New to S-Scale and trying to figure it out

SleeperN06 Nov 9, 2014

  1. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

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    I acquired a couple of GarGraves S-Gauge Switches and thinking about starting a small layout to see how it compares to O-Gauge. I was searching on eBay for some track, but I’m confused by ‘Standard’ and ‘S-Gauge’. Are they the same?

    I’m thinking about continuing with GarGraves track since I already have the Switches, but are they compatible with other brands?

    And what about the trains? I was thinking about buying a set, but my search is coming up with 3-rail and GarGraves is 2-rail so I confused. What should I be searching for?
     
  2. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I wonder where you found those switches. LOL

    Let me help you out. The Gar Graves switches are interchangeable with anything American Flyer made. I build a layout for Papa Bear, (a former boss of mine) using Gar Graves track and the original American Flyer Switches. I was able to run anything on it including the new S Scale Stuff. Although like you, I didn't recognize readily what "Standard" stands for. So I looked it up and found this: http://modeltrains.wikia.com/wiki/S_Gauge

    I hope that helps. From my best recollections Standard referred to larger trains made to operate on S scale track. Lionel did the same thing with various sizes of O-scale that still confuses model railroaders to this day. Just the evolution of model railroading.

    Referring back to the S scale train layout I built. It worked fine for Papa Bear, but the Cub didn't much like it or respect it and when it came time to take it down he smashed the layout to hell and back. A bitter pill for me to swallow. That kid never did respect his dad, his dad's friends (me) his business or the things he enjoyed. True! Sigh!

    Some track tips: I had to bend the GarGraves to make curves and found it wasn't as easy as I'd hoped it would be. I cut me a template out of 3/4" thick particle board. I then bent the rail to the template. I had to realign the railroad ties aka sleepers so they would line up and look right. Pre-drilled nail hoes in the ties and nailed them down to a flat piece of 3/4 ply. Using one inch wire brads.

    You won't find foam under any of the track installs on any of the layouts I build. Not a foamer... in that respect. Cork road bed yes! I found I could buy HO scale cork for by far less then what it cost for S or O scale cork.

    Which reminds me the foam board that showed up at my house...grin.... is going in one piece at a time and I'm already noticing a environmental difference. Looks like wintertime won't freeze me out of the train shed...this year. Thanks.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2014
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    In "S", referring to it as "Gauge" used to mean the hi-rail/tinplate. Referring to it as "Scale" was the more prototypical solid rail track, and detailing.

    This site might help a little: http://www.trainweb.org/crocon/strack.html
     
  4. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Rick and also for the switches, but now you see what you got me into, LOL
    So anyway I was looking at the Lionel 6-30224 Pennsylvania Limited Passenger Train Set and I can’t figure out if it will operate with the switches I have.
    Oh and I’m glad the foam will work for you.

    Oops, I just read the Lionel track description and it turns out to be 'O' scale. I guess it was listed wrong by the vender. So now I'm back to finding another set
     
  5. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, but now that confuses me more because I thought gauge and scale were the same thing. I'll read through that link and see if I can get a handle on it
     
  6. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

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    this is getting too complicated. I just did a search for American Flyer and I also came up with 'O' scale
     
  7. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ken, steered you into the finer finesse of S scale. And...he's correct. You wouldn't think so but he is. See, (not See's candy but that sounds good right about now) there was three different rail sizes used by a number of different scales of Toy Train equipment. But let's not get that started here. We could burn the barn down with that discussion.

    *Scale is used to describe the equipment you are operating.
    *Gauge refers to the width of the track.

    Now the Lionel Train set you referred to is not S scale. It is traditional (three track) O27. In other words it will operate on a 27" diameter track (from center rail to center of rail).

    Lionel did buy out American Flyer and reproduced some of their equipment. You will bump into that on the internet. Kind of hafta sort it all out.

    So, to answer your previous question about the Lionel train, Lionel 6-30224 Pennsylvania Limited Passenger Train Set. No it won't run on S scale track or through the switches you have. Sorry about that. Cute train though.

    Confused yet? I know when I first went to work for a LHS in Dayton, OH., I thought I knew it all and learned well...don't tell me boss but I had a lot of catching up to do. So, you aren't the first to be frustrated with the early Toy Train terminology.

    I hope that helps.

    American Flyer, Marx, Imes, Lionel all started with O scale most operating on O27 track. Later as some newbies to the prototype thinking begin to add members to their ranks they started yelling for scale equipment that operated on....what else....two rail track. Prototype track. Ok, I was one of them but at a very young age. "Trains don't run on three rail track" I boldly fumed. Anyway, I think that's what led to my getting an American Flyer set, the next Christmas. Now it's your turn...LOL!

    Does that help?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2014
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    There is a lot of bad information on the 'Net, so it can be easy for people to have some confusion. Anyone can put up almost anything they want to, true or false. It has been some time since I've owned or used anything "S", but I do not recall using the word "standard." Years ago, American Flyer did make O gauge trains. But that stopped right about at the beginning of World War Two.

    "S" is 1:64, using two rail track. In "S", gauge refers to the more toy-like version, scale to those items done more to the prototype. (The same is generally true for O trains.) In reality, gauge is the distance between rails, scale is the proportion to the prototype. In S and O, life is different.

    The line has been blurred somewhat, with items these past couple of decades being made trying to fit both uses. You can find such as steam, diesel and rolling stock made with the option to buy the old AF style trucks and couplers, or with trucks having wheel sets much more to "scale with prototypical units, and couplers by Kadee and similar. It's probably smart marketing.

    Here is a manufacturer of S you could look at for a start: http://www.americanmodels.com/

    They also have a brief tutorial on their site: http://www.americanmodels.com/sscale.html
     
  9. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

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    So I guess what your telling me is that this S gauge or scale is from older trains. I was hoping I could buy a brand new train set that I don't have to fiddle with or fix. Well I don't think this is for me. I have boxes of junk O-scale trains that I bought off of eBay that I'll probably toss and I don't want to buy any more junk from eBay.
     
  10. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

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    So it looks like there are some new sets available , Thanks
     
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    There is a good amount available in S. I have a fair folder of bookmarks.

    A few years ago, I looked at S Scale quite seriously. But I just don't have what might be considered a legitimate space, nor the budget. After a major health setback, am glad I did not start. But it surely would have been interesting.
     
  12. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for all your help, but I’ve decided to pass on it all together. I have 5 complete Lionel O-scale sets as it is plus my N-scale stuff, so I don’t really need any more trains.
    My family is giving me a lot of static about how large my current O-scale Christmas layout is and since I’m building a new smaller one this year, I just thought that I might have a smaller layout with the S-scale. After looking it over though. I think it’s going to be too costly and I’m just going to stay with O-scale.
     
  13. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Please be sure to share a photo or two of your new Christmas display!
     
  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    I think I will got to my corner and pout.

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Maybe next year.

    I'm with Ken, looking forward to seeing pictures of your Christmas Tree Layout.

    Just remember you do this for you and the wife. I think you are still in charge of your own home. Have fun!
    Unless that's changed with an executive order.
     
  15. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

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  16. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Not at all disappointed Johnny.

    Have fun!
     
  17. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yup. I saw the other topic. Will be interested in seeing the outcome of these new plans.
     

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