May 2006

Great Western & Atlantic Train Show

The Trolleyville Times has learned that both the Great Western & Atlantic Train Show (GWAATS) and the predecessor Great American Train Show (GATS) are out of business effective April 24, 2006. Hobbies Unlimited, the parent of the now defunct GWAATS, held their last show in Boise, Idaho in March 2006. All future shows have been cancelled. Initially, statements confirming this fact appeared on their internet site. Shortly after that, the GATS web site vanished but the latest information about their demise can be found on the Great Train Expo site.
Although it is normally sad to see any model train business go by the wayside, most vendors and visitors to the GATS and GWAATS shows of the past months, may consider their passing as a good thing. Upon learning that Hobbies Unlimited terminated GWAATS activity, Competitive Intelligence Advertising (CIA), Inc, parent of both the World's Greatest Hobby on Tour Shows and the Great Train Expo released a statement that they are taking several actions. They are currently evaluating exhibition facilities formerly used by Hobbies Unlimited to see if any of those facilities are suitable for a Great Train Expo. CIA has purchased the attendee mailing list, the exhibitor mailing list, and some other minor assets of the Great Western and Atlantic Train Show from Hobbies Unlimited during the liquidation.
CIA will also delay the final release of its Fall 2006 – Winter 2007 show schedule until June 2006 to evaluate the impact of the Great Western and Atlantic Train Show's sudden departure from the model train show market.
CIA has absolutely no relationship with Hobbies Unlimited, GATS Limited or the ownership of those companies.
For additional information on the Great Train Expo, please view their web site at For additional information concerning CIA Incorporated, please view their web site at More information will be provided as information is acquired by The Times.


Marvelous Muni Moves Onward!

Recently, the Inside Track, the magazine of the Market Street Railway, published Brookville Equipment Company photos of soon to be Muni PCC cars 1070 (Newark), 1071 (Minneapolis/St.Paul), 1077 (Birmingham, Alabama), and 1079 (Detroit). San Francisco hopes to start E-line service later this year but 2007 is probably a better bet. Car 1070 and 1071 will join ex-Philadelphia PCC 1055 in re-acquiring paint schemes that they actually wore previously at one time or another during their 50 plus years of service. Here are the cars as they looked at Brookville in April 2006:

The durability of the PCC car is not only evident in these photos. But the original Newark PCC cars had already completed a career in Minneapolis/St.Paul before coming to that New Jersey city. Other Minneapolis cars and Detroit cars had second jobs in Mexico City. The entire Birmingham PCC fleet ended up in Toronto and a few of them migrated to Philadelphia in 1976 for a brief stint before their service finally ended. Notice on the Detroit car that, unlike SEPTA modifications, the Brookville motorman's window modification has been accomplished without changing the lines of the cars. Birmingham has just decided on a plan to establish a four-mile downtown streetcar line, using most likely newly constructed "heritage" cars. They may even try to use some of the track long buried under asphalt. Meanwhile, SEPTA in Philadelphia paves over serviceable trolley tracks, mainly to prevent the establishment of trolley service.

Karl Johnson of Light Rail Products provided more photographs for the Trolleyville Times. The first of these, taken in mid-April 2006, show more of the ex-Newark, ex-Minneapolis PCC cars, including, left to right, 1075 Cleveland; 1076 Washington, D.C.; 1077 Birmingham; and 1078 San Diego. Note that some cars do not have heralds and numbers applied.

Karl also provided some closer shots of 1072 (Mexico City); 1073 (El Paso); 1074 (Toronto); 1075 (Cleveland) and 1076 (Washington, D.C.):

For a view of car 1080, Los Angeles Transit Lines, please click here! These cars will go a long way in correcting the car shortage that has plagued the F-line almost since the day it was opened.

[See Muni, column 2]

Southern California Traction Club at the South Coast Botanic Gardens

On April 1st and 2nd, the Los Angeles Division of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) held its Annual Spring model railroad display at the South Coast Botanic Gardens (SCBG) in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. This show features the premier modular model railroad clubs including The 20's and 30's Model Railroad Club, The Orange County O Scalers, the Santa Fe Southern portable layout, Friedfeld's N scale layout, the Southern California Garden Railway Society, the Orange County Modular Railroad Club in addition to the Southern California Traction Club (SCTC). This show was the 63rd appearance of the SCTC and the seventh appearance of the club at the Botanic Gardens since the club was founded in 1995.

The SCTC has taken advantage of the paucity of quality model railroad train shows in Southern California to embark on a program of detailing its modules and creating new ones. Some of the action snapped at this show is shown below:

Two IHP products are featured above, PTC 2260, an ex Kansas City all-electric PCC and PTC 2508, a 1940 air-electric PCC.

