..."For the Dedicated Streetcar Modeler"...
Our Current Business Plan:
Custom Traxx was founded in 1992 to support the contemporary group of HO scale urban rail transit modelers 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 were still running in some American and Canadian localities. We concentrated on decal sets for the many largely unpainted off-shore fabricated brass traction models that had been imported the previous thirty years. While we mainly made decals in HO scale, we did make a small number of decals for electric railway vehicle modeling in 1:50, O and 1:24 scales.
By 1995, we began to attend model train shows and began to examine the changing demographics of our customers and noted the changes in their modeling desires. We started to notice the the passing of several of our contemporary modelers but did not see many replacements. Although Los Angeles had opened their first LRV line, the Blue Line to Long Beach in 1990, we noted that the United States had been in an electric urban transit "holding pattern" for the last fifty years. Except for San Diego, there had been no new urban electric railway systems created since Boston opened its Riverside line in 1959. Even the attempt to replace the aging PCC cars in San Francisco and Boston in the 1970s resulted in the Boeing-Vertol Light Rail Vehicles, which are reputed to be among the worst (if not the absolute worst) such vehicles ever made We have continued to notice the newer Light Rail Vehicles and Modern Low Floor Streetcars being re-introduced in some cities such as Cincinnati, OH; Kansas City, MO; Oklahoma City, OK and Tucson, AZ which abandoned their predecessors as far back as 80 years ago. We also noted that there are almost no models of these contemporary vehicles commercially available and none were forecast.
Custom Traxx began to begin to push for models of contemporary electric urban transit vehicles, which continued for many years to fall on deaf ears with current model railroad manufacturers. Many of them had been predicting that the model railroading hobby was dead for many years and were now determined to live out their self-fulfilling prophesy. Starting around 1990, new light rail systems began to appear and somehow the streetcar came "out of the closet" and began reappearing on many United States streets. By October 2016, modern low-floor air-conditioned streetcars were carrying passengers or schedukled to soon carry passengers in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Tacoma, Tucson and Washington D.C. some of the came cirties that alm st celevrated their removal many years ago. Then rail transit returned to the Los Angeles to Santa Monica corridor on May 20, 2016 after an absence of over 60 years. Rider ship was so great that it overwhelmed the transit agency. They did not have enough equipment. This being corrected with weekly deliveries of the KinkiSharyo P3010 cars, with over 55 of them assigned to the line.
In 2015, we started to see some 3D-printed models from Volkmar Meier of the San Diego Siemens S70 and we helped design a Bowser traction drive for that car. But when we started to see desperate modelers trying to make their own models of current light rail equipment such as Darrell Clarke with his laser cut stainless steel model of a Los Angeles KinkiSharyo P3010 and John Partridge conversion of a toy into a Boston KinkiSharyo-built Type 7, both powered with the Bowser traction drive. we knew that a revolution in model railroading was just around the corner. What we did not know was what were the numbers of those modelers. So we will be pushing to find out just that.
Our Current Catalog:
1. NOTICE TO HO SCALE ORR GIRDER RAIL USERS.....
ORR Girder Rail and Rail Benders are back in stock!
2. FOR OWNERS OF BOWSER HO SCALE RTR PCC CARS.....
Have you lost one or more of the super resilient wheel covers?
Custom Traxx has replacements........
Just order part 1397, $.75 each or 8 for $4.00 (Add $1.00 for postage!)
3. THE FOLLOWING DECAL SETS ARE NOW AVAILABLE:
a. CN-077 Philadelphia Suburban Transit (Red Arrow and P&WCT) - HO scale - $34.95!
This is our last set printed by RailGraphics before they quit at the end of the year. Ron Roberts has decided to retire. It highly possible that this set may not be run again. So do not wait as Set CN-077 is now available in limited numbers. So advise all who want these decals to get their orders in ASAP.
1941 Brill" Brilliner" on Sharon Hill Line - 1961
1949 St. Louis "Quasi-PCC" on Media Line - 1965
b. CN-4100 Toronto Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) Streetcar Model Decals - (HO) - $24.95 (reduced)
This set was also printed by RailGraphics before the end of 2017. It highly possible that this set also may not be run again. Set CN-4100 is now available in limited numbers. So advise all who want these decals to get their orders in ASAP.
One dozen models produced by Miniatures by Eric decorated with Custom Traxx decal set CN-4100!
c. CN-3010 Los Angeles Metro P3010 Light Rail Vehicles - HO scale - $16.95!
These decals have been made in support of the West Coast Traction Supply (WCTS) 3D printed HO scale vehicles that are now on Shapeways in the WCTS Store. This is our first set printed by Highball Graphics and they look very good.
MODEL LIGHT RAIL VEHICLE MODEL AVAILABILITY!
We are pleased to announce that the number of models of modern Light Rail Vehicle HO scale models are increasingly now available on Shapeways. And this list is not complete and continues to grow as more drawings are made. The following models that we know are available on Shapeways.
1. Los Angeles Metro P865/P2020 (1989-1990-1995 vintage) Light Rail Vehicles (series 100-168) used now on the Blue and Expo Lines. The P2020s (series 154-168), when new, opened the Green Line in 1995). See the West Coast Traction Supply (WCTS) Store on Shapeways!
HO scale unfinished model of the LA Metro P865 as delivered to Custom Traxx from Shapeways along with experimental couplers.
2. Los Angeles Metro P3010 (2014-present) Light Rail Vehicles (series 1001 through 12XX) used on all four Los Angeles Light Rail Lines (Blue, Expo, Gold and Green Line). As of today over 120 are on the property and most are in service. See the WCTS Store on Shapeways!
