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PCC Cars | Susquehanna S Gaugers

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James Edwards S-Ga. PCC Cars

Note: Craig O'Connell's "S" Traction Supplies page is the most complete guide for other S traction info on the internet


1. Photos Of Complete Trolleys
2. Half Bodies In Picture Frames
3. James Edwards Personal History
4. Drive Train Notes
5. Quantities, Paint Schemes, Manufacturing & Other Misc Ootes
Appendix A - Scale Discussion

SUMMARY: This web page decribes some S-gauge PCC cars, with hand-painted epoxy bodies, produced in small volumes by the late James Edwards, in the 1990's timeframe.

  • Thanks to traction modeler William Campbell of the Philadelphia area for the access to the 10 cars shown in the photos.
  • Thanks to Mike McConnell of the South Jersey S-Gaugers for taking the following Photos 2 thru 12 on his digital camera.
    • Thanks also to the South Jersey S-Gaugers for shutting down their Steamtown display long enough to photograph these PCCs on their mainline.
  • Thanks to Richard Raighn of the South Jersey S-Gaugers who "tracked down" the surviving brother Richard Edwards.

1. Photos Of Complete Trolleys


Photo 1 -- S-Gauge PCC Cars - Shown With American Flyer Caboose At Left


Photo 2 -- S-Gauge PCC Cars - Photographed by Mike McConnell On The South Jersey S-Gaugers Layout At Steamtown in Scranton PA, Memorial Day weekend 5/28/00

Philadelphia Cars

Photo 3 -- #2047 Philadelphia Transit Corp


Photo 4 -- #2054 Philadelphia Transit Corp


Photo 5 -- #2501 Philadelphia Transit Corp


Photo 6 -- #2702 Septa

Other Cars

Photo 7 -- #16 New Jersey Transit


Photo 8 -- #1510 DC Trainsit


Photo 9 -- #3501 Montreal


Photo 10 -- #4567 Toronto


Photo 11 -- #6891 Atlantic City


Photo 12 -- #7003 Baltimore


2. Half Bodies In Picture Frames

Photo 13 -- S Scale Bodies, Used As "Wall Art"

  • As seen in the above Photo, James Edwards also made some 3 dimensional "paintings".

  • It appears he used the same S-scale PCC body mold, to make half a body, that he mounted in a picture frame. The above PCC bodies are the same size as the full bodies shown preceding. The building flats appears like they may really be HO scale.

  • He also made a model of what appears to be the Kawasaki LRV body in a picture frame, as seen in the lower left & upper right frames.

3. James Edwards Personal History

Source Of Information For This Artcle

  • Brother Richard Edwards--Much of this personal information came from a conversation in June 2000 with Richard
  • Nephew John Hrosovsky
  • William Campbell of Philadelphia area whose father was the largest single purchaser of these cars.
  • Wayne Schneyer of the South Jersey S-Gaugers, a traction modeler

Figure 14 -- James Edwards Business Card

The Three Edwards Brothers

  • James Edwards, the maker of the PCC cars, died about Dec 22 or 23, 1997, at the ago of 59, from an aggressive cancer located between his heart, lungs, and spine.
  • Richard Edwards is the brother who still lives at 3704 Bandon Drive, and assisted James with production of these trolleys.
    • Richard does a lot of model painting. He currently words for IHC (Internation Hobby Corp), on HO model railroad projects.
  • A third brother Kenneth Edwards was never involved in the production of the trolleys.
  • The third person listed on the business card, John Hrosovsky, was a nephew of James Edwards. He currently lives in Philadelphia, and is a traction fan, but not a modeler.

James Edward Background

  • James was a machinist by trade. He was retired at the time he got involved in the trolleys.
  • He was also interested in aircraft and fire-fighting equipment, and made models of both these types of equipment.
  • Before the trolley project started, both James and Richard had a machine shop, and were involved in making 3/8 scale static model railroad display models from brass.
  • At the time he got involved in the trolley production, he was recently divorced and his two kids had left home. Richard relates that he dived-into the trolley project to sort of keep himself occupied while trying to adjust to the "empty nest" situation.

Editorial Opinion: When you consider the amount of time it must have required to make one of these cars, including casting the body, wheel covers and truck parts, painting and decaling everything, modifying the Athearn power trucks, and assembling the whole thing, James Edwards must have been producing these cars truly as a "labor of love".


4. Drive Train Notes

Photo 15 -- Power Chassis of Septa car.

Photo 16 -- Top view of same chassis

  • The preceeding two Photos show the chassis of the Septa car. For this particular car, the power chassis is held into the body by a kind of rubbery cement.

  • Some of the other cars have a slightly different chassis. The chassis is longer than the one in the above photo, and is attached to the body by 4 screws.

