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Model Train Resource: Model Trolley Layout Videos to Enjoy Online

Updated on December 12, 2016
G Scale Pacific Electric at L.A. County Fair
G Scale Pacific Electric at L.A. County Fair | Source

© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin.

Take a break from your ordinary day and find inspiration for your own layout creativity. These online diversions feature wonderful trolley model layouts using, in most cases, far less area than the traditional model railroad pike. They only prove that small spaces can still provide big detail, extensive operations and expansive delight.

Southern California Traction Club

This club, located in Los Angeles, California, promotes the use of modular trolley layouts as a way to practice the hobby at home, and yet be able to join individual efforts into large layouts for shows. They primarily work in HO scale, with a focus on Pacific Electric, and power their cars from live overhead. However, they boast streetcars from several eras and lines, including a subway module controlled with DCC (Digital Command Control). They welcome newbies who are willing to learn. Check out their website for more information.

British Model Tramways

At most U.S. railway meets, traction models, if they exist at all, are tacked on as an afterthought to more conventional railroad layouts. In the U.K., model trolleys, known more locally as tramways, get their shows. The layouts are smaller than their American cousins, but display a high degree of detail and all the character of British personalities. Many are framed like precious animated artwork.

Just look at the variety of traction on this video: double-decker trolleys, European multi-car lines, a funicular, village streetcar, illuminated Blackpool specials and modern light rail vehicles. The gauge is generally “OO,” which puts 1/76.2 scale structures and cars on HO-sized track.

Model Traction Australia

This HO shelf layout hails from Australia. I know almost nothing about it, except that it was exhibited in a 2004 shows. The commercial models of Australian trolleys exist, they usually need some assembly, since the body and motorized chassis are bought separately.

Three City Block Japanese Layout

This N-scale jewel was built with Tomix track, which boasts easy assembly of street track sections. The video shows how you can put them together to create a complete city line. Note the lack of overhead or poles, though the manufacturer does make catenary supports. The pike is also small, which is typical of model railroading layouts in space-strapped Japan. The system is available in the U.S. but tends toward the expensive because it is imported.

Pacific Electric G Scale at County Fair

This pike mixes kit-bashed and custom-built G-scale Pacific Electric trolleys, which ply their routes at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, California. It lays claim to being the oldest and largest garden railway in the U.S., having been originally built in 1924 and moved to its current site in 1935. Over 7,000 feet of track sprawls over a 30,000-square-foot area. There are no overhead wires or trolley poles because the builders were concerned about people tripping over them.

Your Suggestions

If you'd like to add your own favorite model trolley videos to this list, leave a link in comments and let everybody know why it's good. If I get enough links, I may include your contribution in another article.


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    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      7 years ago from West Virginia

      I haven't been able to build a layout in years, but I love watching these videos Alocsin. I have been into trains my entire life, since my first layout around 4. It was actually my dads, but he let me play:) I had a trolley or two in a few layouts. Once again, great hub on model trains and trolleys. Love the videos! Voted up, useful, and awesome.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Another good hub about trolleys and model trains. You have a great series going here on HubPages! I still remember the model train that my Dad had on top of our ping pong table in the basement of our home in Wisconsin. He would set it up during the Christmas season of the year. Voting this hub up and interesting. Thanks!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Money, time and space is a dilemma for me, too. I also lack knowledge on building a model railroad layout. I've always wanted to build an elaborate traction layout. I'm a traction freak and I love the CNS&M Railroad and the Pacific Electric Railway. Someday I may get around the building a model railroad layout. Right now, I'm just content to be a collector of Suydam HO brass traction models.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I hear you. I'd love to build my layout but to me, time is a factor.

    • RetailRich profile image


      8 years ago

      If always wanted to build a model train layout, but it just hasn't happened yet. Money, time and space always seem to be the issue, but this gives me some additional inspiration.


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