im considering adding a loop of elevated rail to my layout as a public transport system of sorts, and i’m thinking of running a brill trolley. the most common brills i’ve found have been from industrial rail and bowser, i was wondering if anyone here has had experience with either and could tell me how they compare in terms of scale, reliability, and general build quality.  

Original Post

I purchased an Industrial rail trolley last year.  It seems to perform well on my test layout.  

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

The search function on this forum can be a little difficult to use, so I prefer Goggle. Stuff posted on the forum here comes up easily. Here's a whole list of posts on the Bower trolley.

https://www.google.com/search?...bih=557&dpr=1.25

The problem today for many train items is finding parts, especially for trains produced in low production run numbers and/or from companies no longer in business.

When Atlas O bought the Industrial Rail tooling, they made some improvements on the original IR trolley. So I'd be inclined towards the Atlas IR version. If you really like that though, I personally would be on the lookout for 2 of them: One to run, and one to have on hand for parts. Finding DC motors with the correct worm gear is a challenge for anything not currently being manufactured. At least the Bowser trolley had an open frame AC motor, so it's just a matter of routine maintenance.

You didn't mention this one, but I went to the Bachmann Williams site and searched for parts for their Peter Witt trolley: Not one single part is listed. So again, if you were to buy one of those, I'd look for two of them.  Out of curiosity, I also went to the Atlas site and search for the Industrial Rail trolley: Again, no parts available.

That leaves Lionel and MTH. While their trolley cars may not be what you had in mind, there is the advantage that they are still in production, so parts would be a little easier to obtain.

i found some of those posts during my search, unfortunately i found nothing that mentioned the bowsers physical size. the industrial rail model is supposed to be 9 inches, but the bowser “looks” larger to my eye. it’s something i’d like to confirm.

the mth looked so much like the industrial rail that i just dismissed it as being from the same mold. i hadn’t realized williams even made trolleys. 

Signalwoman posted:

i found some of those posts during my search, unfortunately i found nothing that mentioned the bowsers physical size. the industrial rail model is supposed to be 9 inches, but the bowser “looks” larger to my eye. it’s something i’d like to confirm.

the mth looked so much like the industrial rail that i just dismissed it as being from the same mold. i hadn’t realized williams even made trolleys. 

Don't take this as "gospel", but I also thought I read somewhere that some of the WBB Peter Witt trolleys were experiencing zinc rot on the trucks. Maybe others can verify or debunk this. 

Ride The Reading Lines!  LCCA

 

 The Reading U36B

 

 

I saw a photo of the Bowser model on Atlas O track. I counted 23 ties below the length of the trolley. I measured a piece of Atlas O track and I get 10-1/4 inches for that length, give or take a quarter inch, given the slight angle of the photo I looked at.

I doubt the MTH trolley is from the same exact tooling as the IR/Atlas IR version, though they sure could be close in size. If they are close in size and you can live with that, the advantage of the MTH over the Atlas IR trolley, is that MTH is still currently making them.

When Atlas was dropped by Sanda Kan (their one time Chinese manufacturing vendor), Atlas made the statement that much of their tooling had been severely damaged during the move process and would require extensive (ie: expensive) refurbishing. Though it was never specified by Atlas, it's not too unrealistic to assume this also included the former Industrial Rail tooling in addition to the regular Atlas O products. 

O-gauger posted:
Signalwoman posted:

i found some of those posts during my search, unfortunately i found nothing that mentioned the bowsers physical size. the industrial rail model is supposed to be 9 inches, but the bowser “looks” larger to my eye. it’s something i’d like to confirm.

the mth looked so much like the industrial rail that i just dismissed it as being from the same mold. i hadn’t realized williams even made trolleys. 

Don't take this as "gospel", but I also thought I read somewhere that some of the WBB Peter Witt trolleys were experiencing zinc rot on the trucks. Maybe others can verify or debunk this. 

