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My Scratchbuilt Catenary - Members Projects - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Dec 9th, 2015 02:42 pm
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Ed
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I've always wanted some AC locomotives. I even remember seeing the original offerings by Triang/Hornby in the late 1960s and thinking, wow, you can run two trains on the same track at the same time.

How times have changed with DCC.

Having now bought a couple of AC locomotives, I thought I had better sort out some sort of catenary.

After searching various forums and the web I came up with the following drawings.



Bearing in mind my garage environment I need the OLE to be pretty robust, so reasonably prototypical but probably vastly over scale.

I also picked up the idea of fixing the loco pantographs just below the contact wire height, which I believe is what Dave (westcoast) does on his excellent Wemblesden Park layout.

As I'm not picking up power from the OLE, the pantograph doesn't need to touch the contact wire part of the catenary, which should put less strain on the catenary as it doesn't need to be under tension. (Well, that's the theory).

Last Saturday I made a quick jig and soldered up the following first attempt at a mast.

You may notice I've already had to make some adjustments to what I originally had in the drawings.





I plan to solder up lengths of catenary using 0.4mm Brass wire as the contact wire and 0.4mm Copper wire as the catenary wire, with droppers made from single strands from standard 16/0.2 hook up wire.

This might not be robust enough, but there's only one way to find out.

The catenary wire will hook over the mast as indicated by the blue arrow in the picture below and the contact wire where the red arrow points at the (well oversized) registration arm.



I've already found a few problems.

I somehow doubt my ability to create the registration arm to the same shape and dimensions even with a jig, so it could end up a simpler 'L' type shape.

The first mast is evergreen 4.0mm H-Column which may be a little too flexible, even thought the catenary will be very light.

How do you operate a small terminus with OLE?

Run around loop, or should the AC loco uncouple and pull forward and another loco attach at the other end to take the train back out?

:hmm

I haven't had time to solder another mast yet, but hopefully the first two questions may be answered when I have, but anyone have any ideas on operating a small terminus with OLE, without using EMUs?



Ed












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 Posted: Wed Dec 9th, 2015 05:25 pm
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G`day Ed,

I would think the mast is going to be the main problem. It`s strength / rigidity for a start and then getting the height and the vertical right.

Those factors will have a big effect on how the wire sits above the pantograph on the loco. Were the posts ever done using steel tube instead of the H pattern girder, because if you could use tube, you could push and glue some threaded rod up it to firstly strengthen it and secondly to anchor it. Drill a hole through the board for the rod and put a nut underneath.

That`s all I can come up with at the moment because I `m not at all familiar with this overhead system.

:cheers  Gormo



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 Posted: Wed Dec 9th, 2015 05:57 pm
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Thanks Gormo.

Don't think it will need to be strong enough for steel posts, but I might have to swap from styrene H-Column to styrene square bar.

There's Dave's old post on here where he made portals (gantries) using brass rod

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=2343&forum_id=14

or this one on ukmodelshops where I think Alistair was using slightly larger 4.8mm styrene H-Column

http://www.ukmodelshops.co.uk/other/catenery_article.php

I'll have a better idea once I've done another mast a made a 500mm catenary section, which is my longest planned run between masts.


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 Posted: Thu Dec 10th, 2015 01:07 am
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gormo
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Good Luck with it all,
The end results will be worth the effort.
:cheers  Gormo



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 Posted: Thu Dec 10th, 2015 01:24 pm
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Ed wrote: ..........

How do you operate a small terminus with OLE?

Run around loop, or should the AC loco uncouple and pull forward and another loco attach at the other end to take the train back out?

:hmm

I haven't had time to solder another mast yet, but hopefully the first two questions may be answered when I have, but anyone have any ideas on operating a small terminus with OLE, without using EMUs?



Ed












Hi Ed, 
How you would run a small terminus can really depend so it is really all up to you, depending on year and location, as which would depend if 'your' stations track has been 'modernized' which would be around the 70's, which run-round loops disappear. 
in my layouts I usual avoid them as I like an excuse to do shunting of parcels and passenger stock.
Seasonal regards



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 Posted: Thu Dec 10th, 2015 03:40 pm
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Ed
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I was coming round to the same way of thinking Aaron.

It was really a case of whether to have a two armed mast (or whatever) to take the OLE around the loop as well as the platform 1 line.

If I don't use the loop with AC locos, they can pull forward and a diesel or steam loco can then attach to the other end to take the train back out.

