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Model Train Resource: Online Model Trolley Resources You Must See

Updated on December 12, 2016
Module at East Penn Trolley Meet.
Module at East Penn Trolley Meet.

© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin.

Trolleys have several advantages in the world of model railroading. They come in many colorful liveries, can stand on their own in small-space layouts with tight radii, or integrate easily with existing layouts. Unfortunately, information on this part of model railroading is sometimes difficult to find. Here is a list of five resources that can get you started on this fascinating hobby.

Bill Everett

One of the great deans of model trolleys, Bill Everett built his first effort in 1948 and has constructed over 5,000 O-scale traction models to date. He uses basswood and cardstock from file folders, which he laminates into three or four layers,. He then powers his traction from overhead wire. The quality of his work is so impressive that examples are on display at the Sacramento State Railroad Museum, the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation and the Orange Empire Railway Museum, to name a few places. He built his current layout in 1975 from a stack of plywood that he found on the road while still a police officer.

East Penn Traction Club

If you’re into model trolleys of any scale, then you need the resources offered by the East Penn Traction Club, the largest modular trolley-modeling group in the country. Their Trolley Meet, held every two years in Pennsylvania, is a magnet for hobbyists from all over the nation.

Their website not only has inspirational photos of traction action, but also a calendar of upcoming trolley events, a dealer directory and links to personal, commercial, hobby and prototype trolley sites. Many of their standards are also published on the site, so you can construct your own modules. They primarily cover HO, O and S scales.

Tomix EasyTrolley Modelers

R.D. Kerr of the Southern California Traction Club has compiled a list of resources for those interested in N-scale trolley modeling using EasyTram by Tomix. This modular system puts together easy-to-use street track that requires no skill to assemble, and powers vehicles from regular power packs. (A full page is devoted to the available EasyTram pieces, their measurements and how they join to produce yards, junctions and loops.) He covers how to set up a layout, available products and displays a picture gallery. He also describes T-Trak, a set of standards for constructing N-Scale trolley modules that can be joined into operating layouts for clubs and shows.

Trolleyville

Though only sporadically updated, Trolleyville remains a one-stop resource for all things related to model trolleys, particularly in HO and O. The Schoolhouse contains such useful procedures on hanging overhead wire, creating street track, modeling trolleys and re-powering existing traction products. It has links to several manufacturers of scale models, decals and track. Be sure and browse their online Trolleyville Times, which comes out every two months and features the latest news in trolley modeling.

London Model Tramways

From the U.K., John Howe models OO layouts showcasing London double-decker trams from the early 1950s. (OO gauge uses 1.76.2 scale for locomotives, cars, buildings and figures, but runs on HO-scale track.) The trams travel not only on street surfaces, but underground, where they can temporarily disappear from view, save for a few cutaway areas. He scratchbuilds many of his models or modifies them from kits using plastic and cardstock. His streets show recognizable structures such as Africa House, the Holborn Underground Station and Cleopatra’s Needle. John partitions his layouts in sections, so they can be transported to model railway shows. The video shows his layout in action around the three minute mark. You can check out other videos on his website.

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    • alocsin profile image
      Author

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      A lot of people like to use trains as décor around Xmas, Tammy.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      You amaze me! When in the world do you have the time to persue these hobbies? Trains and Trolleys??? I love model trains. We have a set that has been in the family for years and it goes around our Christmas tree every year. My grandkids love it! Great Hub. I voted it UP, etc.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      When I was a kid, I had an awesome N-gauge layout. Years later, the knowledge came in handy when I worked at a hobby store. These are really great layouts - thanks for sharing this!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      What a wonderful hub. I am not a train collector, but I do like to have one every year to go under the Christmas tree with a little village. Seeing these makes me want to start a new hobby. Excellent!

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 5 years ago

      I love the wonderful job he has done and his dedication to his incredible hobby.The videos are something else.Interesting hub.

    • alocsin profile image
      Author

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Well, the videos are a bit long -- meant to be viewed only when you have free time. I'm glad you liked Bill Everett's efforts.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I'll admit, I didn't take the time to view all the videos but that first one of Bill Everett and the story behind his model railroad train setups is fascinating! This retired policeman has surely kept busy with his avocation. This needs to be shared so that others can see. Also voted up, interesting and awesome. Great hub!