I heard the same.  I have one that's NIB still (haven't done a trolley line yet).  It's a bit buried but the last time I checked it was okay.

MikeH

In my opinion, the most versatile trolley car is the MTH double truck Brill semi-convertible with DCS. The MTH Brill is representative of many many trolley cars operated in the USA and Canada. The MTH Brill is programmable for loop running with stops, and for end-to-end running with stops.

Third Avenye Ry Bril No 1144 314kb

The overall best trolley cars in O-gauge are Western Hobbycraft cars, but these are no longer being made. They came in conventional operation and with TMCC. Western Hobbycraft cars do show up at swap meets and and on eBay. Running these cars end-to-end of the line will require some electronics to stop and reverse the car's direction.

Western Hobbycraft Trollies [1) 705kb

Avoid trolley cars that have plastic drive gears.

Bobby Ogage

"I hear that train a coming,

it's Long Island No. 39 rolling

around the bend"

 

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Not a lot of discussion regarding the Bowser trolley here so this thread may be of interest if you have not read it.  I have not seen one personally, but most of the Bowser product sold was more or less to scale outside of their HO GG1 based on Penn Line and later Varney tooling. 

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/topic/bowser-mfg-o-gauge-brill-trolley-what-is-thishttps://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/topic/bowser-mfg-o-gauge-brill-trolley-what-is-this

I do not have experience with Bowser O as I was in HO from 6 until about 34 and own several Bowser locomotives.  Good quality for their time and I have never had any issues with my various steam locomotives or trollies in HO. 

I would agree the Western Hobbycraft ones are probably the nicest available ones before you get into brass.

Good luck in your search!

Jonathan

 

FWIW, I have a few of the 3-rail Bowser Brill models, and they have run like clockwork for decades without any service but a bit of oil.  Many, many happy miles.  Operationally, one of the best features of the Bowser model is the excellent slow-speed characteristics.  They can really creep along if you want them to.

The metal construction is very nice, and the heft of them results in a satisfying wheel clack sound across the rail joiners.  These were originally manufactured by the Pittman company as a kit, and then later made by Bowser with many colorful paint schemes, so you can search for both.

In a parallel universe I construct finescale 2-rail models, and the Bowser model holds up dimensionally to them,.  In fact, in the 70's and 80's there were many articles published in Trolley Talk magazine on converting the models to 2-rail (or live overhead) and adding prototypical detail such as underbody, interiors and clerestory roofs.  The Reading Transit Company and several other lines ran cars which were very similar to the Bowser model. 

Here is a picture of the Bowser model next to a scale wooden freight motor, so you can see the favorable size comparison.

image0 [2)

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Signalwoman posted:

i found some of those posts during my search, unfortunately i found nothing that mentioned the bowsers physical size. the industrial rail model is supposed to be 9 inches, but the bowser “looks” larger to my eye. it’s something i’d like to confirm.

the mth looked so much like the industrial rail that i just dismissed it as being from the same mold. i hadn’t realized williams even made trolleys. 

Fortunately, Mitch is here to save the day!  

Front row L-R: Bowser ST Birney, Western Hobbycraft St. Louis, Bowser Brill, IR/Atlas Brill. 

Back row L-R: Bachmann/Williams Peter Witt, MTH PCC,  MTH Brill. 

GEDC1739

As you can see, both the Bowser Brill and MTH Brill are larger than the IR Brill, which is arguably closer to traditional/S scale. 

GEDC1740

The Bowser Birney is scaled to match the Bowser Brill.  The Lionel Birney and MTH single truck car have similar size and proportions. 

GEDC1741

The Western Hobbycraft St. Louis car is similar to the Bowser Brill and MTH PCC, sizewise. 

GEDC1742

(continued) 

Mitch 

It's crackers to give a rozzer the dropsy in snide!

 

Remember, SCROUNGE!

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Now, let's go for a ride on Single Truck Street!   

