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LGB Catenary...what is needed???

13734 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  stanman
Good evening...recently, I purchased an LGB 2046 rack loco that has an overhead catenary pickup. I have a small indoor LGB layout (5' x 9') and would like to experiment with the LGB Catenary. I need to find someone that has used this system and can help me with the parts needed to make this work. Any help out there?
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This is what I used for my cog loco: LGB trolly posts and wires:

Standard Catenary Mast 56400

Standard Catenary Mast with wire 56401

wire 6201 (old number) this item is not in any of the more recent (post late 1990's) catalogues.

Based upon the new numbers for the masts, my guess is that the new number for the wire is 56201.

I have no idea if and where any of this material is available.

Chuck N
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Hi Chuck...thanks very much for the info. What bases did you use for your Catenary Masts? Also, are you using the catenary for the only power to the cog loco? How does a single wire work for getting power to a catenary loco? Please excuse my ignorance but this really fascinates me and I would like to give it a try. Thanks again for any info.
One wire is connected to the catenary pole with a power connection, the other wire is connected to one of the rails. If you want to run both catenary and track power, connect the wire going to the catenary pole to the other rail, also.
How far apart can you space out the Catenary Masts? In the photo provided, it looks as though about every 2 feet.
I used the catenary to provide power to the engine. Ultimately I had to solder a piece of heavy copper wire (#10 gauge) to the top of the pantograph as the shoe was starting to wear from the friction with the overhead wire.

The posts have a clamp that goes under the track and locks in place on the other side. The distance between posts depends upon the track under the wire. You can use the full length of wire on straight sections, but on curves the wire must always be over the track. Since I was using LGB 1100 curves for the cog section, I had to shorten the length of the wire sections. If the wire isn't over the track, the pantograph will slide off the wire.

Jim's answers are correct regarding the wiring.

Chuck N

PS In the background behind the snowplow you will see the catenary at the beginning of the grade. Here it is over straight track and the length is the standard length as it came out of the package. My Catenary is now buried somewhere in the garage and I can't find it to measure the length of the wire sections. I knew some people who used stainless steel welding rod (wire). A stiff grade of piano wire would probably work. You don't want a wire that has been coiled. It would be verydifficult to get it straightened out.

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I used catenary on my entire overhead layout. The red loco shown in my signature below is powered from the catenary. The rail is powered separately so that the lights in the passenger cars are always lit.
The max distance between poles is 25 inches on my layout due to the length of the LGB brass spline. BTW, the original stainless steel catenary wire from LGB (shown in Chuck's picture) was very difficult to maintain... kept falling off if the ends were not soldered together.
It's been a long time since I used the Catenary, it was on my layout in Denver. We moved to Virginia in 1993. I don't recall having any maintenance problems with the wires falling off. If I did, I probably just pinched down the hook with a pair of pliers.

Chuck N
What kind of snow blower is that? Looks like it's moving some serious snow!

The answer to your question regarding my snow plow had been on another thread (15' of scale snow). I'm repeating it here.

The mechanism for the rotary was built around 1990 by Ken Orme a member of the Denver Garden Railway club. The housing is a former Delton caboose that had been on the receiving end of a large hail storm. It required substantial rebuilding.


The snow here in Virginia sure doesn't blow as well as it did in Colorado. So far this winter I haven't needed any of my snow removal equipment.
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Can someone do me a favour and confirm the distance from railtop to catenary wire please? I have an old LGB catalogue that says 230mm wire height, but I don't know if that includes the thickness of the rails&ties. Ye see, there's this loco I'd like to build, but built true scale it'll only stand about 200mm (say 8 in) with the pantograph at max extension, so I've got this feeling that it'll look daft if I ever put it under LGB catenary, like a little kid not able to reach the wire..


One wire is connected to the catenary pole with a power connection, the other wire is connected to one of the rails. If you want to run both catenary and track power, connect the wire going to the catenary pole to the other rail, also.

or you connect one powerpack to both rails, and the other to one rail and the catenary.
that gives you the easyest way to control two trains independently on the same track.

In the US, the height between the top of the railhead and the underside of the wire was generally 22 feet. I am not sure of European practice.

Street railways would often reduce that to around 18 feet when going through a tunnel or under an overpass.

Jonathan - the distance from rail to catenary isn't very critical. The pantographs on the loco can easily accommodate plus-or-minus 10 mm (or more) without problem.
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