If you are a model train collector, or passionate about them, then you’ve probably heard of the American Flyer Trains.
These model trains are an exceptional collectible for any model train enthusiast. But what exactly are they? And should you even care?
Let’s find out!
The American Flyer Vintage trains are one of the best model trains ever made. These trains focus on the details and realism of the model train above all else.
Another fact about the American Flyer train is that the accessories they produce are really interesting. They are way high in demand, for both collectors and those who just want to have a model train.
The history of American Flyer Vintage trains
The American Flyer trains are very old, first built in 1907, more than a century ago! Originally they were their own company and produced under the name American Flyer Manufacturing Company.
Business boomed initially, but under increased competition and pressure to design cheap electric trains, they eventually struggled. In 1937 the line was sold to A.C Gilbert.
The man in charge of the American Flyer Train line was A.C. Gilbert. Gilbert made many improvements in the models, designs, and manufacturing process over the next several years, including introducing a new gauge of the model, the S Gauge American Flyer Train.
Business surged initially, but again as increased demands for cheaper lines and poorer quality parts would prove to be its downfall. This was compounded by the death of A.C Gilbert in 1961. By 1966, the line was discontinued, and in 1967, when the company declared bankruptcy, they sold all assets and the production line to Lionel Corporation, the current manufacturer of the American Flyer trains.
Are American flyer trains still made?
Yes, American Flyer Trains are still made today. The current manufacturer of American Flyer Train sets is the Lionel Corporation. They purchased the rights in 1967 when the previous manufacturer closed their business.
Since then Lionel had been producing different gauge models of the American Flyer Train, in mostly small batches and runs.
Another manufacturing company has joined the cause, but they are only manufacturing accessories, replacement parts, and supplies for the models.
What gauge are American flyer trains?
The American flyer model train sets were originally produced in a number of different scales. You can get your hands on the O, S, and HO scale model of the American Flyer model trains depending on if you’re happy to buy second-hand or not.
These days, Lionel only makes American Flyer Trains in traditional S Gauge. This scale sits in-between both O and HO scale, and really reached the peak of popularity in the ’50s and 60s.
Since 2002 Lionel has begun to introduce new S gauge models and accessories, giving some older modelers hope that it will see a resurgence.
How much is an American Flyer train set worth
So, the American Flyer isn’t just one train, it’s a whole series of S gauge models. Rather, it is a whole series of model train sets that are issued under the American Flyer trains. There are different kinds of locomotive designs and containers.
Based on the design of the locomotives, the price of the American Flyer train sets can range anywhere from $70 to $800. A lot of the stock cars range from $60-80 per car, the locomotives can start at $200 and full sets range anywhere from $500-$1200.
And that’s only for present-day models.
If you want to buy older vintage American Flyer trains then you could look to spend upwards of $2-3000 for a locomotive set.
Where to find American flyer train parts?
You can find the American Flyer train accessories on the Lionel Trains website.
However, they don’t really offer spare parts for sale. For something like that to help fix older model trains, you’re going to need to jump onto something like eBay or even Trainz.com and go searching.
If you’re after older American Flyer vintage train sets,
How to clean American flyer track
American flyer model trains are very expensive. So expensive that even a single scratch on the model can hurt. That is why it’s so important to keep the model train clean and well looked after!
But most of us overlook cleaning the tracks that the train will run on and this is definitely a mistake you shouldn’t be making.
If the model track is dirty, it can cause poor operation of the locomotive and the whole model itself. So you need to know how to properly clean the track of an American Flyer model train.
To clean the model tracks you can either read out track cleaning article or do something like this:
First, get a track cleaner like vinegar and a soft cloth. Dampen the soft cloth with the track cleaner to prepare it for cleaning.
Now rub the dampened cloth over the top of the rail tracks. You will have to apply firm pressure to remove any dirty substance from the track.
After rubbing the train tracks with the dampened cloth, let it rest for a bit. Then take a clean dry cloth and wipe the tracks down to remove any moisture.
If any areas remain dirty, repeat the process, or look for a stronger cleaner.
If possible, make sure that you clean your American Flyer tracks every other week to maintain good contact between locomotive and track.
American Flyer model trains can be a bit of a niche even amongst hobby train enthusiasts, due to their unique scale and price-point.
But, if you’re willing to commit to them, there’s definitely an American Flyer train set out there that will bring you hundreds of hours of joy.
Peter has been building model trains for longer than he can remember. An avid fan of HO and O scale this blog is a creative outlet to allow him to dive further into other scales and aspects of the model train community and hobby.