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For those that have precious little space and want to model in O scale 2 rail, traction modeling could be the answer.  With tight curves being common, traction can fit in places that steam/diesels cannot manage.   I bought this MTS North Shore Line Brill coach last winter.  Most O scale traction comes unpowered(strange to me), so the trucks were removed and sent to Quentin over at Q-car for conversion to powered.  One truck gets a micro motor drive to both axles, and the other gets matching wheels to prevent derailments.  One can have both trucks powered, but there really is no need to.  I have mine set up to run on 2 rail power so I can run the car till I build the working overhead trolley wire.  The car is nearly dead silent in operation, just the sound of wheels on rails, very little to no motor or drive noise.   She will go around 42" diameter curves or even tighter if needed.   Some lines ran outside 3rd rail, which North Shore used once they were on the "L" in downtown Chicago.  Having modeled traction in HO scale, with noisy spring belt drives and tempermental power pick, O scale is sooooo much better.  Just wish the cars came already powered.   I am now selling the remaining few pieces of HO brass to fund a second coach for my small layout I am planning.  Excuse the layout mess, still in transition and a bit of a "catch all" at the moment.

North Shore Brill

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For those that have precious little space and want to model in O scale 2 rail, traction modeling could be the answer.  With tight curves being common, traction can fit in places that steam/diesels cannot manage.   I bought this MTS North Shore Line Brill coach last winter.  Most O scale traction comes unpowered(strange to me), so the trucks were removed and sent to Quentin over at Q-car for conversion to powered.  One truck gets a micro motor drive to both axles, and the other gets matching wheels to prevent derailments.  One can have both trucks powered, but there really is no need to.  I have mine set up to run on 2 rail power so I can run the car till I build the working overhead trolley wire.  The car is nearly dead silent in operation, just the sound of wheels on rails, very little to no motor or drive noise.   She will go around 42" diameter curves or even tighter if needed.   Some lines ran outside 3rd rail, which North Shore used once they were on the "L" in downtown Chicago.  Having modeled traction in HO scale, with noisy spring belt drives and tempermental power pick, O scale is sooooo much better.  Just wish the cars came already powered.   I am now selling the remaining few pieces of HO brass to fund a second coach for my small layout I am planning.  Excuse the layout mess, still in transition and a bit of a "catch all" at the moment.



Yes.  Unpowered; very little imported with power.  Q-Car power is the current gold standard. Depending on weight of the car and inclines on your layout, and then what you may or not add to an interior, a single motor at the right gear ration will suffice for most cars. You can generally go quite a bit tighter than 42" curves - like radius - with most traction.  I also tend to use insulated drives -- someday, someday, someday that overhead will go up.

Yes, my drive is insulated so I can run on just the rails for now, overhead is in the future and North Shore used inside 3rd rail once on the "L", CA&E did as well.  I am looking for a brass CA&E car as well as that is my 2nd favorite traction line.   My layout is only 4'x7' so tight curves are the norm.  planning a basic suburban/edge of Chicago area that could be for either CNS&M or CA&E.  I thought about having dual power just as I like having all axles driven, but cost wise I just went with single truck power.   Maybe after getting a 2nd car powered I will have this one dual powered.   Quentin's drives are the gold standard and well worth the wait.  He did a great job on my trucks, dead silent with the micro motor he uses, all I hear is wheels on rail.   One other reason I thought about having the other truck powered is to pull a non powered trailer car and only having one of my CNS&M coaches powered.   I am looking at doing a basic interior with seats and a few details where the motorman will be.   I am looking for a pro painter to paint the car next, either as 160 or 162, not sure if in Greenliner or the later simplified green/red.   

Many years ago, our rr group went to a MCR NMRA Convention and one of the layout tours was a traction layout with fully function overhead catenary.  The owner did a first rate job really nice.  All was going well until someone in our group decided to pluck the catenary wire like a guitar string.

For you old timers, if you remember the Beatles song, “I Feel Fine” and the opening guitar feedback note, well the sound the catenary made sounded just like that.  The sound traveled through all the catenary hiding where it originated and the owner was none too pleased.  As luck would have it I had a two coffees in one hand and a small plate of donuts in the other so I was in the clear.

I have several 3 rail trolleys but that is all.  I run them "mostly" around the town & suburbs.  Since they are 3 rail I could run them anywhere.
I have two portable shelf layouts.  One is 10 feet long and the other is 8 feet long.  I can run them slow using the bumpers & a small DC power pack.
(Also note the category for traction to see if there are posts there of your interest.)   Dennis.

