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Re: Helpful info

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  • joecrea80004
    Seems like the group has been kind of quiet. I thought maybe we could discuss some of the practical aspects of getting large scale trolleys running. Since I
    Message 1 of 20 , Apr 8 6:17 PM
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      Seems like the group has been kind of quiet. I thought maybe we
      could discuss some of the practical aspects of getting large scale
      trolleys running. Since I am a new member, Perhaps some of these
      things have already been discussed, and, if so, just tell me to go
      away, and I'll be quiet.

      I was wondering if anyone has been able to purchase a Bachmann
      trolley pole from their parts department and wire it for operation.

      Also, has anyone had any experience with the new Model Trolley
      Systems power trucks?

      Have any of you seen Alan Olson's video on building large scale drive
      trains?


      One of the projects he does is powering a Bachmann coach truck,
      resulting in a drive unit that is completely under-floor.

      Are all of you who have operational layouts using phospher bronze
      wire, or nickel silver? How do you compare their attributes?

      Joe
      Has anyone used L.E.D.'s for lighting, or are you all using lamps?

      O.K., lots of questions. Does anyone have answers?
    • fgraham105@aol.com
      In a message dated 4/9/2002 10:38:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Any info on availability of this video? I have used a Bachmann pole to get the juice to the
      Message 2 of 20 , Apr 9 5:45 PM
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        In a message dated 4/9/2002 10:38:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time, joecrea@... writes:


        Have any of you seen Alan Olson's video on building large scale drive
        trains?


        Any info on availability of this video?

        I have used a Bachmann pole to get the juice to the motor.  The major mod required IMHO is the shoe has to be made much smaller.  Works ok, but I now make my own poles.

        If you are reasonably close, the Florida Trolley meet is April 19 - 20, 2002 in Ocala.  Jim Richards will have his 1/2 inch trolleys here, and I will have my G scale.  There will also be O and HO layouts.  Hope some of you can stop by.

        Frank
        Ocala, FL
      • marxist50036
        Hello Joe I am relatively new to the group too. I have ordered and recieved poles from bachman and they will work for overhead. That is to say they will
        Message 3 of 20 , Apr 9 9:24 PM
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          Hello Joe
          I am relatively new to the group too.
          I have ordered and recieved poles from bachman and they will work for
          overhead. That is to say they will conduct electricity as I actually
          have no overhead.
          I have not tried MTS drivetrains but from what I have seen they
          rather resemble NWSL magic carpet drives.
          Several members of our large scale club have substituted white
          leds for their headlights. I have not done it yet but I am impressed
          with the results. My first headlight for my current unit I used a
          section cut from the reflector of a mini mag light using their light
          bulb. Very blinding white and very prototypical. The headlight
          unfortunately is a little long front to back and I am going back to
          the drawing board.
          I have the video you mentioned on order and am anxious to see
          the powering of the coach truck you have spoke of. It may have a lot
          of potential for traction builders. I don't care for the look of the
          large power bricks that are the other alternative. My NWSL magic
          carpets I have not found to be wholly satisfactory either. They work
          OK but pulling power is limited. They are also expensive, and prone
          to picking up debris outdoors. They are also geared rather low and
          speed is maybe a bit too slow.
          Are you the same Joe Crea that did a weathering video in large
          scale?
          Good to hear from you.
          Bryan Anderson



          largescaleTrolley@y..., "joecrea80004" <joecrea@a...> wrote:
          > Seems like the group has been kind of quiet. I thought maybe we
          > could discuss some of the practical aspects of getting large scale
          > trolleys running. Since I am a new member, Perhaps some of these
          > things have already been discussed, and, if so, just tell me to go
          > away, and I'll be quiet.
          >
          > I was wondering if anyone has been able to purchase a Bachmann
          > trolley pole from their parts department and wire it for operation.
          >
          > Also, has anyone had any experience with the new Model Trolley
          > Systems power trucks?
          >
          > Have any of you seen Alan Olson's video on building large scale
          drive
          > trains?
          >
          >
          > One of the projects he does is powering a Bachmann coach truck,
          > resulting in a drive unit that is completely under-floor.
          >
          > Are all of you who have operational layouts using phospher bronze
          > wire, or nickel silver? How do you compare their attributes?
          >
          > Joe
          > Has anyone used L.E.D.'s for lighting, or are you all using lamps?
          >
          > O.K., lots of questions. Does anyone have answers?
        • johnfranzen
          Joel and the rest of the LST group, I would like to add some questions to Joel`s list. All of these questions refer to indoor, 1/24 or 1:22.5 layouts. What
          Message 4 of 20 , Apr 9 9:34 PM
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            Joel and the rest of the LST group,
             
            I would like to add some questions to Joel`s list.  All of these questions refer to indoor, 1/24 or 1:22.5 layouts.
             
