, but I continue to read this thread with some bemusement and amusement. Those of us who collect, repair, operate and enjoy Gilbert Flyer just roll right along. There is something to be said for being in the hobby just for the fun of it. There are large quantities of vintage Gilbert and Lionel production 'out there' at very affordable prices as well as the new Legacy AF, AM, and SHS-derived trains which are Gilbert-compatible. Gilbert (and the earlier Lionel production) AF trains have a rich history, undeniable charm, and the big plus of having been made in the good ol' USA. And, there is nothing about the AF universe that prevents one from building beautiful realistic scenery, usually with modern hi-rail track. On the other hand, one can build a strictly authentic Gilbert-themed layout by indulging in historically correct vintage 'rivet counting' of another kind.

Portlines Hobbies is backed up in faithfully fulfilling orders for Flyer parts, so there must be a lot of folks still repairing and operating Flyer. My current Flyer project is bringing back a friend's boyhood 322 to service.

So, heck, yes. S is definitely an option. It depends in which church pew one sits.

Respectfully,

Bob

@Bob Bubeck posted:

Please forgive me, but I continue to read this thread with some bemusement and amusement. Those of us who collect, repair, operate and enjoy Gilbert Flyer just roll right along. There is something to be said for being in the hobby just for the fun of it. There are large quantities of vintage Gilbert and Lionel production 'out there' at very affordable prices as well as the new Legacy AF, AM, and SHS-derived trains which are Gilbert-compatible. Gilbert (and the earlier Lionel production) AF trains have a rich history, undeniable charm, and the big plus of having been made in the good ol' USA. And, there is nothing about the AF universe that prevents one from building beautiful realistic scenery, usually with modern hi-rail track. On the other hand, one can build a strictly authentic Gilbert-themed layout by indulging in historically correct vintage 'rivet counting' of another kind.

Portlines Hobbies is backed up in faithfully fulfilling orders for Flyer parts, so there must be a lot of folks still repairing and operating Flyer. My current Flyer project is bringing back a friend's boyhood 322 to service.

So, heck, yes. S is definitely an option. It depends in which church pew one sits.

Respectfully,

Bob

Pretty much.  The thread title should have been is "s scale" still an option. 

If ya want Flyer, yer golden. Not my thing - at all.  And if it were, O-27 is readily available. 

@Bob Bubeck posted:

Please forgive me, but I continue to read this thread with some bemusement and amusement. Those of us who collect, repair, operate and enjoy Gilbert Flyer just roll right along. There is something to be said for being in the hobby just for the fun of it. There are large quantities of vintage Gilbert and Lionel production 'out there' at very affordable prices as well as the new Legacy AF, AM, and SHS-derived trains which are Gilbert-compatible. Gilbert (and the earlier Lionel production) AF trains have a rich history, undeniable charm, and the big plus of having been made in the good ol' USA. And, there is nothing about the AF universe that prevents one from building beautiful realistic scenery, usually with modern hi-rail track. On the other hand, one can build a strictly authentic Gilbert-themed layout by indulging in historically correct vintage 'rivet counting' of another kind.

Portlines Hobbies is backed up in faithfully fulfilling orders for Flyer parts, so there must be a lot of folks still repairing and operating Flyer. My current Flyer project is bringing back a friend's boyhood 322 to service.

So, heck, yes. S is definitely an option. It depends in which church pew one sits.

Respectfully,

Bob

Well said Bob!

Time to put this topic to bed.

Gunny

@Jacobpaul81 posted:

Pretty much.  The thread title should have been is "s scale" still an option.

If ya want Flyer, yer golden. Not my thing - at all.  And if it were, O-27 is readily available.

Well, "S scale" is/was very much understood as the root of the question. However, the desires voiced here (and everyone is entitled to their desires) are often very specific and narrowly focused. The historic route for modelers so inclined is to become modeling craftspersons and build to their specific needs motive power, rolling stock, and structures. I know a number of 2-rail O scalers who model every required piece to very accurately represent a defined railroad of an historic time and place. If a manufacturer makes something that 'fits', maybe with a bit of modification, fine. But, they do not have an expectation that a manufacturer will cater to their desires upfront.

A difficulty with this thread is that someone 'dropping in' might get the impression that S gauge is hopeless. Well, it is not for the majority who may be more flexible in their desires. OK?

Respectfully,

Bob

PS: There is a big difference between Gilbert Flyer, its descendants (e.g., AM) and (gasp!) O-27. Gilbert made that point in the catalogs from the get go.

Last edited by Bob Bubeck
@Bob Bubeck posted:

Well, "S scale" is/was very much understood as the root of the question. However, the desires voiced here (and everyone is entitled to their desires) are often very specific and narrowly focused. The historic route for modelers so inclined is to become modeling craftspersons and build to their specific needs motive power, rolling stock, and structures. I know a number of 2-rail O scalers who model every required piece to very accurately represent a defined railroad of an historic time and place. If a manufacturer makes something that 'fits', maybe with a bit of modification, fine. But, they do not have an expectation that a manufacturer will cater to their desires upfront.

A difficulty with this thread is that someone 'dropping in' might get the impression that S gauge is hopeless. Well, it is not for the majority who may be more flexible in their desires. OK?

Respectfully,

Bob

PS: There is a big difference between Gilbert Flyer, its descendants (e.g., AM) and (gasp!) O-27. Gilbert made that point in the catalogs from the get go.

Problem solved.

@Bob Bubeck posted:


A difficulty with this thread is that someone 'dropping in' might get the impression that S gauge is hopeless. Well, it is not for the majority who may be more flexible in their desires. OK?

Respectfully,

Bob

PS: There is a big difference between Gilbert Flyer, its descendants (e.g., AM) and (gasp!) O-27. Gilbert made that point in the catalogs from the get go.

The fact that we can openly discuss S, warts and all, indicates to me that S isn't hopeless.

Difficult yes, but not hopeless.

Complaints about S are just as valid as the reasons to be in S.

It's much better than elsewhere that when such subjects are brought up, the response is usually "S is the builders scale, you always can build it," or "XYZ Company made that 20 years ago, we don't need another one."  Both are unhelpful dead-ender responses IMHO.

Rusty

It's much better than elsewhere that when such subjects are brought up, the response is usually "S is the builders scale, you always can build it," or "XYZ Company made that 20 years ago, we don't need another one."  Both are unhelpful dead-ender responses IMHO.

As a reader of and sometimes contributor to the forum to which you are referring, I got a chuckle from this Rusty.  If that forum had been my only exposure to S enthusiasts 5 years ago, I would have refrained from social participation in the hobby so as to avoid being talked down to.

I've already put in my 2 cents worth... but here is 2 more. 🙂

I actually find the challenge of looking for S scale/ gauge stuff as being part of the allure; there's millions of HO items "out there", and tons of O ( both of which I like, by the way). The thrill of the hunt for S is, again, part of the attraction for me. I get it that that's not for everyone, but it works in my case. 😁

Mark in Oregon

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