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Spacing HO telephone poles?

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  • Member since
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  • From: Troy MI
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Spacing HO telephone poles?
Posted by engineerjoey on Monday, January 22, 2007 9:33 PM

Hi all, 

I just picked up 3 boxes (12 each) Atlas Utility Poles.... They only have 8 transformers and elec. boxes in each kit, so I guess the plan is that 3 poles go without. Three of the 12 poles do have some type of arm on them, not sure what for; street lamp? extra wire? Anyway... I thought I'd snap a chalk line across my layout. Maybe one parallel to some track, or a road, or even x-country, following the lay of the land... but I'm not sure how far apart to space them, nor how to "wire" them.

Tips?

THANKS,  Joey 

Kyle Engelmann Modeling the Detroit and Mackinac
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Posted by selector on Monday, January 22, 2007 9:50 PM
Depending on their type, poles can be anywhere from about 80' in urban settings up to 200 meters or more for the major hydro lines leaving power dams.  In your case, I would place them near 20" apart, on average.  Berkshire Junction sells lycra "wires" that have found favour here and there because they give when snagged by sleeves and cuff buttons...this last problem being why most modellers don't bother wiring their poles at all.  From the scale distance the typical viewer is above the scenery, wires would not be well seen anyway.  It is enough, for the most part, to see the poles, allowing your mind to interpolate.
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Posted by tstage on Monday, January 22, 2007 10:03 PM

Joey,

There's a really good article on pole lines (telephone poles) in the last summer's special issue of Model Railroaders How To Build Realistic Layouts called "Stringing details in the sky".  The article is written by Michael J. Burgett and can be found on pgs. 30-33.

On pg. 32, under Locating a pole line, the author states:

"On average, railroad poles are spaced 100 to 150 feet apart.  Most poles are placed no closer than 13 feet from the closest rail..."

If you take those figures and convert them to HO scale, you'd get:

  • Spacing between poles: 100' = ~13.75";150' = ~20.75"
  • Distance from rails: 13' = ~1.75"

Joey, I hope that helps...

Tom 

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by jimrice4449 on Monday, January 22, 2007 10:08 PM
If you want them to be electrical power poles you'l only need a transformer where there's building next to the line and you coul;d feed a number of adjacent buidings off of a single transformer.   If you're going to run them parallel to your track they're telegraph or signal line poles and you can ditch the transformers entirely.   The spacing would be determined by the number of lines supported (cross arms).   The best bet would be to check pix of prototype trains running next to a pole line and f igure 6" for each 40' car (in HO)
  • Member since
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Posted by engineerjoey on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 7:15 AM

Tom and all,

 

Thanks for the good info. I got some black elastic thread for wires... it is about the same diameter as kite string and stretches, of course. I wonder how that will look?

 

Joey

Kyle Engelmann Modeling the Detroit and Mackinac
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Posted by edo1039 on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 7:39 AM

Here is a link to a product you might consider for the wire.

http://www.berkshirejunction.com/

Ed OKeefe Summerfield,Fl "Go New Haven"
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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 9:51 AM

Joey,

If the black elastic does't work for you, and you don't want to spend the money on the E-Z Line, I've been told that you can pick up Rayon thread at Joann Fabrics for a fraction of the cost.  (It's the exact same material as the E-Z Line.)

Tom 

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by tcwright973 on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 12:00 PM

I'm curious as to why you would snap a chalk line. I would think that would make it too perfect. Wouldn't poles have to moved here and there to compensate for obstructions such as roads, culverts, bridges, etc. Maybe out in the desert you could maintain a straight line with fairly accurate spacing, but certainly not in cities, suburbs, or hilly terrain. I think it would look much better if you simply eyeballed it.

Tom

Tom

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 12:22 PM

A couple of pointers here, if you're using them for electric lines in town and such, you should remove the lower two cross arms as most utility poles have one, telephone and cable tv line just attach to sides. Also utility poles usually have two insulators, so remove the others.

 A good spacing for railroad poles is about one foot, it gives the illusion of  a greater distance balong the right of way.

If you're going to put on lines, you should also paint insulators, usually a pale green shade works well. It wouldn't hurt to paint poles either.          Mike

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Posted by engineerjoey on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 1:02 PM

Good question Tom, 

I eyeball everything, none of my roads or track are perfectly straight. They all have a little natural variance. I thought that if I had some perfectly straight telephone lines... it would be a nice contrast.

Thanks again to everyone for sharing your expertise!

Joey

Kyle Engelmann Modeling the Detroit and Mackinac
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Posted by larak on Wednesday, January 2, 2008 10:59 PM
 tcwright973 wrote:

I'm curious as to why you would snap a chalk line. I would think that would make it too perfect. Wouldn't poles have to moved here and there to compensate for obstructions such as roads, culverts, bridges, etc. Maybe out in the desert you could maintain a straight line with fairly accurate spacing, but certainly not in cities, suburbs, or hilly terrain. I think it would look much better if you simply eyeballed it.

Tom

Just FYI, any pole far enough out of a straight line to create a 5 degree bend in the wires requires a guy wire to prevent it from leaning. Local pole lines are rarely straight but overland ones are.

 

The mind is like a parachute. It works better when it's open.  www.stremy.net

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