Bookmark and Share

Archive News Story

Lionel and S-Gauge - a brief history

The LCCA and S-Gauge

Did You know You have Been Able to Collect Lionel S-Gauge Trains for More Than Thirty Years? Lionel has been producing S-Gauge American Flyer trains and accessories for over three decades. Lionel Fundimensions started out small in 1979 when they released their first three pieces of rolling stock; a Santa Fe box car in vivid red with a black roof , a white chemical tank car with a large, orange ”GULF” logo type adorning the tank car body,and a black B & O hopper with a yellow Chessie cat emblem. It was only three pieces, but the splashy new graphics on the cars helped herald a new beginning for mass produced S-gauge trains. This was the first time in almost fourteen years American Flyer fans could buy new equipment using the the original A. C. Gilbert tooling.

Lionel has produced American Flyer trains in steadily growing numbers and variety ever since for S gauge hobbyists, which is surprising news to many Lionel O Gauge 3-railers. The 1979 Lionel American Flyer product launch was a bittersweet occasion for many American Flyer aficionados, because the A. C. Gilbert Company which made S-Gauge American Flyer trains from 1946 to the 1960's, was a major Lionel competitor in the postwar years. Now thirty years later, the American Flyer S-Gauge line has grown to where in 2012 there is a separate American Flyer catalog for the first time. The 2012 cover is a meld of a traditional American Flyer image of two boys in 1950's clothes watching a newly tooled Lionel 2-8-8-2 S-Gauge, 1:64 scale, articulated steamer going by them.

Inside the catalog is an exciting variety of the two lines of S-Gauge trains Lionel offers S-Gauge hobbyists. They range from modern mainline diesels like the all-new, Legacy equipped SD70ACe, to an updated American Flyer passenger train favorite, the ALCO PAs in brilliant Texas Special colors, hauling up to five streamlined passenger cars. For the first time S Gauge ALCO PAs come with command control, Railsounds and fan driven smoke.

LCCA S-Gauge Presentation in Norfolk

The increasing availability of Lionel S Gauge and the the growing interest in the marketplace of 1:64 scale and hi-rail trains sets the stage for a presentation by LCCA member Ed Boyle, O Gauge Railroading (OGR) Partner, and columnist for OGR's Collector's Gallery, on the past and future of American Flyer and what it may mean to both operators and collectors of Lionel trains.

Ed has promised a comprehensive and concise look at 1:64 scale trains and why our two rail S-Gauge brethern should become more important to us at the LCCA. As Ed points out, many S Gaugers are Lionel collector's too, and we need to welcome more of them into the ranks of the LCCA.  LCCA is S friendly, and having S-Gauge hobbyist play a more prominent role in our activities will enrich the the toy train hobby experience for all of us.

Stay tuned. Please check with us for details of this S-Gauge presentation during this year's Norfolk Convention.