American Flyer Rolling Stock

I did a Google search and just ended up confused.
Can an American Flyer boxcar run on Lionel's O gauge track? Obviously I
know S gauge is two-rail, but what about the rolling stock. Are they
compatible?
Reply to
Spender
Loading thread data ...
no wrong size
Reply to
Chuck Kimbrough
O gauge is 1-1/4" gauge, S gauge is 7/8" gauge.
O scale is 1/4" to the foot, S scale is 3/16" to the foot.
American Flyer rolling stock is built to S scale.
Lionel is a mixed bag. The quality stuff is built to 1/4" scale. Most of the toy stuff was/is built to 3/16" scale, not 1/4" scale. But it's mounted on O gauge trucks. Lionel did this many, many years ago to be able to offer trainsets that would fit on a dining room table (the O-27 line). The smaller cars and locos could handle those very tight curves.
So if you change the trucks and couplers, you can run that Lionel rolling stock on American Flyer S gauge track. And vice versa.
Not that changing trucks and couplers is easy.
Confusing, isn't it? :-)
Have Fun!
Reply to
Wolf
Gauge & scale are vastly different when talking about toy trains.
Many Lionel items are close to 3/16" scale, or "S" scale, running on "O" track. Just prior to WWII, Flyer was marketing 3/16" scale trains for three rail "O" gauge track.
The gauge is not the same for Postwar Flyer, which is 3/16" scale running on two rail "S" gauge track. The bulk of Lionel production is three rail "O". Prewar Flyer runs just fine on Lionel "O".
Want to confuse the issue even more? Lionel has been cataloging & producing "S" gauge American Flyer train items since the 1970's. They acquired Flyer in 1967 just before Lionel Corp got out of the train business themselves & licensed the manufacturing.
The corporation then sold the licenses too in the '90s. It's all owned by Wellspring now.
Rob
Reply to
trainfan1
Not too bad. The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from... ;)
I had just seen an American Flyer box car that looked cool and was wondering if it would work on O/O27 track. I'm not sure I want to get into attempting to change trucks though. At least not because my wife likes Winnie the Pooh. (Don't tell her I said that... she'll stick my Woody Woodpecker boxcar in my face and say "Oh yeah?")
I've seen the variations in Lionel rolling stock that I have. But I'm not big on wanting all the cars to be the same height or anything. It actually looks kind of cool to have an eclectic consist.
"Where on earth is that train hauling Comet Cleanser, Jack Frost Sugar, Rocket Fuel, a Woody Woodpecker boxcar, and three AEC Reactor Fluid tank cars headed?"
I'm still working on a likely story. It's headed to Lionelville, obviously, but what those Lionelvillans do with the stuff is anybody's guess. We might want to get the Homeland Security Department in on this...
Reply to
Spender
I recall reading something about Neil Young being a major investor who pulled Lionel out of the last bankruptcy. Is Wellspring the company he funded?
I wonder what makes the business so unstable. Too small a market requiring high prices? Too much time playing with the trains instead of running the business? To much time in court with MTH?
I've heard two areas of faith in the latter. Some say MTH will buy out Lionel, and some say Lionel will buy out MTH.
Either way, the Lionel name has to stay. It's ingrained in the American consciousness.
Reply to
Spender
I recall the original Toy Trains magazine advocating putting 0-27 trucks on AF and S on 0-27 to give additonal variety. Roger Aultman
Wolf wrote:
Reply to
Roger Aultman
Neil Young is a small minority investor w/ Wellspring. None of them "pulled Lionel out of the last bankruptcy"... it was a court decision.
Young also has interests in the firm that provides technology to Lionel - LionTech.
Assuming facts not in evidence.
Too small a market requiring
Niether of these will happen, the way Lionel is structured.
Rob
Reply to
trainfan1
trainfan1 spake thus:
... which stems from the fact that Young's son is developmentally disabled, and Young discovered toy trains assisted with his treatment, thereafter taking a great interest in Lionel.
Reply to
David Nebenzahl
and Young discovered toy trains assisted with his treatment,
Both of his sons, Zeke & Ben, have CP. His daughter does not.
Neil's interest in trains, Lionel in particular, predates the birth of Ben(1978), the one who is most severely affected, & Zeke(1972).
