September 2017



Urban Rail Happenings!
Los Angeles Metro's "Funeral" Trains, by George Huckaby
San Francisco's
"Iron Monsters"
At Last Some Good News for Modern Urban Transit Modelers!
Coming Soon from West Coast Traction Supply's Shapeways Store!
Urban Commuter / Light Rail / Modern Streetcar News! by Edward Havens


Notice To HO Scale Modelers:

The HO scale models of the San Diego Siemens Ultrashort Light Rail Vehicles are now available on Shapeways (Interurban Models Store). Bowser power units and decals are available!

See the operating models at Arnie's Model Trains, Westminster, CA on Saturday, September 23!


Urban Rail Happenings!

ATLANTA, GA - The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has arrested 536 fare evaders during a recent six-week crackdown, the agency announced late last week. Over the past six weeks, plainclothes officers have actively monitored fare gates across MARTA's 38 rail stations for riders hopping on board without paying. The effort led to hundreds of arrests and suspensions from the agency's system, MARTA officials said in a press release.

MARTA Oakland City Station

Individuals arrested for fare evasion automatically receive a 60-day suspension from using MARTA's bus and rail services. If a fare evader is arrested and fails to produce valid identification, the suspect is then lodged in jail.

"We take fare evasion extremely seriously and will continue to work to ensure the safety and security for all of our customers," said MARTA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Keith Parker. "Every year, transit authorities across the nation lose millions of dollars in revenue due to fare evaders. We are actively working to curb this behavior through the efforts of our Fare Evasion Task Force."

MARTA's police department this year developed the task force. The evasion crackdown is part of MARTA's "Ride with Respect" initiative, which focuses on passenger safety and the agency's customer code of conduct.

EL PASO, TX - The former international streetcar line with its ex-San Diego PCC cars ended service in 1973. That ending was brought about largely because Mexican authorities felt that the streetcar was bringing too many of its citizens into the US to shop and work and too few U.S. citizens were reciprocating.

Here we are in 2017, 44 years later, and some of those same streetcars will soon be running in El Paso again. These will be El Paso's version of Philadelphia's PCC-IIs as the only thing PCC about these cars will be the car body.

The six cars will be painted in some of the various paint schemes used by the cars over the years in El Paso.

The 4.8 mile system will consist of two loops, all single track. The Downtown clockwise loop will run on Franklin Avenue, Kansas Street, Father Rahm Avenue and Santa Fe Street. The Uptown counterclockwise loop will run also on Franklin Avenue, Stanton Street, Baltimore Avenue, Glory Road and Oregon Street. the Uptown Loop connects downtown El Paso with the University of Texas At El Paso (UTEP). This is a winning combination already proven at Tucson, AZ.

Despite being among some of the oldest PCC cars on the planet, built in 1936 by Saint Louis Car Co, they will be upgraded with air-conditioning and will use pantographs instead of the original trolley poles. When completed, the only thing 1936 PCC about these six cars will be the body shell.

The cars will wear three (depicted above) of the four schemes that they wore in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970s.



Proposed "South Route" is shown in the above map. Note that this would more than double the length of the current KC Streetcar System. The map also shows a proposed "North Route extension.

KANSAS CITY, MO - KC Streetcar rider ship continues to increase and the need to provide additional service, and track, is in demand. With the community’s resounding support to form a Transportation Development District (TDD) to fund a southern streetcar line to the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), the KC Streetcar Authority and their partners are wasting no time jump starting the necessary engineering and planning work to make the project a reality.

On August 8th, the KC Streetcar Authority (KCSA), in coordination with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) and the City of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) issued notice to proceed to begin planning work on the Streetcar Southern Extension project. A team led by HDR Engineering will provide the planning and engineering services with support from Burns & McDonnell, HNTB, Trekk Design Group, Hg Consult, Parson + Associates, VSM Engineering and Architectural & Historical Research.

This phase of planning, estimated at approximately $1 million, is jointly funded by the KCSA and KCATA. The planning and engineering work is estimated to take 9 months.

“We are thrilled to be working hand-in-hand with our partners with the KCATA and KCMO, to detail specific plans for a southern streetcar extension and related bus improvements connecting downtown to University of Missouri, Kansas City’s campus,” said Tom Gerend, executive director, KC Streetcar Authority. “This effort is a critical step towards advancing the region’s transit vision and completing the due diligence that will be required to make this vision a reality.”

HYATTSVILLE. MD - Closed foThere was a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony August 28 for the Maryland Transit Administration Purple Line corrdior light rail route at Hyattsvile, Washington, D.C. public radio station WAMU reported. Legal hurdles now have been cleared to permit construction of the 16-mile line from Bethesda to New Carrollton to begin. The $2 biliion car line will serve 21 stations in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The tota cost to the state will be $5.5 billion over the next 35 years because of payments Maryland must make to the private consortium hired to build and operate the LRT route.


