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Richard Allman's HO streetcar models

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Richard Allman's HO streetcar models
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, September 12, 2019 2:20 PM

Kansas City Car 715
Richard L. Allman
 
Kansas City Public Service air-electric PCC 715 has entered operation on Main Line Transit. The prototype was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1941. It was part of a 24-car order, cars 701-724. The series entered service on the 50 TROOST line, a line with heavy patronage and some steep grades for the cars to show what they had and could do. These would be the only PCC’s KCPS would acquire until the post-war years, when they purchased 160 distinctive all-electric cars without standee windows. The air cars were early victims of the abandonment of trolleys. Nonetheless, in their short time of operation, they sported 3 different paint schemes. I (typically!) chose the most complex, but one that along with the DC Transit, the Chicago Blue Goose, the earliest Dallas PCC scheme and the earliest Baltimore scheme was one of the most imaginative, distinctive and striking schemes created. The scheme I chose was the second one for this series, the scheme that was on the as-delivered post-war cars.
 
Unlike the post-war all-electric cars, many of which found new life in Philadelphia, Toronto, Tampico, later in San Francisco via Toronto, and running gear for PCC cars in Brussels, all the air cars were scrapped with no further operation, utilization or preservation. The KC air cars had many similarities to the 1941 Philadelphia cars, except that the KC cars had front dash lights in the belt rail and had four rear lights below the belt rail but lacked the typical Philadelphia roof whisker lights. Like the Philadelphia cars, the KC cars had a scalloped front window. There were many significant mechanical differences between the Philadelphia and KC cars, but they had no impact on the model. Typical of Kansas City PCC’s, the lower windows on the rear doors were covered on the inside.
 
The 701-24 series were withdrawn from operation in 1953 but returned briefly in 1955 after 40 of the post-war cars were sold to Philadelphia and operated until late 1955 when subsequent KC abandonments enabled KCPS to retire them from service. Attempts to sell them to Mexico City or Seoul, South Korea were unsuccessful, and the entire series was sold for scrap in late 1955.
 
The Model
 
The shell was from Q Car Co., an epoxy shell. I acquired it from Wally Weart in Colorado, who was “thinning his herd” a bit. It was powered with a Bowser drive and had a Bowser floor. Wally had painted the car in Chicago livery. Neither Chicago Surface Lines nor Chicago Transit Authority ever had 46-foot air cars; all their cars were 50 footers and 9 feet in width and had rear doors. Wally did a magnificent paint and decal job on the car; I should have taken a photograph of it. It was a “might-have-been” model for Wally.
 
The first step was an arduous task, removing the paint. I tried a bunch of products specifically recommended for paint removal, but it did not want to budge. Brake fluid was recommended but I could not find anything about whether it was safe on epoxy, so I shied away. In the end, I was able to get most of it off with 91% isopropyl alcohol and some gentle scrubbing. Anything that did not come off was unlikely to cause any trouble!
 
I needed to add the outside taillights. Bob Dietrich assisted me in drilling holes for some brass tubing insertion which made acceptable replicas. The base colors were Aged White and Engine Black with aluminum for anti-climbers and the headlight wings. I used acrylic dirt color for the wheels, track brakes, and fender. Before reinserting the drive, I installed an A-Line flywheel onto the drive shaft of the motor. The decaling was complex and there was some breakage due to time-related brittleness of the decals. A light lacquer spray helped. Customtraxx has a nice decal set suitable for either the air car or the all-electric. The Kansas City Public Service logos are a bit large, but this is understandable: smaller decals would have lost needed resolution. They include a range of destination signs.
 
I needed to do a bit of post-completion tweaking to make the car successfully navigate my minimum 6-1/4-inch curves. There was method in my selection of car 715. In Fred Schneider’s opus magnus on PCC’s Coast-to Coast, a front-end shot shows that car 715 lacked the dash lights in the belt rail that were typical for Kansas City. Applying them would have been a huge hassle, to say nothing about trying to decal over them!
 
Credits
Thanks, are extended to Q Car Company who made the shell for the car and to Wally Weart who sold it to me via eBay. The Bowser drive, when it can be used is the HO trolley modeler’s best friend. Thanks to George Huckaby of CustomTraxx for the decals. The books by Henry Elsner on Kansas City and the aforementioned PCC tome by Fred Schneider and Steve Carlson were essential. Henry was a class guy and careful historian and modeler. Fred has been my friend for 57 years since our freshman year in college. As always, thanks are extended to my greatest of friends, my advisor and mentor, Bob Dietrich who was a source for so much brainstorming and troubleshooting.
 
Next project(s!)
 
The Transit Classics Baltimore semi-convertible car shells are calling out to me and another is coming from Greg King and Joe Spinella in Australia. I also have one of their Chicago Odd 17 shells, an Atlantic City Brilliner, with decals I got from Paul Mayer. Paul was a great friend and modeler and supplier of decals. There is at least one more PCC air car epoxy shell on a shelf staring longingly at me and it could become the Boston 3001-Queen Mary. OK, I really love the PCC air cars! There is a Type 5 shell that could become a nice Wilkes Barre car, and somewhere along the way there will be a Brisbane Phoenix car. OK, I confess to having a very serious car building bug!
 
 
Kansas City Public Service car 715 approaching Keystone Junction.
 
 
 
KCPS car 715 approaching Keystone from Bay State Jct.
 
 
 
KCPS 715 at Bay State Jct.
 
 
KCPS car 715 on diverting track at Keystone Jct.
 
 
KCPS 715 passes Pittsburgh Railways car 1601 at New England Village
 
KCPS car 715 enters Seaver Street loop, and, below, runs through and exits/
 
 
 
 
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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Thursday, September 12, 2019 2:53 PM

Dave - thank you for sharing these pictures of a wonderful streetcar on an equally wonderful trolley layout! Reminds me of the late 1960s/early 1970s, when MR featured a traction layout now and then, not to forget the Motorman Mike column.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by trolleyboy on Thursday, September 12, 2019 7:13 PM

Beautifull work, both on the layout and that car. That shell would do nicely for a TTC 4000 series air electricas well. I'm blessed to be able to run the real thing. Our museum collection has TTC 4000 in functional service along with 2 of the later all electric 4600's( 4600,4611&4618 )We also have two of the cleveland expats with the monitor roof which the TTC turned into their W30-31 grinding set.

