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Monday, January 30, 2012

Niles Project ~ Trolley Poles

Give a man a fish and you have fed him for a day. But give a man a pole, he's a trolley fan for life!
Identifying, preparing and adding trolley poles to #107

 Looking at historical photos reveal that the Niles cars were equipped with Form 1 trolley poles that were common with 1895 - 1920 era streetcars. They have that "folded back" look to them.

The HT-P3b poles by Miniatures by Eric fit that bill just fine. I bought mine through Custom Traxx. That 32 bucks per pair price tag knocked me for a loop. But they are precision instruments and Eric does an outstanding job with these. I'm building my cars to perform and I can rely on these poles to do just that. For #105 though, I will be rebuilding the Suydam poles, which makes for a less expensive alternative. So stay tuned for that post later.
Trolley poles are constantly flexing so paint doesn't do too well with that. The best solution for that is Blacken-It. Blacken-It is a metal oxidizer. The blackened brass will still conduct electricity and won't flake off. But...

... Remove the steel springs first! The Blacken-It corroded my springs clear through! But it did a mighty fine job of blackening the rest of the pole assembly. So remove the springs, soak the poles in Blacken-It, and then replace the springs.Then you'll have a fine looking and fine working trolley pole.
That is the beauty of these blogs- you can learn from my mistakes, Yes sir! Learn from my mistakes!



  1. Hello Sir- I have had good luck rebuilding the poles using music wire as a replacement for the often out-of-scale brass rod supplied by many manufacturers, including Suydam. The best part is that the music wire is already black and it flexes in a very realistic manner like a real trolley pole.

  2. That's actually very good advice. And that's exactly what I'm going to do~ Thanks Old Nick!


  3. And I've learnt that there are different types of poles, which affect the character of the model, and it is good to see someone else thinking that this is important too.