Drive Train Production Notes

  • Richard Edwards ususally made the drive trains for these trolleys.
  • Richard recalls that they made the drive train by buying Athearn HO GP-8's and GP-9's from Standard Hobby. They used Ace wheelsets to change the power truck from HO to S-gauge. (As assembled, only 4 out of the 8 wheels are picking up power).
  • Richard says luckily the axle was the right diameter that he could push the Athearn gear onto the Ace axle, and glue it with an ACC bonding adhesive.
  • They then took the Athearn bodies and other leftover HO parts to Greenberg shows, and resold what they could of the leftover HO parts.

Drive Train Experiments

  • Richard relates that there was a period when James was trying to eliminate the cost of buying the Athearn drivetrain.
  • He experimented with using Radio Shack can motors, and making his own gears. Richard reports that these drives were not very reliable, and James went back to the Athearn drivetrains.
  • Richard relates that James was always trying to reduce costs by doing things himself, even though he sometimes bordered on "reinventing the wheel".
  • Richard says (tongue in cheek) that in James way of thinking, "a shovel should be part of of your production process, so that you could dig up the minerals in your back yard to start with whenever possible". 

5. Miscellaneous Other Notes

Some Producers Of S-Gauge PCC Cars

There have been at least 4 producers of S-Gauge PCC cars:
  • Corgi 1:50 scale -- currently available, used on both O & S-gauge track. For S-gauge operation, people use the Pennsylvania Heritage Models power chassis.
  • James Edwards -- cars described in this article--no longer in production
  • Hoquat--no longer in production
  • Pope Imagineering--no longer in production

    There may be other sources that I am not aware of.

5a. Quantities & Paint Schemes

Production Quantaties -- Complete Operating S-Gauge PCC Cars

  • Nephew John Hrosovsky guesstimates that a total of about 80 of the S-gauge PCC cars were produced, guessing in the timeframe maybe 1995 through 1997.
  • John thinks there were about 20 Toronto cars made, 7 or 8 Montreal cars, 15-20 Newark cars, plus the other paint schemes.

Paint Schemes

  • Examination of the above photos 3 through 12 on this page, reveals 4 different Philadelphia paint schemes plus 6 others.
  • In addition to the 10 paint schemes shown in the above photos, John Hrosovsky and Richard Edwards recall an MBTA Boston car, a NYC car, a yellow Baltimore , and a "Gulf Oil" paint scheme, which was an early Septa paint scheme similar to the Gulf colors.
  • In general, James painted the shells. Richard recalls that Richard painted a few of the more complex schemes, such as the New Jersey Transit car and one of the others.
  • John Hrosovsky recalls the James had a book showing color photographs of 5000 different PCC car paint schemes, that they used as their guide.

Production Quantaties -- S-Gauge Wall Pictures

  • Nephew John Hrosovsky guesstimates that about 40 of the S-Gauge wall pictures were made, most with buildings (like Photo 15 above).

Selling The PCC Cars

  • Wayne Schneyer of the South Jersey S-Gaugers remembers seeing James Edwards selling these cars at Greenburg shows in the early 1990's in the Philadelphia area. The selling price was about $99 per car. Wayne reports that James usually had about 6 or 8 of these PCCs with him.
  • Richard says he also advertised them in one of the S Gauge magazines.
  • Nephew John Hrosovsky recalls making several weekend trips to Toronto, and selling the Toronto cars to employees of Toronto Transit.

5b. Body Manufacturing Notes

Body Variations

From examination of the above photos, it appears there are 4 obvious variations in body shape:
  • The bodies in Photos 3, 6, 7 & 8 have the small standee windows above the small main windows.
  • The bodies in Photos 4, 5, 9, and 12 do not have any standee windows.
  • The Toronto car in Photo 10 has the small main windows, but no standee windows above the main windows.
  • The Atlantic City body in Photo 11 has a "fender skirt" that covers the real wheels.
  • Also, the DC car in Photo 8 has no ladder behind the rear doors like the other cars (although it's difficult to see in the photos).

Early Bodies & Later Bodies

  • Richard reports some early trolleys were molded with 3-piece bodies. They were about 1/4" thinner in width, had a lighted rear headlight, and standee windows.
  • The later trolleys were 1-piece bodies. All cars shown in Photos 3 through 12 have the 1-piece bodies
  • Quantity Estimates: (for the total estimated 80 trolleys produced)
    • 3-piece bodies: about 20
    • 1-piece bodies: about 60

Other Body Production Notes

  • Richard relates that James made silicon modes. James experimented with verious mixtures of resins and polysterenes for the bodies.
  • Richard thinks that production of these bodies produced a lot of toxic gases, which James refused to wear protection for, and may have contributed to the cancer.
  • Nephew John Hrosovsky John recalls his uncle often working all night, sanding bodies, etc.

Making The Trolley Poles

  • James made the poles out of support mechanism from an umbrella. All he had to do was cut out the hinge and rod from the umbrella.
  • Richard relates that trolley-pole production would increase greatly after a windy rainstorm, when lots of ruined umbrellas would be available.
  • The trolley pole springs came from discarded disposable cigarette lighter.

