I recently bought a Lionel PRR GG-1 6-18313 as brand new and never run. I don't have the space to work on my locomotives so I had to send it to a local train shop. They fixed the magnet problems that I learned about on this forum. An added expense for sure, but it beats the heck out of having to replace a damaged motherboard from running it without this repair. Thanks for the info.

I now want to add to my electrics roster with EP-5-s, S1's and S2's, Bi-Polars, etc. For the life of me I cannot understand why Lionel doesn't have an overhead catenary system for all of the GG-1's they have manufactured. Seems like a no brainer. You build locos with working pantographs but no related systems to operate them as intended. Why would that even be choice? I know from looking in this forum that Lionel had pondered the subject, but never acted on it. MTH doesn't make that system anymore and eBay is so erratic, sometimes they have it, most of the time they don't.

It's looking more and more like scratch built is the way to go. With my work schedule and the typical honey-do list, it's going to take a lot longer than I anticipated. I've seen the beauty of these systems in action on YouTube.  

Any suggestions? 

Original Post

In my experience, both with "O" gauge and "G" gauge trains is to build your own.  The store bought variety is too costly, at least for me.  

For my "O" gauge catenary I used stranded ground wire.  The type you might see on a chandelier.  It's about 18 or 20 gauge.  

Before I string it up, I unreel a good length of it.  I do this outdoors so that I can get at least 20-30 feet lengths.  

I tie one end to a fixed point and place the other end in the chuck of an electric drill.  

Next, I turn the drill on and watch as the already twisted wire tightens up.  This process gives the wire a bit more rigidity.  

First, I do the straight runs.  At each end of the run I place a mast aligned with the track's center rail.  I fasten each end of the wire to these masts.  At one end I insert a turnbuckle to pull the wire taught.  

The masts along the track have already been installed.  Each mast has an arm that extends at least to the opposite outside rail from the side of the track the mast is on.  To these arms I attach 1/16" brass rod, allowing it to sag until it touches the stranded wire.  The sag is induced, as it won't droop under it's own weight.  

Now I take an alligator clip and clamp the brass wire and stranded copper wire where they meet.  With my butane touch I solder the two together.

On curved track it takes a bit more patience and trial and error.  Tight curves like O31 can be done, and I have.  However, the pantographs on different locos have different characteristics as they negotiate these tight curves, so sometimes a double contact wire is need.  Larger radii are much more forgiving.  

Enough talk, here is a video or two of my catenary system.

https://youtu.be/vHy0PGZVVKM

https://youtu.be/Jk8NN1yikTo

https://youtu.be/Pr3zgdBpkvA

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Now you guys had to know I was going to chime in on this one... 

Scratch built is a great way to go.  You can do it just like you want at a fraction of the cost.  Links to my system are below.  The first details what I did and exactly how I did it.  It should be pretty obvious that I favored function over form, but the wire and supports themselves are spot on accurate.  AFter that are some YouTube videos.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...live-catenary-system

 

Also check out Marty Fitzhenry's post as well as Don McCuaig ('Scale Rail' up here) for systems that have much more scenery than mine and perform just as well.

 

--Nate Murry

gdubya posted:

Thanks for the helpful replies and yes, I need deeper pockets for this system.

You might also want to search on the 2 rail forum for John Sethian's electrified PRR:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...-did-it-prr-catenary

The major hurdle for any manufacturer is what style catenary do they offer and what will people buy. 

The tall 1930's high voltage AC PRR style with complicated compound and inclined trolley/messenger wire? Milwaukee Road?  New Haven "AC Gilbert" lattice poles? South Shore with the angled NIPSCO cross arms? Modern eurostyle constant tension catenary? 

Lots of variables and then how to compress it into something suitable for O Gauge 3 rail layouts.

 

Rob M. ARHS # 3846 PRRT&HS # 8141 EPTC "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway, With An Engineer That's Brave..."

Back in my youth,  I built several HO scale modules with working trolley wire.  My method was to drill 1/8" holes in the roadbed, drive music wire poles down through the Homasote and plywood, string tinned Radio Shack bus wire across the track and solder more bus wire to the crosswire to make the contact wire.  Worked like a charm, even if it lacked the detail of scale...   

Nowadays, I've been mulling over using Lionel 3424-77 telltale poles, brass rod and Märklin HO scale catenary to do something in O gauge.  Will keep everyone posted if anything comes of it... 

Mitch 

It's crackers to give a rozzer the dropsy in snide!

 

Remember, SCROUNGE!

Catenary? Nah - what I would like is an under-running outside-third-rail system as used by the new York Central electrics, and some of the NH units that traversed NYC trackage. (Those little pantographs on Central electrics were for yards and such where the 3rd rail got really funky around complicated switches - sound 3-rail familiar? - so a few feet of catenary was installed to make life easier.) O3R (outside 3rd rail) was used many tears ago on early "2-rail" layouts, but it was over-running. Still reasonably prototypical for a NYC-type system, but that under-running rail would look so cool.

GG used to sell track with a longer tie every 5 ties or do, upon which one could place an O3R support for the rail. Don't think they do any more - but every 5th tie could be extended (wood/wood glue, etc).

Then I'd have to fit the OSR shoes to the electric locos' trucks... 