A shootout after a bank robbery!

By the way, the trolley coach wire in the above photo is also live, providing the headlight illumination. Elsewhere on the layout, a San Diego 400 in the rare orange paint scheme has just passed the kit-bashed Duberchin Jeweler's building.

In our final photograph, a Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern Stock Motor, owned by club member Pete Debeers, is shown with some flat cars with tractor loads.


A Thought On Photograph Identification

by George Jones

The majority of model railroaders and trolley fans take, buy and acquire large numbers of photographs. Cataloging these items has always presented these modelers and fans with the same dilemma. Many years ago, I was buying 35mm slides from a gentleman in the Mid-west. He used a very simple system to identify individual slides. After I studied the system, I decided that I liked it very much. So I wrote and asked the man if I could use his system of identification on my own slides, he gave me his permission.

This system of marking slides consisted of four groups of letters and numbers separated by hyphens. I.e. UP-S-4000-1.
The first group of letters identified the railroad (road name) i.e. Union Pacific (UP).
The second group of letters, identifies the type of equipment in the photo, i.e. steam (S), diesel (D) etc.
The third group of numbers was the equipment road number, (4000).
The fourth and final group of numbers, I’d how many photos he had of that piece of equipment.

I use the common reporting marks or the initials from the road name on the equipment. I use upper and lower case letters to identify some railroad names, i.e. Co, for Company, Roy, for Railway. The abbreviation St, is used for either Saint or Street.

While I still use this system, I’ve made a few minor changes, mainly in adding many more equipment choices. I.e. D = Diesel/Electric drive, DM = Diesel/Mechanical drive, DS = Diesel/Switcher, E = for mainline Electric locomotive, F = Freight car, G or GT = Gas turbine electric drive, GE = Gas/ Electric drive, GM = Gas/Mechanical drive, I = Interurban car, MW = Maintenance of Way equipment, P = Passenger car, T = Trolley car, etc.

Because I have so many photos of Traction equipment, I’ve added a number of Traction related identifiers, i.e. BM = Box motors, CMB = Combination car, PCC = PCC car, RPO = Railroad Post Office Car, EL = Electric locomotive, BLD = Buildings, Stations, Shops, etc.

If a locomotive or a car is the second or third piece of equipment on that railroad to use that road number I normally put a colon after the number, then a Roman numeral to show that that number has been used more than once. I.e. PE-I-305:II-2. The :II, shows that the photo is of a Pacific Electric Interurban car and that PE had an earlier car with that same number.

I’ve used this photo cataloging/identification system for over thirty years and find it very convenient to use in marking a photo. When I later list the photo in my inventory, I add the nice things like size, color/B&W, date, where, etc.

I hope that you enjoy using this method of marking your photos as much as I have over the years.


SCTC Run Day at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum

In a bonanza agreement with the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park, the Southern California Traction Club (SCTC) is occasionally invited to run their traction vehicles on the fantastic layout of the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. It takes about fifteen minutes for a traction vehicle to run the entire layout which is largely single track with at least five passing sidings. This was the SCTC's third run in San Diego and we were provided with some photos of the event.

The first photo is a three car train of Pacific Electric cars 1104, 1147 and 1126 midway through one of the trips on the layout:


Another area of the layout shows Philadelphia Transportation Company Air-electric PCC 2671 on the layout approaching one of the passing sidings:

Finally, Cincinnati, Lawrenceburg & Aurora interurban 915, freshly painted using Custom Traxx' new decal set, CN-915, patiently waits on one of the passing sidings for the track cleaning train to pass.

The track cleaning train is owned by Parker Williams, who is responsible for all the overhead wire on this large club layout. The Niles Box Motor pulling the train is equipped with an eight wheel drive using an Athearn motor, flywheel and two power trucks built by Parker. All other models shown belonged to members of the Southern California Traction Club., including the Philadelphia PCC shown below. This tends to be a long day for SCTC members starting and ending with an 129 mile drive from Los Angeles to Balboa Park but it is sure fun and worth it.


[Muni, from column one]

Keep an eye on both the City by the Bay and the City of Brotherly Love when it comes to trolleys. But it is usually good news from San Francisco. Another City that loves its streetcars is New Orleans. Even Hurricane Katrina did not dampen that city's love for it's colorful conveyances. For the latest on the status of the streetcars in that city, click here. Want to know why most trolley fans embrace Muni and loathe SEPTA? As this is being written, another Dockers AD featuring two of the wonderful MUNI PCC cars is airing. Both of those cars, were more SEPTA trolley banishments! AMEN!

Trolleyville | Factory | Trolleyville Times | Info Center/Real Estate Office | School | Library | Clubhouse | Downtown

Copyright 2006 Custom Traxx