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Hello Martin


Well, there are few if even any remaining makers of O SCALE "scale" Trolley Wire Overhead cast fitting and hanger parts.  (There are one or two HO Suppliers I know of, however....but not for O Scale uses) 


That being the  various span hangers for the trolley wire,  span hangers for PANTOGRAPH collection trolley wires, and  cast overhead Crossing and Switch Frogs for trolley pole route diversions.


Most earlier manufactured parts over the past 50 years were cast by the more notable and preferred WAGNER CAR Co.,  in HO and O Scale in Brass or bronze..  Wagner has been out of business for quite much more than a decade.  Many O Scale Trolley Modelers, like myself,  are adept in MAKING OUR OWN various hangers and hardware. I have done so, but then,  quite many things I have had to self-fabricate in our hobby ! We also use FIBER TIE STRIPS and drill two holes in a small section of same as an INSULATOR where two parallel trolley wires need to be isolated from each other


I have provided a rough drawing (Below) of how creating your own trolley wire "hangers" can be done - you make the hangers from stiff copper (or bronze) wire of the same gauge as your trolley wire. 


(1) -- You erect your trolley poles FIRMLY embedded into your sidewalks or edge of track right of way.  So they do not wobble. 


(2) -- Then stretch your SPAN WIRE from  pole to pole across the tracks --- so it is tight and stiff.  You then fabricate your hangers as shown,  and solder them to the span wire...letting them "hang" loosely until you place them over the center-line of the trolley track below..wrapping the ends of the pre measured and cut SPAN wire around the poles (preferably solid steel or brass poles) and twist the ends of form a closed "loop"


(3) -- If you use METAL POLES -- the poles can transmit current to the overhead by soldering feeder wires to the poles at their base or at the bottom of the pole protruding BELOW AND THRU the surface of the module to its underside.


(4) -- Now tin the SPAN WIRE where the hanger must go, and then carefully SOLDER the top loop of the hanger - to the SPAN WIRE -- making sure it is over the center line of straight track.  On CURVED TRACK, it should be a bit closer to the INNER RAIL or the curved track. And making sure BOTH arms of the hanger are level and horizontal to the street or track rails below


(5) -- Place a small alligator clip or any small spring clamp, on the HANGER WHERE IT IS SOLDERED TO THE span wire.  THIS WILL ACT AS A HEAT SINK WHEN YOU SOLDER THE TROLLEY WIRE TO THE HANGER.  And thus prevent un-doing the solder joint of the hanger from the Span Wire !!.


(6) -- Carefully TIN with solder,  the top of the trolley wire where it will meet a "hanger", and tin-solder both protruding arms of the hanging  hanger.  Then use a pre-built form (wood block, whatever) to hold up the trolley wire firmly to just below the hanger, and carefully using a hot solder iron, line upon the hanger arms squarely flush along the TOP of the TROLLEY WIRE -- and CAREFULLY and lightly solder from below to attach them together.  Do this from hanger to hanger


The above are rudimentary BASIC steps.  However, where trolley wires must cross or diverge as over a switch track,  a special cast "FROG" must be used (or made). HOWEVER, FOR PANTOGRAPH OVERHEAD WIRE COLLECTION,  THIS FROG IS NOT REQUIRED TO GUIDE THE PAN FROM WIRE TO DIVERGING WIRE AT SWITCHES OR CROSSINGS.


Remember, this is, just like on the prototype, specialty overhead wire installation work,  and those who have excellent working trolley layout - like mine under my O Scale NY EL, and those of East Penn Club and LI Traction Society -- have been doing this work for decades and have perfected the skills to make it work properly..." for trolley pole tracking on the wire" .  Somewhere there was a printed tutorial I saw on line - for creating trolley wire for straight and curves.  If I find it, I will provide it (its link) here on this thread for you


Heh - I FOUND IT -- here is the LINK --


NOTE that it is for HO SCALE Trolley Wire fabrication -- but the construction techniques are the same for O Scale (or any scale) --- so check this construction tutorial page of illustrations out - perhaps PRINT IT for use at the layout.


For O SCALE TROLLEY WIRE FITTINGS --  one source I know of - Try contacting Ed Skuchas of BERKSHIRE CAR SHOPS...see link here:


His website is under reconstruction BUT he has his email and phone contact listed.  ED does sell O Scale cast brass, bronze trolley overhead parts (hangers, crossing and switch frogs, insulators, and trolley span and overhead wire).  Tell Ed that I referred you, he knows me well ---was at my home and EL-Trolley layout a few weeks ago. Tell ED what you want to do and what you need.