            What guage trolly wire is being used and where does one purchase it?
             
            In building overhead wire systems are commercial componets, such as switch pans, pulloffs, etc., the best way to go, or should a person fabricate them using the same techniques that many of the O scalers use. Is the only source of 1/2" commercial overhead parts the LS MTS USA catalog recently mentioned here?
             
            Has anyone handlaid 45mm gauge track and switches?  If so, what code rail did you use, what kind, ie., nickel silver, alum., brass?  What is the minimum radius that can be hand laid?  What is the minimum radius that the current Bachmann trolleys and the other commercially available electric equipment handle?  Do the same general standards for overhead wire construction that are used in O scale apply to LS layouts...making allowances for the differences in scale of course.
             
            Any special advice reguarding hand laying turnout?.  I have built quite a few in H0n3 and wonder if the same general techniques will work.
             
            Joel,  nice to get to know you even if it is only an electronic acquaintance.  Have admired your work in the pages of the Gazatte and other model mags over the years.  I`m a long time (40 years!) Colorado narrow gauger looking for a different challenge too. My first incursion into LS is a small, indoor layout in 1/2 scale on 45mm track that depicts a freelance "Mexicano" type railroad. There are four pictures posted on the LS Trolly site if you care to look (graciously allowed by our moderator even though they aren`t trolly pic`s).
             
            Hoping to generate a little information sharing...and thanks in advance.
             
            John Franzen
            Oshkosh, WI         
             
             
             
            Original Message -----
            Sent: Monday, April 08, 2002 8:17 PM
            Subject: [largescaleTrolley] Re: Helpful info

            Seems like the group has been kind of quiet.  I thought maybe we
            could discuss some of the practical aspects of getting large scale
            trolleys running.  Since I am a new member, Perhaps some of these
            things have already been discussed, and, if so, just tell me to go
            away, and I'll be quiet.

            I was wondering if anyone has been able to purchase a Bachmann
            trolley pole from their parts department and wire it for operation.

            Also, has anyone had any experience with the new Model Trolley
            Systems power trucks?

            Have any of you seen Alan Olson's video on building large scale drive
            trains?


              One of the projects he does is powering a Bachmann coach truck,
            resulting in a drive unit that is completely under-floor.

            Are all of you who have operational layouts using phospher bronze
            wire, or nickel silver?  How do you compare their attributes?

            Joe
            Has anyone used L.E.D.'s for lighting, or are you all using lamps?

            O.K., lots of questions.  Does anyone have answers? 



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          • Bruce Jahn
            ... I m looking at the MTS catalog as I type this message and must, in the interest of passing information, disagree. I ve used many Magic Carpets and the
            Message 5 of 20 , Apr 10 7:48 AM
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              At 04:24 AM 4/10/02 +0000, Bryan wrote:
              ><snip>
              > I have not tried MTS drivetrains but from what I have seen they
              >rather resemble NWSL magic carpet drives.

              I'm looking at the MTS catalog as I type this message and must, in the
              interest of passing information, disagree. I've used many Magic Carpets and
              the primary difference is that the MTS units come with sideframes...real
              nice ones.

              After handling an MTS unit last month at a local GATS, the other major
              difference is the physical size of the motor. The Magic Carpet has a motor
              the size of a stack of half dollars where the MTS motor is the size of a
              stack of nickles. That's not to say that I did enough research to know if
              that's bad or not, but I do know that the Magic Carpets I've used have
              taken lots of abuse in the manner of hours run and debris picked up, and
              continue to run flawlessly. Magic Carpets look like you could drop one off
              the table and it would take it (I sure wouldn't do that test) and the MTS
              unit looks a lot more dainty....and that could very well be the intention.

              Would these differences be enough to keep me from buying the MTS
              units? Not on your life...in fact have already ordered a couple. Just
              didn't want you all to think they were "almost" the same.