Oversized For S-Gauge

  • DIMENSIONS--I asked Richard about the fact that the Edwards PCC is somewhat oversized for S-Gauge. Richard related that James did the first prototype on an extremely tight budget, and started with an egg carton, and fashioned it into a PCC body.
  • See "Appendix A Scale Discussion" below for more discussion on scale.

5c. Miscellaneous Other Comments

Trolley Layouts:

  • Richard estimates James built about 10 or 12 small trolley layouts in S gauge, dimensions about 2 feet by 3-1/2 feet.
    • James used hand-laid, "in-street" track, to accomplish the 2 feet diameter circle.
  • Richard also built a larger, more elaborate S-gauge layout, complete with overhead wire, named "City Sidewalks" which they entered into a Greenburg show.
    • The nephew Richard Hrosovsky currently has possession of this layout.

Other S-Gauge Projects (not completed)

  • Richard relates that the PCC cars were the only assembled, operating S-gauge items produced.
  • James made some complete Kawasaki LRV bodies, but none of these ever got fitted with mechanisms.
  • They also made a prototype of a GG1 body, but at about the same time American Models introduced their GG1, and this was abandoned.
  • Richard made a prototype of a Pacific Electric car out of wood, with the intention that James might make a mold of that, but the prototype languished for several years and James never got interested.

Other Model Railroad Projects

  • James also made HO scale PCC bodies, for mounting on a Bachman mechanism. James supplied a kit that included the body, and also the wheel covers to glue on the plain Bachman wheels to make them look more like a PCC car wheel.
  • James apparently also produced some HO trolley layouts.
  • James also produced a PCC car in O gauge
  • James also produced baseball caps with railroad-themed badges on them. He did this partly to raise funds.


Appendix A - Scale Discussion

A1. Comparision Of Size With Pope Imagineering Car

Photo 17 -- S ga. Pope Imagineering PCC Car at left, S ga. James Edwards PCC car at Right
(Pope Car courtesy Dick Purnell, photo by Mary Jane Purnell)
  • Note from the above photo, the Pope car at left, is almost as long, but much lower and narrower than the James Edwards car at right.

  • Per Dick Purnell, his Pope car as shown above, measures about 9 inches in length [9/ (12x46.5) = 0.0161 = 1/62] which is about 1/62 scale. The width and height are probably much closer to 1/64 S Scale than the oversize James Edwards car.

  • Thus the James Edwards car actually has dimensions more like a Lionel O-27 piece of rolling stock than an actual S scale piece. If photographed next to the Corgi PCC which is 1/50 scale, it should be shorter than the Corgi, but have similar width and height.

A2. Summary Of Scale Calculations


  • Note: All these measurements of the model were "eyeballed" with a ruler, so they are not exact.
  • The James Edwards model is somewhat oversize in length, and significantly oversize in height and width.
    • The length (about 9.55 in) scales to about 1/58.4 scale (slightly less than halfway between O and S)
    • The width (about 1.95 in) calculates to about 1/52.3 scale (more than halfway between O and S)
    • The height (about 2.65 in) calculates to about 1/47.2 scale (slightly larger than O scale)

Reference Notes

  1. S Scale = 1/64  
  2. A hypothetical scale halfway between S & O scale would be 1/56 (( [64+48]/2) = 1/56 ))
  3. O Scale = 1/48

PCC Car Dimensions Per Philadelphia Transportation Corp. Drawing

Figure 18 -- PCC Car Dimensions, from a George Metz book (used with permission of George Metz, 5/31/00)

A3. Calculations To Determine Scale

  • In real life these cars were generally around 46-1/2 feet in length, although they apparently varied from a low of 43 feet up to about 50 feet in a few cases.

Length Calculation

  • These model PCC cars eyeball at about 9.55 inches, from front bumper to rear bumper (prototype is about 46.4479 feet long)
  • Scale = Model / Prototype =
    = (9.55 in) x (1 ft/12 in) x (1/46.4479 ft ) = 0.0171 = 1 / 58.4 (ratio of model to prototype for length)

Check Of Length Calculation

Working backwards as a CHECK:

  • As a check on this 1/58.55 calculated ratio, converting the prototype measurements to the model measurements gives:
    (46.5 ft proto ) x ( 1 model / 58.55 proto ) x ( 12 in/ft) = 9.53 "
  •  This 9.53" compares with the original 9.55" we started with, discrepancy probably due to round-off error.

Width Calculation

  • These model PCC cars eyeball at about 1.95 inches in width (prototype is about 8.4479 feet wide)
  • Scale = Model / Prototype =
    = (1.95 in) x (1 ft/12 in) x (1/8.4479 ft ) = 0.0191 = 1 / 52.3 (ratio of model to prototype for width)

Height Calculation

  • These model PCC cars eyeball at about 2.65 inches, from top of rail to top of body (prototype is about 10.2396 feet high)
  • Scale = Model / Prototype =
    = (2.65 in) x (1 ft/12 in) x (1/10.2396 ft ) = 0.0224 = 1 / 47.2 (ratio of model to prototype for height)


This page modified 9/3/2006 (18a31) by
James R. Ingram . . Williamsport PA