..."For the Dedicated Urban Rail Vehicle Modeler"...
Our Current Business Plan:
Custom Traxx was founded in 1992 to support the contemporary group of HO scale urban rail transit modelers by developing and supplying authentic detailed decal finishing sets, heralds, destination signs, parts and other markings for streetcars, and interurban railway vehicles as they ran and were still running in some American and Canadian localities. We concentrated on decal sets for the many largely unpainted off-shore fabricated brass traction models that had been imported the previous thirty years. While we mainly made decals in HO scale, we did make a small number of decals for electric railway vehicle modeling in 1:50, O and 1:24 scales.
Custom Traxx began to begin to push for models of contemporary electric urban transit vehicles, which continued for many years to fall on deaf ears with current model railroad manufacturers. Many of them had been predicting that the model railroading hobby was dying for many years and were now determined to live out their self-fulfilling prophesy. Starting around 1990, new light rail systems began to appear and somehow the streetcar came "out of the closet" and began reappearing on many United States streets. By October 2016, modern low-floor air-conditioned streetcars were carrying passengers or scheduled to soon carry passengers in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Tacoma, Tucson and Washington D.C. some of the came cities that almost celebrated their removal many years ago. Then rail transit returned to the Los Angeles to Santa Monica corridor on May 20, 2016 after an absence of over 60 years. Ridership was so great that it almost overwhelmed the transit agency. They did not have enough equipment. Trains are being run every six minutes with three car trains often with standing room only. This being corrected with weekly deliveries of the new KinkiSharyo P3010 cars, with over 150 now delivered and 55 of them assigned to the Expo Line. These cars are now operating on all four Los Angeles Metro Light Rail lines.
In 2015, we started to see some very well detailed 3D-printed models from Volkmar Meier of the San Diego Siemens S70 and we helped design a Bowser traction drive for that car. But when we started to see desperate modelers trying to make their own models of current light rail equipment such as Darrell Clarke with his laser cut stainless steel model of a Los Angeles KinkiSharyo P3010 and John Partridge conversion of a toy into a Boston KinkiSharyo-built Type 7, both powered with the Bowser traction drive, we hoped that a revolution in model railroading was just around the corner.
CORGI 1:50 PCC AND BIRNEY STREETCARS NOW AVAILABLE (SEE SECTION V) - Custom Traxx recently acquired a personal collection of these now rare streetcar models and is making them available at low prices!
THE LATEST ON THE HO SCALE TRACTION COUPLER FROM WCTS!!! West Coast Traction Supply (WCTS) has developed a traction style coupler that uses magnetic force to couple together. Custom Traxx has been testing the coupler for almost three months and it works flawlessly for coupling powered cars. Our two and three car trains of powered LRVs run great and they couple together so easily. At this point the WCTS coupler has passed all tests. We have not had one undesired or unexpected uncoupling using powered cars. Testing of towing unpowered cars has resulted in the estimation that one car can be safely towed but this is highly dependent on the weight of the car and it rolling qualities. The couplers are now available in Section VI of our website as SCTC-41.
BOEING LRV FLOORS - HO SCALE!!! John Partridge is working on a 3D Printed floor for the Boeing LRVs that ushered in the age of modern streetcars in the late 1970s and 1980s. The floors start where the former Bowser aluminum floors left off. Custom Traxx and the Southern California Traction Club are doing the testing.
Decals Marked Out-Of-Stock in Our Catalog:
Custom Traxx had all of our decals made by RailGraphics in South Elgin, IL from our beginning in 1992. The proprietor of RailGraphics retired at the end of 2017. We have obtained most of our artwork and have secured a new supplier. If anyone is interested in having those decals marked out-of-stock, we will re-run them if there are a minimum of 10 sets required. We will get a quote on the set and require a down payment of 50%.
