Facebook Page
Southern California Traction Club
Southern California Traction Club

Southern California's award-winning HO scale modular traction group!

The Southern California Traction Club (SCTC) was founded in October 1995 by six trolley modelers, only one of whom still remains with the club. The SCTC is a modular group that operates model electric streetcars, interurban and contemporary light rail vehicles from powered overhead wires. The scale used is HO scale, which is 87 scale feet to one actual foot or 1/87 scale. In the early days, the club met at the former All Aboard Model Railroad Emporium in Torrance, California, since closed. The first three modules that the club built were located in that hobby shop until November 1996. For the next two years the club met in members homes until they acquired their own clubhouse in a two-car garage in a section of Los Angeles called Baldwin Vista, near Village Green, a planned community built in the early 1940s.

In April 1997, the club made its first public appearance with five modules at the South Bay Botanic Gardens in Palos Verdes, CA. Since that time, the club has displayed their modules several times a year at public shows mainly in the Southern California area. Most of the club modules are four feet long and all have a double-track main line with code 83 rail. Originally, the club completely rebuilt an old trailer that had been donated to the club to carry eleven modules and stored this trailer at the clubhouse. Within two years, the club had more than the eleven modules that trailer could transport, so a second trailer was acquired. As of April 2021, the club had made over 130 appearances from Las Vegas, NV to San Diego, CA and had added both an operational subway train module controlled by Digital Command Control (DCC).

The club features an operating subway line at "small-fry" level, which is a hit with the younger set. During 2008, the club commenced operation on their new City Streetcar Display (CSD) operated exclusively using DCC.

The club performed all operational testing on the Bowser HO scale San Francisco F-line PCC, which was released in November 2009 and performed final testing on the production sample chassis for the next Bowser trolley to be released in early 2011. The club also participated in the final test program for both the Train Control Systems (TCS) M4T and T6XT decoders for PCC cars that simulated actual prototypical brake light operation along with a passenger stop function. The club is currently testing other proposed TCS traction oriented decoders. The club also tested the first of the Soundtraxx Tsunami DCC/Sound decoders that were used in the Bowser PCC cars that were released in December 2011 and the ESU LokSound units that replaced the Soundtraxx Tsunami units starting in 2014.

The club embraced DCC operation, minimized DC operation and revised its main display to represent an urban atmosphere complete with streetcars and track intersections. this is called the City Streetcar Display (CSD). They also added a second display, called the Light Rail Vehicle Display features modern light rail and low floor modern streetcars such as those operating in Tucson, AZ. In July 2016, the club added an N scale Display to present model commuter trains. This display is called the Urban Rail Commuter Transit (URCT) Display. It features push-pull operation of diesel-electric powered commuter type trains and also features modern trams.

The SCTC currently has active members from as far north as Saugus, CA and as far west as Tokyo, Japan. They recently have started a "trial" membership program. A six-month trial membership begins with one trip to the clubhouse in Baldwin Hills and filling out a small application. At the end of the six-month period, active membership can be obtained by simply beginning the payment of dues. Members can be found there on alternate Saturdays or Sundays working on modules or rolling stock. All cars, except for the subway cars, are converted from the conventional two-rail operation to operate from overhead wire via trolley poles or pantographs. For more information, please contact the club via email.

You do not have to live in the Greater Los Angeles area to be a member of this club. Our club has created a special E-Member category for those traction modelers without access to a hobby shop or a club. This category is for modelers who for one reason for mostly geographical reasons cannot physically visit the clubhouse. For more information, please contact the club via email.

At one National Train Show in Anaheim., CA, the club received Honorable Mention in the Group Module Contest and the NMRA Design Preservation Models (DPM) City Classics Award. The club's stand-alone module won third place at the East Penn Traction Club Meet at Villanova University, Villanova, PA. The club has won three other awards at model train shows over the years.


If the answer is YES, the Southern California Traction Club may be just right for you!!

The club is now making E-Membership available to those who either live outside of the Los Angeles area,
or who cannot visit our clubhouse due to physical limitations
but whose modeling desires fit into the club mission.
We also have "Trial" memberships that cost nothing!

Call John McWhirter (323) 445-5144 for more information!!


The club developed a "lift-bridge" module to eliminate crawling under the modules to access the center
of our large rectangular display. To see how the club did this, please click here!

Club member David Lyman created the above video at the club's 80th appearance at the
South Coast Botanic Gardens, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California in November 2009!

of the April 2006 club display! Photos of club displays during 2004!

The now 100% DCC Southern California Traction Club made their 113th public appearance
at the Pomona Great Train Show on July 18-19, 2015!

Photos of the club display at the Los Angeles Division NMRA train show in Palos Verdes on April 15-16, 2000!
The trailer the club completely rebuilt in 1997 to carry modules.
Links to traction and model sites.

All trademarks and designs are the property of their owners and are only shown here for identification purposes.

If you have comments or questions regarding our web site, we would love to hear from you.
Please contact us via e-mail.

Last updated June 27, 2019  
Copyright 2021 Southern California Traction Club. All rights reserved.