LOS ANGELES, CA - Closed for nearly four years due to bureaucratic bumbling and an appalling lack of political leadership, Los Angeles’s favorite funicular—Angels Flight—was set to reopen Thursday, August 31, as reported by the 'Downtown News'. The opening comes right on time: It was promised in March that the attraction would open by Labor Day. Perhaps because of the high cost of repairs, the price to ride Angels Flight’s bright orange railcars will double to $1 for a one-way ride.

Angels' Flight, situated right across from Los Angeles Central Market!

However, riders with Metro TAP cards can get a reduced fare of 50 cents, Steven DeWitt of ACS Infrastructure, the railway’s new operator, tells the News. Repairs, including the installation of a new emergency stairway and updates to the motors, cost almost $5 million, DeWitt says. ACS worked with the nonprofit Angels Flight Railway Foundation and Sener, an engineering firm, to reopen the beloved Bunker Hill attraction. The group will continue working together as the Angels Flight Development Company to operate the railway; they have a 30-year contract with the city.

Angels Flight is a 30" narrow gauge 298 foot long funicular railway in Los Angeles Bunker Hill area with two cars the Olivet and Sinai. It has been closed since a derailment in September 2013, the most recent in a string of safety concerns over the previous years. A 2001 derailment that resulted in one passenger’s death shuttered the railway until 2010. Another safety issue in 2011 resulted in closure of the funicular yet again. The 282-foot-long railway dates to 1901, and was originally located a half block north, near the Third Street tunnel until it closed on May 18, 1969 due to redevelopment at that site. It was dismantled and stored for over 27 years, then moved to its present location, across from Grand Central Market, one-half block south of the original site, where is opened on February 24, 1996.

Remember this railway opened as the Los Angeles Incline Railway in 1901 with financing from Colonel J. W. Eddy at lawyer and friend of Abraham Lincoln. It was originally located at Hill and Third Streets and managed to operate without incident for 68 years with a good safety record until it was "improved" years later ago by a contractor, Lift Engineering/Yantrak, who seems to have had little or no experience with funiculars, was no longer in business by the time of the 2001 accident and seemed to have fled the country. The new system installed had been installed neither with a safety cable nor track brakes. The NTSB at the time was unable to identify any other funiculars in worldwide that operated without these two features.

Angels Flight - 1903  

Angels Flight - Today

Angels Flight - 1960

Metro Riders Beware: your bad manners could cost you big bucks. Transit officials are cracking down on how riders behave on Metro’s fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six light rail and subway (BLUE, EXPO, GOLD, GREEN, RED and PURPLE) rail lines, with a particular focus on getting riders to be mindful of seat-hogging, blocking the aisles and eating or drinking.

The latest “Metro Manners” campaign comes on the heels of a month-long enforcement surge earlier this year on the Blue Line, where more than 3,200 riders were issued warnings and over 2,000 were ejected for various infractions, including taking up excessive space and people eating and drinking on trains. Riders who are found doing any of the following are subject to a fine of $75 per offense and could be escorted off the train or bus:

* Eating, drinking, smoking, vaping;
* Playing loud music;
* Disturbing others;
* Disorderly, lewd conduct;
* Placing chewing gum on seats;
* Loitering;
* Fare evasion;
* Occupying more than one seat or blocking a door; or
* Riding a bicycle or skateboard in a station.

Riders who commit third, fourth and fifth offenses could face being banned for 30 to 90 days, officials said. It’s not the first time Metro has tried to teach better social etiquette to its riders: in 2003, the agency had “Metro Manners” trading cards designed for presentations to schools in LA County. Some of the campaign’s characters included the Snacker, whose food and drinks were a messy nuisance to others; Edgy Eddie, named for his habit of standing dangerously close to the edges of sidewalk curbs and train platforms; and the Blab Sisters, who predictably do far too much blabbing on Metro rides.

Los Angeles urban rail transit reached another milestone this month when KinkiSharyo 1100 arrived.

This is the 100th car in this series and is the first time Los Angeles has had 100 cars of the same class since the 250 Los Angeles Railway Class cars of 1921-1924)!

The Class H cars were all scrapped between 1955 and 1958 except for 61 of them that were sent to Korea to run in Seoul where they ran until 1968.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - San Francisco's Market Street Railway purchased Class B car 162 from a California museum, which had done little with it the entire time that they had it, in December 2003. They brought it to Muni property and expended thousands of man hours on it before San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) took over and their highly skilled craftsman finished the job. The car returned to service five years later, glistening in the sun in December 2008. Unfortunately on January 4, 2014 (over three years ago) during it's 100th birthday, the car collided with a truck making the sharp turn from Bay Street to the Northbound Embarcadero, resulting in what you see in the next photos.

