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New to traction, but not to model railroading, and need advice
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 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2012 06:19 pm
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paulmlally
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New to traction, but not to model railroading. I model the Youngstown & Southern RR, a shortline, 50s era that had, at one time, steam, diesel and traction, all at once.

I want to add the traction component, and would appreciate any direction you can point that will show me basic catenary/poles techniques for this modest, small railroad.

What research I've done shows simple telephone poles with cantilevered rods or poles, from which is suspended the wires.

I'm a real newbie with this, so any advice is helpful. BTW, I won't power the traction from the wires. For show only.

Many thanks,

Paul




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 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2012 09:33 pm
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W C Greene
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Howdy Paul and welcome to Freerails. We have some fine traction modelers here, I am sure they will be able to answer your questions. I believe you tried to post some photos? The red X's seem to indicate that. You need either a photo host like Photobucket (free) or post your photos to your gallery here in FR. If you need help with that, just ask.

Woodie



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 Posted: Sat May 5th, 2012 01:26 am
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Herb Kephart
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Hi Paul---welcome to FreeRails!I have built layouts with overhead wire for many years, but I always had the overhead "alive"--no sense going to the trouble of building it, without putting it to use I always figured.

Take a look at "Along the Octoraro and Eastern" in the Large Scale section (it's O scale) and also a  bit that I did about hanging trolley wire in  the Traction topic-might give you some ideas.


Herb 



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 Posted: Sat May 5th, 2012 10:26 am
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paulmlally
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Thanks, fellas.

Okay, first things first, I figured out how to post pix, so here's a peek at my Youngstown & Southern RR.











Now....Imagine trolley poles along the mainline, the white ballasted one; that's where the Y&S ran their steeplecabs and their interurban trolleys that connected the small towns of Negley and Boardman with Youngstown, Ohio, while the steam and diesel engines handled the heavier freights.

I love that they had all three forms of motive power, however, I'm modeling the "last gasp" timeframe, where steam was gone and the trolleys were just about to make the final run to the barn.

Here's a pix I managed to find that showed how they strung the wires back then.



I'm guessing I will have to make them from scratch, right?

Also, I think I read somewhere that the pole placement is about every 100 feet. Is that right?

See? Really simplistic questions from someone who knows his way around model railroading, but is in the dark when it comes to the dark magic of traction.

But I'm game to try, if you don't mind my faltering steps.

Thanks,

Paul

Last edited on Sat May 5th, 2012 10:31 am by paulmlally

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 Posted: Sat May 5th, 2012 02:04 pm
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Herb Kephart
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Interesting in that they had double overhead.

I believe it was Cincinnati that had double overhead, mandated by the city that the ground connection was by overhead wire also (cars had two poles) to eliminate electrical erosion of pipes parallel to the track. With certain types of subsoil, the ground going back to the substation would transfer through the soil to the pipe, which was a much better conductor. This caused holes to be eaten in the pipe at the point where the current left the pipe. Later it was found that proper bonding (better electrical connection) at the rail joints prevented this.

However---after writing all this, a closer look at the picture shows that both overhead wires are the same polarity--no insulators between the two. Only reasons for this that I know of are-

One wire is a "feeder" for the wire that the pole runs on. Not likely, as feeder wires were usually strung from the supporting poles, so that if a pole came off the wire at speed it wouldn't tear down the feeder as well as the contact wire. Happened sometimes. On the line you are modeling speeds were not that high, I'll bet. So perhaps that IS why.

Two-dual wire was sometimes used to eliminate wire frogs (and their dewirement possibility) between passing sidings. Even back in the "good old days" the price of copper made this an expensive option-- but they still had to run copper feeder wires if the distance to the substation was too far.

Be interesting to know what the real reason was. Any major libraries in your area that might have a collection of Electric Railway Journals? If you can find out when the line was built (or electrified) there will be an article on what was going on--ERJ's were the newspaper of the industry. A friend had a complete set that I had access to, but a few years ago he sold them when he downsized to an apartment--Wife's idea--I hear he hates it.

