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Online Model Trolley Resources

Module at East Penn Trolley Meet.

Module at East Penn Trolley Meet.

Sites With Model Trolley Layouts

Trolleys have several advantages in the world of model railroading. They come in many colorful patterns, can stand on their own in small space layouts with tight radii, and they can integrate easily with existing layouts. Unfortunately, information on model trolleys is sometimes difficult to find. Here is a list of five sites that can get you started:

5 Sites Featuring Model Trolleys

  1. Bill Everett
  2. East Penn Traction Club
  3. Tomix EasyTrolley Modelers
  4. Trolleyville
  5. London Model Tramways

1. Bill Everett

One of the great deans of model trolleys, Bill Everett built his first effort in 1948 and has constructed over 5,000 O-scale traction models to date. He uses basswood and cardstock from file folders, which he laminates into three or four layers. He then powers his traction from overhead wire.

The quality of his work is so impressive that examples are on display at the Sacramento State Railroad Museum, the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation and the Orange Empire Railway Museum, to name a few places. He built his current layout in 1975 from a stack of plywood that he found on the road while still a police officer. You can learn about his work from watching the video below:

2. East Penn Traction Club

If you’re into model trolleys of any scale, then you need the resources offered by the East Penn Traction Club, the largest modular trolley-modeling group in the country. Their Trolley Meet, held every two years in Pennsylvania, is a magnet for hobbyists from all over the nation.

Their website not only has inspirational photos of traction action, but also a calendar of upcoming trolley events, a dealer directory and links to personal, commercial, hobby and prototype trolley sites. Many of their standards are also published on the site, so you can construct your own modules. They primarily cover HO, O and S scales.

3. Tomix EasyTrolley Modelers

R.D. Kerr of the Southern California Traction Club has compiled a list of resources for those interested in N-scale trolley modeling using EasyTram by Tomix. This modular system puts together easy-to-use street track that requires no skill to assemble, and powers vehicles from regular power packs. (A full page is devoted to the available EasyTram pieces, their measurements, and how they join to produce yards, junctions, and loops.)

He covers how to set up a layout, available products and displays a picture gallery. He also describes T-Trak, a set of standards for constructing N-Scale trolley modules that can be joined into operating layouts for clubs and shows.

4. Trolleyville

Though only sporadically updated, Trolleyville remains a one-stop resource for all things related to model trolleys, particularly in HO and O. The Schoolhouse contains such useful procedures on hanging overhead wire, creating street track, modeling trolleys, and re-powering existing traction products.

It has links to several manufacturers of scale models, decals and track. Be sure and browse their online Trolleyville Times, which comes out every two months and features the latest news in trolley modeling.

5. London Model Tramways

From the U.K., John Howe models OO layouts showcasing London double-decker trams from the early 1950s. (OO gauge uses 1.76.2 scale for locomotives, cars, buildings and figures, but runs on HO-scale track.) The trams travel not only on street surfaces, but underground, where they can temporarily disappear from view, save for a few cutaway areas.

He scratch-builds many of his models or modifies them from kits using plastic and cardstock. His streets show recognizable structures such as Africa House, the Holborn Underground Station, and Cleopatra’s Needle. John partitions his layouts in sections, so they can be transported to model railway shows. The video shows his layout in action around the three-minute mark. You can check out other videos on his website.

Questions & Answers

Question: The late Bill Hoffman modeled PE car 142 in 1:45 scale with operating windows, do you have any information on how this was done?

Answer: Not specifically. But here is some information on Bill:

© 2011 Aurelio Locsin


Luis G Asuncion from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 22, 2019:

This is cool. I love to read. Thanks for sharing.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on May 27, 2012:

A lot of people like to use trains as décor around Xmas, Tammy.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on May 24, 2012:

You amaze me! When in the world do you have the time to persue these hobbies? Trains and Trolleys??? I love model trains. We have a set that has been in the family for years and it goes around our Christmas tree every year. My grandkids love it! Great Hub. I voted it UP, etc.

Natasha from Hawaii on May 24, 2012:

When I was a kid, I had an awesome N-gauge layout. Years later, the knowledge came in handy when I worked at a hobby store. These are really great layouts - thanks for sharing this!

Tammy from North Carolina on May 24, 2012:

What a wonderful hub. I am not a train collector, but I do like to have one every year to go under the Christmas tree with a little village. Seeing these makes me want to start a new hobby. Excellent!

DREAM ON on February 18, 2012:

I love the wonderful job he has done and his dedication to his incredible hobby.The videos are something else.Interesting hub.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on February 18, 2012:

Well, the videos are a bit long -- meant to be viewed only when you have free time. I'm glad you liked Bill Everett's efforts.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 18, 2012:

I'll admit, I didn't take the time to view all the videos but that first one of Bill Everett and the story behind his model railroad train setups is fascinating! This retired policeman has surely kept busy with his avocation. This needs to be shared so that others can see. Also voted up, interesting and awesome. Great hub!