Latest Update - August 15, 2016

Custom Traxx
supporting urban rail transit modelers..

Our Current Catalog

Our Revised Business Plan:

Custom Traxx has been supporting HO scale urban rail transit modelers since 1992 by developing and supplying authentic detailed decal finishing sets, heralds, destination signs, parts and other markings for streetcars, and interurban railway vehicles as they ran and still run 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. We are beginning to explore urban railway modeling in N scale so stay tuned.

Our beloved hobby has undergone many changes over the years. Most significantly the urban anti-rail philosophy that was created and fostered after World War II is now in decline and being replaced by a much more positive view of public transit. For increasing numbers of commuters, the drudgery of commuting in an auotmbile is being replaced by a quiet ride in a climate-controlled light rail vehicle, modern streetcar or commuter train.

Beginning in May 2015, we embarked on a program to attract tomorrow's urban rail transit modelers. These hobbyists will come from the increasing numbers of persons riding our increasing numbers of light rail, modern streetcar and commuter lines. With new electric rail transit already operating or coming to localities that had not seen electric transit in 50 years like Atlanta, GA; Cincinnati, OH; Kansas City, MO; Milwaukee, WI; Oklahoma City, OK; Seattle, WA; Tacoma, WA; Tucson, AZ and even Washington D.C. and others, the possibilities for substantial numbers of new hobbyists are fantastic.

Is it not strange that despite the fact that modern urban rail transit vehicles have been burnishing urban tracks in the United States cities since 1981, only one HO scale model has ever been commercially mass produced. That vehicle, the Boeing United States Standard Light Rail Vehicle, ran in only two cities and the model ran as poorly as the prototype. So there has been obviously until recently, resistance from the current crop of model railroad manufacturers into developing and producing an HO scale model of a current urban rail transit vehicle and this resistance has spanned over thirty years. But recently, Atlas Model Railroad Company, a firm that makes the majority of HO scale track used in the hobby, announced an HO scale model of an entire North New Jersey commuter train with an unusual dual mode locomotive. (See the July 2016 Trolleyville Times for more information). Urban transit ridership in the United States in 2013 was the highest recorded in the nation's history. There were over 510 million boardings of light rail vehicles alone during calendar year 2014. To help bring some of these new transit riders into what has been called "the World's Greatest Hobby", Custom Traxx is attempting to encourage today's current model railroad manufacturers to develop and produce models of today's urban rail transit vehicles. We were convinced that if they do not "jump on the bandwagon" some new manufacturer will and could dominate this possibly large future market. It appears that Atlas has gotten the message.

Accordingly, we are now totally committed to the active pursuit of the development and production of an HO scale model Light Rail Vehicle / Modern Streetcar. We have considered the Brookville "Liberty" car (Dallas, TX) , the Skoda/Inekon 10T (Portland, OR; Tucson, AZ; Seattle, WA; and Washington D.C) and the C.A.F Urbos (Cincinnati and Kansas City). Currently, we are working the Siemens S70 vehicle now running in San Diego, CA; Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Houston, TX, Minneapolis, MN; Norfolk, VA; Salt Lake City, UT; and Portland, OR and other locations. We are working closely with Volkmar Meier of France to develop test vehicles using 3D printing to achieve that goal. We received the first test vehicle in July and used it to evaluate the body shells as this unit was equipped with two Halling drives. We received test units two and three with Bowser power on October 14. With one powered truck, the units were extensively tested and appear to run well. To complete the testing process, unit three was converted to two Bowser powered drives and is currently being tested. The next photo shows unit 2 undergoing testing on the Southern California Traction Club's LRV Display in October 2015 during a model Train show in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. If you have questions or any interest, please let us know.

This and other S70 models were displayed and operated on Saturday, June 25th at the Tent Show and Sale at Arnie's Model Trains, 6452 Westminster, CA 92683 from 10AM to 6PM along with other model Light Rail Vehicles. These models also were demonstrated on the modules of the Southern California Traction Club (SCTC) at recent Great Train Shows in Costa Mesa and Del Mar, CA. They were also shown at the Great Train Show on July 30-31, 2016 at the Pomona-Fairplex in Pomona, CA!

Test Unit #2 with Bowser power under testing - November 2015.

We formed a strategic alliance with Bowser Manufacturing in 2007 to pursue a ready-to-run trolley. Our strategic partnership with Bowser resulted in an initial visit to China in 2008 and the selection of a fantastic supplier after evaluating several. In 2009-2010, HO scale models of all fourteen of the ex-Philadelphia PCC cars that opened that now famous "F-line" in 1995, were released. Then, the partnership then released HO scale models of PCC cars that ran in Birmingham, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Shaker Heights and Toronto. All of the partnership produced streetcars 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. We contributed to the partnership by recording sounds of electric streetcars and providing these sounds to both Soundtraxx and ESU LokSound. We have instigated some Product Improvement suggestions including the simulated super resilient wheels now on all PCC models, addition of windshield wipers and the simulated B-2 truck "sideframes". Product improvement has continued on all Bowser streetcar 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 cars have been and/or will be released in New Orleans Public Service Inc. (NOPSI) and New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) liveries. Other 1920's era streetcars representing Atlantic City, Chicago, Philadelphia (PRT/PTC/PST) Philadelphia have been or will shortly be released. Some of the cars sold out almost immediately. All Bowser trolleys can operate two-rail or from overhead wire and they differ from their competition in that they use all eight wheels for ground electrical pick-up when in the overhead wire mode. We also carry many of the HO scale Bowser Ready-To-Run streetcars in both DCC ready and DCC Sound versions. Some of these cars are long out of production and are no longer readily available.

Custom Traxx currently maintains a large inventory 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.

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 still offers traditional 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.

Miniatures by Eric HO scale Trolley Poles are still manufactured for and available from Custom Traxx. We maintain an adequte supply. They are still $29.95 [HT-XX] per pair and $32.00 [HT-XX] 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.];
HT-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 encourage you to fax you order to 310-475-5597 or email your order to at any time. We will acknowledge your order as soon as possible.

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 rare special occasions.

For our complete six-part catalog, click here!

San Francisco's 'E-Embarcadero" and 'F-Market' Lines:

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. Car 1061, shown above dressed in the colors of the Pacific Electric, a former Los Angeles area transit line, was formerly Philadelphia (PTC) 2116 and operated in that city from 1948 to 1992. For many years, San Francisco was the last large U.S. city with streetcars in service on its main thoroughfare, Market Street, but by the end of 2016 they may not be alone. By the end of the year, several cities, such as Cincinnati, OH, Kansas City, MO and Washington D.C. may have their cars in service. 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 boarding the F-line at the 17th & Castro terminal as the popularity of the line continues to grow. Both the E-line and the F-line terminate in Fisherman's Wharf. 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, just click here.

Click here to view our current catalog.


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