Nice modeling, by the way--and yes 100 foot spacing would be typical for single suspension (non catenary)--cheating the poles a little closer together makes the line look a little longer.

Any other questions, feel free to ask--all covered by the price of membership :)


Herb

PS that ungainly looking boxcar in the [photo is a "portable substation" used as a temporary power source if a permanent sub was down for repairs, or if an unexpected (or  very infrequent--like a yearly county fair) would cause a heavy current draw on an otherwise adequate system. Inside was a  transformer (power company high voltage to lower voltage, both AC) and a  rotary converter (AC to 600v DC) no nice neat diodes back then.



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 Posted: Sat May 5th, 2012 02:27 pm
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aethereus
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Herb-- It's interesting that the transformer for the feed is included clearly in the picture. If I'm not mistaken there is a direct feed to carrier wire at the support arm from the insulated wire that runs from pole to pole on the top, which leads me to believe that this is the feed. I can't quite make out the connections from the longitude cross arm up to the transverse arm, but it looks like the transformer feeds the lower cross arm and then the upper. If this is the case, isn't the wire running on the top of the poles the 'feed' in which case I think your explanation the the frog elimination may be the correct one.

By the way, for those of us that haven't seen a frog closely, do you have any photos that would show the detail of how it's possible to run a pole across one without running up the wrong line. I gather that the latter is a function of the angle of the pole to the wire at that point, but don't quite understand what it looks like up close and personal.

Duncan

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 Posted: Sat May 5th, 2012 02:54 pm
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paulmlally
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Thanks for your response...are there any companies you know of that manufacture any of what I need, most specifically the steel pole that cantilevers out?

I have some plastic telephone poles whose tips I can cannibalize and splice onto the new poles, but the steel pole looks challenging...

I did a LOT of Googling and didn't find much that would serve my needs for what, to me, is a very simple little traction setup...

Paul

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 Posted: Sat May 5th, 2012 10:37 pm
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Herb Kephart
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Paul-

First--what scale are we talking about--I would say from the pictures that you are in 1/87--HO.

I am not sure what's available in HO traction, and since I make all my own stuff, I'm not even up with what's going on in 1/48 (O) anymore.

If I were building HO line poles, I would start with 5/32" brass rod, and drill a hole crosswise where the steel (for strength) crossarm would be soldered in. Lighter wire bracing soldered on.

Duncan-

Model wire frogs can be no more than a small sort of pie-shaped piece of sheet brass with three holes, and the long edges turned down, or they can be lost wax castings. They are located in the wire so that when the car pole gets to the wire frog, the car pole is on the centerline of the car, and thus is influenced to follow the correct route. I will try to take a couple photos in a day or so to better illustrate this--which is difficult to explain (or understand) if you have never seen the pieces involved. One potential problem is that for all the cars to respond the same, the car pole length, pole angle (function of car height and pole length) and position of pole base, relative to car wheels must be the same.
The real guys had the same problem--which is why you see pictures of small 4 wheel cars with the poles mounted on little lattice-work "towers"

Herb 



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 Posted: Sat May 5th, 2012 10:52 pm
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paulmlally
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Thanks.

As for scale, I'm modeling O Scale.

What kind of brass rod would work for the cantilever section off the wooden pole?

P.

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 Posted: Sun May 6th, 2012 01:11 am
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Herb Kephart
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I used 7/32 and 1/4" steel rod for the pole itself, 1/16" steel welding rod for the arm, and .030" music wire for the bracing, all soldered together.

Wood poles usually aren't satisfactory, they are too weak to stand the pull of the overhead, and if bumped by a misplaced elbow, or such, tend to snap off at the base.

You may get away with them if you are careful, since you can make your overhead from lighter (and more to scale wire) if you aren't going to run off it.

See PM

Herb 



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