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First time Catenary installation

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  • Member since
    March, 2011
  • From: Klamath Falls, Oregon
  • 256 posts
First time Catenary installation
Posted by oregon shay on Sunday, June 10, 2012 5:20 PM

Enamored enough by the design and performance of the real thing, I've taken the plunge and purchased a PRR GG1 electric locomotive in HO scale (MTH - with DCC and sound - due to ship next month).

I'd like to install some non-powered catenary to a part of my layout to enhance the operational and visual appeal.   

I'm looking for advice from forum members who have experience with installing overhead line in HO scale.

Thanks in advance. 

  • Member since
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  • From: Westcentral Pennsylvania (Johnstown)
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Posted by tgindy on Sunday, June 10, 2012 7:28 PM

To get you started -- A similar request came for Still Seeking Source for N Scale PRR Catenery on New Year's Day 2012.  PRR References, let alone other weblinks, here are applicable to any scale for traction, whether for live overhead or virtual overhead.

Conemaugh Road & Traction circa 1956

  • Member since
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  • From: South Carolina
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Posted by Train Modeler on Monday, June 11, 2012 9:50 AM

1. When going through the effort of adding catenary, I would make it live.  Otherwise I'm not sure how it would help your operational aspects.  

2. It's been years since we had a layout with it, but I think it was Fleishmann which fit in under the track and then went overhead which held the proper height. 

3. Turnouts and crossovers require some gaping as I recall. 

4. It's hard to detail around the track once the catenary is up, so do that first.

Richard

  • Member since
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  • From: Southwest US
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Posted by tomikawaTT on Monday, June 11, 2012 12:28 PM

Train Modeler

1. When going through the effort of adding catenary, I would make it live.  Otherwise I'm not sure how it would help your operational aspects.  

2. It's been years since we had a layout with it, but I think it was Fleishmann which fit in under the track and then went overhead which held the proper height. 

3. Turnouts and crossovers require some gaping as I recall. 

4. It's hard to detail around the track once the catenary is up, so do that first.

Richard

As a Nx2 scale (1:80) operator with puzzle palace specialwork used by my numerous cat motors and EMU trains, I prefer the opposite tack.  Like that of most of my Japanese-prototype brethren, my catenary is semi-virtual.  The poles, support bridges, substation and other support structures are modeled.  The actual catenary is virtual - no cat's cradle of wires cluttering the air over the cluster of double slips, and no need for something to hold pantographs down on hidden track (which is far more extensive than the visible track with `catenary.')

There's also the detail that, if you are going to be operating steam or diesel over the same tracks, it's nice for everything to be controlled by the same system.  My visible catenary runs from a pair of tunnel portals to an engine change point, and some trains (DMU or with diesel-hydraulic locomotives) operate through.

If you are planning a single track scenic loop with few or no turnouts (most unlikely venue for a GG1,) by all means, hang wire.  If you're planning to model real GG1 territory, you might be better off if you lose the overhead.  The poles and bridges will still convey the `feel.'

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - with virtual catenary)

  • Member since
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  • From: South Carolina
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Posted by Train Modeler on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:50 AM

tomikawaTT

 

 Train Modeler:

 

1. When going through the effort of adding catenary, I would make it live.  Otherwise I'm not sure how it would help your operational aspects.  

2. It's been years since we had a layout with it, but I think it was Fleishmann which fit in under the track and then went overhead which held the proper height. 

3. Turnouts and crossovers require some gaping as I recall. 

4. It's hard to detail around the track once the catenary is up, so do that first.

Richard

 

As a Nx2 scale (1:80) operator with puzzle palace specialwork used by my numerous cat motors and EMU trains, I prefer the opposite tack.  Like that of most of my Japanese-prototype brethren, my catenary is semi-virtual.  The poles, support bridges, substation and other support structures are modeled.  The actual catenary is virtual - no cat's cradle of wires cluttering the air over the cluster of double slips, and no need for something to hold pantographs down on hidden track (which is far more extensive than the visible track with `catenary.')

There's also the detail that, if you are going to be operating steam or diesel over the same tracks, it's nice for everything to be controlled by the same system.  My visible catenary runs from a pair of tunnel portals to an engine change point, and some trains (DMU or with diesel-hydraulic locomotives) operate through.

If you are planning a single track scenic loop with few or no turnouts (most unlikely venue for a GG1,) by all means, hang wire.  If you're planning to model real GG1 territory, you might be better off if you lose the overhead.  The poles and bridges will still convey the `feel.'

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - with virtual catenary)

You have indeed pointed out some of the considerations in modeling live catenary vs modeling the feel of catenary.    As far as wiring the overhead wire, it's not that hard since it's built into the Fleishmann product, just connect at track level.    But turnouts, etc require consideration.   For the tunnels, we just ran the Fleishmann(I really wish my memory was clear on the brand name?) through and decorated around. 

The OP stated he wanted to add for operational aspects too.

Richard

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Posted by steamfreightboy on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:25 PM

Here are instructions for building PRR specific catenary. It is pretty inclusive, so it should have most of the information you will need whether you go for powered or unpowered catenary. I hope this is what you were looking for.

http://kc.pennsyrr.com/model/downloads/catenary.pdf

sfb

"It's your layout, only you have to like it." Lin's Junction
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    September, 2006
  • 146 posts
Posted by Boise Nampa & Owyhee on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:12 PM

Whether you make it live or not depends on a number of things. If you are going to run any other locomotives then they must still see both rails and both sides of the circuit.  If you are to have a single direction operation then that might simplify things a bit but most modelers don't do that.

If you are to run DCC then you have some additional considerations.

I and another modeler here in Boise have extensive trolley divisions. We opted to NOT have live wire for the following reasons;

Are you only running one pantograph loco forever?

Pole derailments are inevitable..

We both do regular operating sessions and no operator wants to change pole directions every time they change loco direction during a session. This could amount to several hundred reversals.

We run conventional locomotives around the trolleys so they cannot have a dedicated division nor will interchange locations work.

see ya

Bob

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Knoxville, TN
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Posted by farrellaa on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:26 PM

I just sold some Marklin catenary parts but never used them. I planned to have a display diorama with my GG1 and some PRR passenger cars. Gave up on that idea and went back to building my layout. The GG1 is in a display case; still love those engines. marklin makes a complete system for overhead operation.

    -Bob

Life is what happens while you are making other plans!

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