 

Rob

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:06 PM

The mossing photo has ben added, and below is his Detroit Dept. of Streeet Railways Peter Witt:

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Posted by chatanuga on Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:54 PM

Years ago when I was a kid, I never really got into traction layouts.  Of course, being born in the 70s, I never got to see them in real life.  Back in 2018, after remembering the episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood where he visited a trolley museum, I looked up the museum, which is now the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum south of Pittsburgh.  I went there, and seeing those beautifully restored cars in action, I can definitely understand the appeal of modeling them now.  In fact, I enjoyed visiting the museum so much that I've made it an annual trip, and at one point, I even contemplated the possibility of starting my HO scale layout over and going with a traction layout.

Kevin

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, November 26, 2020 1:57 AM

From Richard Allman:  

Here is my attempt of a Chicago Surface Lines/ CTA “Odd 17”. I chose the number because it is had the Brill 27GE1 trucks, did not the extra roof vents AND works with the Bowser 4’10” drive. I chose the CTA vs. CSL version for the wimpiest of reasons-I did not want to do all the 1” striping. Of course, using Rich Eaton poles!! They seem highly compatible with my overhead. Or I have made my overhead highly compatible with them . A full narrative is coming-with more detailed captions, this time for East Penn Newsletter will have first right of refusal. Everyone knows that I would have failed miserably but for help from Bob Dietrich.
Some of these cars were built by American, others in-house by CSL shop crews. They were replacement for some of the 1914 steel cars destroyed in a fire at the Archer Avenue car house-I think in 1917.
Thank you, Joseph Spinella and Greg King from Australia who midwifed the project and produced the 3-D printed shell, and George Huckaby who had the decals and furnished the Bowser drive. You are every bit as talented as were the CSL shop crews!!
 
RICH
 

 

 

 

 

:

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Posted by NorthBrit on Thursday, November 26, 2020 5:10 AM

It is lovely to see some streetcars  (trams in the UK).  At one time I was a volunteer in a local tram preservation society.  (Age has stopped me volunteering so much.)

My son now works at Beamish Museum, County Durham.  He is seen here 'at work'.

Christmas 2018

April 2020

 

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, May 28, 2021 3:21 AM

From Richard Allman, and the Word document did not have spaces between lines, apologies.

Traction-a lifetime obsession

 

Richard L. Allman, MD

 

How I got interested in traction is an unanswerable question. I cannot recall when I was

 

not interested in trolleys and rail transit. Before I could remember, my father took me

 

riding on trolleys on the Red Arrow West Chester line and told me how much I enjoyed

 

it. This morphed into true love and fascination with looking at trolleys on the Red Arrow-

 

especially seeing cars on lines other than the stretch between 69 th Street Terminal and

 

Westgate Hills, where we lived. Westgate Hills was an early example of a trolley suburb.

 

The convenience of the line to 69 th Street and connection to the Market Frankford

 

Subway Elevated was an advertised attribute. As a little kid, the ride to 69 th Street most

 

often was in a 1932 Brill-built 80-series car, however sometimes we got lucky and either

 

a Jewett car, one of the three Hog Island cars, a Center Door train or even a Brilliner

 

would provide a wonderful variety. Although the little kid most loved the look of the

 

Jewett cars, the seat next to the motorman in the lead car of a two-car train of Center

 

Door cars was a special treat. My maternal grandparents lived near Hancock and Berks

 

Streets in Kensington and on nice days while staying with them while my mother

 

shopped in Center City, I sat on the corner and watched the Route 3 cars come and go

 

from under the El. I remember watching with fascination as the trolleys of the subway

 

surface lines paralleled our eastbound El train and after 15 th Street, wondering to where

 

they had disappeared. Green trolleys were everywhere, but sometimes seeing them in

 

unfamiliar places was a surprise, such as in Lester, along Island Road, and the delightful

 

“little trolley” which was the Birney operating on Route 62 in Darby. By the time I was

 

5, I recognized that the newer looking trolleys, the PCC’s had some variations, which

 

turned out to be the difference between air-electric cars and all-electrics. As my tastes

 

matured, I later decided that my favorites were the air cars.

 

When I was five, on a rainy day in June 1949, my mother decided that instead of walking

 

from our house to the Westgate Hills station, we would travel by taxi to 69 th Street. When

 

we passed Llanerch, the cab driver, unaware of my interest, pointed out the new Red

 

Arrow trolleys on flatcars. They were the newly delivered St. Louis cars. On the trip

 

home, imagine my delight when we rode in the front car of a new two-car West Chester-

 

bound train. This delight was tempered when I learned of the withdrawal of the

 

magnificent Jewett cars.

 

Another treat was sitting with my father in the parking lot of the A&P supermarket just

 

east of 69 th Street Terminal and watching the Philadelphia and Western cars arrive and

 

depart. Sometimes I had the thrill of seeing an arriving Liberty Bell Limited car which

 

would mysteriously disappear; later I learned about the 72 nd Street wye for turning the

 

single-ended cars. And the great excitement of watching the action from the Victory

 

Avenue bridge and seeing the P&W shop and yard, the line-up of Bullet cars, 160 cars

 

and Liberty Bell cars. My father told me that one time we would take a ride on the

 

 

 

Liberty Bell to Norristown, one of the very few promises he was unable to keep with the

 

sudden demise of through service in 1949. Whenever we crossed over or under the P&W,

 

I would look both ways, just in case. Bryn Mawr station was always a great place to

 

observe the P&W action with my father. Another memorable outing with him was in the

 

fall of 1949, when he took me to the old B&O Station on Chestnut Street, to an open

 

house of the Philadelphia Model Railroad Club, where I first saw model trolleys running

 

off overhead wire. They were Pitman cars, in all likelihood built by East Penn founding

 

member John Derr.