(Photos are from Market Street Railway, Rick Laubscher)

The truck driver was found incompetent in the subsequent investigation and a 'six-figure' settlement was received by Muni. The Market Street Railway reported in their 2017 No 2 issue of their "Inside Track" publication that bureaucratic bumbling within the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority, the parent organization of Muni, prevented anyone from learning that this sum had been repaid and that the car could be repaired.

Now that everyone knows the situation, CG Inc., of Long Beach, CA has been selected to repair the car. This firm has extensive experience with antique trolleys cars with the San Diego Silver line cars. Repairs were supposed to start last month (August) and should be completed by the end of the year. At this time it is planned that the car will retain all of its original systems.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) reported on August 23rd that they had completed all required testing for five of its next-generation light-rail trains. The agency will begin rolling out the new units once it receives certification from the California Public Utilities Commission, SFMTA officials said in a press release. SFMTA tested a new communications and monitoring system, as well as the Muni subway's automatic train control system. In addition, the agency performed various safety tests, including verifying the trains' ability to brake quickly for emergencies. After the tests, SFMTA made adjustments to hardware, software and tunnel infrastructure. The first five trains are scheduled to begin service this year, with the remaining fleet arriving in phases as they are manufactured by Siemens in Sacramento, California. By 2021, Muni's current 151-car AnsaldoBreda LRV fleet will be replaced by more than 200 of these Siemens units. Last month, SFMTA began closing the subway on weeknights and weekends to allow engineers uninterrupted time to conduct the tests.

Muni Siemens "three-pak" testing on the streets!

UPPER DARBY, PA - In a location frightfully close to their last mishap, A Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Norristown to Upper Darby (formerly the Philadelphia & Western) carrying 41 passengers ran into an unoccupied train in the 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby early Tuesday morning, August 22nd, injuring 42 people, according to Philadelphia media reports. None of the passengers' injuries appear to be life threatening, SEPTA officials told news media. The train's operator was treated at a local hospital and released. The injured passengers were taken to eight area hospitals. The accident involving the Norristown High Speed Line train occurred at about 12:15 a.m. The incident is under investigation, SEPTA officials said. The 69th Street Terminal was the location of another accident in February, when a SEPTA Market-Frankford Line derailed in a rail yard after it crashed into a stopped train. One of the operators was seriously injured, reported.

Los Angeles Metro's "Funeral" Trains!

by George Huckaby

As we have mentioned in previous issues, Los Angeles Metro is starting to 'scrap' the 54 1989/1990 NipponSharyo vehicles that opened the Blue Line (Los Angeles to Long Beach) in 1990 and returned electric urban rail transit to the City of the Angels. Considered by many to be the most reliable cars on the system, they have just "gotten old" and and costing serious money to keep running. Replacements have been ordered over the years from both Siemens and Ansaldo Breda, but both of those contracts were terminated around the 50 vehicle delivery point for one reason or another.

Metro now is starting to experience a space problem with light rail vehicles.

The 27-year-old Blue Line (Los Angeles to Long Beach) Long Beach yard and maintenance facility, Division 11, is capable of storing and maintaining 86 cars. They have 37 P865 (NipponSharyo - 1989/90), 13 P2020 (NipponSharyo - 1995), 23 P2000 (Siemens - 1999) and 23 P3010 (Kinki-Sharyo) vehicles assigned as of July 26. So at 96 cars, they are already juggling for space.

The 14-month-old Expo line (Los Angeles to Santa Monica) requires 54 cars to make weekday "roll out", the term used by Metro that is analogous to the term "line load" in the old days. But their Santa Monica yard and maintenance facility, Division 14, holds 45 cars. The new Expo Line facility, Division 14 in Santa Monica, has 13 P865 (NipponSharyo - 1989/90), 2 P2020 (NipponSharyo - 1995), and 41 P3010 (KinkiSharyo) vehicles assigned also as of July 26. So at 56 cars, they are also juggling for space.

The Gold line has two facilities, one in Monrovia (Division 24) and another in Los Angeles (Division 21) which was used initially until the line reached the Monrovia facility. The Operations Campus, as the Maintenance facility in Monrovia is called can service up to 84 vehicles. The Gold Line has all 50 Landlord P2550s assigned along with 20 of the new P3010 KinkiSharyo vehicles. So within months they will also be jugging space. Work has already begun to extend this line a third time to Claremont. Any further will take the train into San Bernardino County. A possible Eastside extension from the southern terminal is also possible.

With the new cars arriving from KinkiSharyo now going to the Green (11 - just delivered for acceptance testing at night only) Gold (20), Blue (23) and the Expo (41) Lines, there is just now enough room to store cars. As of July 26, 95 of the new "Kinki" cars were on the property in the Blue, Expo, Green (Division 22) and Gold Line (Divisions 21/24) yards These Blue, Expo and Green lines are currently are not connected to the Gold line by rail so any transfer of cars must be done by truck. So the old cars have got to go.

