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Hello ALL ---

I have just installed LED lights in one train of my O-Scale 2-RAIL converted IRT R-21 Cars  - See 11 Photos BELOW - replacing those dim incandescent bulbs they originally came with from MTH as 3-rail operated cars.  These LED'S  lights take only a fraction of current to operate all of them  (60 lights over a 5 car train) and thus do not cause noticeable current loss-drop (ie: thus not acting like "resistors" )  to the traction motors as the MTH light bulbs did. 

Now these cars have that florescent lighted look, color  and brightness of the real R-type cars.  I use 12 LED lights on a strip -- in strip-attached groups  of 3 LEDS each group   (  3 + 3 + 3 + 3 ).  They are GOO-glued to the center of the roof interior. I plan to outfit all my MTH R-Type cars with these LEDS.

Regards -- Joe F




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Last edited by Joseph Frank
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AGHRMatt posted:

Very nice.  Are you running with shoes and live outside third rails?

Hello Matt 

THANKS for the appreciated comments.  The THIRD RAIL on this EL system is the early uncovered "EL" Style  as used even now on the subways and EL's (L's, heh) in Chicago,  Boston, and was originally  used by the IRT and BMT early original EL Lines using wooden EL cars.  That is, NOT COVERED, and higher and closer to the running rails.

All my O-Scale NY Subway and EL cars run in more reliable TWO RAIL POWERED MODE -- with my scale but "dummy" 3rd rail shoes riding a fraction of an inch just over the 3rd rails,  but not contacting them.  See 3 photos attached.  Thus I can also run my 2 rail  "diesel"l locomotives (or any steam locos)  on the EL if I want to (and I do so for operational fun-diversity!) in that 2-rail DC mode. Almost all N, HO and O Scale 2-rail operators of subways and EL's model the outside 3rd rail as "dummy" -- as well as a few 3-rail Track operators (ie; Joe Porretto,  Steve SIRT,  CTA Fan Terry,  etc) ) who model the  outside 3rd rail (covered or not) as a dummy 3rd rail for prototype appearance.

The 3rd rails on my O-Scale EL System ARE WIRED FOR LIVE POWERED USE --- and with one changeover switch for EACH MAINLINE TRACK,  it converts the track rails to both NEGATIVE common,  and the outside uncovered 3rd Rail to LIVE POSITIVE.

The "under-the-EL"   trolley street track is ALSO wired with change-over switches for each of the 2 trolley track mainlines,  the same way --- except in 2 rail mode the overhead trolley wire is still live --- but in 3 rail mode the overhead trolley wire is live but now  BOTH running rails are negative common.

Vern Gillman, a fellow Charter Member with me of our NYC Model Transit Association,  founded about 1981,  ran his LIVE spring-sprung 3rd RAIL Shoe EL cars on my EL layout when it was exhibited at a few big train shows in the mid-late 1980's  with his 3rd rail shoes riding on my LIVE 3rd rails.  I set up one mainline local track with its outside 3rd Rail LIVE for Vern's train,  and the other local track was in 2-Rail mode for my trains. The "under the EL" Trolley system was hooked up to East Penn Traction Club  Layout Trolley modules at those shows !

The 3rd rail powered operation on the EL worked well,  even tho the 3rd rail pickup operation was spotty and hesitant at times as Vern's EL cars then were very light, and sometimes the shoe spring pressure was not strong enough or was too strong and thus tended to try to lift the truck slightly off the rails.  He has long ago since re-designed and improved his operating 3rd rail shoes,  and (also NYCMTA Charter Member) Steve Olsen's subway cars use the same live sprung 3rd rail improved shoes when running on Vern's layout at shows.  Their present 3rd rail operation (with VERY CLEAN track rails and 3rd rails, heh) is presently very reliable these many past decades.

regards - Joe F



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Last edited by Joseph Frank
hokie71 posted:

Love it, I would like to know how you got your shots and whether you have tried video. My video results stink!