 

With time and travel, I was able to see trolleys in unexpected places, including on our

 

summer day trips to Atlantic City where I saw the Brilliners on Atlantic Avenue. I

 

remember how they rocked side to side while stopped to board and discharge passengers.

 

Then the trips to Boston to visit my paternal grandparents: coming up US Route 1 to the

 

Boston-Dedham line and seeing the orange Type 5 cars, the PCC cars in MU operation,

 

the Type 4 cars on Seaver Street, the fascinating Center Entrance cars with the poles in

 

the front, the Seaver Street loop that would be a later modeling endeavor, and the huge

 

trolley terminal at Dudley station where we transferred to the Washington Street

 

Elevated. This was a whole new world. And there was the bonus of briefly seeing the

 

remnants of operation of the Connecticut Company in New Haven and Third Avenue

 

Railway operation in Yonkers while driving on US 1 to and from Boston. Later, while on

 

family trips I was able to see trolleys running in Baltimore, Washington, and Pittsburgh.

 

They were all- PCC operation, but each was different. What I did not understand as a

 

small kid was how rapidly all of what I had seen was disappearing. Trips to Boston

 

would always entail trolley gawking and even some riding when I got lucky.

 

I joined the Delaware Valley Division of the Electric Railroaders’ Association in the fall

 

of 1955, where I met friends with whom I have stayed connected ever since, including

 

Dick Short and Bruce Bente. Bob Foley, Jack Boorse and Bob Quay remained friends

 

until their deaths. I became interested in collecting photos and publications about trolleys,

 

saving money to buy 616 contact prints and postcard-sized prints from many of the fans

 

who sold such treasures, and I began to photograph trolleys when I could, regrettably

 

with inadequate cameras. I had a 4x8 HO oval with one siding and a Mantua 4-wheel

 

trolley and a Pennsylvania Scale Models PCC that I had very amateurishly painted. It ran

 

off two rail operation but for a long time was fun.

 

My junior year in high school was spent as an exchange student in Munich. I was

 

fascinated by the blue trams, including almost-new 3-axle cars, however trams with

 

pantographs were unfamiliar and took some getting accustomed to. I saw similar trams in

 

Zurich, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Bremen. The bow collectors in Rome were a

 

compromise between the trolley pole operation that I knew and the dominant pantographs

 

in Germany. I was delighted to see trolley pole operation in Copenhagen in 1960, and

 

later that year in Brussels and on the Coast Line in Oostende in Belgium, if only from

 

afar. I wish I had photographed more of those fascinating operations! I also went out of

 

 

 

my way to ride the Paris Metro, the Berlin S Bahn and U Bahn-including imprudently

 

into then-Communist East Berlin, and the London Underground. When I returned from

 

Europe August 1960, the Delaware Valley ERA division was on life support, so I turned

 

my allegiance to the still-vibrant Metropolitan Philadelphia Railway Association that met

 

monthly in the old Adelphia Hotel on Chestnut Street, where I met Bill Greenwood,

 

George Huckaby, and Ed Torpey, and old friends Jack Boorse and Dick Short. And the

 

photo acquisition continued, much to the dismay of my parents and their compulsive

 

neatness.

 

In the fall of 1961, I entered Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster where I met

 

Fred Schneider who introduced me to trolley archeology, tracing long-abandoned lines

 

including Conestoga Traction and the Liberty Bell route. Fred also introduced me to

 

darkroom techniques that later would feed my appetite for collecting 8x10 prints of

 

trolleys and a self-expectation for quality photo finishing. Fred also introduced me to

 

some of the pioneers in traction photography, including Jim Shuman, John Bowman, and

 

Lester Wismer, all of whom became lifelong friends. When I transferred to Boston

 

University in Fall 1963, I regularly attended the monthly meetings of the Boston NRHS

 

and another group that met monthly on a Tuesday evening in North Station-a group that

 

eventually became the Boston Street Railway Association. I did as much riding and

 

photographing, with a slightly better Voightlander camera as time and money would

 

allow.

 

My years in medical school from 1965 until 1969 resulted in a hiatus from much traction

 

activity, although I periodically visited the downtown Philadelphia Tom Thumb Hobby

 

Shop where the proprietor had a nice selection of brass trolley models that I would

 

admire, although the $35 price tag was prohibitive for me-especially since all they would

 

do is sit in boxes. He also stocked a fair quantity of trolley publications which I was able

 

to afford and buy. And I did go out to photograph the green PTC trolleys sporting their

 

new SEPTA logos, nothing more than a paste-on horizontal bumper sticker. After

 

graduation, we lived in Allentown where I joined the Lehigh Valley Chapter of NRHS

 

and met some of the legendary LVT trolley fans. I also discovered Traction Slides

 

International and purchased a lot of great foreign and domestic slides of traction systems,

 

my interests significantly broadened. During that time, several trips to Boston and

 

Toronto gave me a chance to ride and photograph traction action.

 

We relocated to Boston in 1972 where I joined the Boston Street Railway Association,

 

continued to aggressively collect photos and slides, and chased and photographed the

 

local MBTA scene. Some of the members became close friends and a big part of our

 

social scene. Every Tuesday evening, they would gather in a pub in Cambridge, and I

 

would join them. It was great camaraderie, although on those nights when the plan was to

 

go to a Cambridge Chinese restaurant at midnight for a wee repast, Wednesday mornings

 

were challenging!

 

 

 

When we returned to Philadelphia in 1973, I contacted Dick Short who invited me to join

 

him at a Friday evening trolley gathering in a bank basement in West Chester. Among the

 

regular attendees were Dick, Andy Maginnis and Dave Cope, all of whom would be great

 

long-time friends. One of the meetings was held in Ed Torpey’s home in Fishtown. He

 

conducted a clinic in soldering that was like a one-time training in a foreign language for

 

me. I really loved the models but knew it never would happen. Still, I continued to

 

photograph and acquire photos and slides, books, and periodicals. And I attended a

 

trolley meet at Bryn Athyn, the first of many in the future.