              BTW, MTS offers several of these power units in #3 gauge for those of you
              who like things even bigger. Also wonderful castings and apparent workmanship.

              Bruce Jahn (not under wire for some time yet...but planning)
            • Bryan Anderson
              Thanks Bruce, My only thought was that they were based upon the same principal of being rather prototypical being slung between the trucks. I did not mean to
              Message 6 of 20 , Apr 10 9:30 AM
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                Thanks Bruce,
                My only thought was that they were based upon the same principal of
                being rather prototypical being slung between the trucks. I did not mean
                to imply they were a knock off or copy.
                Since you have some on order I hope you will share with the rest of
                how they perform. I do like the looks of them also.
                MY own experience with the magic carpet drives has been a little
                dissapointing. One of them had a bind or a bad motor. It was dragging
                down the unit and the motor was so hot I could not touch it. It has been
                sent back and I trust NWSL will take care of it. Yes they were identical
                trucks. I agree that they do pick up debris. Do you operate outdoors?
                Crispin Hollingshead has on his website some covers he made to keep the
                debris out of the gears. He also put a brass pin through the axle and a
                gear to prevent slipping. Have you found this modification neccessary? If
                anyone is interested I can hunt up the website.
                I am still rather new at this and appreciate any info that is forth
                coming.
                Good to hear from you.
                Bryan Anderson










                At 07:48 AM 4/10/02 -0700, you wrote:
                > At 04:24 AM 4/10/02 +0000, Bryan wrote:
                >><>
                >> I have not tried MTS drivetrains but from what I have seen they
                >>rather resemble NWSL magic carpet drives.
                >
                > I'm looking at the MTS catalog as I type this message and must, in the
                > interest of passing information, disagree. I've used many Magic Carpets and
                > the primary difference is that the MTS units come with sideframes...real
                > nice ones.
                >
                > After handling an MTS unit last month at a local GATS, the other major
                > difference is the physical size of the motor. The Magic Carpet has a motor
                > the size of a stack of half dollars where the MTS motor is the size of a
                > That's not to say that I did enough research to know if
                > that's bad or not, but I do know that the Magic Carpets I've used have
                > taken lots of abuse in the manner of hours run and debris picked up, and
                > Magic Carpets look like you could drop one off
                > the table and it would take it (I sure wouldn't do that test) and the MTS
                > unit looks a lot more dainty....and that could very well be the intention.
                >
                > Would these differences be enough to keep me from buying the MTS
                > Just
                >"" the same.
                >
                > BTW, MTS offers several of these power units in #3 gauge for those of you
                > Also wonderful castings and apparent workmanship.
                >
                > Bruce Jahn (not under wire for some time yet...but planning)
                >
                >
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ADVERTISEMENT
                >
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              • joecrea@aol.com
                Some of you have asked about the video I mentioned. Please check out http://www.modelrailroadvideos.com/Instruct.html After you enter the site, the video
                Message 7 of 20 , Apr 10 2:30 PM
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                  Some of you have asked about the video I mentioned.  Please check out     http://www.modelrailroadvideos.com/Instruct.html

                  After you enter the site, the video you're looking for is "Simple Drive Train Projects," by Alan Olson.  Although I also make videos for this company, it was not my intention to advertise.  Speaking plainly, I have not seen any other article or video that shows how to build a simple power truck that would be so satisfactory for trolley use.  I think this is probably the approach I'll take.

                  Jim Richards' name has been mentioned, and he is a real pioneer in large scale trolley construction and operation.  It is my understanding that he has been building large scale trolleys since the 1970's.  He did not have the benefit of the MTS parts, or the Bachmann   products.  He's had to construct his own trolley poles and power trucks, as well as all other parts.  So, from that standpoint, we have it easy!

                  I have reached some decisions about my own approach on this subject.  I plan to use code 148 nickel silver rail, which probably won't work with the typical large scale flanges.  I will use gauge 1 (same as LGB), with a minimum radius of about 20".   Denver and L.A., and maybe some other places, operated "narrow gauge" trolleys, so there is a prototype for that.  Speaking of prototypes, I will probably build some of my cars along free-lance lines, and some following stricter prototypes.