Last edited by Hartman

I wish I would have been into traction back when those 3rd rail models came out.  Might have gotten the greenliner set in 2 rail.  Not a huge silverliner fan, but do like the various green schemes and the earlier traction orange scheme the North Shore used.  I am planning to do a model of car 172, which belonged to a late friend of mine, he was one of the final if not the final crew on duty the night they turned the lights out on the North Shore.  His car, 172, was donated to IRM and will be fully restored in the coming years.  I rode this car several times as a young boy when it was operational down at the ITM museum.   

I have been into traction for the last 10 or 12 years. 3 Rail at the moment and into the future but 2 rail is around for sure. I once unintentionally insulted a manufacturer by asking if something could be made in 3 rail. Yikes! While tedious, at least for me, stringing the overhead was something else. I run a couple of Labelle's, a Bowser, and an MTH bump-n-go; all converted to overhead. My best looking trolley is a Western Hobbycraft (not converted) but I do love my Labelle's. I might be able to get another 9' by 5' area for a table in the basement. I have been wondering just what to do with it. A little "Marxing" or more trolley? I agree with Artful Dodger on being in the hobby a little earlier................

Train and Traction ON!

Jim K

I have:

--four of the Western Hobbycraft trolleys

--two MTH ones (Brill and PCC equipped with a sound file from a standard-gauge trolley) that I did voiceovers for

--MTH and Third Rail Electroliners

--and a Third Rail Greenliner.

As you might've guessed, these are all 3-rail. I've been interested in acquiring other streetcar/interurban/light rail models, but the constraint is always powered trucks for 3-rail track. (an earlier discussion on the matter)

---PCJ

Hello Guys



I usually frequent the subways-traction section of the OGR Forum.  Have been a member here as of now,  20 years !  

I am into BOTH Rapid Transit and Streetcar traction modeling --- first starting out in HO Scale NY City rapid transit back in 1958 and more so in 1964 .  And expanding it far larger ( as a modular system from beginning) once I moved to Pennsylvania at end of Dec. 1969. By 1984 the HO layout was (EL with trolley beneath)  32' by 8'  In 1985 I moved to O Scale Traction & Rapid Transit Modular built Layout (39' x 7' ) with trolley section fully compatible to hook up with East Penn Traction Club modules at many large train shows between Dec. 1986 thru 1992. (EL with trolley below) and continue there to this date. I am mainly well known on Traction forums.

I also have an around the train-room (modular 39' x 16' wall shelves layout) continuous rectangular multi track Mainline Railroad Layout - modeling mainline Passenger and Commuter trains  (PRR, LIRR, NYCRR, NHRR, B&O, Reading, CNJ, SEPTA  in heavyweight and streamline fleets,  various road paint  schemes  by decades.

Here BELOW are a very few of my quite many photos of my O Scale EL & Trolley system

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/15581361524_33eeeceeaf_c.jpg

The above are just a FRACTION of images in my huge FLICKR Photo Albums Page.  ALBUMS are set up to reflect particular Rapid Transit and Streetcar line companies (IRT, BMT, etc.)  and ALBUMS showing both pre-war and post war rolling stock, ALBUM of work trains / cars, ALBUM of street scenes,  ALBUM of  buildings along the EL, ALBUM of Stations along the EL etc.  and more albums.

Here BELOW s the link to the Flickr ALBUMS Page- for those who want to see much more (and videos) of this large layout.  My HO Scale EL Albums (photos between 1964 thru 1970 and photos from 1970 thru 1984) are seen.  And much more !

NYC MODEL TRANSIT SYSTEM --  https://www.flickr.com/photos/44268069@N00/albums

regards - Joe F

Last edited by Joseph Frank

Hello again,  Melgar !

Thanks for that nice compliment - appreciated !  You have seen my work here before, on another forum I believe.    I also have seen some excellent very fine 2 rail and 3 rail and HO Scale "mainline railroad"  modeling both here and at other forums.  As I said I model HO Scale mainline RR passenger & commuter trains (about 300 passenger cars roster) but am limited to operating them on a narrow shelf layout system with scenery - but limited in "width", on the shelf modules.  But nothing like a full blown layout with town and country scenes I see on so many fine layouts. .  Anyway,  all that other modeling I've seen for decades has inspired me to do what I do.  I hope my modeling does the same to (at least in traction side, heh)  what I do. 

