Welcome to

Gilbert American Flyer

S Gauge Trains

1946 - 1966



I Have been collecting Gilbert

American Flyer Electric Trains since 1951

when I received my first set. It was a 302AC with

smoke and choo-choo, a red reefer, gray hopper and red

caboose. I was excited since the set was uncataloged

and the Atlantic engine had the smoke feature!

A year later, my dad and I searched

out the “returns” section of a local

department store (E. W. Edwards)

and found a 342 with

the wires between

the tender

and the engine that

were severed. We bought

it for $10. That was my first repair job!



I became a “serious” collector soon after my daughter

Audrey was born in 1970. I added a 293 Pacific

and later a 336, 4-8-4 Northern to my

steam consist. When I sold my

collection, keeping only

the trains I had as


a child and the Sante

Fe diesel. I had over 60 steam

engines, 25 diesels 70 passenger cars,

250 freight cars, and 180 accessories. As with any collecting

hobby, some participants treat it purely as an investment activity.

I was disillusioned by the cutthroat nature of the train

dealers when I decided to sell one engine to

finance a new video camera.

It was no longer

fun, so I sold the

whole thing.


Today I have a layout of modest size with two

levels. It’s modeled after the picture in the Gilbert

“Pike Planner” Booklet. I can run 3 trains at the same

time on three different loops. I kept the oil drum loader, seaboard

coaler, log loader, cattle loader and electromagnetic crane accessories.

These are the fun things! I believe that collecting and

operating trains is a hobby to be shared freely

with others who have the same


While my book is

for sale, I offer free

help to those who need just a word of advice or encouragement.

My reward is the letters of thanks AF operators send to me for

writing the book and helping them to get back on the right track.

If you have a question on Gilbert American Flyer repair or operation,

ask away in an email you will send to me from




Tom’s Trains

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