 

We returned to Allentown in 1974 and lived there for the next 10 years. I resumed my

 

membership in Lehigh Valley NRHS and met and hung out with some of the local fans,

 

including Tom Ruddell, who introduced me to Doug Peters and Dave Biles, the latter

 

who like me, was from Havertown. I also knew some of the legends of Lehigh Valley

 

traction, including Charlie Houser, Gerhard Salomon, Randy Kulp, Elwood McElroy, and

 

Louis Buehler. Doug and Tom had magnificent HO traction layouts that were great to see

 

and fun to operate, although I knew that I never could do that. I did get into HO modeling

 

of European railroad prototypes with a small but nice layout using Fleischman snap track

 

and their layout plan book that kept me entertained for several years. Whenever I

 

attended medical conferences, I always built a day on either side of the conference for

 

some traction chasing, including in San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, Cleveland, and

 

Chicago. And the photo and book collecting continued. I still returned to the Philadelphia

 

area for most of the early East Penn Meets.

 

We relocated to Villanova in September 1984. One of the first people I contacted was my

 

old friend Dave Cope who told me that he was hosting a meeting of a group called East

 

Penn Traction Club in his home on the coming Friday, where in the past I had frequently

 

visited. I came that evening and joined and thus began my association with a group that

 

has been a huge part of my life ever since. I have made so many good friends over the

 

years, although with the inevitable march of time, regrettably have lost far too many. The

 

East Penn meetings and biennial Meets have been a big deal. Dick Bell blindsided me in

 

1987, when he asked me to consider serving as president. I had no experience with trolley

 

modeling, though I was always an eager and willing operator of the modules at the

 

various Meets and public displays, including at the old Philadelphia Convention Center

 

and the Greenberg Shows. Dick calmed my reluctance, and the position of vice-president

 

(an apprenticeship for me under the watchful eye of Walt Hackler) was created; I was the

 

first from 1987-1989, after which I became president from 1989-1991, when we had our

 

first Meet at the Valley Forge Convention Center. It was an expensive and high-risk

 

undertaking, but everyone chipped in mightily and worked extremely hard to make it a

 

great and extraordinarily successful event.

 

At the end of my term, the then-vice president, Tom O’Donnell declined to become

 

president, so we began begging for volunteers. We persuaded Bob Dietrich to accept with

 

promises to help, a relatively new member but a careful and skilled modeler who could

 

 

 

be a calming presence. That was the beginning of one of the closest friendships of my

 

life, for him and me and later for our families.

 

Besides the unending collecting of photos-by then, thanks to the tutelage of Fred

 

Schneider, I had become a decent darkroom person and spent most Saturdays using

 

classic traction negatives to make 8x10 prints. Many of the giants of traction photography

 

allowed me to borrow their treasures in return for an 8x10 of whatever I printed. It was a

 

nice arrangement for them and for me. It had another benefit-an archive of materials for

 

one of my long-time endeavors, the East Penn Traction Club Calendar. The photo

 

selection, caption editing, printing, proof editing and distribution have become a

 

rewarding activity for me. I also have been able to assist authors in gathering photos for

 

many books, articles, publications, and displays.

 

I would serve one more term as East Penn president from 2001-2003. That term was

 

marked by the drama of the demise of South Jersey Expo Center and the scramble to find

 

a last-minute venue, which was at the Armory in Northeast Philadelphia, in large part

 

thanks to the diligence of Charlie Long and other Board members.

 

With a bit more money in my pockets, I succumbed to the temptation to buy some HO

 

brass trolleys, with the plan to run them two-rail on my Atlas Snap Track layout I had

 

built for my European trains with the invisible catenary. This was my first experience

 

using Homosote which I found very user-friendly, especially since the lumber yard where

 

I bought it pre-cut the pieces for me. Since I had the cars-PCC “seconds” that were

 

modestly priced, I decided to have them painted and decaled. I figured that everyone

 

would get the PST St. Louis cars, so I instead bought the Illinois Terminal and San

 

Francisco Muni versions. When brass models of Liberty Bell 1000 cars and Boston Type

 

5 cars appeared, my resistance to buying totally crumbled. Clearly at some point I would

 

need a layout on which to run them. The Kalmbach Traction Plan Book had some

 

promising layouts but seemed either so small that I would quickly get bored or so large

 

that I never would complete them. I found two 5x9 ft. plans-odd sizes- that I

 

amalgamated into one mounted at right angles. I built the bench work with hand tools-a

 

needlessly slow slog, then screwed Homosote directly into the frame, at which time some

 

of my friends from East Penn told me was an unbelievably bad decision, that I had left

 

out a vital component, the plywood base under the Homosote, this after I had begun to

 

lay Orr girdle rail. I did what I always subsequently would do, called Bob Dietrich who

 

gave me the grim news about how to fix it-unscrew the Homosote, slide plywood under

 

it, recognizing the potential inevitable damage to the already laid rail and retro-fixing it.

 

He helped me accomplish that task in the ensuing weeks with less damage to the rail than

 

feared. The plan for the layout was focused on a New England village connected to a

 

Pennsylvania small town by a side-of-the-road operation. The winter of 1997-98 was

 

occupied with rail laying and acquiring line poles and after Bob helped me fix what

 

would have been an overly steep grade on the Pennsylvania side, I had run out of excuses

 

for not hanging the overhead. Bob and Gary Reighn spent a couple evenings teaching me

 

 

 

how to do the soldering, how to correct mistakes and how to deal with the overhead

 

turnouts with minimal grief. By late summer 1998, the overhead was strung, and

 

operation commenced. It took less than a week to hang the overhead and several years to

 

tweak it into reliable operation, however each day provided a lesson in problem-solving

 

and troubleshooting, which became special interests. The initial scenery was uninspired

 

plastic kits, but I learned about laser cut kits and read a ton about various turf

 

applications. I benefitted from advice from Bob, a scenery genius. I confess that by 2000,

 

I had developed a major addiction to car building and acquisition, something that Bob has

 

aided and abetted in me, enhanced by his good company. The layout would slowly grow

 

over the coming years, with a yard for the weed-like growth of my fleet in 2008 and my

 

long-deferred model of the Seaver Street loop in Boston, where I watched the trolley

 

action as a little kid.