                  I am as equally interested in constructing the automobiles, structures, and signs that contribute to the character of the era we've chosen (late 50's).  I want to be able to look at the finished product and feel that I've recreated a look into the past, into one of my favorite eras.  To do that, ya gotta build all the other stuff that goes along with the trolleys.

                  I also want to provide lighting effects for night operation, so this  makes the structures and signs more complicated.  Structures in this scale need an interior of some type, unless the windows are boarded up.

                  Since I enjoy doing the research, I want the setting to be as realistic as possible, even down to the prices advertised in the windows of the grocery store.  There is a tremendous amount of info on the internet, especially for the 1950's.

                  I have not yet made decisions about the overhead.  I don't know what kind of wire I want to use, or where to get it.  Provisions will have to be made for continuity, as this will be a sectional layout.

                  Many of you are actually out there building stuff, not just talking about it like me, so if you feel like sharing your experiences, it would be appreciated by us trolley novices.  Since there has been very limited press on this facet of the hobby, we kind of have to help each other.  At least that's my feeling.

                  Thanks for your kind words about my Gazette articles, John.  And Bryan, I appreciate your info about L.E.D.'s.

                  Joe
                • joecrea@aol.com
                  I forgot--Frank, thanks for the info on the Bachmann trolley pole. Unfortunately, I don t live anywhere near Ocala, unless it s been relocated to the Colorado
                  Message 8 of 20 , Apr 10 2:46 PM
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                    I forgot--Frank, thanks for the info on the Bachmann trolley pole.  Unfortunately, I don't live anywhere near Ocala, unless it's been relocated to the Colorado Rockies!  I sure would like to see what you and Jim are displaying at the meet, though.  Take some photos and post them!
                    Joe
                  • Jan Girardot
                    ... Hi, John; Jan, (the Group Moderator) here: I have some nickel silver contact wire left over from my O-scale days and it looks just right, to my eyes. (If I
                    Message 9 of 20 , Apr 10 4:44 PM
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                      John Franzen wrote, in part:

                      >I would like to add some questions to Joel`s list. All of these
                      >questions refer to indoor, 1/24 or 1:22.5 layouts.
                      > What guage trolly wire is being used and where does one purchase it?

                      Hi, John;

                      Jan, (the Group Moderator) here:
                      I have some nickel silver contact wire left over from my O-scale days
                      and it looks just right,
                      to my eyes. (If I knew how to read a micrometer, I would "mike"it for you.)

                      >In building overhead wire systems are commercial componets, such as
                      >switch pans, pulloffs, etc., the best way to go, or should a person
                      >fabricate them using the same techniques that many of the O scalers
                      >use. Is the only source of 1/2" commercial overhead parts the LS MTS
                      >USA catalog recently mentioned here?

                      As far as I know, MTS is "it," although you could probably use some
                      of LGB's catenary parts.
                      BTW, take a close look at LGB contact wire: sure looks like small
                      gauge rail, to me.

                      >Has anyone handlaid 45mm gauge track and switches? If so, what code
                      >rail did you use, what kind, ie., nickel silver, alum., brass?

                      I did some experimenting with leftover O-scale brass rail and found
                      that it clears the grossly-
                      oversize wheel flanges of a Bachmann trolley, an LGB tram and an
                      Aristo motor block. For
                      appearance sake, I intend to use nickel silver.

                      > What is the minimum radius that can be hand laid?

                      That depends on your equipment, seems to me: a long wheelbase
                      single-truck car needs
                      wider radius than a short wheelbase double-trucker.

                      > What is the minimum radius that the current Bachmann trolleys and
                      >the other commercially available electric equipment handle?

                      That subject was discussed here several months ago, and I recall that
                      10" radius was
                      floated as the minimum.

                      > Do the same general standards for overhead wire construction that
                      >are used in O scale apply to LS layouts...making allowances for the
                      >differences in scale of course.

                      Works for me!

                      > Any special advice reguarding hand laying turnout?. I have built
                      >quite a few in H0n3 and wonder if the same general techniques will
                      >work.

                      Try it and let us know <G>
                      .. . .Jan
                    • johnfranzen
                      Thanks for your comments Jan and Joe. Your observations are very useful as I try to focus in on how to build my trolley empire. Of course since I don`t even
                      Message 10 of 20 , Apr 10 10:59 PM
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                        Thanks for your comments Jan and Joe.  Your observations are very useful as I try to focus in on how to build my trolley empire.  Of course since I don`t even have the benchwork up yet, so it may be some time before I actually put these ideas to the test.  Joe, my vision of my trolley layout is very similar to what you have described, although I think my time period will be just a little earlier...say early to mid l940`s.
                         
