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Hi-Rail vs Scale vs Tinplate

What is the difference between hi-rail and scale?

90% of our orders are for HR (hi-rail). This is compatible with AF (American Flyer), and will run on AF track or our track.

An attempt to model as realistic as possible, usually operated with dc current power supply and has wheel flanges made the smallest possible, but large enough to stay on the track, usually operated on .100 .125 " or .148" high rail track. Couplers are prototype size or close to it, usually "Kadee" couplers or our scale Snap-lock couplers are used.


Usually meant to be American Flyer type railroading with the large flanged wheels and couplers. AC transformers always used. Track is the American Flyer "hollow steel rail" .220" in height, (WWII design).


An attempt to use the best of both worlds, using the larger hi-rail flanged wheels and American Flyer or sometimes scale type couplers with more realistic track.

AC power has some advantage in that an economical electronic sound system can be made without a battery back-up. (DC sound systems usually cost twice and much). A disadvantage is that AC powered locomotives cannot change directions simply by throwing a switch, and features such as "momentum throttles are not available. A three position reverse unit must be used and requires the power to be turned on and off and on and off again to reverse direction. We often call these AC Flyer.

Our .148" Universal Track System is probably the most realistic track ever sold in any gauge, as well as being able to accommodate both types of wheel flanges. See our display sheet and photos, for more information.