 

My trolley obsession has not been my full story. I have worked as a clinical educator at

 

Einstein Medical Center in North Philadelphia since 1992 where I was associate director

 

for the residency program in internal medicine until 2017, medical staff president from

 

2006-2009 and from 2015-2016. I also received a master’s degree in healthcare ethics

 

from Creighton University and continue as a consulting ethicist along with working 2-1/2

 

days per week as a clinical rheumatologist and to do some writing and editing for medical

 

journals and some clinical teaching. I have some other commitments in the community.

 

My daughter Michelle and her husband Mark Matta and their two great kids, and my son

 

Steve are a great source of pride. I thought my grandson might succeed me in the trolley

 

thing, but so far, sadly no great interest. Suzanne, my wife of 51 years has been more

 

than patient and supportive of my trolley obsession. Every day I owe her. I still enjoy

 

visiting, riding, and photographing traction action, whether locally or around the US or

 

when the opportunity presents, anywhere in the world. My tastes have kept up with the

 

times and visiting, riding, and photographing newer light rail systems as well as heritage

 

operations remain a delight. My transition to digital photography has helped in managing

 

the whole clutter problem. As retirement looms at some point, the traction thing-

 

prototype and modeling- and the people associated with it will keep me busy and fulfilled.

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, May 28, 2021 7:05 AM

 

Atlantic City Brilliner 201
Richard L. Allman
Atlantic City Transportation Company Brilliner 201 has entered operation on Main Line Transit. The prototype was the first of a 25-car fleet acquired by the Atlantic City and Shore Railroad in 1940. It was originally numbered 6891, then 6901. The numbering system related to the company’s ownership by the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines and in turn, the latter’s ownership by the Pennsylvania Railroad; the cars were numbered as part of the Pennsy passenger car roster. The Brilliner was Brill’s attempt to offer a competitive alternative to the PCC car. Other than the 25 Atlantic City cars, only 5 other single-end Brilliners would be built: 3 for Philadelphia, and one each for Baltimore and Cincinnati. They were built as demos for those systems but all three opted instead for major purchases of PCC cars. The failure to obtain a large order from Philadelphia sent a message to Brill, and after delivering 10 double-ended versions to Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company in 1941, Brill abandoned the streetcar business and became a major manufacturer of buses and trackless trolleys in its final years in business. Car 6901 originally had a complex (and in my view, ugly!) two-tone green, gold, silver striped and cream livery, however the distinguished designer Raymond Loewy, of GG-1 fame, designed the striking black and cream scheme that would be applied to all the cars. The first version of the Loewy scheme was even more complex, with silver around the belt rail areas. The version that I chose was a later, slightly more simplified rendition which was all black and cream. The initial letterboard ATLANTIC CITY VENTNOR MARGATE LONGPORT was changed to the cursive “The Miss America Fleet”. A group of Philadelphia-based financiers, including John B. Kelly, the bricklaying contractor and father of actress and later Princess, Grace Kelly, purchased the system in 1945 and renamed it Atlantic City Transportation Company. Their plan was to get out of the trolley business, which they did in 1948, with the abandonment of the Shore Fast Line, the cutback of the Atlantic Avenue line from Longport to Douglas Avenue in Ventnor in 1954, and the final abandonment of the Douglas Avenue-Inlet remnant in December 1955, at which point, the right-of-way was promptly paved over and the fleet, including all the Brilliners, was scrapped. As a little kid, I remember day trips to Atlantic City, and how the Brilliners rocked side to side while stopped for passengers and at traffic lights. During the summer, the service was robust and busy. What happened in winter months was another story which contributed to ownership’s aspiration to be relieved of its car and infrastructure maintenance burden. The Brilliner was a noble if ultimately unsuccessful attempt by an important streetcar manufacturer to enter the new era of streamlined trolley manufacturing. That none of the 30 Brilliners was preserved is regrettable.
The Model
The shell was produced by Imperial Hobby Products and I acquired it from long-time friend of East Penn and me, Paul Mayer. Paul had tired of keeping it on a shelf with no plans to ever complete it and sold it to me, along with two sets of decals (in case I screwed up). Paul manufactured the decal set, along with many others in his Shore Line Decal business. He was a huge contributor to our hobby. Interestingly, Paul painted an MTS Red Arrow double-ended Brilliner as a “might have been” Atlantic City car and it won an award at the 2012 Boston Trolley Meet.
Getting the car to navigate my layout was as challenging a modeling ordeal as I have ever encountered. I wanted to use the Bowser PCC drive, which is great performer, typically easy to install, and has the correct wheelbase and wheel diameter. I knew that the skirting over the wheels would be a problem but was unprepared for how much of a problem it would be. The drive needed weight applied. The laws of physics would seem to dictate that weight placed anywhere at the front of the car would be transmitted downward onto the front bolster, but somewhere along the way those laws broke down. To make the car track properly, more weight is needed over the front wheels; how to do it was a huge pain. Normally, placing a lead tab on top of the gear tower suffices, but the thickness of the shell was an impediment.  I was far too timid to overly try to file and thin it. Placing a lead weight tab on the front of the gear tower also works, but once more that caused the weight to hit against the inside of the shell, impeding adequate turning. Finally, I figured out that beveling the weight tab on the front of the gear tower, making it a trapezoidal shape with the narrow part to the front, provided enough turning in all directions to allow the trucks to turn and specifically to navigate both hard right and hard left turns through Orr switches with 6-1/8” radii. Also, a lot of thinning was done on the inside of the shell where the wheels turn. Charlie Grant did a beautiful finishing job on his brass Atlantic City Brilliner and correctly states that accuracy of the trucks on an HO car with skirting over the wheels is not necessary. He powered his with a Bachmann Spectrum Peter Witt drive and I have seen it-it is beautifully finished and runs flawlessly. I came close on several occasions to abandoning the attempt for the Bowser drive to work. I nearly followed Charlie, replacing it with the Bachmann, but my tenacity and familiarity with the Bowser drive compelled me to hang in.
The colors were Engine Black and Cat Whisker Yellow. We used acrylics. The wheels, track brakes and fender were painted Rail Brown.
For powering, we used the Larry Loyko-Bob Dietrich method-a vertical piece of thin brass tubing soldered through a piece of one-sided PC board, with a 0.015 brass wire from the metal side of the PC board that swipes another piece of one-sided piece of PC board cemented to the top of the motor and connected with a wire to the positive terminal on the motor. The drive has 26-inch PCC wheels. The fender was fabricated from some HO fence material that was stainless steel and therefore a challenge to cut.
The decals were manufactured by Paul Mayer, our late friend from Chicago. I had two sets but had considerable angst about screwing up and not being able to replace them, plus the mere fact that the decals were old. Tony Tieuli suggested using Micro Scale Liquid Decal Film. By the time Tony weighed in, Bob Dietrich had already sprayed the decal sheets with Klear Kote gloss, which  adequately kept them from disintegrating. In the future with old decals, I will try Tony’s method since he is a master painter and should be listened to. I had almost no loss of decals due to mishaps and with what I had, was able to complete the car, with enough left in case someone else ever undertakes this project and needs them. In case I had a major calamity, I had contacted Bill Brillinger who makes decals, and he was ready to duplicate the extra set that I had ( I requested and got permission from Paul’s son, Jim Mayer), which fortunately was not necessary.  I needed to take some license with the black on the roof and masking around the rear marker lights for which I will beg for forgiveness. The number 201 was selected because Paul’s set had the full numbers for all six locations (two on each side and one at each end). I had no taste for cutting and aligning individual digits! Using 201 admittedly makes some discrepancy with the anti-climbers, which were shorter on 201, but I will live with that! My original plan was to use the LONGPORT MARGATE destination, but unfortunately, the decals for that were not great.
Admittedly, this car is odd on my layout, with Pennsylvania and New England themes, including hills and curves and long stretches of private right-of-way. The Atlantic Avenue route that was home turf for the Brilliners was almost arrow straight, flat and had only a little private right-of-way at the north end near the Inlet, and at the extreme southern end in Longport. However, that is the beauty of traction modeling, where if it runs, you can run it wherever you choose. Tom Lederer’s modular layout is highly reminiscent of Atlantic City and hopefully at future Meets, it can run there.
The credits:
IHP, who produced the shell.
Bowser Manufacturing for the smooth, reliable drive that almost never lets us down.
Paul Mayer, for making a decal set that made an incredibly complex scheme achievable. Imagine trying to do those curves on the sides without decals! I hope this model is a tribute to Paul. His son Jim also provided valuable info from Paul’s notes.
Bill Brillinger, who stood at the ready to make replacement decals if the need had  arisen.
Books by Fred Schneider and Steve Carlson on PCC’s. Although not a PCC, their book PCC’s from coast to coast had a highly informative chapter on the Atlantic City Brilliners.
Doug Cowperthwaite provided helpful photos of his O-scale St. Petersburg Collection car with detailed measurements for masking.
Tony Tieuli, for advice about caring for old decals.
Photographs from late friends Ed Miller, Les Wismer and Dave Cope which were essential for decal placement.
Jim Henwood, my late friend, and East Penn member whose historic contributions about the trolleys of Atlantic City have been so helpful. Jim’s opus magnus on the subject probably will be published during 2021 by CERA. The book is much anticipated-at least by me!
My friend and coconspirator, Bob Dietrich who helps me in so many ways, is an outstanding problem solver and innovator, and whose company and friendship I so value. And once my masking is done and checked, is very handy with an airbrush!
 