Current Offer to Designers of 3D Printed Modern Urban Rail Transit Vehicles:
In the December 2018 issue of the Trolleyville Times, a list of those modern urban rail transit vehicles of which they are aware at that time, was published. We are aware of models being offered by Interurban Traction Models, Tramspotter, West Coast Traction Models and a few others. These are all currently printed by Shapeways. Some are even being printed on home printers. Custom Traxx will support these designers with the creation of decals for these cars, providing that the designer can provide one complete unit (body and floor) for accurate measurements and a projection of at least 10 sales. When the decals are actually produced, such cooperating designers will have the opportunity to obtain decals at a reduced rate for his own use or resale. Such designers can contact us here.
We are currently working on decals for the Brookville Liberty streetcar, with information gathered during our May visit to Brookville Equipment Corporation, Brookville, Pa. We are starting with the colorful Oklahoma City Cars, (OKC streetcar) and will move on to the Detroit, Dallas and Milwaukee cars. Interurban Models is working on the 3D Printed Bowser-powered models of the Brookville Liberty and we are currently testing two such preproduction models.
Our Current Catalog:
1. FOR OWNERS OF BOWSER HO SCALE RTR PCC CARS.....
Have you lost one or more of the super resilient wheel covers?
Custom Traxx has replacements........
Just order part 1397, $.75 each or 8 for $4.00 (Add $1.00 for postage!)
Have you broken one or more of the trailing truck axle centers?
Custom Traxx has replacements........
Just order part 1291, $.75 each or 2 for $1.00 (Add $1.00 for postage!)
2. THE FOLLOWING DECAL SETS ARE NOW AVAILABLE:
CN-105/126/144 - Los Angeles Metro P865 Light Rail Vehicles (1989 to present) - HO scale:
The 54 P865 cars, built by NipponSharyo, series 100 - 153, were the first urban rail transit vehicles in the Los Angeles area since the PCC cars were removed in 1963. They opened the Blue Line (Los Angeles to Long Beach) in 1990. As of October 2018, except for cars 100 and 144, they were all gone. These decal sets are made for Custom Traxx by Highball Graphics for the West Coast Traction Supply 3D printed models now available on Shapeways. The P865 decal sets are available in three versions:
For decorating the cars in the original Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC) 1990-1995 Blue Line scheme, order set CN-105 at $13.95.
For decorating the cars either in the post 1995 Los Angeles Metro white or post 2012 gray schemes, order set CN-126 at $11.95.
For decorating cars in both the LACTC or Los Angeles Metro schemes, order set CN-144 at $19.95.
See Section I, (Traction Vehicle Lettering Sets) of our catalog for photos and more information!
CN-3010 - Los Angeles Metro P3010 Light Rail Vehicles (2014 to present) - HO scale: - $9.95.
The P3010 cars, built by KinkiSharyo, are the latest Light Rail Vehicles in the Los Angeles area and are operating on all four of the current (Blue, Expo, Green and Gold) Los Angeles Metro Light rail lines:
See Section I, (Traction Vehicle Lettering Sets) of our catalog for photos and more information!
CN-3738 - Boston Type 7 and Type 8 Light Rail Vehicles - HO scale - $9.95.
The Type 7 cars, built by NipponSharyo, were the first Light Rail Vehicles to replace the ill fated Boeing SLRVs, in 1968-1988 when 100 vehicles (series 3600-3699) were acquired. They were so successful that twenty more almost identical cars were acquired in 1997, (series 3700-3719).
The Type 8 cars, built by AnsaldoBreda, were the first low floor Light Rail Vehicles acquired by Boston. 95 vehicles (3800-3894) were acquired in 1998 through 2007. The span was due to many difficulties experienced with the cars. Common practice now is to run one Type 8 in each two-car train, most often in train with a Type 7.
Since 3D models are already available on Shapeways in the Tramspotter store, we will release the decals as soon as possible but will continue to upgrade them as more information is received.
MODEL LIGHT RAIL VEHICLE MODEL AVAILABILITY!
We are pleased to announce that the number of models of modern Light Rail Vehicle HO scale models are increasingly now available on Shapeways. And this list is not complete and continues to grow as more drawings are made. The following models that we know are available now on Shapeways.
