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Monday, April 15, 2013

Simple, Stately, Line Poles

Getting very anxious to get the layout running again, I have fabricated a whole new batch of line poles.

Having the streets right on the edge of the layout means that the other sidewalk isn't there to plant the second span pole.  So my poles were originally built with these bracket arms:

But the tension of the overhead proved to be too great for the poles on the street corners and these bracket arms had a tendency to suddenly bend 90 degrees, ruining the pole. So I have decided to bite the bullet and add span poles along the edge of the layout.

These square milled line poles were very common pre-20th century.  Eventually they figured out that milled poles were more expensive to build and that un-milled poles are actually much stronger. So they fell out of favor fast and seem to be all but completely gone by the 1920s. I think that these square poles are actually quite handsome, you know, for a pole. So my 1890s and 1900s streets will sport these nifty poles.

 I fabricated my poles from solid 1/8" square brass stock. After I had painted and weathered them, I was won over by the Southern California Traction clubs practice of adding "eye-bolts" to their poles. Should my permanently attached span wire bend or break, I would be faced with some major repair. But seeing the ease at which the SCTC could swap out their span wire with this "eye bolt" method, well its obvious which method is superior. Yes sir, its obvious.

SCTC member, John McWhirter, posted a sketch on a Yahoo traction modeling group that depicts an effective method of adding "eye bolts" to line poles that I followed to fabricate my own. Basically its looping span wire around a track nail and then threading the ends thru a hole drilled thru the pole. The ends are bent to hold it in place for soldering. Then trimmed flush.

Here are my poles with their new eye-bolts installed. The soldering ruined the paint job near the bolts so I have some touching up to do before the poles can be installed on the layout.

Here is the first pole to be installed on the layout. Notice that the new eye-bolt isn't overly huge and helps the pole maintain its simple, stately elegance, you know, for a line pole. Yes sir! Simple, stately elegance, for a line pole!