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Old 06-16-2019, 09:05 PM   #1
Jetcone
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USA Traditional vs. Hi-Rail vs. Scale

I am interested in getting back into model trains. I have liked them since I was a youngster, and now I feel comfortable spending time and money on it. Having owned O and HO scale in the past, I have decided that S-scale is the perfect fit. Since my space is limited, O-scale is too big, and I find that HO-scale is too small for my large hands. I am somewhat confused about the different variations of S-scale. I know once I make a decision, everything needs to be compatible - the right rolling stock on the right track, etc. I am leaning toward scale, however, all I see is AF and Hi-Rail track. How do I decide?
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:28 PM   #2
mopac
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Scales Modeled: HO mainly, N, S, O, G
I know what you are asking but I don't know enough about the options to help.
We have a guy that should be able to help. He is AmFlyer. I will watch this thread cause I would like to know the difference also. And what is compatible.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:01 AM   #3
AmFlyer
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Scales Modeled: S gauge
Welcome to the MTF!
I have collected Gilbert AF for over 50 years and have always enjoyed S gauge trains. I have built over 30 Gilbert layouts and had a layout professionally designed and built.
There are many nice things about S gauge such as size, two rail track, almost everything Gilbert made is scale sized (passenger cars would be scale models of 70' cars or slightly foreshortened 80' cars.) All S gauge from all manufacturers is interoperable except for couplers. All S gauge except for scale equipment will operate on 20"R curves.
The only decision you need to make upfront is scale or highrail. That is primarily because scale requires a larger minimum radius and almost always is DC or DCC operated. For scale a 36" minimum radius is ideal, a 33" may work but eliminates some larger rigid frame steam engines. Track would be code 125 or smaller, most use code 100 or smaller.
If you decide on highrail just use the largest radius you can fit but only 20"R is necessary.
There are many highrail track systems available, each has advantages and disadvantages. There is Gilbert, GarGraves, American Models, Lionel FasTrack and SHS/MTH. Gilbert and GarGraves directly interchange. I have built many layouts using Gilbert, SHS or GarGraves track.
The layout I had professionally built uses MTH track with handlaid numbered turnouts.Both highrail and scale equipment will run on it but I mostly use original Gilbert, AM and SHS/MTH equipment. The layout is AC powered using Legacy and the Lionel Layout Control System.
If you search on my screen name you will see many of the pictures I have posted. I will repost some here in a bit, I need to use a different device.From this it would be helpful if you had some specific questions I could answer.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:38 AM   #4
AmFlyer
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Scales Modeled: S gauge
Here are some layout pictures. One with Gilbert track, one with SHS sectional track, a simple SHS sectional track on the floor of our SD home, and lastly two of the professionally built layout. It uses .138 MTH rail and will run scale or high rail.

AFF3B50D-1DA4-46D5-A8C7-AB5479494377.jpg

C879D32D-3775-4225-9CAE-D5B4F3170903.jpg

ECA1ABF7-39D2-4EE6-8EB9-5F991D2ABAA0.jpg

09C3456A-7763-4FFC-AFB8-E5D9CAB6564E.jpg

8D32E1E0-F52E-4DDF-9389-5FD3FDC497BF.jpg
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:31 PM   #5
dooper
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I'm impressed! And my says to quit encouraging me!
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:29 PM   #6
AmFlyer
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Scales Modeled: S gauge
Tell her it is the least of all possible evils.
We are just a few miles north of you off 127, East Lansing. Why is it not summer here?
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:43 AM   #7
dooper
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I cannot answer that question. I am wondering also. Since we bought the new house, I have not been in the water yet(My wife was once, but she fell off the sea wall). I have not even seen any fish on their beds yet.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:17 AM   #8
AmFlyer
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Scales Modeled: S gauge
Is it time to change your location on your screen name?
For our original poster here is another Gilbert layout using both original accessories and Snow Village.


6A3F8DE4-6EA6-47A0-BEF0-97BAB0254331.jpg
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:12 PM   #9
dooper
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No. Lake house is a second home. Illinois property taxes are high, but as for the state income tax, they do not tax ira withdrawels, pension income, and social security income. Therefore we pay no state income tax. Michigan taxes all these. And, the auto insurance rates are sky-high because of their expensive auto medical insurance.

So, Downers Grove will be my residence until we sell this 1895 three floor house (way to big for two).

Will be in Michigan tomorrow.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:47 PM   #10
Chuck7612
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Tom covered lots of territory in his post. I also suggest suggest you read this page...
https://www.nasg.org/NewToS.php
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