 
Atlantic City car 201 entering Orr Switch at New England Siding, with Boston Elevated Railway car 6118 on the outer track:
 
  
Atlantic City Transportation Company car 201 at Keystone Junction, with PST car 43 past the junction:
 
 
Atlantic City car 201 on the inner track at Seaver Street loop.
 
 
 
Car 201 leaving New England Siding 
 
 

 

Car 201approaches Keystone Junction from Baystate Junction with Baltimore 5583 on the incline.

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, May 28, 2021 7:45 AM

I love the pictures, but I am having a hard time with the text.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by zstripe on Friday, May 28, 2021 4:09 PM

SeeYou190
I love the pictures, but I am having a hard time with the text.

Yeah! Like too much of it. I grew up in Chicago in the 40's riding Brill street cars...they were noisey as hell compared to the later Green Hornets, as they were called.

Take Care! Smile, Wink & Grin

Frank

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    June 2002
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, May 30, 2021 8:00 AM

Regarding the autobiographical part of the posting:  In the edit mode, the unfortunats hoge spacing between lines of text dissapears, and this suggests thst one has solved the problem.  Which did not happen.  I think Richard's story is interesting enough for the moderator to help make the posting easier to read. 

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    December 2015
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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, May 30, 2021 11:27 AM

 I'll take a shot because I can't read either version as is.   The author was fond of run on sentences as well.

 Atlantic City Transportation Company Brilliner 201 has entered operation on Main Line Transit.

 The prototype was the first of a 25-car fleet acquired by the Atlantic City and Shore Railroad in 1940. It was originally numbered 6891, then 6901. The numbering system related to the company’s ownership by the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines and in turn, the latter’s ownership by the Pennsylvania Railroad; the cars were numbered as part of the Pennsy passenger car roster.

The Brilliner was Brill’s attempt to offer a competitive alternative to the PCC car. Other than the 25 Atlantic City cars, only 5 other single-end Brilliners would be built: 3 for Philadelphia, and one each for Baltimore and Cincinnati.

