American Flyer®

A.C. Gilbert, the largest U.S. toy maker in 1946, introduced American Flyer®. The company was better known for its Erector Set as well as its chemical sets. American Flyer's main competitor was Lionel®. Gilbert wanted to make cheaper, and more accurate models (see a YouTube video of the A.C. Gilbert factory).

The main difference between Lionel and Gilbert, beside the size (1:48 vs. 1:64), was that Lionel used a center rail down the middle of the tracks, whereas Gilbert used the more prototypical two-rail system. The A.C. Gilbert company manufactured American Flyer trains until 1966, when the company went out of business. Lionel bought the American Flyer name and product line in 1967 (Lionel subsequently declared its own bankruptcy later that same year).

The cereal company General Mills bought the Lionel product line (but not the corporation itself). The Lionel corporation started building general toy stores around the country and wasn't really involved in toy trains anymore. They eventually went out of business for good. In 1979 General Mills resurrected the American Flyer product line, with little success.

In 1995 the new Lionel, LLC (which is an entirely different corporation from the original Lionel company, and included the famed rock star Neil Young in its leadership) bought the toy train product line from General Mills and continues to produce some American Flyer products, both re-issues and newly-tooled products. The latest products are actually new-tooling products that are closer to scale models, but still remain compatible with other American Flyer products, including track. Here is another Lionel video about the latest S gauge catalog and products.

NASG Commemorative Cars

2014 Commemorative Car

(click photo for larger view)

The NASG has contracted with Lionel Trains® to produce a limited run of this 2014 American Flyer® commemorative car. You can order yours, if you are an NASG member, for $69, which includes shipping within the United States, or $75 when shipped to Canada.

See the NASG Store page for information about how to order this and other cars that are still available.

2013 Commemorative Car - Update

The 2013 car, the PP&L hopper car, is SOLD OUT. As of March 1, 2014 all cars that were ordered have been shipped. There are no extra cars available. This completes Doug Peck's outstanding work in keeping this project going for 25 years. Thank you Doug!!!

Previous Cars

Click here to view the listing of each of the previous cars that were produced. Several of the cars are still available for sale. Dave Blum is asking all who would like to make the purchase, to please do so soon, because he is running out of storage space. See the NASG Store page for information about how to order the cars, and which ones are still available.

Photo Gallery

Disclaimer: the NASG cannot be held responsible for the content of external web sites. However, all links are routinely checked for suitability.

S-gauge Magazines

The following magazines or regular publications feature all or some American Flyer® and "hi-rail" modeling:

Model Railroader magazine published Brooks Stover's A Model Railroader's Guide to Digital Photography. Both Model Railroader and Brooks have provided permission for us to re-post his guide.

S-gauge Discussion Forums

A Facebook discussion group is available. Although the primary focus is scale modeling (standard- and narrow-gauge, and hi-rail), discussion of American Flyer® topics are welcome.

American Flyer References

American Flyer Layouts on the Web

American Flyer Videos on the Web

S-gauge Articles on the Web

Company Announcements