Rob
Reply to
trainfan1
Yes, obviously the bankruptcy court's trustee pulls the company out of bankruptcy. I meant that he invested in creating the new company.
Several bankruptcies from the days of Joshua Cowen to the present. Not too stable.
Reply to
Spender
Now that's a great story. I doubt MTH has any such stories. Other than maybe a clandestine piece involving Mike walking out on Lionel and taking some designers - and apparently some designs - with him.
Reply to
Spender
Didn't American Flyer make some O27 stuff for a while?
Reply to
gl4316
In the old days, toy trains were made in the USA or imported from a few manufacturers in Europe at great cost.
Today, the vast majority of the toys are made in China. This means prices can be very cheap relative to what they might have been.
To be popular with the mass toy market, it means being cheap and not necessarily very good quality.
To be popular with the collectors and layout operators, it means having collector quality products and many of those would prefer they be made in the same old USA factory that they always had been.
Thus, these manufacturers are pulled in two different directions.
LGB attempted to solve the problem by creating two lines of products: a battery powered plastic track train that was aimed at the children's market (are they still making that?), and the hobbyist trains we all know of. Both could operate on the metal track, and rolling stock had similar enough couplers that some types of rolling stock were shared between the two product lines.
However, the toy market is a volatile thing, particularly with such heavy hitters as Mattell doing mass marketing to children every moment they watch TV.
Reply to
gl4316
I think the plastic track and battery trains disappeared 30 odd years ago. More recently LGB introduced their 'toy line' which uses products produced in China, running on LGB track.
Reply to
Greg Procter
It has been that long ago hasn't it? I still have a 1981 LGB catalog somewhere (the only one I ever owned) that had the plastic track trains in it.
In O27, there was Lionel, and there was Marx. For a while in the 1970s, Marx made a version of its locomotive with a wind-up mechanism and plastic track. This would also operate on the same O27 track as their electric trains.
This type of thing strikes me as being a good way of introducing a toy that can be upgraded slowly into an adult hobby.
Reply to
gl4316
Pre-WW2 I believe.
Reply to
Wolf
A minor investor, w/ Wellspring. This was in 1995, has nothing to do with any bankruptcy. There was no new company, they bought it in entirety from Richard Kuhn, who had recently acquired the licenses from Lionel Corp., while having owned the rights, & Lionel Trains Inc., & had been making trains, for 10 years.
This last one had nothing to do with stability, it was the result of the MTH lawsuit verdict.
Rob
Reply to
trainfan1
Lionel's decline began soon after the War. It was clear by 1950 that the majority of model railroaders wanted both scale and standards, so that products from different manufacturers would work together. The "scale vs tinplate" debate raged, often acrimoniously, in the model press. Eventually, the tinplaters left the "serious" model railroad community, which was then dominated by model builders, not by operators. But even now, there are occasional articles about tinplate layouts operating as model railroads. (There is still a divide between builders and operators, with the builders moaning about the decline in standards, the dumbing down of MR, etc, as shown on some threads on this forum.)
Lionel did build 1/4" scale models (they fetch very high prices on the collectors market these days), but refused to conform to NMRA standards, and so lost this segment of the market. The fact that the small post-ware houses and large post-ware families encouraged people to choose HO over O didn't help either. Nor did the fact that almost all HO worked well together. (The exceptions were, significantly enough, the European imports from manufacturers that each built to different standards.)
When Lionel did offer HO trains, they once again refused to conform to NMRA standards. I had a couple of their cars - nice enough mouldings, but I had to change the trucks, as the Lionel wheels hiccupped (to put it nicely) over the turnouts. I think I still have two or three of those trucks in my scrapbox. I also had their version of the 4-wheel Plymouth diesel. Execrable modelling, horrible wheels, and gears that made the durn thing run at around 400 scale mph.
Lionel just didn't understand that captive markets didn't work anymore. Pity. Their trains were tough as Mack trucks, and were and are a lot of fun to play with.
Reply to
Wolf
Time flits by when you're having fun!
The Chinese have that segment of the market well sewn up - I just bought a New Bright set, R/C 2-6-0 + tender, 3 wagons and an oval of track new for NZ$45 (US$30)
Reply to
Greg Procter

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