Catenary advice

Hello all.
I'm considering taking the plunge and making the switch from "imaginary
catenary" to a representation of the system in use on the WCML (circa 1980).
Can anyone recommend a range of masts and associated gubbins which isn't
going to break the bank? To do this properly, I'd need a mix of single
masts and masts spanning 2 or three tracks.
The On-Tracks website suggests that some people omit the wires
(presumably in preference to having contact wires which are grossly over
scale). Has anyone come across a layout like this?
The alternative (which I am seriously considering) is to make my
electric locos non-powered and have them dragged.
Adrian
Reply to
Adrian
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"Adrian" wrote
Try Googling 'sommerfeldt catenary'. That's about the only viable option for decent overhead systems.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
Well, my layout is set around 1980, so we are talking BR blue 87s and 86s pulled by 47s. However, my son has some Virgin stock and a grey 90 (still looking for a Virgin 87), so a Bachmann 57/3 might be on the cards when his modern stuff is running.
Adrian
Reply to
Adrian
"Adrian" wrote
Don't know Adrian, I've no experience of that.
There is another option and that is to scratch-build your catenary, which may not be quite so daunting as you imagine.
Go out and take some photographs of the overhead near where you live, and then contemplate how easy it would be to frabricate, using pre-formed brass section and wire.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
I did wonder whether that might be the best option for the knitting which has to span 2 or 3 tracks.
Adrian
Reply to
Adrian
I did a little of that, just to see. I used a piece of pine board, and drew the outline of the catenary span between supports. I pushed in two pins at each end, one for the catenary support wire, and one for the contact wire, then a few pins along the curve of the catenary. A wire wound round the end pins and drawn up snugly against those intermediate pins will have a reasonable shape. Stretch the contact wire between its end pins, and solder on the hangers. Then unwind the wire, and you'll have a section of catenary that can be suspended between supports. You could of course make double or triple spans. Cross spans can be made with a similar jig. If the cross span is a girder, that can be soldered up out of small brass shapes. When hanging the catenary, keep in mind that the wire zigzags along the track.
HTH
Reply to
Wolf
There have been a few articles in the ScaleFour society magazine about a layout of Birmingham New Street, and constructing the catenary sections for that. If bothered about "doing it really properly", then finding those and contacting the author might be useful.
Others have mentioned volume commercial systems (Sommerfeld, etc), whilst they work well, they suffer from being modelled on non-UK installations, and can be quite expensive.
I think Nick Tilson of N Brass Locos has started production of UK catenary components for 4mm scale. He'll probably provide details of exactly what bits he does, and the prototypes used for the parts, if you asked. I think he has more pictures in the N catenary section than the 4mm, though I'd expect they are made from the same research and etch drawings.
formatting link

- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
Dunno, was stuck in an 86, 87 or 90 for about 6 hours south of Milton Keynes one saturday night when overhead lines down. Had to wait for a dirty diesel from Coventry (or Wolverhampton)to pull us to Rugby. Couldnt see what diesel it was - 1am when we got to Rugby - so was really bothered. Holyhead HST was right behind. Down line was out for ballast/track maintenence - track workers were lending their (huge) mobile phones. At least 10 years ago - so pre-thunderbirds, cant remember if it was pre-Virgin livery though.
So theres a prototype situation to model !
Cheers, Simon
Reply to
simon
"> The On-Tracks website suggests that some people omit the wires
If you want a non-working system you could try fishing line for the wires, chose the breaking strain to get the diameter that suits your eye.
Jeff
Reply to
Jeff
To make it nice and neat, and to get the cross-section of the wire as small as possible, put one end of the wire in a vice and pull on the other end with pliers - there will come a point at which you can feel the wire "give". It will then be nice and straight, much easier to work with and look fantastic. I should say that the above is for copper wire, anything will do, bell wire, twin-and-earth etc.
Richard
Reply to
beamendsltd
It all boils down to whether I base the layout (loosely) on Preston or Bolton. In the early 80s Sunday WCML engineering certainly saw electrics dragged via Chorley (reversed at Lostock Jn???). To be honest, I'm not being that specific, so my "somewhere in the North West" scenareo can legitimately have dragged electrics in blue.
Adrian
Reply to
AdrianB
Thanks for all your suggestions. I think I'll go and buy some brass section and have a play.
It's time I brushed up my soldering skills anyway.
Adrian
Reply to
AdrianB
Was Bolton ever electrified? I remember in the 60's having to catch a DMU from Manchester (Victoria) to Bolton (Trinity Street). I'm told the "station" there today is a glorified bus shelter.
(kim)
Reply to
kim
"kim" wrote
I don't think so, which is why Adrian was contemplating whether he could 'drag' electrics though there.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
I don't mean to nitpick but would an electric train be dragged through a line that wasn't electrified in the first place except in a dire emergency?
(kim)
Reply to
kim

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