Above photo is my Gosford complete with the Overhead. Click on the photo to see the Main North Album at Flickr

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Overhead Wiring on the Main North.

NSWGRs installed Overhead Wiring on the Short North as far as Gosford in 1959, then to Newcastle in 1984. My era is the mid 1960s, so I need to have some Overhead on my layout. I had intended on having the Overhead installed prior to purchasing Southern Rail's 4 car Interurban Set in about 2011 but it didn't happen. Then I purchased a few Auscision 46s in 2015, still no Overhead on the layout but I introduced the changeover to/from 46s at Gosford to/from Sydney. Good thing the Auscision 46s can run without the Overhead. 

My mate Geoff S regularly visited the Main North, where the two of us would run some trains but yacked most of the time. I had seen Geoff's Mullet Creek layout where he installed the Overhead Wires. Note: Geoff's Mullet Creek layout can be seen at Auscision Showroom & Geoff was instrumental in Southern Rail releasing their Stanchions.

Numerous times we discussed adding the Overhead to my Main North, even discussing adding his Mullet Creek module to my layout but I had to decline his kind offer as there would be too much modification to fit it into my Mullet Creek. Geoff suggested I purchase some Code 83 track, Insulators from Tichy & .025" Phosphor Bronze wire and make my own Stanchions. This was about 10 years ago. I also bought various lengths of Marklin Catenary wires.  

April 2023 & I've made a start on installing the Overhead, firstly at Hawkesbury River mentioned in my last Blog entry. I soon realized that I did not have enough of the Marklin Catenary Wires to complete my Overhead through to North Gosford. Six months ago my mate Spencer gave me some Sommerfeldt Catenary that he was going to install on his Hornsby layout, including 9 x 500 mm lengths. I made numerous enquiries about getting more of the Marklin & Sommerfeldt Catenary. 

Making Single/Double/Quadruple Stanchions were made using a crude Jig using a small metal Square clamped to my workbench for the 90 degree angle with marks in positions for Corner Braces, Hanger & the Horizontal Brace, on the Bench. The Stanchion's vertical Posts were 130 mm & the Horizontal length according the actual location (1, 2, 3 etc.) tracks. Added a couple pieces styrene for easier cutting of the rail for the Corner Braces & threading of the Tichy Insulators, onto the .025" Phosphor Bronze wire after poking my fingers, too many times. 

The positions of the vertical post/brackets, across the horizontal was determined per location, as shown for a Stanchion straddling the 3 tracks on Gosford Station.

For the Hawkesbury River Bridge, I used 6 lengths of the 500 mm Sommerfeldt, adding some Marklin Catenary to make installing the Stanchions easier & temporarily held in place by clothes pegs, shown below:

Instead of installing Catenary in my 3 tunnels, I "ramp up" the first & last wire as it enters/leaves the Tunnel, so the Pantograph isn't touching anymore. This saves on the amount of Wires & Stanchions, more importantly time. Note I have about 6 metres of Tunnels plus up Cowan Bank & 7 Loops & Sidings of Sydney Staging that's under 100mms under Broadmeadow.
I found, as with the Hawkesbury River installation, the Catenary needed to be "tensioned" to keep it in place, instead of going sideways with the pressure of a Pantograph under it - sideways too much & the Pantograph fouled in the Catenary wires. I made some crude "Tensioners with Telco wire & pegs. Twisting the peg until the Catenary was "tight enough". Many of the Tensioners are in Tunnels, rough enough is good enough & it works. Out in the "open" this rough method is replaced with a piece of Piano Wire anchored on the Stanchion & the ground after making the tension adjust as above. My rough adjustable Tensioners are shown below:

I stored all of my Catenary Wires in a drawer for easy access especially useful when doing my Gosford  station & Yard.

Doing a rough calculation, I figured I'd have enough to finish off my Overhead through Gosford.

Working out which length of Overhead was necessary, was a  bit of trial & error by adding Stanchions & trying a 46 under the temporally installed wires. Many holes drilled besides the track to reposition the Stanchions. 

I've "wired" the layout to across the Broadwater just south of Gosford. To go further I need to complete my Gosford Station & Yard, shown below, as it used to be prior to May 2023.

I knew it would be difficult to manually operate Points with Overhead installed so I test fitted a Slide Switch to one of the Rod/Tubes years ago. I purchased 20 Slide Switches & Rod/Tube for all of my North Gosford  Points. thinking this would be the way to go. 

The Gosford Re-work will be my next Blog entry. It has been done & road tested by Visitors in two groups over the last 3 weeks, with minor issues to fix, see below: