Gilbert Tru-Model American Flyer Train

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  • Member since
    October 2006
  • 139 posts
Posted by Laurastom on Thursday, December 21, 2023 11:48 AM

Penny, A C Gilbert purchased the American Flyer train company from W O Coleman in early 1938. Later in the year Gilbert announced the Tru-Model line of trains. Tru-Model was only for the new scale sized and detailed die cast engines designed by Gilbert, not carry overs from the old American Flyer. In 1938 the only Tru-Model sets were HO. In 1939 Gilbert introduced two new die cast scale engines in O gauge, these were the Hudson and Northern. Sets that contained these engines were then branded as Tru-Model. In 1940 the scale die cast PRR Pacific was added and the Tru-Model branding was no longer used in the O gauge train line. It was replaced with Gilbert's 3/16" Scale Trains branding. Tru-Model was once again only used for Gilbert HO trains. In 1941 two more 3/16" scale engines were added, the 0-8-0 switcher and the Atlantic.

All the 3/16" scale die cast engines were carried over to the S gauge two rail trains in 1946.

The Gilbert catalogs are online at, it would be good to page through the 1938 to 1941 catalogs. Some of the S gauge parts suppliers, like PortLines, also carry parts for the O gauge prewar Gilbert engines. It usually requires a call since not all their O gauge parts are listed on line.

Good luck with your project. If they do not run it is usually worn brushes or worn, sticking reverse units that need work.

  • Member since
    July 2020
  • 1,540 posts
Posted by pennytrains on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 8:04 PM

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

  • Member since
    April 2023
  • 151 posts
Posted by Road Foreman of Engines on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 10:27 AM


 it sounds like you have a great model from an interesting period at American Flyer. Also, sentimental value for this train and memories. I would suggest to proceed slowly. First, research. A Google search of " American Flyer Tru Model" should get you to the right place. There are you tube videos to explain the Tru Model 0 gauge trains.

 If you do a Google search of " American Flyer XXX",  with xxx being the engine number, you will probably get pictures of your engine, and maybe even you tube videos showing servicing and repairs. 
 A good place to start is research.


  • Member since
    December 2023
  • 1 posts
Gilbert Tru-Model American Flyer Train
Posted by MCM on Tuesday, December 19, 2023 4:41 PM

I am a model train novice who wants to bring my dad's Gilbert American Flyer train back to life - it was important to him and it's important to me. Unfortunately, I know nothing about model trains. Can someone please direct me to resources that will help me begin to gather information? I believe the machinery was new in 1940 or 1941, and the track features three rails. 

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