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S Scale Model Railroading-American Flyer®


 American Flyer® Trains

By Craig S. O'Connell / Horizontal Rules used on this page courtesy of Charles Wilber

Many thanks to Randy Knox for his help in updating this page.

Changes last made on:

September 1, 2012

American Flyer® S Gauge trains were made from 1946 to 1966 by the A.C. Gilbert Company in New Haven, Connecticut. These electric toy trains were known as tinplate from the days before plastics when toys were tinplated in factories. The American Flyer® line of toy trains reached their market peak in the mid to late 1950s. Collector Robert Graves is building a photo gallery of everything made in S gauge by the A.C. Gilbert Company. CLICK HERE to see his site!



Remember When...
And still today...


A photo from Bob Davis's AF layout featured on page 21 of the November, 2004 issue of "Classic Toy Trains" (this is not the exact photo in the mag.)

Having finished building this circus Bob Davis writes that a hospital complex is next on his layout agenda.


John Magnus's AF layout

John Mangus operates his dad's 1953 American Flyer trains at his home in Louisiana. John, a member of the NASG and The Crescent City S-Gaugers, says that he has begun modeling Louisiana railroading during the early 50s transition on a 4' X 8' layout. Thus far John has two engines the 355 CNW Baldwin and the 293 Pacific. All of the structures are Plasticville.

More photos of John's layout. Click on the thumbnail to view the larger image.


American Flyer Informational Sites

The Gilbert Gallery by Robert Graves.The objective is to show every car that Gilbert made from 1946 on.  The hoppers, gondolas, reefers, tank cars, stock cars, and Christmas Cars pages are complete.(as of January, 2006).  Boxcars, cabooses, flatcars, and work cars are partially there - still under construction.

S Gaugian Magazine--by Heimburger House Publishing Co., serving "S" gauge for the past 35 years. Subscriptions are $32.00 a year in the U.S. and $39.00 outside the U.S.

Heimburger House Publishing Co. also offers a new book by Paul C. Nelson called "A.C. Gilbert's Famous American Flyer Trains." 200 pages, 8 1/2 X 11" hardbound; enameled text paper; black and white photos and 24 pages of color photos. $41.95 and $4.00 shipping. Illinois residents please add 7.75% sales tax.

Heimburger House Publishing Company
7236 West Madison Street
Forest Park, Illinois 60130
Telephone/Fax: (708) 366-1973


S-Trains Digest Mailing List On the Internet -- An electronic mailing list for people who are interested in American Flyer® and S Scale trains. You email your questions and comments to S-Trains at:, and it will send to all the list members. There is a DIGEST option. With this option you will only get one note per day. This tends to work well for folks who don't want to get inundated with lots of mail.

If you want to be on the list just send a note to S-Trains at or to Paul Yorke at

For S-Trains info visit S-Trains link to
or contact Paul Yorke at

  Paul Yorke's list of American Flyer Books -- excellent selection of books and repair manuals relating to American Flyer® S Gauge products.

 Tinplate Trains FAQ. - Frequently Asked Questions:

FAQ Part 1 - Information.
FAQ Part 2 - The Equipment.
FAQ Part 3 - Maintenance.
FAQ Part 4 - The Hobby. - A.C. Gilbert Catalogs - All Aboard Sets Club - Kris Model Trains

Train Collectors Association

The Train Collectors Association
P. O. Box 248
Paradise Lane
Strasburg, PA 17579
(717) 687-8623
(717) 687-0742 [Fax]

American Flyer® Collectors Club; P.O. Box 13269, Pittsburgh, PA 15243. Membership in this organization will get you four issues of the club magazine, The Collector, for the year in which you join, plus a membership directory. You may advertise free of charge in "The Whistling Billboard," a department of The Collector.

Toy Train Operating Society

A.C. Gilbert Heritage Society

Classic Toy Trains Magazine from Kalmbach.

Removing That White Film on Old Flyer Cars

Many American Flyer enthusiasts who return to the hobby have encountered a white film on their American Flyer plastic cars when they've uncovered them from storage boxes in their basements or attics. It is commonly thought that the white film is mold. However, it is actually a mold release agent that was used in the early days of plastic manufacturing. To remove it simply hold a hair dryer, set on hot, to the car and you'll see the mold release agent disappear before your eyes. You can buff gently with a soft cloth. See the before and after photos below.


American Flyer Related Product Manufacturers / Retailers

Lionel Trains

American Flyer from Lionel 2-8-8-2 .... coming in 2012.

6-48180 Norfolk and Western
6-48179 Pennsylvania
6-48178 Santa Fe
6-48181 Union Pacific
6-48182 Virginian


American Flyer Repair Manual

S-n-S Trains - can motor conversions for AF trains. Single and dual motor units for diesels now available.

Port Lines Hobby Supplies - Doug Peck--Specialists in American Flyer® trains, replacement parts.

AF® Parts Catalog is available......56 pages long, and containing almost 2000 different items for AF repair and restoration! PORT LINES 80-page American Flyer® Parts Catalog is $6.00 postpaid. Listings of all other available S products can be found on their website.