1. Los Angeles Metro P865 (1989-1990 vintage-series 100-153) and P2020 (1995 vintage-series 154-168) Light Rail Vehicles used on Los Angeles A-Line (Blue) and E-Line (Expo), and at one time on the Green Line). As of today only 1 of the P865s is still on LA Metro property but all 15 of the P2020s are in service. See the WCTS Store on Shapeways!
HO scale unfinished model of the LA Metro P865 as delivered to Custom Traxx from Shapeways along with experimental couplers.
2. Los Angeles Metro P3010 (2014-present) Light Rail Vehicles (series 1001 through 12XX) used on all four Los Angeles Light Rail Lines (A-Line, E-Line, Gold and Green Lines). As of today over 200 are on the property and most are in service. See the WCTS Store on Shapeways!
WCTS assembled and finished model of LA Metro 1014 currently operating on the Los Angeles Expo Line.
3. San Diego MTS S70 Ultrashort Partially Low-floor Light Rail Vehicles (series 4001-4065).
See the Interurban Models Store [https://www.shapeways.com/shops/interurban on Shapeways.
For the HO scale S70, see http://shpws.me/OUnl
HO scale Test Unit #2 with Bowser power under testing - November 2015!
HO scale unit 4, in SDMTS colors along with N scale unit 1, which has since been completely lettered as SDMTS 4011!
4. Boston (MBTA) KinkiSharyo Type 7 (series 3600-3719) and Breda Type 8 (series 3800-3894). See the Tramspotter Store on Shapeways.
Our first Tramspotter model had the A and B unit made of different materials as we wanted to learn and appreciate the differences!
We are now providing a powering kit for most three-truck LRV models, SKU 125158, for $59.95. A Flywheel Upgrade Kit is also available for $8.00. See more about these items in Section VI (Other) of our catalog. However at this time there is no floor for the Type 8 compatible for the Bowser drive and the Type 7 currently needs some modifications to make the Bowser drive work. Specifically, we cut off the base of the C unit and fastened the remaining upper section (above the arrows) to a Bowser traction trailing truck (See below photo!)
HO scale and N scale Decals for the SDMTS S70 and the LA Metro P3010 are already available and we are now offering HO scale decals for the LA Metro P865/2000/2020 vehicles. Both of those sets, CN-105 for the original "Blue Line" cars with the four color striping, set CN-126, which will decorate models in the later white and gray Metro schemes and set CN-144 which will do all the paint schemes since 1990 should be available before spring 2018!
Originally these 3D printed models were very expensive in HO scale but the engineers have modified their drawing techniques and competition in the 3D printing field has continued to increase so prices are starting to come down. But the models still have to be painted, lettered and powered after the shells and floors are obtained. We continue having discussions with current model railroad manufacturers but it is an uphill battle to convince them to consider making models of these new transit vehicles. They are completely unaware that the anti-transit mentality has vanished with the younger generation.
Meanwhile modelers are going to great expense and labor to have a model of some of these new vehicles on which they currently enjoy riding!
In 2017, John Partridge of West Roxbury, MA took a toy Boston Type available in the Boston Transit store, drew and 3D printed a chassis that accepted the Bowser traction mechanism and produced this model. He is still working on the model but here are some shown to Custom Traxx for testing last year with his 3D printed chassis in the background (below left) and one provided to Custom Traxx for extensive testing that we painted the red door, changed the car number to 3711 and are working on perfecting this model.
Directly below are three examples of current urban rail transit:
Custom Traxx embraced Digital Command Control (DCC) and participated with Train Control Systems in the design of their M4T, the first decoder designed for HO traction. We also worked with Soundtraxx for the first high-quality sound decoder for PCC cars and with ESU LokSound the sound for the New Orleans 900 series streetcar. We are now working with ESU LokSound for a new generation of decoders for the next traction projects. We would be interested in discussing these possible projects with you. Look us up on our Facebook page. For up-to-date happenings in the HO traction world, check the monthly Trolleyville Times, normally uploaded on the first of each month. For hands on traction activity, check out the Southern California Traction Club's new E-Membership, described in recent issues of the Trolleyville Times. Feel free to contact John McWhirter, SCTC.