                        As far as overhead construction, it seems to me that much of the techniques and materials used in O gauge should work just as well in 1/2" or 1:22.5,  and be closer to actual "scale".  Besides, some of the fine articles by Bill Clouser (and others) describing his overhead and car construction should apply to LS without a total re-invention of the wheel on our part.  The same applies to turnout construction...right now I am leaning towards 215 nickelsilver rail.  The same proceedures to scratchbuild a turnout in HOn3 should work using 215 rail in LS.
                         
                        My recent experiences in building my FC Minerales de Santa Lucia in 1/2" scale has demonstrated that scratchbuilding or kitbashing motive power and rolling stock is little different than working in the smaller scales...you just need a little more workbench room!  Same goes for structures.  Of course Joe demonstrated that many years ago with his work in 1/2" scale.
                         
                        At any rate I am looking forward to the challenge, now if I can just get started with that benchwork....
                         
                        John
                      • Jan Girardot
                        ... Model Railroader had an article several years ago titled Light and Lacey Overhead : if anyone is interested I will find it. A few questions for those who
                        Message 11 of 20 , Apr 11 7:59 AM
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                          John Franzen wrote, in part:

                          >As far as overhead construction, it seems to me that much of the
                          >techniques and materials used in O gauge should work just as well in
                          >1/2" or 1:22.5, and be closer to actual "scale". Besides, some of
                          >the fine articles by Bill Clouser (and others) describing his
                          >overhead and car construction should apply to LS without a total
                          >re-invention of the wheel on our part.

                          Model Railroader had an article several years ago titled "Light and
                          Lacey Overhead": if anyone is
                          interested I will find it.

                          A few questions for those who have their overhead up and running:
                          * do you use the wire for propulsion current, or for constant-car lighting?
                          * do you use both rails for ground return, or do you run two-rail?

                          > The same applies to turnout construction...right now I am leaning
                          >towards 215 nickelsilver rail. The same proceedures to scratchbuild
                          >a turnout in HOn3 should work using 215 rail in LS.

                          Have you considered doing single-point turnouts, as used by many
                          streetcar systems? I know they
                          work quite well in O-scale, so should work even better in LS.

                          . . . Jan
                        • joecrea@aol.com
                          I, for one, would be very interested in seeing any of Bill Clouser s articles on overhead construction. I had all those old MR s, but tossed them or gave them
                          Message 12 of 20 , Apr 11 8:44 AM
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                            I, for one, would be very interested in seeing any of Bill Clouser's articles on overhead construction.  I had all those old MR's, but tossed them or gave them away before I became interested in trolleys.  There's got to be a lesson there!  I remember that Bill also did quite a bit of casting, which interests me as well.
                            Joe



                          • johnfranzen
                            Joe, if you`ll give me a day or two, I will check my file of MR`s and give you the dates that Clouser`s articles appeared...I know they spanned a number of
                            Message 13 of 20 , Apr 11 9:53 AM
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                              Joe, if you`ll give me a day or two, I will check my file of MR`s and give you the dates that Clouser`s articles appeared...I know they spanned a number of years.  With the dates of the issues you are interested in I believe the NMRA office will make copies of those articles for you...for a fee of course.  And there may be other copying services out there as well that someone one this list can tell us about. 
                               
                              John
                              ----- Original Message -----
                              Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2002 10:44 AM
                              Subject: Re: [largescaleTrolley] Helpful info

                              I, for one, would be very interested in seeing any of Bill Clouser's articles on overhead construction.  I had all those old MR's, but tossed them or gave them away before I became interested in trolleys.  There's got to be a lesson there!  I remember that Bill also did quite a bit of casting, which interests me as well.
                              Joe





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                            • Jan Girardot
                              ... Joe and Group: Light and lacy overhead by Bob Kutella appeared in MR, issue of 3/93. On the same subject, Trolley wire installation by Woody Langley,
                              Message 14 of 20 , Apr 11 4:05 PM
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                                Joe <JOECREA@... > wrote, in part:

                                >I, for one, would be very interested in seeing any of Bill Clouser's
                                >articles on overhead construction. I had all those old MR's, but
                                >tossed them or gave them away before I became interested in trolleys.


