Continued from “Trolley Layout in a Glass Coffee Table-1”
The Trolley and Track (Picture 6)
The Trolley has an incredible turning radius of only 9 inches which allows for some very tight yet smooth turns at the four edges of the trolley line. One of my trolleys operates, one is a lighted dummy. I stumbled upon both at an antique store in Castle Shannon, Pennsylvania. According to the brochure inside the boxes, the trolleys were given to Heinz employees as token Christmas presents in 1986. They were detailed “piggy banks” containing a slot for coins in the roof, and a small keyed door in the bottom for removing cash.
To make the trolley operable, the original rigid plastic wheels I replaced with Bowser trucks which are insulated so that the DC trolley runs on Atlas flexible 2 rail track. Luckily, the distance between wheel trucks is close enough that the trolley can easily negotiate an 18 inch diameter circle. It took some patience to bend the track into the tight turns I needed without breaking the plastic nubs that hold the rails together.
In a former article on Associated Content published on 10/07/10, I explained how I changed the motorless, empty trolley into one that had passengers, bright interior lights, end headlights, and would operate on this very tiny layout. See “Model Railroading: Adding a Motor and Passengers to a Plastic trolley Car” (10/07/10). Because of constraints to publishing, several photos have been deleted in this article. The next is Picture 10.
Spring Season – Picture 10
-Trolley emerges from dark tunnel. It is springtime. A stream feeds bull rush pond.
-It crosses the pond via Lionel bridge upon which a man lazily sits and watches.
-It twists past a signal tower whose female operator can be seen through the windows. (The tower cannot be seen in the photo; it is in the right hand corner.)
-Finally, the trolley car rolls by a lighted station wagon whose owner can be seen jogging near the base of the mountain stream which feeds bull rush pond. The owner has accidentally left on his headlights. These turn off and on randomly.
Summer Season – Picture 11
-The Trolley begins each trip from the red car barn stall to pass another trolley picking up passengers. The second trolley is not motorized; I added only an interior light.
-It passes 3-D city where passers-by are visiting a bank, a hotel, and numerous other shops along a tree lined street where children play.
-This entire track area is asphalted except for the sidewalk and grass covered hill behind the brick wall in front of the buildings.
-Before leaving, it glides by a small raised area lighted with lampposts not visible in the photograph where people can be seen gazing at the summer flowers.
Fall Season – Picture 12
-Trolley passes an MTH white framed house where the original garage has been replaced with a slightly larger one.
–It crosses a road where a young fellow is poised on his motor scooter and then passes the bottom of a hilly driveway down which a white VW with lighted tail lights is actually backing. Upon reaching the bottom, the Beetle reverses, the garage lights up and the car starts up the driveway.
-Next, passengers on the trolley see a small lighted park area where visitors are enjoying Fall flowers and pumpkins made from baked polymer clay. The park has cut stone walkways and a lighted lamppost.
-As you can see, all of the trees and bushes in this scene including the backdrop are dressed in bright Fall colors.
Winter Season – Picture 13
-It has snowed heavily here. Including the trolley track ties, everything is covered with a thick blanket of fresh snow as the trolley exits the mountain tunnel.
-Passengers can watch riders on moving sleds emerge from behind a snow pile at the top of a hill, slide down a long track and disappear behind a dense clump of pine trees.
–On their left, they pass an very old, snow covered farm truck with its lights on watching for errant sled riders. A warmly lit school house with a lighted bell tower illuminates this wintry scene.
-Finally, the trolley passes a festive tree adorned with real Christmas lights which turn off and on at varying intervals.
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In truth, my wife Jennie provided a lot of ideas for the various scenes and actually did much of the artistic work making the stream and pond. She painted backdrops so they would blend with photographed backgrounds which were computer enhanced. She was a great help and provided a lot of encouragement. My good friend, Connie Donaldson, made the flagstones, the reeds in the pond, the pumpkins and all the minature flowers.
This glass encased trolley line was fun to build and operate. Often it goes completely unnoticed until I remove the clutter of books, magazines, coffee cups and candy dish which often sit on its glass top. When this “junk” is gone and the power turned on, the fun begins for viewers who seem to delight in wandering with the trolley from one season to another, letting their own childhood imaginations run free!
Although this project took much time and patience to finish, I had a great time putting it all together. Truly it serves a useful purpose because when I go into the den, the table is covered with a variety of papers and magazines. However, when my grandkids come to visit, off comes all junk sitting on top, on go the control switches, and this tiny layout springs to life!