A car is selected due to the fact that it is in the worst condition, needs some major work or has not received all the upgrades. It is stripped of all useful parts. Then it is scheduled for the 13.5 mile one-way trip from Division 11 in Long Beach to a tail track in Los Angeles just north of the Washington Blvd station, where it will be parked until it is loaded on a large trailer to be towed to a scrap yard in Carson, CA.

When the announcement was made that the first of the NipponSharyo P865s would be scrapped and that car would be car 105. It was soon learned that the car would be taken to the scrap yard beginning with a trip north on the Blue line early Monday morning June 19th. So veteran expert operator Warren Stockton, Jr, a second generation Los Angeles Urban Rail Transit professional, volunteered for the job. His request was granted. More about Warren Jr. and Warren Sr, once an operator at one time, later......

The "Funeral" Trains start at the Blue Line yard, known as Division 11, located in Bixby Knolls on the map shown above. The car to be scrapped will be the third car of a three car consist, being dragged totally dead. The train proceeds north along the 13.2 mile route marked in red on the above map and will be stored at that location on a siding until loaded onto the truck, usually later the same day, for the trip to a Carson, CA scrap yard.

Trolleyville was invited to the first "Funeral" Train for car 105, held early morning June 19th but we were unable to attend. We did get to watch car 105 loaded onto the trailer later that same day. We did get to ride the second Funeral Train for car 129 on Tuesday evening, July 25th. The operator for that train was also Warren Stockton Jr., whose father, Warren Stockton Sr, was formerly an operator on the Blue Line from 1990 to 1992. Warren Sr passed away in March 2017 so the torch is now carried by Warren Jr. So it was fitting that Warren Jr. take the first cars from the same facility bound for "Trolley Car Heaven" repeating that first trip his father made 27 years ago, when Warren Jr. was just 9 years old.

The second Metro "Funeral" Train at Division 11 yard at 12:15AM, July 26th awaiting clearance to depart for Los Angeles!
Car 156 is on the point, followed by car 167 with car 129 'dark and dead' behind car 167!

The car 129 Funeral train left the Division 11 yard just past midnight on Wednesday, July 26th after the last northbound revenue train at the breathtaking speed of no more than 15 mph. It proceeded north toward Los Angeles all the way to Washington Boulevard. Remember we have a three-car train with only two-cars worth of brakes. After the train turns west onto Washington Blvd, it will pass a trailing switch that is connected to a siding complete with overhead wire. Here the train will back into that siding, deposit the car to be scrapped and return to the yard.

Car 129 at the end of the three-car Funeral Train with 167 and 156 on Washington Blvd at 1:15AM July 19!

Warren has left the lead car, 156, and has entered car 167.
He is coordinating with one of the track personnel that will be controlling the spur switch!
It will be from this car, that Warren will guide the train backward into the siding to deposit the "remains" of car 129!

Car 129 has now been placed at the end of the siding next to the building. Later that day, the truck behind it will push Car 129 across Washington Boulevard on a track with no overhead wire to a short section of track adjacent to the Wilmington Station. The car will be loaded onto the trailer as shown in our previous issues while passengers on the northbound Blue Line trains pass by totally oblivious to what is going on.



It should be noted that both cars 156 and 167 are P2020s. These two cars are among a group for fifteen P2020 cars (series 154-168) ordered in 1995 to allow the Blue Line to operate three-car trains. They look identical to the P865s (series 100-153) and operate with them but will be around for five years longer than their older sisters. Since a three-car train will be needed for the next day, this two-car consist (called a two-pak here) was coupled to another by the most gentle, careful and repetitive means. Coupling cars with automatic couplers must be done on straight track So car 137 was coupled only after being moved to straight track, making the three-pak 137/156/167 for Wednesday service along with 19 other three-paks.

The couplers were not at the same height at the coupling location for some reason. Watching Warren coax these two couplers together was as artistic as a watching a ballet-dancer. It really can not be described here. You had to see it for yourself. We were unaware that an multi-ton LRV could be handled that gently. Well the results are shown at right. That three-car train was in service the next day.

The very next night, Wednesday, July 26th, it was car 147's turn again with Warren Stockton, Jr. at the controls, Management got to know for a long time that known for many years that when there is a Stockton in control, they do not have to worry about anything. The same still goes today. If they forget anything, Warren Jr. will remember it. Car 147 was spotted at the Washington Boulevard siding during the day Thursday, July 27th waiting for its ride to Carson.

