Trolley Modeling in N Scale

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Summer Reading ~ Thursday, August 02, 2007

There's never been one complete book about the Pacific Electric. Arcadia Publishing's new Pacific Electric Red Cars, by Jim Walker, (2006) isn't that book, but if you just want to buy one book on the PE, it's a good one. It's got more pictures than text, but for a modeler, sometimes that's ok. Some day I want to kitbash a car like the one on the top of page 16!

I picked up my copy at the new San Francisco Railway Museum; I'm sure it's available at the gift shops of lots of trolley museums.

In contrast, Life Along the Trolley Line, by David McNeil, (1989) is mostly text--and lots of it. It's 300-odd pages of reprinted newspaper articles, originally clipped in the offices of the Cincinnati Traction Company, all between 1901-1903, giving a good picture of daily life in and around trolleys during their early heyday. There's everything from accidents to brawls to "love-making on streetcars" (the phrase seems to have had a more innocent meaning a century ago!).

Back to pictures, of a more whimsical sort, Albert Tolf's In Old San Francisco-A Cartoon History (1959) is a great review of streetcars, cablecars, horse cars, and even steam dummies, and just about everything else in the early days of The City.

In addition to cute, the drawings are quite accurate, to the best of my knowledge. Here's a sample.

Btw, plenty of used books can be found on Amazon, but for the really obscure books, I recommend AbeBooks.com.

Ok, enough reading--back to the workbench!

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