The R.F. Giardina, Co.;

POB 562,
Oyster Bay, NY 11771,
Phone: 516-708-4865
E-mail to: The R.F. Giardina, Co.

American Flyer® "S", "O", "HO" parts and reproductions. RFG manufactures FLYERVILLE Building reproductions, Control Buttons and more than 1500 parts. Plus Tools, Electronics, Hardware & Supplies for all trains. Fully illustrated catalog $3.00. VISA/MASTERCARD accepted. Or you can use the Catalog Order Form at The RFGiardina, Co.

See their photo gallery and history pages.

Catalog price $6.00 as of 2/4/09..

S&H 10% minimum $7.00 / Phone orders M to F 9:00AM to 11:00AM and 5:00PM to 7:00PM

From Lionel: 773 Oil Derricks, 774 Floodlight Towers, Moe & Joe Lumber Unloading cars, Brownhoist cranes, Xmas cars, both Disney cars, Mystic Talking Stations, Chessie reelcars, Baggage Smashers, Baldwin switchers and 787 Log Loaders.


Doug Peck's American Flyer® layout and extensive collection.  


Chet Janutolo's AF Layout from Newtown, CT.  - click on the thumbnails to see the larger images.
Chet writes: "Hi, found your excellent site while AF surfing and thought I'd send some pics of my setup. It's a 6x8 portable layout (5 sections that un-bolt to fit in Dakota pickup). I set it up only once yearly at layout exhibit fundraiser for local historical society (no room at home until last child flies the nest!). It's 98% 3-digit, much of it from my youth, the rest is tag-sale attic clutter treated to some TLC and Armor-All. The motive power has been mechanically refurbushed using parts from Doug Peck (excellent quality, he's great), but everything is essentially in unrestored original operating condition; no museum pieces but nice nonetheless. Layout powered by 19B using 14ga house wire, not a computer chip anywhere! Take a close look at Casey Jones in 2nd picture ( by beacon tower), it's modified with shortened smokebox and windows opened-up to run cooler, has front coupler for switching use, smoke unit is superb when it's working hard at slow speeds. Hope you like it all and can include in the layout pic section. Thanks and best regards, Chet Janutolo, Newtown CT" ... August 11, 2006.



Plasticville Kits For Sale

Bobbylines Plasticville Parts - this company sells only Plasticville Parts, repro and original, and the empty boxes. If interested send an e-mail to Robert A. Persing at: <---NOTE new email address (January 1, 2007). Bob is interested in your needs. His stock changes a lot so he doesn't have a list except for the parts he makes which are located on his website. Bob is a member of the TCA 90-32321 and NASG 99ROO95E. He collects AF post war.

Plasticville - from Tandem Associates

Plasticville structures -- To find Plasticville structures go to the Bachmann Trains website, click on "Products" and search the word "plasticville" in "all gauges".


S-'n-S Trains - America Flyer Baldwin can motor kits.The AC version that includes the Dallee electronic reverse unit = $79.95 before July 31st, 2003; regularly priced at $89.95. The DC version will remain at $49.95.

Email: ( A Division Of Hobby Surplus Sales )

P.O. Box 2170, New Britain, CT 06050
"Home of the Original A.C. Gilbert Parts Department"
Click Here for FREE Catalog
Over 3,000 original and reproduction American Flyer parts. Buy American Flyer parts online. Secure online ordering with Visa, Mastercard or Discover. Request a free copy of the 64 page Train Repair Parts Catalog online or send $4.00 for catalog to: Train Repair Parts, P.O. Box 2170, New Britain, CT 06050
More About Hobby Surplus Sales: When the A.C. Gilbert Factory closed in 1967 Hobby Surplus Sales bought the entire parts department as well as tons of rolling stock, accessories and paper. Over 250 truckloads stored in their Connecticut warehouses. To learn more about this page in the history of American Flyer click here.
Today, they offer original American Flyer parts as well as reproduction parts. Buy American Flyer parts online or request a free copy of the 64 page Train Repair Parts Catalog.
Hobby Surplus also offers original and reproduction American Flyer rolling stock and accessories and mint condition American Flyer Catalogs for sale on their website and in their catalogs. American Flyer collectors may also be interested in the Auto Rama Race cars and supplies produced by A.C. Gilbert.


American Flyer!-- Mark Preman.sold this business in July. 2007.


American Flyer 1949 vintage Pennsy Pacific steamer #312 by Dave Jones of Davie, Florida.


J & B Toy Trains - American Flyer - Jack and Barbara buy, sell and trade AF toy trains and accessories on ebay using the seller name "pajack".

Model Train Rubber Roadbed from Johnson's Roadbed--MOLDED RUBBER ROADBED for ORIGINAL FLYER AND K-LINE TRACK

"S" Gauge Features: Designed using the original Flyer Roadbed as a Template. Improvements were made to the support system to eliminate sagging between the track ties. Track ties completely recess into the rubber roadbed, hiding the tinplate ties and providing insulation to dampen unwanted vibration. Molded track ties and ballast enhance the appearance.