WCTS assembled and finished model of LA Metro 1014 currently operating on the Los Angeles Expo Line.
3. San Diego MTS S70 Ultrashort Partially Low-floor Light Rail Vehicles (series 4001-4065).
See the Interurban Models Store [https://www.shapeways.com/shops/interurban on Shapeways.
For the HO scale S70, see http://shpws.me/OUnl
HO scale Test Unit #2 with Bowser power under testing - November 2015!
HO scale unit 4, in SDMTS colors along with N scale unit 1, which has since been completely lettered as SDMTS 4011!
4. Boston (MBTA) KinkiSharyo Type 7 (series 3600-3719) and Breda Type 8 (series 3800-3894), See the Tramspotter Store on Shapeways.
Our first Tramspotter model had the A and B unit made of different materials as we wanted to learn and appreciate the differences!
We are now providing a powering kit for most three-truck LRV models, SKU 125158, for $59.95. A Flywheel Upgrade Kit is also available for $8.00. See more about these items in Section VI (Other) of our catalog. However at this time there is no floor for the Type 8 compatible for the Bowser drive and the Type 7 currently needs some modifications to make the Bowser drive work. Specifically, we cut off the base of the C unit and fastened the remaining upper section (above the arrows) to a Bowser traction trailing truck (See below photo!)
HO scale and N scale Decals for the SDMTS S70 and the LA Metro P3010 are already available and we are HO scale decals for the LA Metro P865/2000/2020 vehicles. Both of those sets, CN-105 for the original "Blue Line" cars with the four color striping and set CN-126, which will decorate models in the later white and gray Metro schemes should be available before spring 2018!
Originally these 3D printed models were very expensive in HO scale but the engineers have modified their drawing techniques and competition in the 3D printing field has continued to increase so prices are starting to come down. But the models still have to be painted, lettered and powered after the shells and floors are obtained. We continue having discussions with current model railroad manufacturers but it is an uphill battle to convince them to consider making models of these new transit vehicles. They are completely unaware that the anti-transit mentality has vanished with the younger generation.
Meanwhile modelers are going to great expense and labor to have a model of some of these new vehicles that they are enjoying riding on:
Darrell Clark of Southern California had stainless steel stock laser cut for his initial model of a P3010. Note in the next photo the use of two stock Bowser motors and traction power truck mechanisms, with the one in the B unit having an A-line / Proto Power West #20040 Flywheel kit installed.
Darrell Clarke made this model in early 2017 and brought it to the Southern California Traction Club test track for\ evaluation.
In 2017, John Partridge of West Roxbury, MA took a toy Boston Type available in the Boston Transit store, drew and 3D printed a chassis that accepted the Bowser traction mechanism and produced this model. He is still working on the model but here are some shown to Custom Traxx for testing last year with his 3D printed chassis in the background (below left) and one provided to Custom Traxx for extensive testing that we painted the red door, changed the car number to 3711 and are working on perfecting this model.
Directly below are three examples of current urban rail transit:
We also know that there are still a lot of traditional modelers left in the hobby, so we have continued decal production. Our supplier for over 22 years, Ron Roberts, known better as RailGraphics, of South Elgin, IL, retired at the end of 2017. So we have begun our search for a new supplier and have started business relationships with other decal suppliers, including Microscale Industries of Fountain Valley, CA and Highball Graphics in West Ossipee, NH.
Any decal maker wishing to make decals for Custom Traxx is encouraged to contact us.
Custom Traxx 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.
Custom Traxx still offers traditional traction parts including selected A-line traction repowering items; Bowser HO scale traction mechanisms, drives and parts 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 have several Bowser HO scale streetcars available for sale. All of these streetcars are equipped with the 1999 Bowser drive with dynamically balanced flywheels. They are either DCC ready or equipped with DCC and Sound by either Soundtraxx or ESU LokSound. Send us an e-mail for the current constantly changing list of available models and prices.
Miniatures by Eric model Trolley Poles are still manufactured for and available from Custom Traxx in both HO and N scale. Consult our catalog for more detailed information. We maintain an adequate supply.
Beginning in May 2015, we stepped up our 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, the possibilities for substantial numbers of new hobbyists are fantastic.
It seemed 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. Urban transit rider ship 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. Atlas Model Railroad Company, a firm that makes the majority of HO scale track used in the hobby, has marketed 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). It appears that Atlas has gotten at least part of the message.
Accordingly, we remain totally committed to the active pursuit of the development and production of scale models of Light Rail Vehicles and/or Modern Streetcars. We have considered the Brookville "Liberty" car (Dallas, TX), the United Streetcar/Skoda/Inekon 10T (Portland, OR; Tucson, AZ; Seattle, WA; and Washington D.C.) and the C.A.F. Urbos (Cincinnati, OH and Kansas City, MO). Currently, we are working the Siemens S70 vehicle now running in San Diego, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Houston, TX, Minneapolis, MN; Norfolk, VA and Portland, OR and other locations. As a result, we have partnered with Volkmar Meier of Paris, France who has created excellent 3D drawings of the Siemens S70 Ultrashort Light Rail Vehicle and with West Coast Traction Supply thus far has produced excellent 3D printed models of LA Metro P865 and P3010 lhigh floor light rail vehicles and some of the historical Los Angeles Transit, Pacific Electric and Illinois Terminal vehicles in the same high quality.
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 your order to 310-475-5597 or e-mail your order to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 our catalog, section VI, Ordering Procedures, for more details!
Our official catalog is now on-line and is updated constantly so the latest information is always on this site. Accordingly, we have ceased maintaining and publishing printed catalogs.
For our complete six-part catalog, click here!
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