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Monday, August 24, 2009

Niles Project ~ The Grand Plan

The Three Prototype Cars That These Models Will Represent.

Overall the cars will look the same. They will all be painted San Diego Electric Railway mission yellow with mahogany trim (Apparently the SDERy shops did all the painting for the various traction companies around San Diego). The only thing different will be the lettering schemes. Each car will represent the different company names that they ran under in San Diego.

Car #107
San Diego & South Eastern
(Monogram style) :

This model will become SD&SE #107 (I have other plans for #105. See below) with the nice monogram logo on the sides.

Car #109
Point Loma Railroad:

This model volunteered to become the Point Loma car when it lost it pilot! Originally I was going to go with the 402 number, but I have since decided to use its original number to help separate it from the SDERy class 5, 400 series cars that would come later.

Car #105
San Diego & South Eastern
(Wells Fargo style) :

Okay, I'm going to use a little modelers license here. #105 didn't become a combination car until it was in the hands of the PE. But I'm going to do a "what if". SD&SE #101 (non-Niles car pictured above) was involved in an accident and was rebuilt into a combination car. But "what if" it was #105 that was in the accident instead? I'm mean, why not? It became a combo car eventually.

So that's the big plan for these cars. I think its a good plan. Yes sir! It's a good plan!


Monday, August 17, 2009

SDERy Niles Cars

With their signature arched windows (even the clerestory windows were arched!), cars built by the Niles Car & Manufacturing Co. were actually a rarity in Southern California. But six of them, built in the "California Car" style with an enclosed "all weather" section in the center and two open sections on the ends to take advantage of the fair southern California weather, did manage to make their way here.

The National City & Otay Railway, in 1908, ordered the six cars from Niles, numbered 105 - 110, to run on the 13 mile electric portion of NC&O's steam line from San Diego south to National City, Chula Vista and eventually Otay. Before the company took possession of the cars, the NC&O and Coronado Railroad were consolidated to become the San Diego Southern Railway.
Cars 105, 106 and 107 were retained by the San Diego Southern, but cars 108, 109 and 110 went to the Point Loma Railroad Co. The Point Loma line came under control of the San Diego Electric between 1909 and 1910, who changed the cars numbers to 401, 402 and 400 respectively. The numbers weren't changed on the cars themselves until 1911.

Around 1910, the Point Loma Railroad had car 110 repainted a chocolate brown and it became a very popular Sight Seeing Car. It ran over much of the San Diego Electrics lines, far from Point Loma.

The San Diego Southern lasted only a short 4 years before merging with the San Diego & Cuyamaca Railway to become the San Diego & South Eastern Railway in 1912. Note the nifty SD&SE monogram on car 105 (above). Car 105 would last the longest of the six. By 1915, San Diego Electric decided that their class 2 cars were more economical than the big interurbans and so retired the Niles cars.

All of the Niles cars were sold to the Pacific Electric in 1918. PE renumbered them 413- 418. Then 413 (ol' #105) was renumbered to 419, and ran under that number until 1933, when the other Niles cars were scrapped. 419 for whatever reason was spared and swapped numbers with PE 474.

Pacific Electrics spec sheet for the Niles cars.

#474 was spared yet again when it was rebuilt by the Pacific Electric as express car #1300. Car #1300 (old #474, and older #419, and yet older #413, and originally #105) was finally scrapped in 1941.

In 1970, Suydam imported HO scale brass models of PE 414 and PE 13oo Niles cars. Of which I have three. I think its time to get these trolleys tricked out next. Yessir! Tricked out trolleys!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Three Niles Cars

My Next Victims! Bwahahahahaha!

The first of these cars (the center one with all the tarnish) I bought some 25 years ago (good lord how time flies!!!)!!! But despite my best efforts and determination, I could never get it to run properly. I wired it for overhead. I made modifications so that it could take tighter radius curves. But it still ran way to fast and jerky. I later discovered that a gear was slipping. How on earth do I fix that?! So it languished, not a favorite of mine.

In the mean time, I collected the other two knowing that someday, I will have the skills and know-how to get these cars running finely.

Well, that someday is finally here. With the recent advent of the BullAnt Loboy trucks and the success of my Birney car, I think the time is right to finally get these cars built out once and for all. Yes sir! Get 'em built out once and for all!