...for serious HO scale traction modelers..
Custom Traxx supports HO scale electric traction modelers by supplying authentic detailed decal finishing sets, heralds, destination signs and other markings for streetcars, and interurban railway vehicles as they ran in most American and Canadian localities. There are also a small number of decals and parts that can be used for electric railway vehicle modeling in 1:50, O and 1:24 scales.
East Penn Traction Club Meet (May 15-16, 2015): Custom Traxx has returned from this great meet in downtown Philadelphia and our stock was returned by Fedex today, so we are back in business! Thank you for your patience!
When we first opened our doors in 1992, there were no 'serious' HO scale ready-to-run injection molded traction models, unless you stretch the definition of scale to include the Bachmann Brill and PCC and the IHM/IHC Brill (In reality a Toronto Class F streetcar) and Boeing USLRV. Bowser Manufacturing of Montoursville, PA realized that the days of their four metal bodied but unpainted traction kits (PCC Streamlined Trolley, Brill Suburban 1906 Semi-Convertible, IRR Lightweight Interurban and LVT 800 series Jewett) had run their course. They had updated the drive unit used for decades in 1999, but that did little to spur renewed interest in the cars. It was obvious that some sort of ready-to-run, painted and decorated traction vehicle was the only answer.
Bowser formed a strategic alliance with Custom Traxx in 2007 to pursue a ready-to-run trolley. After considerable thought the team chose the F-line (ex-Philadelphia) PCC for development and production. They visited China in 2008 and selected their supplier after evaluating several. In 2009-2010, they released HO scale models of all fourteen of the ex-Philadelphia PCC cars that opened that now famous line in 1995. The team then released HO scale models of PCC cars that ran in Birmingham, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Shaker Heights and Toronto. All of Bowser PCC cars now feature a dynamically balanced flywheel and motors mounted with added vibration insulation, making these some of the most smoothly and quietly operating models commercially available after some "break-in". Product improvement has continued on the PCC car models with four distinct modifications being made over the production span.
The success of the PCC car project resulted in the Bowser New Orleans 900 series streetcar being released in early June 2014. These include New Orleans RTA streetcars 972 (St Charles), 963 (Canal) and 952 as it exists today on San Francisco's F line. Also available were similar cars representing Atlantic City, Chicago, Philadelphia Rapid Transit and Philadelphia Suburban Transit. Some of the cars sold out almost immediately. These were the first Bowser streetcars equipped with ESU LokSound. Bowser has shifted to a 21-pin plug for DCC decoders and this allows the cars to be DCC/Sound ready. All one needs to do to convert a non-sound car to sound is to add a Plug-in ESU LokSound decoder. The speaker is already in the car. Another Product Improvement activity has led to the overhead-track power switch being relocated on the bottom of the New Orleans car, eliminating the need to disassemble the car to make that change. See the next photo of the preproduction car and the location of the switch indicated by the red arrow:
All future Bowser traction products are now planned to have these same features including the latest releases of the Bowser PCC cars. These cars (SEPTA Phase 2, Pittsburgh's Mod Desire, Toronto and Los Angeles "Fruit Salad") arrived at Bowser in the fall of 2014 and are largely sold out. Note the model of New Orleans car 972 below:
The New Orleans cars sold out fast as soon as they arrived in June 2014. Bowser is planning another run of the St Charles cars with different numbers along with some "red" Riverfront cars.
As of Monday, March 2, 2015, the following Bowser HO scale streetcars are in stock at Custom Traxx:
(There are only single units of most of them. Some units will be available at some holiday season local Southern California train shows )
1. SAN FRANCISCO F-LINE PCC CARS!
(NOTE: Most of these are unlikely to be re-run! List updated 5-1-15)
SFMR (Muni) 1050-1064 series undecorated PCC [SKU 12549] DCC ready - $109.00
SFMR (Muni) 1050 San Francisco Muni "Wings" PCC with ESU LOK Sound [SKU 12451] - $199.00 (one only)
SFMR (Muni) 1053 Brooklyn PCC [SKU 12553] DCC ready - $109.00
SFMR (Muni) 1054 Philadelphia "Cream Cheese" PCC [SKU 12554] DCC ready - $109.00
SFMR (Muni) 1055 Philadelphia PTC 1955 PCC [SKU 12555] DCC ready - $109.00 (one only)
SFMR (Muni) 1056 Kansas City Public Service 1955 PCC [SKU 12556] DCC ready - $109.00
