TrainDR started as a father/son project as a way to find a joint project for us to work on. The site is focused on curating the wealth of train knowledge from Bill’s head through an organized approach. First we wanted to focus on bringing high quality content, diagrams, and historical information on American Flyer Trains. Long term we will cover Lionel and others. Next we wanted to provide amateurs and enthusiasts quality information, manuals, and reference materials for toy trains. With a great deal of this content complete, we are moving on to the next phase of the project.


Phase II of the project is to add a collecting functionality. For over 60 years Bill has struggled to organize, catalog, index, and track his collection. Our collection tracking tool is designed to make that much easier. Next we wanted to add a better train community auction site than the generic EBAY style sites. Finally, we wanted to begin taking various components of the site and turning them into educational books, videos, and repair tools so that we may inspire future generations of train collectors and record the history of what exists now.



What are the different types of American Flyer Train Motors

Gilbert American Flyer made a variety of train motors based on the various train models they were manufacturing. In general, the motors were designed to match the type of locomotives they were modeled after and had a variety of features. It appears that there were approximately 6 different types of American Flyer Train motors as well as a variety used in accessories and other components.

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History of American Flyer Displays

American Flyer understood its market and the influence a visual and active display would have on the decision to purchase Gilbert American Flyer trains. Print advertising in consumer magazines and trade magazines was placed to excite the buyers and to encourage the...
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Top 4 differences between American Flyer trains and Lionel trains?

My father grew up on American Flyer trains and I grew up on Lionel trains. I remember distinctly some major differences and found the three rail aspect of Lionel trains always weird. That being said, here are the Top 4 differences between American Flyer trains and...
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American Flyer Bridges and Tunnels – Part 1

When Gilbert acquired American Flyer in 1938, they introduced Gilbert designed accessories to compliment the train line. The first Gilbert American Flyer design bridges used Gilbert Erector Set Gilbert AF 1st Bridgeparts. The migration of parts went the other way as well. The house at the top of an American Flyer signal tower became the Erector Set house.

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American Flyer Accessory Crossing Gates Guide

Gilbert American Flyer Crossing Gates were introduced in the pre war 3/16’s product line from 1938 to 1941. Many of the parts that were in inventory when toy production was stopped for the war were saved and then used in the post war products. The first crossing gate introduced in the post war period was the 591 which continued the prewar 591 design but with the wiring adapted to the newly introduced two rail track system.

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Christmas with American Flyer

The Holiday Season has always been a focus of toy trains. In some families it was the time of year to put up the train set under the Christmas tree with a village or putz to add to the festive décor in the living room. In other families it was the time of year for a...
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