                                Joe and Group:

                                "Light and lacy overhead" by Bob Kutella appeared in MR, issue of
                                3/93. On the same subject,
                                "Trolley wire installation" by Woody Langley, Railroad Model
                                Craftsman, 5/82 is very "hands on."
                                Another, more general article is "Rehabilitating the Midland
                                Electric" by Bruce Goehmann, MR 10/81.

                                Here's what I found on single-point ("tongue") track switches:
                                * Traction Guidebook for model railroaders, 1974, pub. Kalmbach,
                                prototype article by Bill Clouser,
                                model info by John Derr.
                                * Model Traction Handbook, 1974, pub. Vane Jones, Paul & Steven Mallery.

                                . . . Jan
                              • joecrea@aol.com
                                Hi John- I think I ve located a copy of Kalmbach s Traction Guidebook, which I understand has Clouser s articles on overhead in it. Thank you very much for
                                Message 15 of 20 , Apr 11 4:14 PM
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                                  Hi John-
                                  I think I've located a copy of Kalmbach's "Traction Guidebook,"  which I understand has Clouser's articles on overhead in it.

                                  Thank you very much for your offer, though.  If this doesn't work out, I'll let you know.
                                  Joe
                                • joecrea@aol.com
                                  Jan- Thank you very much for the info! Joe
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Apr 11 4:19 PM
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                                    Jan-
                                    Thank you very much for the info!
                                    Joe
                                  • fgraham105@aol.com
                                    In a message dated 4/10/2002 6:58:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Joe, I can do that. Frank
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Apr 11 7:36 PM
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                                      In a message dated 4/10/2002 6:58:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time, joecrea@... writes:


                                      Take some photos and post them!


                                      Joe, I can do that.

                                      Frank
                                    • fgraham105@aol.com
                                      In a message dated 4/10/2002 9:07:35 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Since I don t know how to properly snip this post, I ll add my comments here. I bought some
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Apr 11 7:55 PM
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                                        In a message dated 4/10/2002 9:07:35 PM Eastern Daylight Time, janandpat@... writes:


                                        Jan, (the Group Moderator) here:


                                        Since I don't know how to properly snip this post, I'll add my comments here.

                                        I bought some of the MTS overhead switch frogs and found them to be too small for the Bachmann shoes and the wheels that i use on the poles I build.  I have been successful in making the frogs out of sheet brass using the cut, bend and modify process.  I made my trolley ears using pulloff wire and E beads.  For outdoor overhead, you might consider N scale NS rail inverted and soldered to a messenger wire which is then attached to the span wires or pole brackets.  This was used by Jim Richards at one time.  There is that name again.
                                        I have 18" radii on my modular layout, and the cars, Bachmann single truck and double truck, slow noticeably in the curves.

                                        Frank
                                        Ocala, FL
                                      • mike-beard
                                        Morning All, Sounds like you re a bit tight to gauge on the curves. Try opening them up by a millimetre or so. Kind Regards, Mike Beard. ... From:
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Apr 13 3:18 AM
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                                          Morning All,
                                           
                                          Sounds like you're a bit tight to gauge on the curves. Try opening them up by a millimetre or so.
                                           
                                          Kind Regards,
                                           
                                          Mike Beard.
                                          ----- Original Message -----
                                          Sent: Friday, April 12, 2002 3:55 AM
                                          Subject: Re: [largescaleTrolley] Re: Helpful info

                                          In a message dated 4/10/2002 9:07:35 PM Eastern Daylight Time, janandpat@... writes:


                                          Jan, (the Group Moderator) here:


                                          Since I don't know how to properly snip this post, I'll add my comments here.

                                          I bought some of the MTS overhead switch frogs and found them to be too small for the Bachmann shoes and the wheels that i use on the poles I build.  I have been successful in making the frogs out of sheet brass using the cut, bend and modify process.  I made my trolley ears using pulloff wire and E beads.  For outdoor overhead, you might consider N scale NS rail inverted and soldered to a messenger wire which is then attached to the span wires or pole brackets.  This was used by Jim Richards at one time.  There is that name again.
                                          I have 18" radii on my modular layout, and the cars, Bachmann single truck and double truck, slow noticeably in the curves.

                                          Frank
                                          Ocala, FL


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