This third "Funeral" train for car 147 was complicated by a fire that broke out in the 7th and Flower station of the Blue & Expo lines earlier that evening at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, July 26th. The fire broke out in the north end of the station where the cars are stored and reversed, forced an extensive bus substitution for many days, reduction in service intervals and the diversion of resources such as the track personnel to operate the switches to get the car into the spur at Washington Blvd.

By early August, three more candidates for the scrap pile were identified, 128, 132 and 133 with 133, shown below left, being the first "Expo" line assigned car to get this treatment. Despite the new paint job, the car developed some serious issues that did not warrant repair considering that all 54 of these P865 cars are slated for retirement by the end of 2018.

Cars 133, 132 and 126 at the North End of the Blue Line yard awaiting their fate!

After a brief pause, the scrappings continued on Sunday evening, August 20 with a train consisting of P2020 165 and P865s 132 and 128. Two things were different here. The first is that Warren Stockton was not the operator for this trip and the second thing is that both 128 and 132 were to be scrapped with 132 still operational, having the distinction of being one of the first car to be scrapped still capable of driving itself to the scrap truck. Warren was on duty that evening but took this photo of two old friends of both him and his father.

Trolleyville has been on Blue and Expo line trains with Warren Jr. at the controls and he just may be one of the most knowledgeable and conscientious operators on the system. So Los Angeles once again has families with a rail transit heritage. They had many of them until 1963. More about the father and son Stockton Light Rail Vehicle operators in a succeeding issue.

San Francisco's Iron Monsters!

With the impending return of San Francisco 162 to service by the end of this year, this looked like a good time to remember the 213 streetcars that were nicknamed "Iron Monsters" in the City by the Bay.

San Francisco opened the "Iron Monster" era in 1912 with the 20 Class A streetcars from Holman Car Company and ended the era with 10 Class L cars from Saint Louis Car Company in 1927-28. All of the the cars were 47' 1" long. All the cars lasted until 1951 and the scrapping began of the Class A cars.

The Class A cars, also called the "Arnold" cars were designed following recommendations of transit consultant Bion J. Arnold. They were initially ordered from Holman Car Company and cars 1 through 20 were delivered between December 1912 and early into 1913. Holman was unable to complete the order and Union Iron Works fabricated and delivered cars 21 through 43 by June 1913. They were of the "California" type, similar to cable cars with closed center sections and open end areas. Initially the open areas did not have windows. By 1920, due to the often chilly San Francisco weather, windows were added in the open sections.

The Class B cars, the largest class consisting of 125 vehicles, were lighter but wider than the Class A cars and were built by the Jewett Car Company of Newark, Ohio. Deliveries started in August 1914 and continued until 1915.

The Class K cars were built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company, which had taken over the Union Iron Works. They were delivered between July and September 1923.

Class A car 19 at Geary & Polk (August 1947) in the second World War II Muni paint scheme (blue and gold).

Class B car 49 with Market Street Railway car 1583 at the Ferry Bldg in the first Muni Paint scheme (red and gray).

Class K car 187 at 46th & Wawona with 1016 series PCC!

Class L Car 202 at Broad & Plymouth (January 1958) in the
final Muni conventional car paint scheme (green and cream
with Wings)


Number of Cars
Truck Wheelbase
1 - 20
Brill 27G
5' 0"
47' 1"
8' 6"*
Holman Car Co

19 Scrapped 1951

21 - 43
Brill 27G
5' 0"
47' 1"
8' 6"*
Union Iron Works

All scrapped 1951

Baldwin L-Plate
5' 0"
47' 1"
9' 2"
Jewett Car Co, Newark, Ohio
123 Scrapped between 1952 and 1957
Standard O-50
5' 0"
47' 1"
9' 2"
Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company, San Francisco, CA
18 Scrapped between 1958 and 1959
Brill 27E
5' 0"
47' 1"
9' 2"
Saint Louis Car Co, St. Louis, Mo
All scrapped between 1957 and 1958
Brill 27E
5' 0"
47' 1"
9' 2"
Saint Louis Car Co, St. Louis, Mo
All scrapped between 1957 and 1958
*Car width was reduced due to narrowness of Geary Street, their initial assignment.

Car 50 was lost in a fire at the Geary Paint Shop in 1930 and was the first Iron Monster to be scrapped. The rest of the 212 car fleet soldered on until the Muni stated replacing streetcars on many lines such as the B-Geary line between 1949 and 1956. With the B line gone, the "narrow" A line cars were no longer needed and 42 of them were scrapped in 1951. Car 1 was saved. The Class B cars were scrapped between 1952 and 1956 and the Class K and L cars by 1958. The year 1959 began as an all- PCC car fleet (except for the five Class C Magic Carpet cars (pre-PCC look-alikes which were scrapped in 1959 and 1960!)

Cars 1 (Class A), 130 & 162 (Class B) and 171 & 178 (Class K) have been saved and all are operable. All but 171 are in San Francisco at the time of this writing.


