...supporting HO scale electric transit modelers..
Our Current Catalog
The Purpose of our Business:
Custom Traxx supports HO scale electric transit 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 and by forming a strategic alliance with Bowser Manufacturing in 2007 to pursue a ready-to-run trolley. 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.
Our strategic partnership with Bowser resulted in an initial visit to China in 2008 and the selection of our supplier after evaluating several. In 2009-2010, HO scale models of all fourteen of the ex-Philadelphia PCC cars that opened that now famous 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, San Francisco, 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. Product improvement has continued on the 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 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. All Bowser traction products manufactured at this time have this switch in this location. The next photo shows the location of the switch indicated by the red arrow:
The Bowser/Custom Traxx partnership is now actively working the ex-Kansas City All-Electric PCC car project. These 160 unique cars were built for the Kansas City Public Service (KCPS) in 1946 (75 cars) and 1947 (85) cars. Their uniqueness was a lack of standee windows, which were standard on all other post-war all-electric PCC cars. KCPS President Powell Groner, when he saw the standee windows on the proposed cars, he told the Transit Research Commission that he would have "none of those little apertures" on his cars. So they were removed for KCPS and only KCPS. Some of these cars would have second careers beginning in the 1950s in Philadelphia (40), Tampico (10) and Toronto (30). 79 cars even provided parts for new PCCs being built in Brussels, Belgium. 22 of the cars sold to Toronto would find their way to Philadelphia and San Francisco in the 1970s. In 1975, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) painted 27 of the Philadelphia cars in Bicenntenial Schemes, two for each of the original thirteen colonies but three for Pennsylvania. The cars ran on Route 50 past Independence Hall and on other lines until 1982. The team currently intends to have HO scale models of those Bicentennial cars available in early 2016.
The other major project is a current low-floor Light Rail Vehicle. We are now actively pursuing the development and production of an HO scale model of the Siemens S70 Light Rail Vehicle/Streetcar now running in San Diego, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Charlotte and other locations and we are working closely with Volkmar Meier of France and Bowser Manufacturing of Montoursville, PA 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 the test units two and three with Bowser power on October 14. With one powered truck, the units were tested both at Custom Traxx and Bowser Manufacturing and currently appear to have sufficient power for grades. To complete the testing process, unit three was converted to two Bowser powered drives and is currently being tested. Follow the progress of both projects on the Trolleyville web site. However, they could be available during 2016. If you have interest, please let us know.
Custom Traxx still maintains a 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.
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 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];
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 email@example.com 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 special occasions.
For our complete six-part catalog, click here!
'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, the last large U.S. city with streetcars in service on its main thoroughfare, Market Street. 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 at the 17th & Castro terminal as the popularity of the line continues to grow. 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.
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