See my DRAWING BELOW -- and a few O Scale Over head photos with trolleys


Regards - Joe F

(Joseph Frank)





Trolley Wire drawing




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Last edited by Joseph Frank

MTH makes a Catenary system. I believe it may be set up for Realtrax though and I don't know how adaptable it would be for other track systems. It is in the 2016 v1 catalog near the end where all the track items are shown.


Just throwing this out here for you, my knowledge of overhead trolley wiring (and trolleys) is quite limited, but it looked like it might be another option for you, FWIW.

Hello Rtr12


That MTH Catenary system uses a very thick "rod" type contact "trolley" wire for the pantograph equipped locomotives (and Electric MU type passenger cars with pantographs)  to ride, slide underneath upon.


It also requires the catenary support line side  poles to be close to the side of the track.  The contact "wire rod" for the pantograph system by MTH is too thick and oversize for any scale spring operating trolley pole having scale  "trolley wire contact slider shoes" or scale "rolling trolley wire contact wheels" to engage and ride upon.


If a person fits his trolley cars with Pantographs,  the MTH system will likely work somewhat satisfactorily.  SEE PHOTO BELOW (from Alan Arnold's humongous great RR Layout !) of the MTH Catenary -- excellent product for pantograph running trains


regards - Joe F



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Last edited by Joseph Frank



Marty--  24 gauge phosphor bronze wire is the best type for O-gauge.

Bronze staples are best for catenary hangars.  Current Line Products took over Wagner Car Company power trucks.  They are part of East Penn traction consortium..

Check out this article on OGR I did long time back :


Any questions ?  Let me know !!


Ken Shattock  (KRK)





That is a ton of info, THANKS A Lot!




Hi Everyone--  Here's a suggestion for creating your own catenary system for providing power to your O-gauge trolleys and interurbans...

First, hang the messenger wire supported by various brackets or span wires along the right-of-way.

When everything is in order, hang the actual contact wire below the messenger wire, using ordinary wire staples to keep the spacing even.  The staples are carefully soldered to the messenger wire and then to the top surface of the contact wire.  YES, it takes time, but it looks great!  I use "bronze" staples, either 3/8 or 1/2-inch in length.  You can solder the bronze staple a lot easier than steel.  For the wire itself, I use 24-gauge phosphor bronze or nickel silver !  30 or 32-gauge magnet wire is used for "pull-offs" ...

The wire should be hung at a scale 22-feet over the track centerline; 20-feet for city cars and trolleys.

If any of you oldtimers have any old spools of phosphor bronze "fishing cable" manufactured by the Hackensack Cable Company in Hackensack, NJ, you can use that as well.  The wire is "braided" but hangs more realistically !

 In the drawing, the small round circles represent the support poles.

The "support wire" is indicated.  The Trolley or Contact Wire is indicated.  The small black dash marks represent the insulators which I find are best represented by small black beads from a store like Joann's.  The BRASS staples are shown, soldered between the support wire and the contact or trolley wire..


  Questions ?  Don't hesitate to ask!





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OK Gang--  It's the overhead wire crew calling once again ......


I don't have current photos of what I stated, however, I have attached five photos which are about forty years old to give you an "idea" ...

Photo 1 is a young "KRK" working with a car and the overhead.  Photo 2 is young wife Suzie (she hates this photo) with a long Sacramento Northern train at the Oakland Yard.

Please note the "even" parallel spacing between the messenger and contact wires. This is simple, 'home-brew' catenary..  It is not the so-called "Inclined"-type...

Photo 3 is ME again at the opposite end of the layout-- note my FIVE pound spool of 24-gauge phosphor bronze wire.  I still have it and can probably 'wire' several hundred trolley layouts. (grin)  Have a one-pound spool of nickel silver wire too.

Photo 4.  Antioch Yard..  Photo 5.  Concord Loop in Meade Canyon.

I hope you can make out the staples between the top and bottom wires.  One time, we made about a 130-foot piece of catenary by assembly line.  You should have seen us!

We stretched two horizontal, parallel runs of wire along the front railing of the layout. One just above the other.  Then the "staple/ soldering gurus" came along and tacked everything together!  Then, about fifteen guys helped to snake the completed catenary on the old SN line from Oakland Yard to Westgate Junction via the Conaway Wye near Woodland.  Hung it in place from existing poles, including thru a "CUT".  You should have seen us.  But it SAVED a LOT of time and re-opened a long closed branch line!

Questions ??








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