At Last Some Good News For Modern Urban Transit Modelers!

We have not been quiet about our attempts over the last two years to get models of modern urban transit vehicles made. After we met Volkmar Meier at the May 2015 East Penn Traction Club Meet, we worked with him and tested seven models of the Siemens S70 Ultrashort LRV as used in San Diego before we felt that we had a project to present to manufacturers.

We had developed a Bowser power unit based on the Bowser HO scale traction power unit and discovered that one power truck in the A unit was sufficient operate the unit under most applications. We also preferred the Bowser unit due to its ruggedness, its price and the reliability demonstrated since 1999.

We had received the first test unit in July 2015. It was equipped with two Halling drives. After that all subsequent units were Bowser powered. Unite 2 and 3, SDMTS 4012 and 4053 arrived in October 2015 and three-car-train testing on both two-rail and overhead wire began.

By May 2016, it was obvious that we had worked out all the possible issues so we showed the cars at Arnie's Model Train Shop in Westminster, CA. That shop gets a lot of visitors from both Los Angeles and San Diego so we asked interested parties to sign a sheet indicating their interest. In 30 days, we got over 28 completed surveys asking for models of the SDMTS S70 and 26 more wanting any light rail vehicle in the local area. Vehicles desired were Los Angeles NipponSharyo P865 & P2020, Los Angeles Siemens P2000, Los Angeles Breda P2550, SEPTA Kawasaki Double End LRT, Tucson United Streetcar, Toronto Bombardier Flexity, Sacramento CAF LRV. What these inputs show is that local modelers like the local cars because they SEE them and SEE them OFTEN.

So then we talked to model railroad manufacturers, even visiting the plant of one of the them in Long Beach, CA. This supplier, long a basic HO scale model train supplier, was impressed by the model. We showed them three of them along with the 3D program that produced it. We pointed out that the program could be modified by any engineer to produce molds suitable for injection molding. We had done the systems engineering that worked and the models had been tested for hours and demonstrated at train shows for over one year.

What followed was interest, amazement at the detail and then disappointment. They just had no idea that these models would sell and they probably would not sell heavily to their current customer base but we knew that they would sell to the current crop of transit riders who are now using these vehicles on a daily basis. But we soon found out that they were largely ignorant of both the new systems and the new riders and, in some ways, were not interested in pursuing modern urban vehicles. There were many reasons given for this lack of interest but none of them really made sense to anyone wanting to stay in business.

So after two years of wasting our time, about six months ago the decision was to prepare these models for public acquisition. We would write instructions, get a power system and decals and provide painting information.

So if all went well, the Siemens S70 HO scale model is now available on his Interurban Traction Models Shapeways Store. Another supplier, West Coast Traction Supply is providing a Los Angeles LRV. See about this in the next article. Custom Traxx has worked with Bowser to make available a three-truck powering version of the HO scale Bowser traction power unit and will work with both of these models. Custom Traxx also as a decal set for the SDMTS SD-100 LRV that they have upgraded to be used with the S70. Not yet released will be an N scale version that will use Tomytec snap-in drives.

Coming Soon from West Coast Traction Supply's Shapeways Store!

In what we hope will be the beginning of more such products, our friends at West Coast Traction Supply (WCTS) have developed a 3D printable HO scale model of the Los Angeles Metro NipponSharyo P865/P2020 vehicle. The 54 P865 cars (cars 100 to 153) opened service on the Blue Line from Los Angeles to Long Beach in 1990 and have since been providing faithful service for 27 years on both the Blue and Expo (Santa Monica) lines. The 15 almost identical P2020 cars (cars 154 to 168) were obtained in 1995 and were used to open the Green Line before being returned to the Blue Line to permit three-car train operation.

Shown above are P865 cars in various paint schemes used over the years!
Car 148 along with car 109 was painted in the final Pacific Electric scheme in 2001
for the 60th
anniversary of the demise of the Pacific Electric.
Next car 150 is in the first adopted paint scheme for the Los Angeles Metro, which was created in 1993.
The third unidentified car is still in the Blue Line original 1990 scheme.

Car 133 and mate display the new Blue Line scheme at Del Amo Station in 1990!

LA Metro plans to operate the P2020 variant for at least another five years but the P865 days are numbered. Three cars, 105, 129 and 147, have already been scrapped as of mid-August 2017.

A Shapeways rendition of the final P865 product showing the A and B bodies and the articulation/transition section!

WCTS expects to set the prices at $155.00 for the three-shell body kit, plus $25.00 for the floors and "sideframes". The model is designed to be easily assembled and can easily be powered using the Bowser Three-Truck LRV Powering Kit #125158 sold by Custom Traxx. For the sake of simplicity and tight-radius operation, the articulation section is designed to rotate into the A and B bodies instead of incorporating separate bellows which could hinder the movement.