 They were built as demos for those systems but all three opted instead for major purchases of PCC cars. The failure to obtain a large order from Philadelphia sent a message to Brill, and after delivering 10 double-ended versions to Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company in 1941, Brill abandoned the streetcar business and became a major manufacturer of buses and trackless trolleys in its final years in business.

 Car 6901 originally had a complex (and in my view, ugly!) two-tone green, gold, silver striped and cream livery, however the distinguished designer Raymond Loewy, of GG-1 fame, designed the striking black and cream scheme that would be applied to all the cars.

 The first version of the Loewy scheme was even more complex, with silver around the belt rail areas. The version that I chose was a later, slightly more simplified rendition which was all black and cream. The initial letterboard ATLANTIC CITY VENTNOR MARGATE LONGPORT was changed to the cursive “The Miss America Fleet”.

 A group of Philadelphia-based financiers, including John B. Kelly, the bricklaying contractor and father of actress and later Princess, Grace Kelly, purchased the system in 1945 and renamed it Atlantic City Transportation Company.

Their plan was to get out of the trolley business, which they did in 1948, with the abandonment of the Shore Fast Line, the cutback of the Atlantic Avenue line from Longport to Douglas Avenue in Ventnor in 1954, and the final abandonment of the Douglas Avenue-Inlet remnant in December 1955, at which point, the right-of-way was promptly paved over and the fleet, including all the Brilliners, was scrapped.

As a little kid, I remember day trips to Atlantic City, and how the Brilliners rocked side to side while stopped for passengers and at traffic lights. During the summer, the service was robust and busy.

What happened in winter months was another story which contributed to ownership’s aspiration to be relieved of its car and infrastructure maintenance burden. The Brilliner was a noble if ultimately unsuccessful attempt by an important streetcar manufacturer to enter the new era of streamlined trolley manufacturing. That none of the 30 Brilliners was preserved is regrettable.

The Model

 The shell was produced by Imperial Hobby Products and I acquired it from long-time friend of East Penn and me, Paul Mayer. Paul had tired of keeping it on a shelf with no plans to ever complete it and sold it to me, along with two sets of decals (in case I screwed up).

 Paul manufactured the decal set, along with many others in his Shore Line Decal business. He was a huge contributor to our hobby. Interestingly, Paul painted an MTS Red Arrow double-ended Brilliner as a “might have been” Atlantic City car and it won an award at the 2012 Boston Trolley Meet.

 Getting the car to navigate my layout was as challenging a modeling ordeal as I have ever encountered. I wanted to use the Bowser PCC drive, which is great performer, typically easy to install, and has the correct wheelbase and wheel diameter. I knew that the skirting over the wheels would be a problem but was unprepared for how much of a problem it would be.

 The drive needed weight applied. The laws of physics would seem to dictate that weight placed anywhere at the front of the car would be transmitted downward onto the front bolster, but somewhere along the way those laws broke down. To make the car track properly, more weight is needed over the front wheels; how to do it was a huge pain.

 Normally, placing a lead tab on top of the gear tower suffices, but the thickness of the shell was an impediment.  I was far too timid to overly try to file and thin it. Placing a lead weight tab on the front of the gear tower also works, but once more that caused the weight to hit against the inside of the shell, impeding adequate turning.

 Finally, I figured out that beveling the weight tab on the front of the gear tower, making it a trapezoidal shape with the narrow part to the front, provided enough turning in all directions to allow the trucks to turn and specifically to navigate both hard right and hard left turns through Orr switches with 6-1/8” radii.

 Also, a lot of thinning was done on the inside of the shell where the wheels turn. Charlie Grant did a beautiful finishing job on his brass Atlantic City Brilliner and correctly states that accuracy of the trucks on an HO car with skirting over the wheels is not necessary.

He powered his with a Bachmann Spectrum Peter Witt drive and I have seen it-it is beautifully finished and runs flawlessly. I came close on several occasions to abandoning the attempt for the Bowser drive to work. I nearly followed Charlie, replacing it with the Bachmann, but my tenacity and familiarity with the Bowser drive compelled me to hang in.

The colors were Engine Black and Cat Whisker Yellow. We used acrylics. The wheels, track brakes and fender were painted Rail Brown.

For powering, we used the Larry Loyko-Bob Dietrich method-a vertical piece of thin brass tubing soldered through a piece of one-sided PC board, with a 0.015 brass wire from the metal side of the PC board that swipes another piece of one-sided piece of PC board cemented to the top of the motor and connected with a wire to the positive terminal on the motor.

The drive has 26-inch PCC wheels. The fender was fabricated from some HO fence material that was stainless steel and therefore a challenge to cut.

The decals were manufactured by Paul Mayer, our late friend from Chicago. I had two sets but had considerable angst about screwing up and not being able to replace them, plus the mere fact that the decals were old. Tony Tieuli suggested using Micro Scale Liquid Decal Film.

By the time Tony weighed in, Bob Dietrich had already sprayed the decal sheets with Klear Kote gloss, which  adequately kept them from disintegrating. In the future with old decals, I will try Tony’s method since he is a master painter and should be listened to.

I had almost no loss of decals due to mishaps and with what I had, was able to complete the car, with enough left in case someone else ever undertakes this project and needs them.

 In case I had a major calamity, I had contacted Bill Brillinger who makes decals, and he was ready to duplicate the extra set that I had ( I requested and got permission from Paul’s son, Jim Mayer), which fortunately was not necessary.  I needed to take some license with the black on the roof and masking around the rear marker lights for which I will beg for forgiveness.

 The number 201 was selected because Paul’s set had the full numbers for all six locations (two on each side and one at each end). I had no taste for cutting and aligning individual digits! Using 201 admittedly makes some discrepancy with the anti-climbers, which were shorter on 201, but I will live with that! My original plan was to use the LONGPORT MARGATE destination, but unfortunately, the decals for that were not great.

 Admittedly, this car is odd on my layout, with Pennsylvania and New England themes, including hills and curves and long stretches of private right-of-way. The Atlantic Avenue route that was home turf for the Brilliners was almost arrow straight, flat and had only a little private right-of-way at the north end near the Inlet, and at the extreme southern end in Longport.

