HO scale subway-elevated cars.

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Frankford el car:
Woody, I have to agree with Paul F.;

First, your assertion that all pre-1940 rapid transit (subway-elevated) trains were retired long before most current modelers could ride them, is inaccurate. The Chicago Transit Authority didn't retire their 1922-built 4000-series cars, until 1973. I was seventeen at that time. The Southeasrtern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), didn't retire the 1928-built, 1936-built, and 1938-built cars on the Broad Street Subway in Philadelphia, until 1982, when I was twenty-six. And the IND R-1's-thru-R-9's in New York, didn't make their final revenue runs until approx. 1977.

Now, on to your point about train length. THe IRT, and BMT in New York, as well as the CTA in Chicago, and SEPTA in Philadelphia, have run trains as short as two cars, in regular mid-day service, as well as six-thru-eleven-car trains during the AM and PM rushes.  That's the point of couplers, to allow assembling and disassembling trains to lengths required for the traffic demand.

As to your assertion that most current modelers have no interest in pre-war (1939-45) rapid transit, then why has The Bach Mann seen fit to announce production of a 1930's-era Peter Witt trolley, which is a form of rapid transit?

For those that would prefer a more current rapid transit car, the IRT boast's the R-62's, and R-142's. The CTA has their 2200-thru-3400-series' cars in operation. And the MBTA has their Hawker-Sidley Blue Line cars, dating from approx. 1980, which are about to be replaced with newer cars themselves. All of which are of reasonable length to use on relative tight (15-inch radius) curves, as well as every car to have ever operated on the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad/Port Authority Trans Hudson (H&M/PATH) lines between Newark, NJ, and Lower Manhattan.

The point is, that there is just as much variety to chose from for rapid transit modelers to state their preference, as there are for steam, diesel, and heavy electric modelers. It's simply a matter of the majority stating the car(s) most preferred, to Bachmann, or another manufacturer.

Woody Elmore:
You guys make some good points. I never meant to imply that young modellers aren't interested in things that ran before they were born. 

My point is, just by reading the posts, that a company could produce all manner of rapid transit cars and still not make all the modellers happy. It just wouldn't make economic sense for a company.

I remember riding the old BMT articulated cars out to Coney Island. Three cars and four trucks. They'd be an impressive model ( and may have been done in brass at one time). I have no idea how many 3 car units were run together but those trains were long. They may have run 2 car trains in Chicago but I remember 6 car minimums on the IRT "1" train. IND trains often were (and are) 10 cars long. A modeller would need lots of rolling stock to duplicate the prototype.

By the way, I've been messing with trains for a long. long tiome and I welcome any models that will get someone into the hobby, even Penn Central models.


You're a great sport -- I'm glad you didn't see my comments as any kind of "flame-thing".   ;)

I think that the BMT articulated cars would be an awesome model (maybe I can build one out of an MTH triplex with a set of lifelike R17 bodies -- just kidding! ;D)

Seriously, the BMT model would be very impressive, especially as you pointed out -- if two or more sets were coupled together!

Paul F.

Frankford el car:

The IRT routinely ran two-car trains on the Second Ave. el' in Manhattan, the Polo Grounds Shuttle between 155th St. in Manhattan, and the Jerome Ave. el' in the Bronx, to 167th St., as well as the Dyre Ave. Line between 180th St., and Dyre Ave. The BMT ran two-car trains on the Culver Shuttle, Franklin Shuttle, and Lexington Ave. el'. And Staten Island Rapid Transit also ran two-car trains, prior to being re-equipted with the R-44's. Plus there's the IRT's Grand Central-Times Square Shuttle. So short trains are not out of the realm of operation, on New York subway and el' lines. Even the Third Ave. el' routinely ran trains of 3-5 cars, depending on the traffic level.

Keep in mind, a ten-car train is not necessary for a realistic rapid transit train, anymore than three SD-40's, and one hundred quad-hoppers are required, to run a unit coal train on a layout. It's just not practical, as you'd end up having trains on an el' so long, that the lead car is rolling into a station, just as the trailing end car is leaving the preceeding station. A 4, 5, or 6-car train is plenty long enough, for an HO scale layout, as the el' stations on my layout are just under three feet long, and a four-car train of the Proto 1000 R-17's or R-21's, uses almost the entire platform length.

Some additional info on BMT Triplex:


And some photos:

Paul F.


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