Hello Hokie71

I use a high end Canon Powershot camera which has full manual mode for shooing and automatic mode with choices,  for simpler use. As a former professional working professional photographer owning and using all many types of cameras up to 4x5 Speed Graphic Press Camera - I was skilled on how to do day and night photography with the manual exposure film format cameras of years ago.  SO using this digital camera makes it even easier.

The key is to use a good quality large (ie: can be extended upward so camera is at least 6 feet high) TRIPOD for shots where the camera cannot be placed on a fixed steady surface (like track deck, etc) on the models.  Anything otherwise normally filmed 'hand held"  should not be hand held to prevent slight shaking or moving (thus blurring the images) of the camera during the very low light found in shooting model night shots.

I have night videos of the layout --- and  regular videos --  here are links to 3 night videos of the EL layout on my You Tube Page


Here is my You Tube Videos Page Link

Note:  at bottom of rows of thumbnails on that page, see and click on to the  words  LOAD MORE for getting the additional videos

Regards - Joe F


Last edited by Joseph Frank


Great stuff, Joe 

GENRAL NOTICE - Safety is of the first importance in the discharge of duty.  Obedience to the rules is essential to safety.  To enter or remain in the service is an assurance of willingness to obey the rules.


Hello Sam !

Thanks for the support also !  How is your O Scale open platform SIRT wood commuter car project going ?

Regards - Joe F

Last edited by Joseph Frank

Hello Hokie 71

Glad I got you inspired...that is what it is all about !

YES, the Canon Powershot Camera I have  (new it costs about $350.00 or higher) I used also took the videos. 

Any videos labeled  VHS-C were taken with a then new in 1996 Panasonic Camcorder ($995.00 I paid for it to Sears back then) and uses VHS-c standard video tapes in a small "bar of soap" size tape cassette. --- and those video tape movies  were transferred by me to my computer via Cyberlink Power Director Video Program and using an ION Analog Camcorder to Computer connecting unit box and USB cable to load my video tapes into the computer digitally.  The VHS-C tapes are not as sharp as the Canon digital videos. 

I am also fooling around with the resolution on the Canon for video recording --- to get even better resolution.  I am not sure if the transfer to You Tube is giving me THEIR best playback quality -- or not.  More experimenting in that has to be done.  But for now,  the videos look adequate to me.

regards - Joe F

Hi Joe F.

I really love it. What I would do is have a train curve slowly into a station at night with those LEDs and play that music in the movie "The Warriors", the one at the beginning showing the Wonder Wheel in the background.  That would make an awesome YouTube video.

It's really great that you can be original in your approach.  Very few if any focus on night scenes.  Elevated subways always have a sort of unique character when viewed in the evening, a stream of lights moving in the city-scape which you have depicted so nicely.

Last edited by Joe P

Hello Joe  (P)

Thanks for the comments --- and I will shoot a few "night" photos on some curves on my EL.   Was great meeting and talking with you outside at the Food truck and inside at the NYCMTA Meet at Parsippany NJ late last year.  I am enjoying your continuing reports and photos of your ongoing subway (and some elevated I have noted) transit line.  You are doing  the fine details level in modeling your "Subway"  line,  as I have done modeling the "EL" portions on my layout. 

However,  heh, I don't think they make moving "gap filler" platforms long enough to reach out to the center door sets of your BMT-IND R-type SMEE cars and R-1-9 cars if they stop at your curved platform at your City Hall Station model !!!  Wow,  what a huge gap between the curved platform and the center of car doors!

Keep up the good work ! 

Here is a Photo LINK ,    Along the Avenue under the O-Scale NYC "EL"    and a few visible photos I pasted on the page here, to street scenes under and along my O-Scale EL Structure to motivate you when you get your EL sections finished and streets and "real estate" along your EL Line completed.


regards ! - Joe F




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Last edited by Joseph Frank

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