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Jerry, thanks for posting the lil history lesson on CTA. I was born in Chicago in '69 and moved here in '76... All I remember is riding the L trains all the time with my brothers. Mark would make me pancakes every Sat. morning then we would go places on the train.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
Posted By Biblegrove RR on 14 Jan 2011 09:20 AM
Jerry, thanks for posting the lil history lesson on CTA. I was born in Chicago in '69 and moved here in '76... All I remember is riding the L trains all the time with my brothers. Mark would make me pancakes every Sat. morning then we would go places on the train.

Hi John,

It has been many years since I lived in the Chicago area but for anyone who ever lived in Chicago their memories will always include various versions of the CTA.

Regards,

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #43
I had given up expecting the CTA Trolleys to arrive this week but then I heard a horn honking and it was the FedEx driver - with the CTA PCC Trolleys.

So far I have not had time to take any photos but I did run the trolleys downstairs on the crawl space layout and I have to report that there were some problems with driving them through my LGB R1 (4' diameter) turnouts.

In fairness my layout is sort of a torture track and problems I experienced may or may not reflect what others find and they may or may not accurately reflect results with Aristo-Craft turnouts.

The yard where I ran the trolleys has R1 turnouts in the middle of R1 curves and it even has "S" curves with back to back R1 turnouts.





Even so the trolleys rumbled over the turnouts almost all of the time but on a few occasions they derailed and shorted out. This happened mostly when I was running the trolleys in reverse.

It was clear that the trolleys were not going smoothly through the curves of the LGB turnouts and I suspect the small wheels were hitting the frog in the turnouts.

In fairness the trolleys have prototypically small wheels and the parts of the LGB turnouts are unprototypically large and spacious (easy for small wheels to hang up). I noticed the rough running over the turnouts even when running a straight path into the single entry side of the turnout and I do not think the wheels were hitting the points.

I don't consider this to be a realistic review of the trolleys (that is not/was not my intention). My layout has somewhere around 75 electric LGB R1 turnouts and I fully expect to be happily running the PCC trolleys on them for many years. The reality is that I seldom run anything on the part of the layout where the trolleys were derailing as it is a switching operation and the PCC trolleys are anything but switch engines.

Still, if someone is planning on using the PCC Trolleys in a situation where they will be frequently turning through LGB R1 turnouts this might be important for them to know.

I experienced no problems with the trolleys going around R1 (4' diameter) curves or through the straight sections of the LGB R1 turnouts. Both trucks on the PCC trolleys swivel and seem to turn with little resistance.

I am quite pleased with the CTA trolleys. They were literally "Ready to Run" as I opened the boxes, took them out (I did have to turn the light and motor switches on), put them on the tracks and they were running just fine.

The "noise" they made while running reminded me of the very similar noise I recall from the real trolleys running. In my case I have no plans to install any sound or control systems in them as I like them just the way they are.

Happily St. Aubin's charged me the original price they advertised when they were originally taking orders with a deposit.

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #44
The following was with the PCC Trolleys.

It confirms the fact that the pole can be used for power and states the minimum track diameter.



Jerry
 

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Jerry,

I noticed that, as you wrote, the Chicago "Green Hornet" version of the PCC car is modified to have nearly full skirting, wider doors and an extended body for a third set of doors. However, the first generation of Chicago PCCs were the "blue goose" cars: they were blue, and were of a different design, one which much more closely resembled the Connecticut car on which the Aristo model was based, in my view. See:

http://www.hopetunnel.org/subway/irm/040306/pcc4021.jpg

Cheers
 

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Yep Jerry and I was born about 30 miles NE of Chicago and my mothers mother lived in Chicago I road the CTA tolleys and Ls and of course the buses. Mine will most likely be a shelve queen to reminded me of the good old days where I lived and worked till I was 30. Then I headed west, north and finally south. Hopefully mine will show Monday as the storm here really put a damper on UPs deliveries. Later RJD
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Posted By Tom Leaton on 14 Jan 2011 12:38 PM
Jerry,

I noticed that, as you wrote, the Chicago "Green Hornet" version of the PCC car is modified to have nearly full skirting, wider doors and an extended body for a third set of doors. However, the first generation of Chicago PCCs were the "blue goose" cars: they were blue, and were of a different design, one which much more closely resembled the Connecticut car on which the Aristo model was based, in my view. See:

http://www.hopetunnel.org/subway/irm/040306/pcc4021.jpg

Cheers



Hi Tom,

Thanks for the info and the link.

It helps with how I view my layout in that I don't worry much about being prototypical but I admit that I like it when I find that what I do/buy has some reasonable relationship to the prototypes. In this case I guess I'll "pretend" that my CTA Trolleys are Blue Geese that had been repainted CTA colors.


