About Us

Bill Drake is an avid toy train collector.  Bill has collected and played with toy trains since he was a kid and specializes in American Flyer although he also collects Lionel, LGB, HO, and virtually every other type of train. Bill lives in St. Louis, Missouri where he is a Automation Control Engineer by day.

Kirk Drake grew up the son of an avid toy train collector and is a serial entrepreneur and resides in the Washington, DC area.  Some of his companies include CU-2 and Resistance Wine Company.


  1. Paul Elliott

    The diagram for American Flyer trains DC circuit in your power article is incorrect. If it were as shown, the engine would not turn but sit there and hum! The correct diagram showing the output from the DC rectiformer accessory would be a 60 cycle pulse from the full wave bridge circuit – check it out. Thanks for letting me comment and I really liked your historical information. I have been collecting and repairing S gage since Dec,1950.

    • kirk

      Hi Paul – thanks for the comment and glad you are enjoying the site. Which page are you referencing? Is it the “what is a Rectiformer” one?

  2. Michael LaFayette

    Nice site.

    Looking to restore my first train set.

    1959 American Flyer 20505 specifically Loco #21156. According to your diagram the items I’m looking to get are #34 assembly with pick ups that I assume screw into the chasis.

    Can I order form you guys?


    • kirk

      Leventon’s in Chehalis, Washington; Portlines Hobbies or RFG would be the likely places to find this part, SSS Supplies is a possibility. This is the bottom plate on an 0-6-0 Docksider locomotive. It has the pickup shoes that make electrical contact with the tracks. Easily damaged and hard to find. The Lionel reissue of this locomotive has a different design for the pickups (rollers instead of shoes) but I don’t know if it can be substituted. Doug at Portlines would know.

  3. Dawn

    My dad was born in 1939. I’ve recently found his childhood American Flyer electric train set, (not in it’s original box) and I’m trying to find more information on it.

    The Engine has 302 printed on it and the attached car says Reading Line.

    There’s a red car that has a sliding door on each side. It has 633 and Baltimore & Ohio printed in white.

    There’s also a flat bed car that has C&N W.N.Y. 42597 printed on the side.

    The caboose says Reading 630.

    Packaged with it, is an Erector Set. The info on the Erector engine says it’s and A-47 Electric Engine. 110-120v 25 Watts A.C. 60 cycles only. Made by the A.C. Gilbert Co.

    Does the erector set have something to do with the train? Can I download instructions for the set online that you know of? Any information or resource links would be greatly appreciated. I’d like to be able to put it together, see what works and what doesn’t and know if I’m missing anything.

    Thank you!

    • Bill

      Hello Dawn –

      The numbers on the locomotive and cars place the production of this train equipment in the early 1950’s. The flat car would be numbered 628 as a catalog number and would have had a load of logs. The link coupler hooks have a weight on them. If the weight is brass colored the items date to 1948. Black weights are from 1949 to 1953 or possibly 1954 when some remaining inventory was made into special sets.

      Is there additional information you would like?

  4. Travis Congdon

    I have an old American Flyer which I need a transformer for it. I was looking at you AF transformer guide and on the top right of that page is said “BUY A NEW TRANSFORMER (SUPPORTS AMERICAN FLYER)” but there is no link when I clicked on it. I read something about Lionel, I have a old Lionel but don’t want to use the transformer unless it is the same. Please let me know. I grew up with my dad running AF. All he has left is two long engines. The one I have now, someone else gave me. Thanks

  5. Quint Long

    Hello, I was wondering if you had anymore information on the Gilbert American flyer models 322 AC and 320 both with a 4-6-4 wheel design.

  6. Carla Huss

    I have a Gilbert Tru-Model American Flyer with box Gondola that I cannot locate anywhere. It’s green & simply marked on both sides ‘American Flyer Lines’ and the number ‘476’ . The box reads Gondola and looks like 1940 copyright and a number B 866? I give up.

  7. Carla Huss

    Sorry about that… found it.

  8. Dennis Opritza

    I have an American Flyer train set from the 1950’s with several pieces in their original boxes, and am considering selling it. Where can I get information on the value of these items?

  9. Mandy

    Looking to restore my father-in-law’s childhood train. The engine does not work. Do you know where I can buy a new engine or have the train restored?


  10. Mike Danley

    Is it possible to get inside a Gilbert model 8b transformer.? I don’t see a way of removing the cover. Thanks, Mike

  11. Jon Astore

    Hello Bill,

    I would like to get a fair value to sell my set. Can you help?

    American Flyer Train Set No.K5418-T from The A. C. Gilbert Co. of New Haven Conn. It consist of a 7-unit Diesel Santa Fe passenger set, with engines and car nos. 470, 471 & 473. The Instruction Book refers this set as 3/16″scale trains and accessories. The train set was purchased in 1955 from the American Hardware Supply Co. of Pittsburgh, PA The track can be set up to measure approximately !00″x42′ or 90’x52′. It has not been run for a number of years, but ran perfect then. I have the original boxes and wrappings.
    I would like to find someone who collects and really appreciates these beautifully crafted old trains. Almost brand new untouched condition. I have several photo’s
    Thanks for any help you can give me on this.

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