S Gauge — the best in model railroading

What is S Gauge?

S Gauge is model railroading that is 3/16ths of an inch to a foot or a ratio of 1:64.  It fits nicely between 1:87 (HO) and 1:48 (O). (Click to see comparison.) Within the S Gauge domain there are two areas of interest: S Scale and Hi-Rail (sometimes referred to as Tinplate.) S Gauge has always had a small but devoted group of model railroaders and is now enjoying a potentially explosive growth because of the availability of more products than at any time previously. Of great importance is the entry of MTH into the world of S Gauge.

What is the difference between S Scale and Hi-Rail?

Hi-Rail is primarily the original American Flyer trains which ran on two rail track that measure .200″ in height. While the rolling stock, passenger cars, and engines are in direct portion to the prototypes, the wheels had flanges that where wide to make it easy for children to place the cars and engines on the track and reduced the potential for derailing. The couplers (link and knuckle) were disproportionately large to again make it easy for children to play with.

S Scale uses the same two rail track but the height of the rails are in true proportion to real track. The rail height is less than .135″. The Hi-Rail wheel sets cannot negoiate scale track as they will ride on the ties. The couplers are also in true scale to  real couplers. Finally, the detail on the engines and cars are much more precise.

Why is S Gauge the “S”ensible size?

S Gauge is attractive for many reasons.  The size itself is attractive.  It is large enough that model detail is easily seen with natural vision.  Its dimensions and bulk provide excellent operating characteristics and reliability compared to smaller scales.  Even children well under the age of ten can handle S with ease without damaging the details making it fun to play with.  S is the only scale that can actually allow someone to participate in both scale model railroading and in Hi-Rail trains.

It is no surprise that even model railroaders who are not active in S Scale call it “THE IDEAL SIZE”.  Examine S and you’ll see why it is the “S”ensible size.