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Pentewan Light Railway

The Pentewan Railway in Cornwall was possibly unique in having three* gauges in its lifetime. Christopher Hawkins built the original rai...

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Telegraph Poles

Over the last month or two I have been attempting to install telephone poles on the PLR. The idea is that there is a circuit going down the line with a telephone on a pole at the quarry loop (to discuss their traffic requirements). In practice this means a two wire circuit down the line to the viaduct at which point the main circuit crosses to the lower line and through the tunnel, and the original wires continuing to an end pole on the quarry loop.

In my hunt for prototype inspiration I came across the following wonderful sites: Teleramics, Double Groove and Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society (I defy anyone to call railway modellers sad after seeing this: here)

I was particular taken with the swan neck type of insulator fitting from Double Groove below as I thought it would be appropriate (cheap) for the forever strapped for cash PLR.
Image linked from Double Groove

After queries on the O14 group etc. for suitable sources drew a blank I started out making my own as outlined below (I was beyond the point of no return when I found out Wenz Modellbau did some kits) .

I ended up getting a casting starter kit from Nigel Lawton 009 and making a master with 4 insulators on it from which I made a silicon mould. Trying to cast with resin (with various colouring agents) proved almost impossible due to air bubbles and the very fast cure time. Coloured (artists pigment) 12minute epoxy was better, but the best results were with white/superfine Milliput. Piano wire was used for the swan necks poked into the Milliput.

Poles were made from dowels, slightly tapered with sandpaper, aged with my cider vinegar/steel wool solution (see previous post), felt tip for knots, and washes with ink and watercolours. The bases have a square rod which fits into a square tube in the basement so they all line up correctly (every pole has it's place), and all were given a yellow/green algae spray on the North East face. Caps were made from cartridge paper painted with grey acrylic mix. The guy ropes were made from fine electric wire innards blasted with a blowtorch to blacken it.

The master, silicone mould(s) and swan neck wires.

Casting a batch of insulators.

Clockwise from top left: Resin (least successful - many bubbles/failures), Epoxy (better) and Milliput (most successful - shown as moulded)

And the final results:



Adding the poles has certainly transformed the look of the layout. I think it adds a visual dimension that highlights the narrow gauge. I am still deliberating whether I add any wires.

Now for some fencing and vegetation....