And thanks to the other 4 here who posted LIKE mentions !

BELOW are a few more images you may like !  -----------   Regards - Joe F

Joseph Frank,

If I were young and ambitious, I would build an elevated transit line just like yours. Your elevated line reminds me, and looks just like, the Astoria-Ditmars NW line near 30th Avenue where I lived as a youngster. It seems to me to be much more work to model an elevated transit line than a typical model railroad. Best regards.

MELGAR

27452821526_76c37cba69_b27452820666_f170c24a58_b27499507055_af2cb6e5e0_bMe at my NYCMTA 2016 Meet Presentation areaJoe Frank-Rutgers, -6-2016 NYCMTA Meet-127487263555_aaa7bf4401_b

Hello Melgar

ABOVE are photos taken of me in April 2016 - seen in the light blue shirt and a bit of a gut back then, heh,  giving a "MODEL EL CONSTRUCTION" clinic at Rutgers University (N.J.)  at the April 2016 Mass Transit Modelers Meet sponsored by our NY City Model Transit Association.  This is a 4 foot section of EL structure basic "steelwork" designed to be finished as a 2 platform, 3 track Express Station with a hanging Mezzanine under the tracks.  However, heh, this module was never finished to date along with its adjoining  4 foot mate module.

Well,  building a large "EL layout is a different kind of animal, heh.  Endless "bridges" with track girders, cross spans,  EL columns, etc.  The straight sections are fairly easy --- but curves El sections are a major planning and custom build and custom fit process.  I basically followed, replicated,  the construction patterns and processes of the prototype El construction contractors.  EL columns in the street,  some on sidewalks on curve EL tracks  close to buildings along the curve, location of stations and planning for stairways (I hand made ALL of mine from wood) --- then stringing the live operating trolley wire UNDER the EL  and installing the track (hand making the trolley girder rail style used for street trackage) - and then building all types of "along the El" building, real estate, etc.

And hand making replicas of NY City old cast iron street lights (3 styles I copied) -- make the billboards, ad signs, etc.  Its a LOT of tiny and large details involved.

its a lot of tedious repetition work cutting multiples of a lot of things also.  And THEN all the wiring and circuits for the El, the streetcar system,  house lighting, etc. and track blocks and feeders and control panels.  THEN hand building many of the early subway and EL cars (IRT & BMT)with  more multiple tedious work for assembly line type parts, pieces.  AND the streetcars ! And on an on

I did scenery for a few friends :railroad" layout and built a number of trolley modules for myself and a few for a friend, and scenicked a number of his trolley modules.  So I know about grass, sand, weeds and other weather techniques for scenery.  Like the original Blues Brothers (movie) , I must have been on a "mission from God",  Heh.  I ALWAYS tell (write to) much younger train hobbyists -procrastinators I find on on forums I come across --- DO  IT NOW -- Create your empire while you are young -- Every day, week, month and year wastes is lost forever.  And thru the years I have seen many get up in age and find its just too much to undertake building a layout from scratch.  I KNOW I could not have ever built to completion what you see in my layout photos of today if I started in my 60's or 70's age bracket (I started the O scale El-Trolley Layout when I was 38 / 39 years old, and later in 1996, my HO "shelf layout" !!

Regards - Joe F

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Last edited by Joseph Frank
@Bogart posted:

Joe F

I have enjoyed your posting for years in another house.   Good to see some more here. You are a master in the traction arena for sure.  A tip-o-the hat to you. You inspired me to keep on keeping on in traction even though I am residing on the basement level.

Jim K

Hello Jim (K)

Thanks for the very nice commentary about my model work !  I am glad my work helps to inspire (and I am told "intimidates" some modelers!)  modeler just as I was for the past 60+ years inspired by great modeling works and layouts of other I came across.  It motivated me to take the plunge and move forward.

Are you the "Jim K"  I know well who modeled a great Chicago EL Layout in HO Scale ?  Which I saved loads of photos of -- as I am a big fan of CRT-CTA Chicago Rapid Transit System !!  Let me know ! Here  BELOW are some PHOTOS of that "Jim K's"  HO models and Model El system from years ago.

regards - Joe F



Jim Kestners HO Scale CTA EL- dJim Kestners HO Scale CTA EL- cJim Kestners HO Scale CTA EL- g

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@Bogart posted:

Joseph,

No that Jim K is not me.

