Although S-gauge model trains had been about considering that the early portion of the centur…
The S-scale, recognized also as the S-gauge, for model trains is developed on the ratio of 1:64 [that is, three/16 inches = 1 foot] and fits between the popular HO and O model train scales. It met the demands for a scale which was bigger than HO [which was deemed too small by many model railroaders] but smaller than the well-liked O scale therefore enabling track layouts to be constructed in smaller sized spaces.
Even though S-gauge model trains had been around since the early part of the century, it began to boom with the advent of the re-developed American Flyer model trains first created by The A.C.Gilbert Firm in Connecticut, USA, for the duration of the late 1930s. The renowned American Flyer model trains, which had been created since the early portion of the century initially as clockwork model trains, then later, as electric trains, have been radically re-created by Gilbert when he bought the original business. These trains have been built to S-scale but ran on normal O-gauge tracks.
Some years later Gilbert introduced an additional of his radical modifications – he re-developed the tracks for the S-scale trains, moving away from the standard three track rail employed in model electric trains to that date.
The 3 track rail then in basic use had the two outer tracks for the wheels to run on with the third, centre track, carrying the electric existing to drive the model train motor. The new two track rails created the layouts look more realistic as they now looked like ‘real train tracks’. The development of these tracks to suit the smaller S-scale model trains also permitted track layouts to have curves of a distinct radius, more proper to the re-developed American Flyer locomotives and rolling stock.
Several, if not most, of today’s S-scale enthusiasts had their initial introduction to that scale with the American Flyer when, as a youngster in the 1950s, they received a set as a Christmas present. For the duration of that period, the Flyer competed straight with the Lionel model trains of that time and these two businesses had been the marketplace leaders.
Right now the S-scale model trains, such as the long-lived American Flyer are increasing swiftly in reputation once more.
This is the outcome of the Lionel Corporation, the predecessor of the present manufacturer of Lionel trains, Lionel LLC, having purchased the rights to the American Flyer from the company which had bought the rights from A C Gilbert when his firm became bankrupt in 1967.
Lionel Corporation was itself in economic issues at that time, and went via the hands of a number of owners ahead of reaching its present incarnation as Lionel LLC in 1996. But for some time that new firm initially concentrated on creating and advertising its personal HO and HO27 models and did little to inspire the devotees of S-scale. Because 2002 nonetheless, Lionel LLC has been introducing new models of S-scale model trains – and heartening these enthusiasts.
There is a variety of organizations and associations to cater for the interests of S-scale model railroaders. A peak body, the National Association of S-Gaugers, which is also linked with the National Model Railroad Association, has a really active membership. Their web site which supplies information on activities, events, suppliers, and archived reference material, also has hyperlinks to S-Gauge clubs in 29 US states as well as Canada and the UK. There are even two Yahoo Groups – S-Trains and S-Scale.
S-Scale model trains, and all the appropriately scaled accessories, are now made by a number of manufacturers and cater for several distinct segments within that scale – mainly the American Flyer, the regular S-gauge and Proto:64 becoming the main ones.
Right after a lengthy and checkered history S-scale model trains are surely back in vogue again.
To quote Craig O’Connell from his “S” Scale Model Railroading Homepage web site:
“S scale is one particular of the quickest growing scales inside model railroading right now and is growing in leaps and bounds. Why? Due to the fact you need to have only 10% far more space than HO to operate, our products are proliferating in the market place location and S scale merchandise run reliably, track better and are effortlessly modeled to prototypical accuracy.”