I do miss the full skirting and my first thought when I saw the Aristo PCC photos was that it would be nice if someone offered snap on skirts that color matched the CTA PCC Trolleys. The skirting for me is the most noticeable visual difference although the wide rear doors are another major difference.

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Posted By aceinspp on 14 Jan 2011 12:40 PM
Yep Jerry and I was born about 30 miles NE of Chicago and my mothers mother lived in Chicago I road the CTA tolleys and Ls and of course the buses. Mine will most likely be a shelve queen to reminded me of the good old days where I lived and worked till I was 30. Then I headed west, north and finally south. Hopefully mine will show Monday as the storm here really put a damper on UPs deliveries. Later RJD

Hi RJ,

I am guessing you meant you were born 30 mies NW of Chicago. I was born in Oak Park, then we moved to Spring Grove then I went to Kankakee, and then to Des Plaines and then Hillside, Champaign and finally Green River (before leaving Illinois).

I was surprised to get the trolleys today. I am sure you will like yours.

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #49
OK. Here are some quick photos:

Here are the Field Museum and Wrigley Field versions


Wrigley Field model


Field Museum model


Size comparison with Hartland Chicago Aurora & Elgin Interurban


Size comparison between Hartland CA&E and LGB Chicago Streetcar


When you see the difference between the size (especially the wheel size) it is obvious why the Aristo PCC Trolley is likely to have more trouble negotiating turnouts that were designed for locomotives and rolling stock with much larger wheel diameters (and wider wheel flanges).



This is not a criticism of the Aristo PCC Trolleys. The above is simply to demonstrate that any comparisons with other street transportation by other manufacturers is an apples vs oranges situation.

I like the Aristo PCC Trolleys and I think they will prove to be very good sellers.

Jerry
 

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Yep Jerry NW like Palatine, Ill. Road the bi-level trains a bunch also. These are some cars I would really like to see made also. Later RJD
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Posted By aceinspp on 14 Jan 2011 05:25 PM
Yep Jerry NW like Palatine, Ill. Road the bi-level trains a bunch also. These are some cars I would really like to see made also. Later RJD
Hi RJ,

It is unlikely anyone not from Chicago would have noticed the difference between NE and NW.

I am not sure which bi-level trains you are referring to unless you mean the double decker Burlington trains (which I never had any experience with).

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Posted By Dennis Paulson on 14 Jan 2011 06:39 PM
Thank you Jerry for the photos , I did not know the size difference between them till you posted ...................THANK YOU .


Hi Dennis,

I did not know the difference myself as I've never seen anything but the photo St. Aubin's had of the CTA Trolley from the Illinois Museum. I'll leave it up to others to figure out the actual scales.

Hartland says:

" The question of Scale

Hartland Locomotive Works products are engineered to fit with 1:24 scale Narrow Gauge equipment and 1:29 Standard Gauge equipment."

I would guess the Hartland models to be around 1:24, the Aristo PCC to be 1:29 and the LGB perhaps to be around 1:22.5.

My solution is simple - I just don't run the Hartland and LGB cars at the same time and the same will be true for the Aristo models. As with the originals I like to run them in pairs (one clockwise - eastbound and the other counter-clockwise - westbound).

I think with its low-to-the-ground design along with the small wheels, Aristo-Craft has caught the right feeling of a streetcar/trolley that the passengers could easily step up onto and into.

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #54
I have a friend coming over this morning to see the Aristo CTA PCC Trolleys so I decided to move them to the main loop of the crawl space layout where we could see better how they ran.

To be honest I was somewhat surprised when both trolleys ran smoothly around the entire main loop because all the track in the crawl space is brass and I have not run anything there in around 3 months and it has probably been at least 6 months since I last cleaned the track. The crawl space may be indoors but it is unheated and uncooled so it gets hot, cold and damp.

It is not unusual for my regular lighted passenger cars to show some flickering of the lights as they run around the layout but I was very impressed to discover that the Aristo PCC Trolleys ran around the layout with the lights staying of a uniform brilliance (I like the white color temperature of the lights) and no flickering of the lights or stalling of the trolleys. With the 8 small wheels for track contact I fully expected the trolleys to stall and stop somewhere on the layout but that never happened.

If anything what really surprises me is that Aristo-Craft came out with a totally new product that is obviously intended for track powered layouts as compared with their other recent products clearly designed for the battery powered market. I cannot see how it would be easy to convert the trolleys to battery power but there are a lot of imaginative folks out there and I suspect it will happen (I'm a track power guy so I am happy with things the way they are).

