The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More on the Moale Trolleys

Back in January I posted on the Moale trolleys, and how a photo was to be found in the February, 1956 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. The description of the photo there was
Cmdr. Edward S. Moale, U.S.N., Ret., started building his collection of OO gauge street car models in 1936. Today he has 62, all scratch built using blue prints he picked up in various cities in which he was stationed. The Moale layout has 5 scale miles of track, most of it trolley wire; some 3rd rail track for his SIRT and BMT cars. The careful visitor will notice a few discrepancies, such as running PRT and Panama cars on standard gauge track. The Cmdr. now lives in Washington, D.C.
With the OO SIG inventory were a group of photos of the Moale layout or layouts. I am fairly sure they actually show two different layouts but are both Moale. It is a puzzle to piece together but in particular this photo caught my attention as it is not only one of the sharpest but also it is of the same pose as the photo published in RMC in 1956 but with different trolley cars on the curved track and with more of the layout visible. From the mounting this photo was printed in 1958 but was certainly taken in the same photo shoot.

Click on the photo for a closer view of the details, details that are even clearer in the original print. Let’s start at the front. There are three tracks before you get to the trolley. The first one is probably tru-scale and the second and third are Mantua. All have had a center third rail added made from heavy gauge wire soldered onto screw heads.

The track with the first trolley is to the left side tru-scale and to the right I think hand laid. Note the overhead wire was over the two tracks with Mantua track but there is no wire over this track. Also note the trucks over to the right. I can’t determine the maker.

Next we have two trolleys on the curve, the one on the left lettered for the Newport News and Old Point and the one on the right lettered for Milwaukee Electric Lines. Then we are to the town. I don’t know enough about vintage buildings but the houses look like factory items. The hotel is the Tuscawilla Hotel.

Way in the back is a yard full of passenger and freight cars and an industry, “The Cone and Ball Company.” Can’t make out too many details but the overhead is in place back there.

After the Morlok auction I was able to purchase one of the Moale trolley cars on eBay. I picked out this one as it is for Kansas City Railways (car no. 1123) and if I build a bigger layout someday I would like to build something like a terminal on the edge of Kansas City.

The car was a bit damaged when it arrived. The current state though allows a view into how it was made. It is all wood and is wired to operate from the overhead wire. Also if you look closely the trucks are by Red Ball, so they are actually HO traction trucks modified for OO. The paint job is a bit heavy but typical of the day. It has some interior details on the end that does not have the motor, including a motorman figure.

The sad thing is the motor is missing one brush so I don’t think I will ever get this model operational again. For the time being my plan is just to stabilize it and get it back together. I am sure the Commander enjoyed his trains, and it is to be hoped that some of them will roll again someday.

UPDATE: Continue reading here for Part III on the Moale trolley and interurban models, with views of his layout in color. Also, the car above is back together. I was able, amazingly, to find a new brush holder and brush to fit the motor in the parts supply, so the car is complete. However, it is also three-rail (it ran off a live overhead) so I have not worked on it further to set it up for operation, it is just a great shelf model for now.


Phil R. said...

This is really neat stuff. I am glad you were able to get this car. When It came up for auction I thought of you. I wonder who the individual was that won most of the other Moale trolleys. It was hard to bid against that Cat.

IRT Eastside Line said...

Hi I'm new to this site and really interested in unique train scales and would love to see more of you this guys collection and see yours. Rip Moale

John Ericson said...

Actually the main buyer when those went through eBay owns the last Moale layout! Good he could keep the collection together.

Anonymous said...

I found a reference to Edward Moale for "Railroad Model Craftsman",1940, Volume 9 - Page 25 (no month given). It probably has a photo, but I haven't seen the actual page. Here is the text-

(5). An OO-gauge Denver tramway: on HO track built by Lt. Edward S. Moale of Fort Schuyler.