SFMR (Muni) 1060 Newark PSCT PCC [SKU 12560] DCC ready - $109.00
SFMR (Muni) 1062 Louisville PCC [SKU 12562] DCC ready - $99.00
SFMR (Muni) 1063 Baltimore Transit PCC [SKU 12563] DCC ready - $99.00
2. NORTH AMERICA PCC CARS (These are leaving at a steady pace!!!)
Johnstown Transit PCC #403 [SKU 12605] DCC ready - $119.00
Toronto Transportation Commission PCC #4678 [SKU 12650] DCC ready - $119.00
Cleveland Transit System PCC #4265 [SKU 12655] DCC ready - $119.00
Detroit Street Railways PCC #180 [SKU 12659] DCC ready - $119.00
Detroit Street Railways PCC #111 [SKU 12660] with Tsunami sound - $199.00
Twin Cities (Minneapolis/Saint Paul) Rapid Transit PCC #311 [SKU 12662] DCC ready - $119.00
Twin Cities (Minneapolis/Saint Paul) Rapid Transit PCC #400 [SKU 12665] with Tsunami sound - $199.00
SEPTA (Philadelphia) Phase 1 PCC #2113 [SKU 12666] DCC ready - $119.00
SEPTA (Philadelphia) Phase 1 PCC #2185 [SKU 12669] with Tsunami sound - $199.00
Philadelphia Transportation Company PCC #2200 [SKU 12671] DCC ready - $119.00
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit PCC #53 [SKU 12677] with Tsunami sound - $199.00
Birmingham Electric PCC #820 [SKU 12679[ DCC ready - $119.00
Birmingham Electric PCC #820 [SKU 12681[ with Tsunami sound - $199.00
Pittsburgh Railways PCC #1795 [SKU 12684] DCC ready - $119.00
Pittsburgh Railways PCC #1748 [SKU 12685] with Tsunami sound - $199.00
Boston Electric Railway All-Electric PCC #3197 [SKU 12687] DCC ready - $119.00
SEPTA (Philadelphia) Phase 2 PCC #2095 [SKU 12693] with ESU LokSound - $239.00
SEPTA (Philadelphia) Phase 1 PCC #2730 [SKU 12694] with ESU LokSound - $239.00
Toronto Transportation Commission PCC #4399 [SKU 12696] DCC/Sound Ready - $139.00
Pittsburgh (PAT) PCC #1730 "Mod Desire [SKU 12700] with ESU LokSound - $239.00
3. 1924 ARCH ROOF CONVENTIONAL STREETCARS!
New Orleans RTA / San Francisco Muni 952 - DCC & ESU LokSound - [SKU #12811] $199.95
Philadelphia Rapid Transit 4064 - DCC/Sound Ready - [SKU #12824] $139.00
Philadelphia Rapid Transit 5106 - DCC/Sound Ready - [SKU #12825] $139.00
Philadelphia Rapid Transit 4064 - DCC & ESU LokSound- [SKU #12825] $199.95
[Shipping for one car is $12.95, for two cars $15.00 (USPS Priority Mail). Call for shipping quotes on more than two cars!]
[Shipping to Canada or overseas is higher!]
Custom Traxx still has a huge stock of HO traction decals and all are produced by Rail Graphics of South Elgin, Illinois. Some of our decals are out of stock due to lack of demand. Serious modelers should note that many of our decal sets contain more than one sheet. The lack of just one sheet can cause a set to be listed as "Currently Out Of Stock". Modelers are urged to inquire as to what portion of "Currently Out Of Stock" sets are available and arrangements can be made to provide individual sheets. We can and are willing to accommodate special runs of at least 25 decals sets but be advised that runs as small as 25, or any amount less than 50 can be expensive, resulting in costs at least twice the cost of the decal set as currently priced in our catalog. Partial prepayment may be required for such orders. Please feel free to contact us for more detailed information.
The Bowser/Custom Traxx alliance has continued to support HO traction and is evaluating other streetcar models for release. Recently, Bowser/Custom Traxx team began development of their next model streetcar. Details were reported in the December 2014 Trolleyville times. At least three streetcars have been considered for development and production. The first of these was the New Orleans 900 series streetcar. The second is the ex-Kansas City PCC just announced. An update of the Bowser Brill Suburban streetcar is also under consideration with the goal of offering that car as a Ready-to-Run model. And finally, a Light Rail Vehicle model is also currently under study. Custom Traxx has also embraced Digital Command Control (DCC) and participated with Train Control systems in the design of their M4T, the first decoder designed for HO traction. We also worked with Soundtraxx for the first high-quality sound decoder for PCC cars and with ESU LokSound for the sound for the New Orleans 900 series streetcar. We are now working with ESU LokSound for a new generation of decoders for the next traction projects. We would be interested in discussing these possible projects with you. Look us up on our Facebook page. For up-to-date happenings in the HO traction world, check the monthly Trolleyville Times, normally uploaded on the first of each month. For hands on traction activity, check out the Southern California Traction Club's new E-Membership, described in recent issues of the Trolleyville Times. Feel free to contact John McWhirter, SCTC Board of Directors.