Since I like running in the dark I dimmed the crawl space lights and it was easy and reassuring to be able to follow the trolleys by their illumination when they were out of sight.

The situation of rough riding over my R1 LGB turnouts disappeared in that the main loop only has R3 (8' diameter) turnouts and the trolleys ran through the straight and the curved parts of these turnouts with no problems.

Considering that Aristo-Craft seems to have built these trolleys from the ground up apparently not sharing any parts from other Aristo-Craft products I think they have done a great job with this totally new product. With the current economy it is a nice surprise to find a manufacturer willing to make a major investment in a totally new product for our hobby.

I have to wonder if there may be future plans with Aristo-Craft for smaller street style track and overhead wiring products because I think they are creating a demand for them. The trolleys strike me as too unique not to eventually be followed up with various compatible products.

Naturally my observations are just that - observations of my personal experiences with my Aristo PCC Trolleys. I cannot say how accurately they may or may not reflect anyone else's experiences.

Jerry
 

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Jerry: yep most folks would not have caught that. My reference is to the Bi-level is the same as you mentioned for the Burlington. All the majors RRs running commuter service into Chicago use the Bi-Level cars. Even the C&NW. They where also know as push/pull trains and scoots.

How many different PCC names did St Abins make for the various areas in Chi town. . Later RJD
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Posted By aceinspp on 16 Jan 2011 05:11 PM
Jerry: yep most folks would not have caught that. My reference is to the Bi-level is the same as you mentioned for the Burlington. All the majors RRs running commuter service into Chicago use the Bi-Level cars. Even the C&NW. They where also know as push/pull trains and scoots.

How many different PCC names did St Abins make for the various areas in Chi town. . Later RJD



Hi RJ,

There were just the two versions from St. Aubin's - the Wrigley Field and the Field Museum. I used to be a Cubs fan and back then even a kid could afford to to to a game once in awhile.

I remember seeing the Burlington Bi-Levels but never rode in one. I seem to recall they were more of a north or northwest route and we lived straight west in Hillside so it was never an option for me.

Its funny that there are several photos of the CTA Trolleys and Halsted seems to be a common route shown on them. I went to St. Ignatius H.S. at 12th & Blue Island so Halsted was my exit on the Congress "L" (before it became the Eisenhower Expressway). Most of those neighborhoods have long since been torn down.

How do you like your CTA Trolley?

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #59
Posted By Jerry Barnes on 16 Jan 2011 07:12 PM
Jerry,
Nice review. I might consider one now, my track outside has not worked real well for small track powered locomotives, but maybe this would work out okay.

Hi Jerry,

I appreciate the problems with small track powered locomotives outside (particularly the difficulties in maintaining track electrical contact with fewer conductive wheels).

The ability of the PCC Trolley to make it around my crawl space layout without any track cleaning is one thing that really impressed me with the PCC Trolleys but I will learn more as I have decided to move the CTA Trolleys out to the Caboose and the Caboose Layout which still has a lot of old brass track on it. I am sure that I will have to do some track cleaning before running the PCC's but that is to be expected. I am thinking about replacing the brass track with Aristo stainless steel track anyway.

One thing to bear in mind on track where you or anyone has had problems in the past is the limited clearance the PCC Trolleys have between the motor blocks and the rail head.





With the demands many have voiced for prototypical everything there can be a resulting greater requirement for the track itself to be prototypically free from irregularities. I think Aristo has come up with a pretty prototypically sized trolley and now it will be interesting to see how well this 1:29 trolley is received by those who already have a lot of 1:29 rolling stock.

Bearing in mind the scale size of the wheels the circumference is visibly less than that of the wheels and drivers of conventional locomotives and rolling stock so it is logical that the wheels will rotate more and have a greater contact per wheel with surface contaminants of outdoor track (dirt, pollen etc.) but then a real trolley would not travel anywhere near the distance a locomotive and train would.

My view of the Trolleys is that they represent a very different operation from traditional trains running on layouts and in fairness they should be judged for what they are rather than just another locomotive (which they are not).

I like the PCC Trolleys but I am rethinking how I am going to use them as I think they offer some opportunities regarding how they can be used that I had not really given any thought to.

I've been impressed with your progress on your projects but Marilyn has been having some medical problems and I am far behind on my emails etc.

Regards,

Jerry
 

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Jerry: I like the car very much. Brings back a lot of memories. I'm not sure if I will run the car or just use it as shelve display for now.

I'd like to see if anyone runs it on a back and forth track using the AC reversing unit. Wonder how the unit will hold up. I do have a trolley line set up as such. So anyone that trys this I would be interested in how it works and any ill effect to the trolley. Later RJD
 
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