Custom Traxx still offers traditional traction parts including selected A-line traction repowering items; Bowser HO scale traction mechanisms, drives and parts and HO scale ORR girder rail, turnouts and crossings. Also available are special parts from Bowser and other manufacturers for the operational trolley modeler.
We have several Bowser HO scale streetcars available for sale. All of these streetcars are equipped with the latest Bowser drive at the time of production with dynamically balanced flywheels. They are either DCC ready or equipped with DCC and Sound by either Soundtraxx or ESU LokSound. Send us an e-mail for the current constantly changing list of available models and prices.
Beginning in May 2015, we stepped up our program to attract tomorrow's urban rail transit modelers. These hobbyists will come from the increasing numbers of persons riding our increasing numbers of light rail, modern streetcar and commuter lines. With new electric rail transit already operating or coming to localities that had not seen electric transit in 50 years, the possibilities for substantial numbers of new hobbyists are fantastic.
It seemed strange that despite the fact that modern urban rail transit vehicles have been burnishing urban tracks in the United States cities since 1981, only one HO scale model has ever been commercially mass produced. That vehicle, the Boeing United States Standard Light Rail Vehicle, ran in only two cities and the model ran as poorly as the prototype. So there has been obviously until recently, resistance from the current crop of model railroad manufacturers into developing and producing an HO scale model of a current urban rail transit vehicle and this resistance has spanned over thirty years. Urban transit rider ship in the United States in 2013 was the highest recorded in the nation's history. There were over 510 million boardings of light rail vehicles alone during calendar year 2014. To help bring some of these new transit riders into what has been called "the World's Greatest Hobby", Custom Traxx is attempting to encourage today's current model railroad manufacturers to develop and produce models of today's urban rail transit vehicles. We were convinced that if they do not "jump on the bandwagon" some new manufacturer will and could dominate this possibly large future market. Atlas Model Railroad Company, a firm that makes the majority of HO scale track used in the hobby, has marketed an HO scale model of an entire North New Jersey commuter train with an unusual dual mode locomotive. (See the July 2016 Trolleyville Times for more information). It appears that Atlas has gotten at least part of the message.
Accordingly, we remain totally committed to the active pursuit of the development and production of scale models of Light Rail Vehicles and/or Modern Streetcars. We have considered the BROOKVILLE Liberty streetcar (Dallas, TX, Detroit, MI; Oklahoma City, OK; Milwaukee, WI...), the United Streetcar/Skoda/Inekon 10T (Portland, OR; Tucson, AZ; Seattle, WA; Washington D.C.) and the C.A.F. Urbos (Cincinnati, OH, Kansas City, MO). As a result, we have partnered with Volkmar Meier of Paris, France who has created excellent 3D drawings of the BROOKVILLE Liberty streetcar and with West Coast Traction Supply thus far has produced excellent 3D printed models of LA Metro P865 and P3010 high floor light rail vehicles and some of the historical Los Angeles Transit, Pacific Electric and Illinois Terminal vehicles in the same high quality. We recently (May 2019) had the privilege of visiting the BROOKVILLE plant in Brookville, PA on a data gathering trip.
We still aim for complete customer satisfaction. Prompt service is the norm not the exception. Orders are often sent within hours of receipt and rarely later than next day. We do not keep orders in suspense for days and weeks at a time and we try never to be too busy to talk to customers, trolley fans, and traction modelers. We encourage traction-related calls at 310-990-5422 during normal business hours (Pacific Time). Our business number is a mobile phone to avoid missing your call but we can not take orders when mobile. Our main purpose is to assist you in getting the information that you require for your hobby enjoyment! We encourage you to fax your order to 310-475-5597 or e-mail your order to firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. We will acknowledge your order as soon as possible.
Custom Traxx accepts Mastercard, Visa and Discover credit cards for your convenience! See our catalog, section VI, Ordering Procedures, for more details!
Our official catalog is now on-line and is updated constantly so the latest information is always on this site. Accordingly, we have ceased maintaining and publishing printed catalogs.
For our complete six-part catalog, click here!
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