Custom Traxx offers specific traction parts including selected A-line traction repowering items; Bowser HO scale traction mechanisms, drives and parts; HO scale trolley poles by Miniatures by Eric and HO scale ORR girder rail, turnouts and crossings. Also available are special parts from Bowser and other manufacturers for the operational trolley modeler. We were instrumental in assisting Train Control Systems in the development of the first plug-in DCC decoder designed for a PCC trolley, the M4T. This highly successful decoder has since been upgraded and is known simply as the M4. We were also instrumental in recording sounds for the all-electric PCC cars and conventional cars such as the New Orleans 900 series streetcar. We have instigated some Product Improvement suggestions to Bowser including the simulated super resilient wheels now on all PCC models, addition of windshield wipers and the simulated B-2 truck "sideframes".
We also carry the HO scale Bowser Ready-To-Run PCC and New Orleans Streetcars in both DCC ready and DCC Sound versions.
Miniatures by Eric HO scale Trolley Poles are still manufactured for and available from Custom Traxx, although not shown on the Miniatures by Eric web site. We obtained a large supply in July and quite a few of them have been sold already. They are still $29.95 [HT-XX] per pair and $32.00 [HT-XXs] per pair with Bowser 12508 brass pivots and roof insulators.
Trolley poles with different pole bases available are:
HT-P1/HT-P1s - Greenamyer pneumatic trolley base [Used on Pacific Electric/Sacramento Northern];
HT-P2/HT-P2s - Ohio Brass Form 11 [Used on PCC and current heritage cars];
HT-P3/HT-P3s - Ohio Brass Form 1 [Used on early cars, 1900-1920 era];
nHT-P4/HT-P4s - US (Union Standard) 13 [Simulated four spring base with two springs for better operational reliability];
We still aim for complete customer satisfaction. Prompt service is the norm not the exception. Orders are often sent within hours of receipt and rarely later than next day. We do not keep orders in suspense for days and weeks at a time and we try never to be too busy to talk to customers, trolley fans, and traction modelers. We encourage traction-related calls at 310-990-5422 during normal business hours (Pacific Time). Our business number is a mobile phone to avoid missing your call but we can not take orders when mobile. Our main purpose is to assist you in getting the information that you require for your hobby enjoyment! We are becoming more knowledgeable in Digital Command Control (DCC) every day and were instrumental in designing both the TCS M4T decoder (now replaced with the M4P-1"); the KAT14 and KAM4 decoders with with "Keep Alive" capabilities that makes operation from overhead wire much smoother and more reliable in the DCC arena).
Since we cannot take orders while mobile, it is preferred that your fax your order at any time to 310-475-5597or email your order to us. We will acknowledge your order as soon as possible.
Note: All reservations for future items should be submitted preferably via email. The email date determines the order in which orders are filled. This can be critical for items for which there are just a few available.
Custom Traxx accepts Mastercard, Visa and Discover credit cards for your convenience! See section VI, Ordering Procedures, for more details!
Our on-line catalog is updated constantly so the latest information is always on this site. Accordingly, we no longer publish printed catalogs except for special occasions.
For our complete six-part catalog, click here!
Sometimes Almost Unbelievable 'F-Market' Line:
In 1995, both conventional and PCC type streetcars, after disappearing from almost every major North American city that proudly employed them as the backbone of their transit systems, made a big comeback in San Francisco, California. So when in that city, always take time for at least one ride on the F-line to Fisherman's Wharf and note the cars in service other than the car on which you may be riding. San Francisco, unlike other cities, has embraced the colorful and lovable streetcar and and made them a vital part of their transit system. Service has been increased by over 240% since the line started in 1995. Bring your smart phone, camera or camcorder, and enjoy the ride and the city. We recommend riding early in the day and boarding at the 17th & Castro terminal as the popularity of the line continues to grow beyond all original expectations. The original 16 cars that opened the line in 1995 will shortly be going through a rebuilding process so get your photos quickly. You can always check the internet or your smart phone to see where all the cars are on the line all the time. You can even watch the movement along the line. To find out what cars are in service and which way they are going, just click here.
Click here to view our current catalog.
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