GEDC1743

L-R:  General Models Birney, converted from vibrating motor to rail speeder truck: 

GEDC1744

Corgi Birney, likewise: 

GEDC1745

Bowser Birney: 

GEDC1746

Lionel Birney, converted to 2-rail Wagner truck and working on overhead: 

GEDC1747

Stock Lionel bump and go Birney: 

GEDC1748

MTH Bump and Go Brill. 

GEDC1749

Lionel Birney and MTH Brill compared.  

GEDC1750

Bowser Birney and Brill compared.  H'm.  Autofocus off on that one. 

GEDC1751

Anyhoo, that should give you a feel for relative sizes.  

Hope this helped!   

Mitch 

It's crackers to give a rozzer the dropsy in snide!

 

Remember, SCROUNGE!

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O-gauger posted:
Don't take this as "gospel", but I also thought I read somewhere that some of the WBB Peter Witt trolleys were experiencing zinc rot on the trucks. Maybe others can verify or debunk this. 

Haven't noticed any zinc rot on mine.  However, running them for extended periods will cause the roller pickups to overheat and melt their plastic mounts.  Lovely cars, other than that.   

Mitch 

It's crackers to give a rozzer the dropsy in snide!

 

Remember, SCROUNGE!

M. Mitchell Marmel posted:
Signalwoman posted:

i found some of those posts during my search, unfortunately i found nothing that mentioned the bowsers physical size. the industrial rail model is supposed to be 9 inches, but the bowser “looks” larger to my eye. it’s something i’d like to confirm.

the mth looked so much like the industrial rail that i just dismissed it as being from the same mold. i hadn’t realized williams even made trolleys. 

Fortunately, Mitch is here to save the day!  

Front row L-R: Bowser ST Birney, Western Hobbycraft St. Louis, Bowser Brill, IR/Atlas Brill. 

Back row L-R: Bachmann/Williams Peter Witt, MTH PCC,  MTH Brill. 

GEDC1739

As you can see, both the Bowser Brill and MTH Brill are larger than the IR Brill, which is arguably closer to traditional/S scale. 

GEDC1740

The Bowser Birney is scaled to match the Bowser Brill.  The Lionel Birney and MTH single truck car have similar size and proportions. 

GEDC1741

The Western Hobbycraft St. Louis car is similar to the Bowser Brill and MTH PCC, sizewise. 

GEDC1742

(continued) 

Mitch 

thank you, that’s exactly the sort of thing i was looking for. that’s quite a size difference. 

@Signalwoman, hey if you can live with the size of the larger MTH trolley, you might want to jump on this sale. Here's the announcement:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...ting-metca-kids-club

Go to the link, takes a second or two to open. There are two scrolling bars to the far right. Go to the very bottom and there are 3 MTH trolley cars on sale... great price for sure.

I know i am a little late to this discussion but wanted to make a few adds:

1) There are two types of industrial rail trolleys. If it is the earlier version produced by the original "Industrial Rail" as opposed to "Atlas O Industry Rail", avoid them unless you are planning on transplanting the body onto an Atlas O chassis. They catch fire.

2) All 3-rail trolleys sit up high compared to scale models because of the large size of the wheels.

3) Atlas O models are very durable and reliable and plenty are available in the second hand market if there is a need to cannibalize for parts. They are small for their prototype.

4) I run an elevated loop and the smaller size of the Atlas O trolley gives a nice forced-perspective on a smaller layout, IMHO. Also the scale-sized 3-rail models tower over road vehicles if you run alongside streets unless the track is embedded in the roadway.

5) Bowser trolleys are reliable but not very detailed, often lacking windows on the ends. Also, I have seen the gears fail. I have never seen similar failures on MTH Brill models which are are by far, the most rugged.

6)  Westernhobbycraft models are the most prototypical to their type. The motors are not as durable as MTH. They have alot of fine detail that can be broken.

7) Current Lionel Birney trolleys are a little large for their prototype but run nicely. Early versions of these would burn through traction tires.

Just a little personal experience.

 

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