Sunday, January 31, 2010
Seems strange that with so many O scale traction modelers in and around the Chicago area that there isn't one, and really no permanent club that has an extensive traction presence. Certainly there is traction interest, and the HO scale guys seem to have a good thing going.
I'm reliably informed that this idea was floated a number of years ago by the late, great Rich Bosak. From what I understand the group started with some questionable quality on the modules themselves and everything sort of fell apart from there.
I'm thinking using the East Penn Traction Club's standards as a base point, and go from there. So many things to consider, 2 rail versus 3 rail, track power and/or live overhead, single track, dual track, module size and height, analog versus DCC, the list is seeminly endless.
My initial thoughts are 2 rail, a combination of track power and live overhead, a mix of both single and dual mainline running. Modules, 4 feet long at a minimum, 6 at a max. I've seen any number of modules in varying scales at different shows, people always seem to start with the idea of something for kids to see, yet parents seem to have figured out that you bring a little step stool for Junior to step up and see. I prefer a higher layout, chest high to your typical adult, easier to work on, less stress getting under, etc. All open for discussion of course.
Ideally I see this again as the East Penn guys do it, a way to show off traction modeling, on many skill levels, share the hobby with a bunch of people, draw some inspiration and/or friendly competition from each other, etc. I can see doing two shows a year, HighWheeler in the spring and Trainfest in the fall, maybe make our presence known at IRM during the July 4th Trolley Pageant (piggybacking onto the large scale trolley modelers mini-meet). Just depends on the number of people, level of interest and commitment.
If you're reading this and interested, drop me a line at FoxValley2001@yahoo.com
Hoping to get enough interested parties together that we could have an initial face-to-face sit-down and start to decide the who/how/why/what of it all, sometime within Feb 2010.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Just prior to the railroad going under, various ideas were floated to find ways to reduce costs, save money and generally keep the railroad going. Recently however, it has come to our attention that a little known plan was developed to reduce the size of the Electroliners, to provide a smaller, faster, easier to fill to capacity train. These changes were never implemented, but a torn, faded shop drawing of the proposed changes still exists.
The proposed, shortened train was known simply as, the "Eggtroliner"
This very same shop drawing came into our hands some time ago, and we had mentioned the possibiity of modeling this rare bit of unknown trolley history. Many who were approached with the concept assumed we were just yolking. Yet we pressed forward, gauging interest. Finally we knew that enough people had expressed enough interested in the project that we would be toast if it wasn't pushed through to completion. After weeks of scrambling, we were left feeling a bit fried, yet everything turned out sunny side up in the end.
The results,,, sadly enough,, speak for themselves....
No actual eggs or chickens were harmed in building this model.
No fake or virtual eggs or chickens were harmed either.
Funeral services for several hundred brain cells slaughtered as well as my personal self esteem that apparently committed suicide during this project will be held on Tuesday.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Modeling the Fox River Line is a daunting challenge. The only car that can be readily modeled from a commerically available product in any scale would be Birney car #48, a single door Birney purchased second hand from the Aurora Plainfield & Joliet (Their #101). Other than the 48, all AE&FRE Birney cars had double sets of doors, a design never offered in any modeling scale.
In O scale, back in the early 1960's (I beleive 1962) Ken Kidder imported the Fox River 300 cars in brass, but in the configuration/detailing they appeared as on the Shaker Hts Rapid Transit. With some effort, these cars can be back-dated/detailed to their Fox River prototypes.
While it's nearly 50 years since these cars were first offered, they can still be found. I've personally managed to locate and acquire 6 of the 7 cars in the past 18 months, and have a line on the last one to complete my fleet. All the established and known traction dealers are your first/best bet, then avail yourself of online resources (including eBay).
In the end I averaged paying about $375 per car, including shipping. A brass O scale trolley with power, fully painted (albeit not for the paint scheme you want), this is pretty typical, actually a bit on the low side.
At this point, some people may decide on interior detailing. An interesting note in all of the Fox River / Shaker Hts 300 models I've ever seen,, not one has ever had the most simplest of interior details, the smoker partition wall ! In any event, I'm not a big fan of interiors, to me it's a lot of work that typically can't be appreciated and I personally would rather build another car than use that same amount of time on something that most people would miss anyways. Just a personal choice, neither right or wrong. Full details are available from the usual suspects, QCar, Current Line, etc. Detail as you feel appropriate.
And there you go,, the Fox River Line rides again.,,,
now the hard part,, scratchbuilding the other cars !