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Why should you choose S ? Jamie asks  "Should I Switch to 'S'?"

From:         "Sheffield, Howard" <>

     Hi Jamie.  I have just recently gotten back into trains, and found that after trying Lionel because of the availability, I was just not satisfied with the experience.  O gauge just doesn't have the appeal after having been an American Flyer owner from years before.  S scale is more realistic and satisfying.  Using the links sections of the various S suppliers and associations will show you a wonderful selection of ways to go.   If you have not decided on going actual scale, the worst choice can bes deciding between real scale and hi rail (or tinplate as the original American Flyer is sometimes called).  I have opted for both.  The creative side of me is having fun building scale buildings and a layout- most purchased from BTS, Portline, SHS and other suppliers-with good quality products I am finding on the web.  I am also enjoying the new hi rail passenger set purchased from American Models that I run with my American Flyer original engines.  It was considerably cheaper than finding American Flyer originals and looks great.  There are great looking engines and rolling stock from several suppliers to satisfy hi rail or scale.  You can use scale cars with hi rail wheels too.  Most Lionel owners that have visited me have commented that S looks better.  If you decide on S, you may also consider an Sn3 narrow guage addition as I have for a saw mill.  This is going to take a while for me as the kit I  bought from Bill Wade at BTS has 2,400 pieces and I am starting to work my way to it with the smaller kits for practice.  If you would like,  I can be reached at

From:         American Models <>
    Go to
this will show you the sizes and other information.  S is 35 % larger than HO.     Go to the home page and see undreds of photos and buildings on the site AM is the largest manufacture of S scale products.

 From:  Chuck Smith <>

Jamie, the big difference is that O scale is much bigger than S.  Take a look at a full length O scale passenger car and it's about 20" long, S is about 15" long.  A 72" radius in O scales down to 54" in S.  The O scale stuff has more variety available and is roughly the same cost or cheaper but only if you accept 3 rail.  You have adequate room for O and a plenty of room for S.

Take a look at the pictures on my website for some modules and some of my home layout in operation.  It helps you picture the size of the trains.  Our modules use about 36" radius turns which handle most stock well.  The 80" passenger cars may look a little cramped on these curves
but run fine.  See:

Also see Art Armstrong's A comparison of scales

My favorite reason:
Some of the nices folks on the planet are into S.
Paul Yorke
  From:      Alex Binkley <>

Hi Jamie:
 as a fellow Canuck and Sympatico sufferer  er subscriber, maybe I can answer some of your  S questions. There are S scalers sprinkled across Canada. I'm in Ottawa. S is about a third bigger than HO. I switched to it from N scale because I wanted to learn how to scratchbuild. The appeal of S is that it captures the mass of trains without taking over the basement. The big difference tween HO and S is that there is less available in S but still more than enough to have a great layout. Personally I think it appeals to one's creative side simply because not everything is immediately available.   By the way among S scalers HO means how ordinary and O is oversized. Never heard how N and G scale are called.  let me know what else you want to know. There is a S scale group in Canada without about 150 members.


  Further to what Alex Binkley has told you, S scale is 1/64 prototype size, compared with 1/48 for O scale and 1/87 for HO.  In S scale a 50-foot box car is 9 3/8 inches long, compared with 12.5 incheas in O and 6.9 inches in HO.  If you are looking at a rolling-stock width of two to three inches S scale is in your ballpark because the width of most cars in S is about 1 7/8 inches.  This is not, however, the only consideration you should have in mind.  The area occupied by any S-scale layout, for example, will be 85 per cent bigger than in HO, and much larger in O.  If you have a room 16 by 24 you are much better off than most S-scalers, but many have built terrific layouts in much less space than you have.  As Alex says, there is not as much equipment available in S as in O or HO, but more and better is coming out all the time.  As he also says, there are S-scalers all across Canada. I have addresses for about 180 of them, so if you tell me where you live I can probably steer you to someone in your area for you to talk to.  The group Alex mentions is called S Canada and you can read about it at
Joe Pereira

From:  Robin Thompson <>
      Dear Jamie,
    S scale is 35% larger than HO, O scale is twice the size of  HO.   S scale equipment is about 2" wide.
    You  can do a lot of "S" model railraoding in a 12" by 10' space.  The outer loop on a layout of those dimensions could support the length of all the "S" scale equipment made in the last decade.  In "O" scale, I think you would have a hard time with many of the longer locomotives and full length passenger equipment.
    Other web sites you may want to visit are:

-- Don Thompson
S Helper Service Inc.
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