To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Current Line Models Power Trucks and More

Ed Miller, the owner of Current Line Models (CLM), contacted me about my comments regarding CLM power truck dimensions. Ed Miller stated, "They have not changed in over 50 years. The LL truck that Wagner produced was 1 1/16 high. the CLL is the same.

"If you look at the lower bolster on the older CLL truck you will see that Rick (Wagner) built up the casting to support the round can motor. The upper brass bolster is the same one as the bolster on the older LL trucks with the open frame motors. Only difference is the LL truck had the mounting plate riveted on and the CLL has the screw and spacer. The was done because if someone used a screw that was too long it would foul the motor. After a few repairs Rich went to the rivet.

"The CLL trucks I make with the Johnson motors use the lower bolster from the older open frame motors so they work out to the same height. What I can do on trucks with a 6' 6" WB or larger is use the smaller 64 pitch gearbox and shave the rear of the motor a little and drop the motor below the rear axle a little and get the top of the brass bolster down to a little below 7/8".

"The pictures of the CSL X car have this and the truck is completely under floor. Only thing that shows on the top is the head of the 2-56 flat head screw which I hid with some detail parts that I glue on top of it with some hot glue so if the truck has to be removed they can be removed."

To demonstrate what Ed is talking about, below is a page from the “Wagner Car Company, Truck Book No. 6”. The CLL power truck is in the middle with a photo to the right.
Current Line Models, Wagner Car Company, Truck Book No. 6, page 3

The pictures of the CSL X car Ed mentions are these. The model is a CSL crane. Most of the CSL service cars were numbered in the “X” series. It is a beautiful model.

The other item of interest is my taking out time to up-grade the electrical system of my layout. For about a year 2 of the turnout motors has not worked correctly and some switch lamps were out of order. Also, more storage space is required to display models.

Work has been under way for the past 2 weeks to prepare smaller “control panels”. About 1/3 of the work of installing them has been completed. Four small “control panels” will replace the large control “panel”.

In the opened up space either my small streetcar test track can be placed or a tiered display unit installed.

Originally my layout was designed and built with the idea of operating either 2-rail models OR trolleys with both rails grounded. A number of small electrical gremlins kept popping up. With the electrical up-grade only trolleys will be operated. The layout is an interurban layout without street running.

The other change is the use of real interurban or rapid transit controllers to operate the models. Many years ago both a CA&E and CRT controllers were wired-up for 12-18 volt operation. They will be used instead of a power pack.

To see the layout in operation visit Eric Bronsky’s Electropickle Productions U-Tube videos at  OR

The electrocution of the pickle was to make Eric an honest man!

Old chemistry teachers never die, they just fail to react!


  1. Dear Ed,

    I'm writing to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I'm 64, and I have returned to model railroading after 50 years away from the hobby.

    My primary focus is O scale traction. I'm trying to climb the learning curve; I've spent the last two years reading back issues of Trolley Talk and Traction & Models, and other periodicals and material as I can find them.

    I'm working on the MTH trolley conversion that Tony Tieuli wrote in TT, and I have a Q Car 21E Brill truck from Quentin at Q car. I'm also working on a traction flat trailer kit from Martin Brechbiel. Tony, Quentin and Martin have been very helpful.

    It's slow going due to having to learn even the most simple skills, plus I tend to be a perfectionist. But what a great time I'm having!

    I really appreciate your blog. It is invaluable to me as a beginner. I have learned many things from you because you go into detail.

    I was trying to decide which radial couplers to buy, and there was your tutorial to help me!

    I'll be in Oak Park for a few days next month, and I was considering a visit to Des Plaines Hobbies. From reading your blog, it seems that they have a good selection of O scale traction parts.

    I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to write your blog, especially now that Trolley Talk and Traction & Models are no longer being published.

    One of the things that I find particularly fascinating about O scale traction is reading about the history of the hobby. I wish I could have met the Wagners and some of the other pioneers.

    Well, thanks for your time, and thanks again for the wonderful blog.

    Mike in Pittsburgh

    1. Mike, thanks for your comments. It looks like my goal of getting others interested in building O scale trolleys has started to come true.

      If you are coming to the Chicago area, contact me at to set-up a visit.


  2. Thanks for the youtube link, a lot of fun had by all indeed.