 However, that is the beauty of traction modeling, where if it runs, you can run it wherever you choose. Tom Lederer’s modular layout is highly reminiscent of Atlantic City and hopefully at future Meets, it can run there.

 The credits:

  • IHP, who produced the shell.
  • Bowser Manufacturing for the smooth, reliable drive that almost never lets us down.
  • Paul Mayer, for making a decal set that made an incredibly complex scheme achievable. Imagine trying to do those curves on the sides without decals! I hope this model is a tribute to Paul. His son Jim also provided valuable info from Paul’s notes.
  • Bill Brillinger, who stood at the ready to make replacement decals if the need had  arisen.
  • Books by Fred Schneider and Steve Carlson on PCC’s. Although not a PCC, their book PCC’s from coast to coast had a highly informative chapter on the Atlantic City Brilliners.
  • Doug Cowperthwaite provided helpful photos of his O-scale St. Petersburg Collection car with detailed measurements for masking.
  • Tony Tieuli, for advice about caring for old decals.
  • Photographs from late friends Ed Miller, Les Wismer and Dave Cope which were essential for decal placement.
  • Jim Henwood, my late friend, and East Penn member whose historic contributions about the trolleys of Atlantic City have been so helpful. Jim’s opus magnus on the subject probably will be published during 2021 by CERA. The book is much anticipated-at least by me.
  • My friend and coconspirator, Bob Dietrich who helps me in so many ways, is an outstanding problem solver and innovator, and whose company and friendship I so value. And once my masking is done and checked, is very handy with an airbrush!

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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    June 2002
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, July 11, 2021 2:41 AM

Bob Dietrich is mentioned above, and a visit to his website is heartily recommended:

http://www.dietrichsfam.com/shj/. 

 

Here  are a few of the many, many, photos, and there is much more.

This is not prototype, but HO:

 

 

There are also an all-time Pittsburgh Rys. roster, prototype photos, a "cab ride," and much more.  You wn't be dissapointed. 

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    November 2007
  • From: California
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Posted by HO-Velo on Sunday, July 11, 2021 12:15 PM

daveklepper, Thanks for the South Hills Junction link, lots of wonderful modeling.

regards, Peter

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    June 2002
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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, July 30, 2021 4:15 AM

Brookly 6000-series Peter Witt and Brooklyn special Clark Equipment PCC 1000  vatious locations on Richard Allman's Lsyout:

6046 & 1000 at Keystone Junction

At New England Village

Arriving at New England Village

 

Heading for Keystone JuncArriving, New England Village siding

 

 

 Arriving, N. E. Village siding

Leaving N. E. Village

Passing row houses near Keystone Junction

For photos of the actual prototypes of these two models, see the Classic Trains Forum, "All the Brooklyn PCC photos one could want." and "Peter Witts that are not PCCx." 

 

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    June 2002
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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, September 13, 2021 3:42 AM

Richard Allman

Attachments12:24 AM (11 hours ago)
 
 
to me
Johnston Traction Co. car 356. Will add eclipse fenders later this week. A few gremlins to fix ( among which, runs noisy) but am reasonably satisfied - another 3-D printed car shell. The cars were a tad goofy looking but were-and are- fan favorites- one operates @ Branford, one @ Railways to Yesterday and one static exhibit @ PTM. They were similar to the Ft. Wayne cars that later ran in Atlantic City- where allegedly the operators and shop crews intensely disliked them, and in Cornwall, Ontario.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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    June 2002
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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, September 13, 2021 10:25 AM

From Richard

Richard Allman

4:04 PM (2 hours ago)
 
 
to me
Top photo is on street in Pennsylvania town.
The straight-on side view is on the parallel street in the Pennsylvania town
and at end of street running, about to climb the grade to the overpass.
The solo view on the overpass above Keystone Jct. the final view is with.
AC Brilliner approaching Keystone Jct.
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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, September 13, 2021 3:58 PM

Hi Dave,

The photo is not showing, at least for me.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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    June 2002
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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 9:01 AM

The descriptions of the photos (now edited for better reading) refer to the photos in the previous posting.

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    June 2002
  • 19,109 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 2:42 PM
Got the idea for this photo from a Charles Duncan photo I got from Richard Wonson almost 50 years ago. The scene is the Seaver Street module on my HO scale Main Line Traction layout. The model of car 3001 belongs to Brian Ward, and the photo is in Bradley’s book “Streetcar Lines of the Hub” on page 68. (Boston Street Railway Association. www.thebsra.org)  My grandfather waited there on Seaver Street for the car to Mattapan on his way to the tailor shop in Milton where he worked.
 
 3001 was Bostons 1st PCC, 1937, and its only St. Louis Car Co. PCC, and the only one without a left-side door.  N ormally assigned to Hunbolt Av, - Swaver St.  Other PCCs  were from Pullman's Worcester plant, and began arriving in 1940.   --- Dave
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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 3:47 AM

Shaker Heights Rapid Transit 304, built as Aurora Elgine and Fox River 304 in 1924, sold to SHRT in 1936.  See Richard's article in Trolleyville Times for further information.

 s

 

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, July 11, 2022 1:41 AM

ichard recently completed and is operating a model  of a pre-WWII Los Angeles PCC and provided of it and others as well.  See his article in Trolleyville Times.

Toronto LRV and Red Arrow Jewett No.40

:

and back to a Brill 1930-era Brooklyn single-end Peter-Witt 6000 in post-WWII colors:

And two Boston PCCs meet :=

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by HO-Velo on Thursday, July 14, 2022 10:01 PM

Dave, Thanks for the update.  Sure glad that model railroading comes in so many flavors.  I find Traction modeling interesting and nostalgic, with recollection of riding the Key System interurbans with my grandmother as a youngster.  During that time period Key System shared the green and yellow livery with Los Angeles Transit Lines. 

Also enjoyed browsing The Trolleyville Times.  

Thanks again and regards, Peter

  

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