Author Topic: N Scale PRR catenary  (Read 8129 times)

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Dave V

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N Scale PRR catenary
« on: February 20, 2008, 04:09:37 PM »
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With the arrival of the Kato GG1, another giant gap in N scale PRR electric operations becomes obvious...  Catenary.

Neither Kato's nor any other commercial catenary looks like PRR's distinctive catenary.  Yet PRR had the most electrified trackage in the US.  The trouble is that all current N scale catenary parts are European or Asian in prototype.

So...  I'm wondering if someone like BLMA, TrainCat, Alkem, etc. would be amenable to producing PRR-style catenary poles...?

They can certainly be scratchbuilt, but I would think there'd be a market for it anyway.  For durability, they'd almost have to be brass.  I'm not great at soldering brass bits together...  I could do it but not without looking awful.

Another thought is that the trolley wire could be made from that green elastic telephone wire stuff.  Sure, you sacrifice that nice, sagging suspension wire (I'm probably getting my catenary terminology wrong), but you could at least reach under it that way.

Some folks would probably forgo the wire altogether, as in N scale it wouldn't be especially noticable under the 3-foot rule.
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wm3798

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 04:20:07 PM »
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My guess is with the success of PRR specific signal bridges, switch towers and Bowser cabooses, a well done and affordable set of NEC cat poles would sell like proverbial hot cakes.  Considering that unlike signal bridges, you can't get away with just one or two, it seems like a no-brainer for someone to pick up, especially since this new G motor is one of the most anticipated models in a generation.

Such a product could also create demand for a much better E-60 than Bachmann did, AEM-7's in N scale, and saints be praised, E-33's and 44's!  Hell, who knows, maybe a newly tooled Metroliner could be in the offing!

Craig? Bob?  Are you listening?

Lee
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Mark5

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 04:22:30 PM »
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There are several different types used by PRR. I guess one of the SPFs could tell us which type was most common.

Bob Bufkin

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 05:34:01 PM »
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You can count me in for some PRR cat poles.  Single and double track (don't have room for 4 track main).  Would also kind of like for New Haven cat poles. 

3rdrail

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 06:07:46 PM »
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The Sommerfeldt catenary wire is perfectly acceptable for PRR usage, but the poles are not:



PRR had very little single track catenary, most was at least double track.  The double track support poles were unusual in that there was only one vertical pole, with a support bracket over two tracks, on one side. Unlike most other railroads with catenary, PRR's entire catenary structure was below the cross brackets.

Model Memories  makes PRR catenary supports in HO, perhaps with the GG1 coming, they might consider N scale.

TrainCat2

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2008, 10:18:43 AM »
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The PRRH&TS gave me some drawings for PRR's lattice poles. As I understand it, the lattice poles were in limited use on the PRR but were massively used on the NH. Most PRR poles were straight with simple bridging to hold up the catenary. Forum SPF's can elaborate better than I.
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3rdrail

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2008, 10:51:14 AM »
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The PRRH&TS gave me some drawings for PRR's lattice poles. As I understand it, the lattice poles were in limited use on the PRR but were massively used on the NH. Most PRR poles were straight with simple bridging to hold up the catenary. Forum SPF's can elaborate better than I.

To elaborate, PRR started 11,000 VAC 25hz electrification in 1915 from Philadelphia to Paoli and on other commuter branches in the Philadelphia area. Various types of catenary supports were used, especially round steel poles. It was in the early 1930's, during the Depression, that PRR did the bulk of its electrification, at which time it standardized on supports made from H-beams.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2008, 11:34:56 AM »
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And sadly, cat poles aren't really suitable seeming for etching, being constructed of fairly heavy structural members.

What you'd really want is exactly what Dave doesn't want to get involved in, cutting and soldering structural shapes.

Where's Hiroe when you need him?

wm3798

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2008, 11:43:16 AM »
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Styrene might be the better answer...  It might be a bit more fragile, but I think a little flexibility might be a good thing...  Also considering that these would need to be mass produced in single, double and yes, four track configurations, it might be the only way to economically achieve Catenary Nirvana.  The biggest downside would be for those foamers who wish to make their cat work "hot"... you'd have to run a wire up instead of just plugging in the pole.

Lee
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2008, 11:47:06 AM »
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If they're plastic, they had better be priced to be "disposable"...

You know, the downside (or maybe upside) of this is that if properly scaled, they're going to show how we generally make everything TOO SMALL. Compare these to some WS trees and things are gonna look a little "weird".

rtroop

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2008, 11:48:11 AM »
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The “Keystone Modeler”, a free online publication of the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society has a series of construction articles for PRR catenary.  Part one was in the September 2007 issue and part two was in the November 2007 issue.  A  third part is coming in the future.  The author of the article is in HO scale but all of his techniques apply to N as well.

Link to the September issue:

http://www.prrths.com/Keystone%20Modeler/Keystone_Modeler_PDFs/TKM%20No.%2050%2009-07%20PDF.pdf

November issue:

http://www.prrths.com/Keystone%20Modeler/Keystone_Modeler_PDFs/TKM%20No.%2052%2011-07%20PDF.pdf
Bob

Dave V

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2008, 11:52:22 AM »
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Hmm...  Anyone who runs live, rigid catenary over N scale models gets my vote for being hardcore!

I've considered styrene as well.  Better chance of getting snapped off accidentally, but much easier to build en masse.

For a few "representative" cat structures (say in a visible staging yard representing Enola), scratchbuilding them is a reasonable proposition.

Someone looking to do a moderate-sized layout all under wire, however, is faced with the prospect of having catenary construction overwhelm the rest of layout construction.

I wonder if building a few of the main types of cat structures and poles in styrene, and then casting dozens in resin, would work.  They'd be pretty flimsy, but if you made a whole bunch you could replace them if/when they break.

Again, that assumes an unpowered cat system.
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wm3798

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2008, 11:53:47 AM »
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I don't know about "disposable"  I think a good grade of plastic, such as Plastruct, would offer a good compromise.  I'ts pretty sturdy stuff.  Consider that even a smallish door layout would require 20 or 30 pairs of poles, it's not something that will be marketable at $20 a throw for brass.

Nice lacy signal bridges or through trusses can absorb a higher price, because you don't need too many of them.  These things have to be nicer than Atlas line poles, but they can't be hand assembled etched brass if you expect anyone to be able to afford them.

Lee
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TrainCat2

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2008, 12:17:00 PM »
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Spin Casting Lee!!   :)

Just have to use the right metal for rigidity. Can be inexpensive, easy to produce & assemble. Only real problem will be the insulators for the catenary.

I had forgotten about those TKM's. Will have to reread them.

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Bob Knight

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rtroop

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Re: N Scale PRR catenary
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2008, 01:23:15 PM »
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 Only real problem will be the insulators for the catenary.


Sommerfeldt makes plastic N scale catenary insulators.  They can be cut or stacked together as needed.  Euro Rail Hobbies is one importer.

http://www.eurorailhobbies.com/erh/eurorailhobbiesdetail.asp?pageid=&MN=24&CA=32&SC=N&stock=SOM-393
Bob