American Flyer trains 1950

Dan’s been back in touch with some pics of some American Flyer trains 1950 is the date line – how things have changed:

“Al, this set of photos was taken in 1971. Unfortunately they were taken pre-digital, low light and no flash.

American Flyer trains 1950

Many years ago when I was about 13, a church member told me he had a train layout. He knew I liked trains. I did not take photos then. Many years later after he passed, his son wanted me to see the layout before it was taken down. So, when home from college one weekend I took these photos.

The layout was American Flyer. In the 50’s you had to just about scratch build every thing. There were some kits. If you will indulge me, I will show you some very interesting photos.

HO scale buildings

American Flyer trains 1950

The icing platform was based on the one at the Santa Fe yard in Kansas City. It is all scratch built. I believe the string of Santa Fe reefers were car sides, roofs and details from kits to put on an AF car frame.

HO scale cattle pen

Stock pens

American Flyer trains 1950

Note the storage tank in the photo. This was a coffee can. In those days coffee came in cans.

American Flyer trains 1950

Modeled after the engine house in Argentine Yard Kansas City.

American Flyer trains 1950:

HO scale trestle bridge

American Flyer trains 1950

All scratch built structures.

model railroad signal box

Station and tower scratch built

American Flyer trains 1950American Flyer trains 1950

Another view of the icing platform

model railroad HO scale

Lumber yard

Amercian Flyer trains 1950

More coffee cans. The silos were made from mailing tubes.

American Flyer trains 1950 freight

Area near the stock yards.

I do not remember the size of the layout. It took up a large part of the basement.

I hope the AFers like these,


A big thanks to Hall of Fame Dan for sharing these American Flyer trains 1950 seems so long ago – probably because it is…

Here’s a page of American Flyer layout if that’s your thing:

American FLyer Model railroad.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

Got a model train question?

14 Responses to American Flyer trains 1950

  1. Don says:

    the train depot is well done & the stockyard is awesome

  2. Brian Olson says:

    Very nice, and well preserved photos! Makes one appreciate the photo/video studios we now all have in our pockets to share our hobby.

  3. Stephen Hill says:

    That’s too cool , whatever became of the trains and the buildings? Thankyou for sharing those .

  4. Rich B. says:

    After reading again… so the time-frame of this is actually 1950 circa. Amazing with level of detail here and thought “Boys Club American Flyer RR” was tops for back then. Plasticville is noted and was perfect for 2-rail, Lionel was too large a scale. Liked my Flyer Santa FE also but couplers were not proto-type at all. Kind of a double hook overlap thing as I recall. And of coarse Lionel outlasted the Flyer, both my examples horrible looking those days. Never ballasted track even lol.

    These layouts all seem to die off also with builder’s demise. Many museum quality RR’s never to be seen again. Savor them while we can, even old photos.

  5. robert dale tiemann says:

    very good job. the train yard almost looks like the real thing.

  6. Rob McCrain says:

    This is a very unusual and well-done layout. I am impressed with the realism and placement of the elements. From what I could see the integration of the background and foreground was very well done. Rob

  7. Ross Kerr says:

    Great pics. I belong to an S Gauge American Flyer Club. We set up at various venues during the year to hype the hobby and have fun. The fact that so many engines and accessories from way back then still operate as they did when new.

  8. Doug Warnecke says:

    Very nice layout and a lot of scratch built work and time involved. I am just starting a small 4×8 AF layout for my great grandsons. (9 & 11). Not much space to work with in this gauge – however, it might tweak their interest to carry on. I had Lionel as a kid back in the 40’s – but they are too expensive today. Finding most stuff on EBay for AF trains and buildings etc….. Thanks again for sharing.

    …and thank you Al for bringing it all out and available for us!

  9. Ray Volpe says:

    Great layout, especially the stock yard.

  10. Larry K Schweitzer says:

    I’ve got my early ’50s Flyer set boxed in the basement. Will go to a grand son along with a bunch of still in the boxes N gage that I bought in Germany in the 70’s. No place to put a layout.

  11. Scott from Florida says:

    Anytime American Flyer or S Gauge makes the blog I’m sure to tune in … This was extra special as it represents the time when the trains were in production and the kind of thing the AC Gilbert company imagined their customers would do with the trains – thank you Hall of Fame Dan for sharing … Larry K Schweitzer- if you wanna sell the set boxed in the basement let me know! I’d be happy to put it into operation today – all can give you my contact info !!

  12. santafedan says:

    Scott, this was the first large basement layout I ever saw!
    I have no idea as to what happened to it all.

  13. santafedan says:

    Rich, I Googled the Boys American Flyer Club. The videos from the 50’s are interesting. The boys loved to blow the whistles.

    If Al allows, here is a link to one of them.

  14. Rod Charlton in NC says:

    To: Doug Warnecke, Good for you in building an American Flyer layout with your grandsons. I believe this will be very rewarding. A simple way to have some additional width is to add some 8 ft 2×3 or 2x4s on the back of your platform. If you add enough extras, you will have enough width to have two complete loops to run 2 trains simultaneously in the same or more exciting in opposite directions.This is very easy and not very costly. Adding enough extra’s will allow use switches to move the trains to the other loop & perhaps in to a siding inside the inner loop. Just use drywall screws spced to stack the 2 bys. Good lick

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