At least the center rail would be gone....but I'll never get to it.

I would like a catenary system that is commercially available, PRR style preferred, to give a more realistic look for electric engine operations.  Most forum members who want catenary want operating catenary but since my third rail is not going away a system just for show would work for me.  I really appreciate you guys who build your own, but that is not what I want to do.

I assume there is not a great demand for these or the manufacturers would be making them.  I always thought an inexpensive system would be an ideal Menard's product; maybe someday they will do one.

Stu, thanks for the Train-Station's web site.  Its products look good, although the poles are a bit oversize.  I may get a couple to see how it looks on the layout.

Ron

 

TCA, TTOS, NCT, LCCA, PRRT&HS

 

Volunteers don't get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!  Author Sherry Anderson

Captain John posted:
 
Marty Fitzhenry built his own. No rollers on his electric locomotives. 
 

I do not have any motive power that cannot be powered by overhead wire.  On the occasion I do purchase a locomotive, the removal of rollers is almost always the first order of business.

 

--Nate

Ron, you can't get much cheaper than the system I've been using for years. Good strong dowel poles, a arms made of brass and used Marklin wire. I would make about thirty poles in one night. The main thing about the dowels is they are very strong and once drilled in they don't move around at all. DSC_0217Don

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I appreciate you chaps who build your own catenary systems...and they look fantastic, however I am in the group where time is a precious commodity and thus a RTR catenary that looks realistic and won't break the bank would be really nice. But, the challenge either way is I have 5" clearance from railhead in certain areas due to Menards and other structures.

scale rail posted:

Ron, you can't get much cheaper than the system I've been using for years. Good strong dowel poles, a arms made of brass and used Marklin wire. I would make about thirty poles in one night. The main thing about the dowels is they are very strong and once drilled in they don't move around at all. DSC_0217Don

Don, I really like your down and dirty style of modeling which, IMO, is very realistic. Arnold. 

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

I would say it's almost impossible to make RTR, realistic and cheap catenary that would hold up to daily use. Also overhead systems in the East are totally different that the systems in the West. I model the Milwaukee Road and for the most part other than on bridges they used wooden poles and a very simple catenary system. The East most catenary was metal and look very different. Also 5 inches is not enough space for overhead. DonDSC_0213

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Photos (1)
Pantenary posted:

Now you guys had to know I was going to chime in on this one... 

Scratch built is a great way to go.  You can do it just like you want at a fraction of the cost.  Links to my system are below.  The first details what I did and exactly how I did it.  It should be pretty obvious that I favored function over form, but the wire and supports themselves are spot on accurate.  AFter that are some YouTube videos.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...live-catenary-system

 

Also check out Marty Fitzhenry's post as well as Don McCuaig ('Scale Rail' up here) for systems that have much more scenery than mine and perform just as well.

 

--Nate Murry

I followed your original post with much interest.  I used your mast design as you can see in my video.

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Rule292 posted:
gdubya posted:

Thanks for the helpful replies and yes, I need deeper pockets for this system.

You might also want to search on the 2 rail forum for John Sethian's electrified PRR:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...-did-it-prr-catenary

The major hurdle for any manufacturer is what style catenary do they offer and what will people buy. 

The tall 1930's high voltage AC PRR style with complicated compound and inclined trolley/messenger wire? Milwaukee Road?  New Haven "AC Gilbert" lattice poles? South Shore with the angled NIPSCO cross arms? Modern eurostyle constant tension catenary? 

Lots of variables and then how to compress it into something suitable for O Gauge 3 rail layouts.

 

The MTH catenary system is a good middle of the road that should suit most buyers.  It has a good appearance and adjusts to different heights readily.   Of course the fine scale crowd may not like it.   It's not inexpensive however.  I tried it out and found the contact wire quite rough.  It would wear out pantographs quickly in my opinion.  Of course one could smooth the contact portion with some fine emery cloth.  

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Dan Padova posted:
Pantenary posted:

Now you guys had to know I was going to chime in on this one... 

Scratch built is a great way to go.  You can do it just like you want at a fraction of the cost.  Links to my system are below.  The first details what I did and exactly how I did it.  It should be pretty obvious that I favored function over form, but the wire and supports themselves are spot on accurate.  AFter that are some YouTube videos.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...live-catenary-system

 

Also check out Marty Fitzhenry's post as well as Don McCuaig ('Scale Rail' up here) for systems that have much more scenery than mine and perform just as well.

 

--Nate Murry

I followed your original post with much interest.  I used your mast design as you can see in my video.

Hi Dan:

Indeed, I am long overdue for an update, as there have been several changes worth sharing.  But life has a way of getting away from you, and now it has been over a year since I posted on it.  I also wanted to say that you made some nice videos of your system; the overhead looks great.  Proof that with some creativity and motivation, one can fabricate an adequate and satisfying system.  One might also check out @BRWEBSTER's system and fabrication techniques, as he is also an excellent PRR modeller.

--Nate Murry

Hi Don:

Well, they are a part of the aforementioned update.  I came up with an excellent mounting technique on the E33s and they work great.  Two installs are down, one remains.  I also did decide to remove the ice guards after all; they look fine without them.  Those pans are very well made, and electrically near-perfect.

 

--Nate Murry

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