Another Shapeways rendition of the truck sideframe and floors.

Accessories for these cars are also in development. Tests prints have been ordered for 3D printed acrylic window sets to give the appropriate nearly-flush appearance of LRV glass. These will sell for around $45.00 if tests are successful. The truck sideframes are designed to fit the Bowser sideframe mounts. Also, a both functional and inexpensive traction coupler based on the actual Dellner prototype is in the works. Decal art is in development at Custom Traxx to include several of the paint schemes applied to these cars over their long lives.

Until reently, only their HO scale Acme signals were available in their store until the release of the P865. Here's the link: coast traction supply .

To get there without the link, simply type "west coast traction supply" in the search field at the top of the home page, then click on the "shops" tab. It'll be the first one that shows up and has a full-color LARy logo as the shop's avatar.


Other projects coming soon from West Coast Traction Supply are 3D printable HO scale Pacific Electric "Hollywood" cars in both modernized and as-delivered configurations with an Illinois Terminal variant in the works, and an unusual San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) Class J single-truck center entrance car in both HO and O scales.

WCTS 3D Drawing of Muni Class J (351-370 series) single truck center-entrance car.

We hope that this is just the beginning of the availability of modern urban rail vehicle models and just maybe we may see some injection model models with all the appropriate lights, sounds and destination signs.

We are convinced that 3D printing will open up a whole new generation of modeling, especially when they figure out how to 3D print a completely painted and lettered model.


Urban Commuter / Light Rail / Modern Streetcar News!

by Edward Havens

BOSTON, MA - Boston public radio station WBUR reports that Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority was able to speed up light rail Green Line service on the "B" Commonwealth Avenue route effective August 14th. Some 2,500 feet of new rail was laid across the bridge spanning Massachusetts Turnpike. Interim general manager Steve Poftak said it means there will be fewer speed restrictions for the LRVs which had been limited to three miles per hour. The bridge work started July 25 with passengers forced to use shuttle buses.

DALLAS, TX - The Dallas City Council was scheduled to meet on August 28th to be briefed on proposals for surface modern streetcar and a relief subway light rail route through downtown, the "dallas morning news" blog reported August 14th. Four modern streetcar routes are proposed for the north Texas city and two of them have high potential, according to Kourtny Garrett, chief executive of Downtown Dallas Inc. a business advocacy group. Garrett said the streetcar, linking the Oak Cliff modern streetcar and heritage McKinney Avenue lines, could be completed by 2021 at the earliest.

1913 Saint Louis Car Co - built streetcar on the McKinney Avenue Line!

DETROIT, MI - The cost to develop the Q Line modern streetcar line on Woodward Avenue in Detroit is $7 million over previous estimates, "crain's detroit business' reported August 28. The 3.3-mile car line now is expected to top out at $144 million. That is because of increased costs to buy the six streetcars and technical infrastructure to allow them to operate on battery power, wire free over most of the route. [Ed. And some of us were led to believe that "wire free" was to save the costs of erecting catenary...]

Detroit QLine Car 291.

Meanwhile, free, no fare, rides were to end September 5 after Labor Day, Detroit Free Press reported. This was to introduce riders to the system.

EL PASO, TX - The El Paso heritage PCC streetcar line being built at the west Texas city installed its last rail August 10th following a special event to let residents sign the final rail before it was secured to the street, KFOX television reported. Next will be installation of curbside line poles to hold the Overhead Catenary System (OCS) trolley wire. The line will run from just north of the international border with Juarez, Mexico, to downtown El Paso and the University of Texas-El Paso campus using the six former El Paso City Lines PCC rehabilitated by Brookville Equipment Corp. of western Pennsylvania

HYATTSVILLE, MD - There was a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony August 28 for the Maryland Transit Administration Purple Line corridor light rail route at Hyattsville, Washington, D.C. public radio station WAMU reported. Legal hurdles now have been cleared to permit construction of the 16-mile line from Bethesda to New Carrollton to begin. The $2 billion car line will serve 21 stations in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The total cost to the state will be $5.5 billion over the next 35 years because of payments Maryland must make to the private consortium hired to build and operate the LRT route.

KANSAS CITY, MO - Kansas City voters in an August 8th election told city officials that any future modern streetcar line expansions must be approved in a citywide referendum before any city money can be appropriated for the project, the "mass transit magazine" web site reported. The vote on the citizens' initiative was 51 to 49 percent. Also, voters rejected the urban rail initiative of Virginia resident Clay Chastain who formerly lived in Kansas City. The streetcar authority will continue planning for a southward extension from Union Station to the University of Missouri campus but not using city money, just savings from current operations.

KC Streetcar 801 in service!