Jim K

Hello again Jim  (K) --

Thanks for the heads up --- you are not the other Jim K I know for 30 years now.  He is and was thru past decades, a Chicago CTA-HO Scale Traction guy anyway and thus likely would not have joined this site.  He is not listed in members lists here either.  Well, anyway, glad to see you again and that my work has inspired you for so long !  That's what its about !

The series of my photos below on my El are called "Sunshine & Shadows around the EL trains

Regards - Joe F

Last edited by Joseph Frank

I enjoy traction models.  I have several HO trolleys and just a few in O scale.  One day I will get the Corgi powered one into service on my future layout.  It is gauged for Proto-48.  An MTH Railking model in the second photo shows just how much difference there is.  I have a Corgi 1:50 NJT PCC that I will likely swap shells with on my second Chicago Transit model. 

IMGP8581IMGP8585

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@LLKJR posted:

Many years ago, our rr group went to a MCR NMRA Convention and one of the layout tours was a traction layout with fully function overhead catenary.  The owner did a first rate job really nice.  All was going well until someone in our group decided to pluck the catenary wire like a guitar string.

For you old timers, if you remember the Beatles song, “I Feel Fine” and the opening guitar feedback note, well the sound the catenary made sounded just like that.  The sound traveled through all the catenary hiding where it originated and the owner was none too pleased.  As luck would have it I had a two coffees in one hand and a small plate of donuts in the other so I was in the clear.

https://youtu.be/xLBVgnZyuic



Sounded just like this

@GG1 4877 posted:

I enjoy traction models.  I have several HO trolleys and just a few in O scale.  One day I will get the Corgi powered one into service on my future layout.  It is gauged for Proto-48.  An MTH Railking model in the second photo shows just how much difference there is.  I have a Corgi 1:50 NJT PCC that I will likely swap shells with on my second Chicago Transit model.

IMGP8581IMGP8585

Hello GGI

The Corgi and MTH PCC models have beautiful paint jobs.  I have the two MTH Brooklyn PCC's  -- the NYCTS "B of T"  Green & Silver and the earlier BMT Lines "grey-ish TAN paint scheme.  And the first PCC car  MTH produced which was the Philly PCC with the "Goldenrod" Tan Paint scheme .  That one I "lathe" turned down the wheel flanges to scale flance size for scale track,  with and installed an operating trolley pole and wiring inside. It operates only with the trolley pole for power - on my under-El trolley line.  Tho the wheel treads are wider than should be, with  the wheel tread outer edges sticking out beyond the rail heads,  its runs fine.

Re: your MTH NJ Transit PCC posed next to the Corgi CTA PCC -- yes, the MTH PCC body itself is more to 1/48 scale vs:  Corgi 1:50 scale.  HOWEVER, what makes the MTH appear too much higher,  are the oversized PCC truck body and its 36" size railroad class wheels MTH placed in its PCC trucks.

Also the Car Body sits higher than normal, where trucks are body mounted. This was to compensate & make room inside the car for the single tall upright can motor mounted on top of the single power truck.  The lower bottom part of the body sides, ends and rear walls were made more extended downward towards the wheels to hide the oversized and too high trucks situation.

I know of a few people who took the MTH PCC Body they had, and removed the steel floor and its attached motor and trail trucks,  and installed a new wooden floor and Q-Car Co. scale sized PCC trucks with scale 28" diameter wheels in its -  and the PCC, with operating scale trolley pole,  looks a lot more to 1/48 scale from track to roof of car.  Your Corgi PCC car likely has Q-Car Company PCC power and trail trucks.

Regards -Joe F

Last edited by Joseph Frank

Joe,

Interesting feedback.  I always assumed that the MTH model was oversized overall, but I have never taken the time to look at it in any detail.  It was an eBay purchase from about 15 years back.  Sounds like it would be worthwhile project to convert to a more scale model one day.

My Corgi PCCs have GHB power trucks.  However, looking at the Q-Car website, I see a world of possibilities.   I would like to have traction line on my future layout and probably will do it in Proto-48 just to have something to learn on.  There were several traction companies that competed with the NY&LB that I model in one form or another.  Although most were gone by the era I model, I plan on incorporating them in some form.  I'm too invested in OW5 for my mainline equipment to consider Proto-48. 

My main interest in traction is actually in earlier era equipment and I enjoy learning about the traction railroads that also did freight operations even though I don't personally model them.

Your layout, modeling, and photography skills are fabulous.  I've enjoyed following this thread.

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