EPTC The East Penn Traction Club

Trolley Modeling Tips & Techniques

This page contains a growing collection of articles, presentations and material on trolley modeling, some with particular emphasis on working with the East Penn module standards as described elsewhere on this web site. It is hoped this material will answer questions or provide new ideas for enjoying the hobby. Contributions to this page are welcome and should be sent to the EPTC Webmaster.

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Visit Our Intro to Trolley Modeling Page!

Visit Our Light Rail Vehicle Modeling Page!

Download copies of Arthur Duncan's Trolley Car Plans.

Download copies of Paul Moore's Trolley Plans (Philadelphia Collection).

For an on-line look at the construction of an HO Scale East Penn Trolley Module, visit Bob Dietrich's South Hills Junction Project.

Charles Long provides this 2 minute video clip of a "Cavalcade of Streetcars" at 9th and Walnut on his HO layout.

Check out the "Trolley-Cam" photos including a full motion video of the trolley-cam in action!

Browse (or contribute to!) the growing Trolley Modeling Article Bibliography.

Note: This table of East Penn articles is sorted by primary author.
File NameSizeDateAuthor(s)Title and Contents
modeling_light_rail2.pdf36K5/2009Chris BradleyModeling Light Rail - This is an EPTC Meet clinic presentation.
overhead.pdf29K10/1997William BrandtHanging Overhead Wire - This "Trolley Tip" provides information on tried and true techniques for hanging overhead wire for modules.
PolePanOperation.pdf 1.5M 4/2012Rich Crooks "Some Tips for Pan and Pole Operation," shown at the April 2012 EPTC meeting.
interurban_box_trailer.pdf275KB03/2012Chuck CrouseInterurban Box Trailer - A scratchbuilding article.
repowering_ho_cars1.pdf1.9Mb5/2009Bob DietrichPowering/Repowering HO Cars; Adapting RtR Trolleys to East Penn Modules - This is an EPTC Meet clinic presentation.
flexi_window-guards.pdf145KB03/2010Bob DietrichFlexible Window Guards - This tip shows how make Flexible Window Guards for streetcars.
GetGoingInHO.pdf 1.9M 4/2012 Bob Dietrich
Rich Allman
"Getting Going in HO Traction," presented at the 2012 Boston Trolley Meet.
bachmann_peterwitt.pdf2MB01/2008Bob DietrichBachmann Spectrum Peter Witt in HO - This tip shows how make improvements in the Bachmann ready-to-run Peter Witt car in HO.
HOliner.pdf121K10/2000Bob DietrichHO Scale Nickel Plate Products Liberty Liner Conversion - This article details how to convert a Nickel Plate Products HO scale Liberty (or Electro) Liner to take sharper radius curves and to run better.
decals.pdf28K2/1997Bob DietrichDo-It-Yourself Decals - This "Trolley Tip" discusses the techniques for making your own custom trolley decals using the laser printer decal paper available from Micro-Mark.
compress.pdf10K5/1995Bob DietrichCompression Type Insulators - This "Trolley Tip" provides instructions on building semi-prototypical compression type insulators suitable for any scale.
insulate.pdf12K9/1996Bob DietrichOverhead Wire Insulators - This "Trolley Tip" provides instructions on a technique to make "de-wire proof" insulators in the trolley overhead.
switchho.pdf130K6/2000Bob DietrichSingle-point HO Switch Construction - This "Trolley Tip" provides instructions on building single-point switches in HO using modified Richard Orr components.
standards.pdf188K4/1997EPTCEast Penn Model Trolley Layout Module Standards - This is a copy of the East Penn trolley module standards (It is the same document as can be found on the module standards page of this web site.).
building ho trolley turnouts.pdf4MB05/2007EPTCBuilding HO Trolley Turnouts - This tip shows how to build HO turnouts using Orr girder rail available from Custom Traxx.
dcc_clinic.pdf25Kb05/2003Dave GairoDCC Clinic - This document is the handout provided at the 2003 East Penn Trolley Meet clinic on wiring trolleys for DCC control.
switch.pdf17K9/1997Dave GairoSingle-point Street Switches - This "Trolley Tip" provides instructions on scratch building single-point switches for street trackage in either HO or O scales.
signals.pdf227K8/1998Rich KerrAutomatic Control of East Penn Trolley Modules - This is an updated text of several previous documents published on the subject of implementing automated block control (and signaling) for East Penn modules. The practces currently outlined in this document can been seen in action on several of the 'O' scale modules belonging to members of East Penn.
uninsulatedwheels.pdf733Kb01/2007Rich KerrHow to Un-Insulate Wheelsets - This article shares technicques for un-insulating wheelsets for use with block control signals requiring them.
freight_cars.pdf34K1/1999Rich KerrTrolley Freight Car Tips - This "Trolley Tip" provides information on operating long freight car trains on model trolley layouts.
car-wire.pdf63K1/1991Rich KerrModel Trolley Car Wiring - This excellent multi-part series covers many of the unique aspects of wiring model trolley cars. (P.S. Stay tuned for the remaining chapters!)
arduino_by_cpl_1.pdf3.1M9/2015Charles LongUsing an Arduino to Control Switch Servo Machines - The Arduino is a progammable microcontroller that can be used for many tasks and this article details a way of controlling servos used for switches.
controller.pdf37K11/2001Charles LongPort-A-Pike II Controller - This article provides the schematic and parts list for building a momentum transistor throttle connected to a full-scale controller and brake valve.
ho_overhead.pdf28K11/2001Charles LongHO Overhead Construction - This article provides information on hanging overhead wire in HO that was presented at a Modeler's Workshop.
bldtrolleymodels.pdf9K10/2008Charlie PittsBuilding and Finishing Trolley Models - This article is intended as a guide that a modeler can use to organize trolley model construction.
bldtrolleymodels2.pdf10K10/2008Charlie PittsThings to Consider During Model Building - This article lists a few important items to consider when building your model trolley cars.
nscalewirehanging.pdf996Kb01/2007Alex M. PostpischilHanging Trolley Wire and Catenary in N Scale - This article shares technicques for hanging operating trolley wire and catenary in N scale.
windows.pdf1.4Mb11/2001Manny ReiderWindow Details for Structures Along Your Trolley Routes - This "Trolley Tip" provides some ideas on how to decorate the building windows that line your trolley route. Includes full color photos of several detailed building fronts.
painted_backdrops.pdf2MB01/2008Manny ReiderPainted Backdrops for Non-Artists - This tip shows how those not artistically inclined can make realistic painted scenery backdrops.
mod-tips.pdf118K4/1995Gary ReighnModule Building Techniques - Module Legs and Overhead Wire - This document contains the slides used at the clinic on Module Building Tips and Techniques from the 1995 East Penn Trolley Meet. It provides some clarification as well as new material on building modules to the East Penn standard. It is recommended reading for anyone attempting to build an East Penn type module.
4/1994Charles C. RobinsonHands-off Trolley Freight Switching - This excellent article is taken from a clinic on the subject presented at the 1994 Boston Trolley Meet. Also included is a reprint of an article on the subject from Railroad Model Craftsmen magazine circa 1946 (reprinted with permission). Note, due to the large number of graphics in this article, it has been broken into multiple files for easier downloading and printing.
pwr_supl.pdf108K5/1994Fred Weigle4-6 Amp Trolley Power Supply - This "Trolley Tip" provides instructions on constructing a 4-6 Amp regulated power supply ideal for powering model trolley modules.

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