Construction: Each track size has a corresponding rubber mold to produce perfect fitting roadbed. All roadbed is molded Black with color stabilizers and deodorizers.

Send $2.00 for Sample (specify gauge)

Rick Johnson
19333 Sturgess Drive
Torrance, Ca 90503


GarGraves Trackage Corporation makes track that is compatible with AF® trains. Many AF enthusiasts have switched to GarGraves track because they find it to be more reliable and easy to find.

Trains & More -- American Flyer trains and accessories for sale by NASG member Todd Metcalf.


AF® Conversion Kits From Ace
The ACE system has been developed to permit rolling stock conversions from tinplate to either Scale or Hi-rail operation. The system consists of carefully designed kits which permit the easy conversion of particular freight car bodies or groups.
Does anyone know where these can be found?


Steam Depot - Out of Business.

Molded Rubber Roadbed has ceased production; has no S roadbed left; and the business is for sale.

Joe's Train Repair
Specializing in S Gauge American Flyer For a list send a large, S.A.S.E with $.60 postage.

Joseph F. Haenn
404 Shetland Road
Rougemont, NC 27572


Lionel Trains, Inc.®--Now the manufacturers of the American Flyer® Lines. To send e-mail to Lionel write to Click here.



Modular layout view of the Baltimore Area American Flyer® Club

Bill Parr's Hobby Supplies--reproduction and original parts; complete list of available items for $1.50.

205 Golf Club Drive
Langharne, PA 19047
(205) 757-1034 (voice) - (205) 702-9612 (fax)

American Hi-Rail--Makers of American Flyer® conversion kits. Contact Tom Hodgson c/o Instrument Design, Inc., 37695 Jeanette Court, Spring Grove, IL 60081; Tel. (847) 587-1116 THIS IS THE CORRECT PHONE NUMBER!

Hobby Surplus Sales carries over 2,100 AF parts. They also have exploded drawings for the entire AF® production available for $19.95. Part #AF1. Their AF parts listing is free. Their 24 hour toll free phone number is 1-800-233-0872. - by John & Robin Vanacore.

Aerial view of Dave Jones' layout featuring American Flyer® track, roadbed, operating accessories, controllers and Plasticville® buildings.



Ballston Locomotive Works

Mel Nielsen
P.O. BOX 50
Clifton Park, NY 12065

SASE for catalog/flyer sheets.

They make reasonably priced S gauge locos (camelback, Blue Comet, Hiawatha) using various AF® chassises. You can get them totally build and finished, finished or unfinished body kits.

The Camelback is also available as a conversion kit from:

Mel Nielsen
Box 50
Clifton Park NY 12065

There are Jersey Central, Reading, DL&W, and Lehigh Valley versions

Allied Model Trains, Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230; 1-310-313-9353
Allied Model Trains (Allen Drucker) carries Excellent or better examples of Gilbert AF and the AF by Lionel line as well.

Dan Olson, Seattle, WA sells old AF catalogs and paper. E-mail or phone: 206-365-1240.

Collectibles Today New site for online shopping for the collector, including items from ERTL.


Automobilia--many 1:64 vehicles

1:64 Pepsi Truck from Automobilia.

Eastwood Automobiles-- die-cast collectables of your favorite models in scales ranging from 1:64 to 1:18.
Click on the Automobilia graphic above.


Photo courtesy of Dave Jones

All Aboard. Through Trains to New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and all points west...'Board!"



IF you would like your AF website listed here just e-mail me at 



Chris Burger's "Collecting And Running S Gauge Trains"

David Dewey's American Flyer® Trains

Bill Johnson's American Flyer, S Gauge and S Scale Trains


Photo by Scott Sosna, Minneapolis, MN

South Jersey S Gaugers Members Pages

Carl Tuveson's S Gauge Empire American Flyer HiRail Layout

Horizontal Rules for AF webmasters courtesy of Charles Wilber.





Dennis Conway's NH Pacific coming out of a wooden portal next to the river, by a waterfall. There's an ice house to right of the falls. And a wooden bridge built over the river.


From November, 1996 through January, 1997 the Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden, CT sponsored a "Flyer At 50" exhibit of original American Flyer® Trains by the A.C. Gilbert Co. Located just one mile from the site of where American Flyer® S gauge trains had been manufactured since 1946, the exhibit featured a 3/16" model replica of the original factory much of which still exists today.

This model of the Erector Square Factory was created by a New Haven architectural firm for the Eli Whitney Museum.

The Flyer At 50 exhibit ran from November, 1996 through the end of January, 1997 and included the sale of customized AF reefers, gondolas and cabooses to raise funds for the project.

This AF® reefer was custom made and named after my daughter and the factory of the same name on my layout.

The exhibit used Gargraves track and included a variety of American Flyer® motive power, rolling stock and operating accessories.

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NASG Bernie Thomas Award, 2003


NASG Perles Publications Award, 1997