Reasonable excuse if where the train is heading has not been electrified at the time :roll:

I've just 'plonked' the mast more or less where it will go once finished and painted.



Bit wonky, but shows the idea.



Ed








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 Posted: Thu Dec 10th, 2015 03:55 pm
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Hi Ed,

I once sold off a lot of Triang/Hornby catenary a while back. Thought I'd take a look at fleabay to see if people are still seeling it off. There are a few...

http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?ul_noapp=true&_fromfsb=0&_nkw=hornby+catenary&_trksid=m270.l1313

Cheers, Gary.

 



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 Posted: Thu Dec 10th, 2015 04:16 pm
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Ed
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Loads of it about Gary, but way overpriced and even less prototypical than my effort.

The 'new' Dapol masts are a bit better prototypically, but flimsy from what I've read.

Dapol masts are cheap enough, but the wires only come in set lengths and are expensive.

A lot of people seem to use the sommerfeldt or Veismann HO stuff, but again it's pricey.

Anyway building your own is fun, and if you decide you don't like it and rip it out, it hasn't cost much.


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 Posted: Thu Dec 10th, 2015 05:27 pm
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Idid have the original tri-ang masts and black bo-bo loco,as you said run two loco`s on the same track it was fun,and surprisingly worked well,hope you enjoy yours ,
:thumbs;-):cool:
Owen



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 Posted: Thu Dec 10th, 2015 10:48 pm
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Will the OLE be removable? if not I would recommend putting them in last, as once they are installed the chances of snagging them while doing other works might be an issue.



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 Posted: Fri Dec 11th, 2015 12:56 am
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Ed
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Hi Aaron

I am planning to form hooks at each end of the caternary and contact wires, so that each sections of wires will hook over the arms of the masts.

Might not look pretty, but this is a representation of OLE and I am concerned about removing sections for other work as you've mentioned, including track cleaning.

I've read that there's a very good article about scratch building caternary in the February 2014 issue of Model Rail Magazine and I've managed to find an old copy for just under £3.00 on eBay. Should make good reading when I get it next week.

Ed





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 Posted: Fri Dec 11th, 2015 07:01 pm
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I think there is a possibility that a plastic/styrene post will gradually sag with the loading all on one side unless it is of an unrealistically stout cross section...is brass tube out of the question?

Doug



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 Posted: Fri Dec 11th, 2015 09:48 pm
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Hi Doug

You may well be right about the styrene and square brass rod may be a much better, if more expensive option.

At the moment, nothing is out of the question and all suggestions gratefully received :thumbs


Ed





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 Posted: Wed Dec 16th, 2015 05:57 pm
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Ed
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I've just received some 5mm square styrene strip which may produce a more rigid mast.

I've also redesigned the mast slightly to hopefully make the dimensions easier to measure and cut (basically rounded up the numbers).

Mast version 2





The height between rail head and contact wire is still the same.

I'll have a go at version 2 later this week and then post a picture.



Ed



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 Posted: Thu Dec 17th, 2015 12:33 am
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look forward to it,,
:thumbs;-):cool:
Owen



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 Posted: Thu Dec 17th, 2015 01:19 pm
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^^^ wot he said 



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 Posted: Thu Dec 17th, 2015 01:44 pm
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Ed
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Think you've both got far more faith in my abilities than I have :mutley


but thanks anyway.




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 Posted: Sun Dec 20th, 2015 06:05 am
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The local DIY chain stores stock a range of metal section material - bar, rod, tube, square section etc. in brass, aluminium or steel.

I too suspect your plastic girder won't be strong enough and would experiment with steel or aluminium square section with a suitable threaded rod soldered/glued in the bottom end to bolt it to your baseboard.  As it's not designed to be "working", there's no need to worry about electrical conductivity ...............;-)

I suspect the problems associated with making "scale" catenary strong enough for our purposes but at a price we can afford,  is the main reason you seldom see it modelled ............I know it's a major headache with the tram modellers.



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 Posted: Sun Dec 20th, 2015 12:23 pm
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Ed
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Petermac wrote: The local DIY chain stores stock a range of metal section material - bar, rod, tube, square section etc. in brass, aluminium or steel.


Not in my local DIY stores Peter.

They mainly sell brackets or metal strips for specific purposes. I've got more chance of finding a butcher's shop and they're as rare as hen's teeth :lol:


Ed



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 Posted: Sun Dec 20th, 2015 01:48 pm
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Do you have a nearby B&Q  Ed ?  I saw it there when I was over in November .................:roll::roll::roll:



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