I finally made it to the Model Transit Convention on Saturday Oct 22 after fighting my way through the traffic but I was too late to attend any of the clinics that were held there. In spite of that, I have to say that this was one of the best shows I have attended in quite some time and was well worth the effort to get there (even though I didn’t win any door prizes). I was surprised at the large number of vendors who were in attendance that day and the variety of merchandise for sale was tremendous. There were all kinds of traction and rapid transit books available from multiple dealers and if you were looking for a certain photograph or slide to add to your collection, this was the place to find it.
There were several dealers who were selling memorabilia that would make a great addition to any train room and the selection seemed very good. I was looking for some trucks for my HO IRT subway cars and Mike Masino came through as usual. Every time I meet him at a show he always seems to have what I am looking for and this time was no different. He had a bunch of the trucks in cast metal and the price was right. I also picked up a nice steeple cab kit that was priced to sell. Thanks Mike! I can finally finish up the fleet.
The model contest featured some fine traction examples in several different scales including a nice Third Avenue trolley with an interior and passengers. My personal favorite however was the only entry in the structure category, the O scale movie theater built by Mr. Nate Gersten. I have to say that this was one of the nicest structures I have ever seen (and I have built my share of buildings) and even had the subway kiosk on the sidewalk. O scale rolling stock has a good deal of heft but the buildings, especially large city-types, are really impressive.
At the other end of the spectrum, the fellows from the East Penn Club (www.eastpenn.org) were there with not only some HO modules but with an N scale traction module that really caught my eye. I did a fast double take as I immediately recognized it as a model of the Ocean Parkway trolley underpass on the Church Avenue line that was in Brooklyn. It was very well done and the fact that the N scale PCC car ran so smoothly was really a treat to see. Bravo to a very nice bunch of guys!
The New York City Model Transit Association did a really great job of sponsoring this show and the proceeds of the show were to be donated to The Shore Line ( Branford) Trolley Museum in East Haven CT (www.bera.org) so all around this was a very good day to be a traction fan. Hope to make another trip next year!
The first several runs of the cars came without the signature spotting feature, the end safety gates. Subsequent runs that were released after Walthers acquired the LifeLike line did include this feature, but as told to me by the Walthers representative, the end gates are not available as a separate part to retrofit the cars. You can purchase the end gates as separate parts from several companies. IHP has photo-etched brass gates that are very reasonably priced. Image Replicas has an injection molded set that is listed on their website but while it may seem a little pricey it does 3 cars. Years ago Model Traction Supply sold white metal end gates for their R-1 and BMT Standard models; you see them at swap meets from time to time.
Ask anyone who has grown up in New York about where the trains are and you most likely will be directed to the nearest subway or elevated station. That’s why as a native son of the Big Apple, my plans for an HO scale model railroad had to include rapid transit. Over the years I have tried to acumulate different types of New York subway equipment so that a credible effort could be made in creating such a layout, but up until the release of the Lifelike/Walthers Proto 1000 R-17 Subway cars several years ago, HO scale rolling stock was somewhat difficult to come by. The O scale folks also have it much easier today with the variety of products available, but you need much more room for a layout.
One of the nice things about adding model transit to your railroad is that depending on the era modeled you can also include such things as streetcars, buses, commuter rail, light rail, and electric traction. Since a good deal of this equipment had long service lives, a lot of the cars modeled can overlap different eras, so your modeled timeframe can be expanded. The focus of this website will be on modeling this equipment, the construction of a layout to run the equipment and the input of those who wish to participate here and have some fun. Let’s not restrict our efforts to just New York- plenty of other cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington DC have hugh transit systems, so lets hear from all you transit fans out there!
Got to go now- I think I hear the train coming and there’s 3 staircases up to the platform! Transit Bill