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Passengers will be able to ride free at Little Rock, Arkansas' capital city, through December on the city's heritage streetcar line in order to build rider ship, the "arkansas online" web site reported August 16th. It uses Gomaco-built replica double truck Birney cars for rolling stock and they carried 15,300 riders who took advantage of the no-fare policy in June, compared with 7,901 in the same month last year. Rock Region Metro board voted in April to suspend the normal $1 fare.

Little Rock heritage double-truck Birney 409 heading to North Little Rock!

SAINT PAUL, MN - Construction bids ranging from $797 million to $1.08 billion have been submitted to St. Paul, Minnesota-based Met Council, the regional planning agency for the Twin Cities, to build the planned 14.5-mile Metro Transit light rail line from Minneapolis to suburban Eden Prairie, the Star Tribune reported August 15th. But there is a catch. The BNSF freight railway will get a wall between the parallel routes, the "Business Journal' site said. This raises the cost of the project and was approved by Met Council without any environmental studies or public hearings.

Siemens S70 LRV on Minneapolis METRO!

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - The Salt Lake Tribune reported August 9th that the Salt Lake City Council is debating future expansion of transit services at Utah's capital city. The question is whether to invest in big ticket projects that will be highly visible or spend over a longer period of time on smaller projects. A 20-year city master plan says three of every four residents want 15 minute headways on lines within two blocks of their homes. Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall says it's a chicken or egg argument:

1. Are more riders needed to justify spending or
2. Is an improved system needed to attract riders.

Siemens Vehicle in downtown Salt Lake City!

SAINT PAUL, MN - St. Paul, Minnesota-based Met Council, the regional planning agency for the Twin Cities area, has received four bids from construction joint ventures to build the controversial Southwest Corridor light rail line from downtown Minneapolis to suburban Eden Prairie, the "minnesota sun" website reported on August 24th. The 14.5-mile line, already cut back on its western end to reduce costs, passes through the Kenilworth greenway which is share with rail freight and a bicycle path. Homeowners in the upscale neighborhood just west of Minneapolis object to LRT (...big surprise......right?). The railway says if LRT is built, it wants a dividing wall between its tracks and those of light rail. A derailment in a similar situation in Denver without any separating wall blocked LRT service for hours ( if a derailed etrain will be stopped by a cinder block wall - right?). Cost containment at Eden Prairie included cutting back the route from Mitchell to Eden Prairie Town Center.

Route of the proposed Eden Prairie Extension!

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - On Friday, August 11th San Francisco marked the 100th anniversary of the J-Church streetcar line, the nonprofit Market Street Railway preservation site said on its web site. During the past century most types of cars operated over J-Church including the 'B' type represented today by preserved cars 130 and 162. The current regular rolling stock on the J line is the Breda LRV type to be replaced by new LRVs being built at Sacramento by Siemens.

Muni Breda LRV on Church St about to turn right and enter the Subway!

30th & Church in the 1940s - for a long time, the south end of the J line!

SEATTLE, WA - KOMO-TV reported August 24th that the light rail extension northward to Lynnwood by Seattle-based Sound Transit now is $500 million over budget with construction delayed by six months to mid-2024. The opening date has been pushed back from December 2023 to mid-2024. The price tag has risen to $2.9 billion, up from a previous estimate of $2.4 billion. Chief executive Peter Rogoff, a former Federal Transit Administration head, says the agency will look at ways to cut costs. He says rising prices -- something that homebuyers and sellers already know in the Puget Sound area -- are responsible for the budget overrun. Rising construction costs are to blame, said Peter Rogoff, Sound Transit chief executive and a former chief of the Federal Transit Administration. He said design changes will be needed to lower costs. Still unknown whether the federal government will underwrite 50% of the construction costs. The White House administration of President Donald Trump has axed it but Congress might not agree.The Lynnwood extension would go north from Northgate Mall. An extension from the University of Washington to Northgate already is under construction.

Route of the proposed Lynwood Extension!

TUCSON, AZ - The Tucson Sun Link modern and highly successful streetcar line, which began service in July 2014 on a 3.9-mile line from downtown to the University of Arizona, has decided to extend late night hours on Thursdays through Saturdays from August 2017 through May 2018 but only when classes are in session at the University of Arizona. The cars will run until 2 a.m. each of those nights. During the university's winter break, the streetcars will operate only until 10 p.m. Thursdays and midnight Fridays and Saturdays, according to the "Tucson News Now" site.on August 14.

Tucson car 101 downtown at night!


EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - In a deal equivalent to $1.3 million U.S. dollars, the light rail line at Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city, sold advertising wrap rights for 18 of its LRVs (modern tramcars) to a firm that provides double glass glazing. The income derived will be invested in transport infrastructure upgrades and destination marketing, according to a story posted August 9 by "the edinburgh reporter" web site. Edinburgh has 1.3 million residents and the light rail route carried 5.6 million passengers last year.

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