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Make Your Own Lineside Telegraph Poles | Model Railway Hints, Tips, How To Articles and Reviews at Model Trains Online

oo-ho-telegraph-poles1Resident recycler and kit basher Kim has been back in touch with another quick tutorial for making your own lineside telegraph poles. This particular tutorial relates to a set that Kim has made in OO/HO scale, but the same principle would work for N or O gauge too. Here’s Kim to explain how he made them…

What you need

  • A length of appropriately sized dowel. (I used quarter inch dowel for this project but you can use any that you have to hand that’s of roughly the right scale diameter)
  • Left over leds posts or short lengths of stiff wire
  • Popsicle/Iced Lolly sticks. Cut into 2 inch lengths
  • Sewing pins with heads – small and large pins.
  • Small beads of an appropriate shape for insulators – craft shops sell hundreds which would be perfect for the job. If you can get white ones they’ll be even better!
  • Super Glue & PVA Glue

What to do

First work out how many telegraph poles you’re going to need for your layout, and cut as many lengths as you require for the posts from your dowel. Telegraph poles, particularly in the UK vary in height considerably, so you can use a little artistic license here with the height and just go with what looks right. Anywhere from 90mm up to 150mm would work depending on the location of the poles on your layout. Don’t forget to allow plenty of clearance where the lines would cross over your railway track if you’re going to actually add wires to your telegraph poles.

Take a popsicle stick and cut into 2 inch long sections to form the beams/cross-members on the telegraph pole. How many you will need is up to you. Telegraph poles can have any number of crossmembers depending on the number wires they need to carry. Out in rural areas, one of two will be fine, but on very busy mainlines and in built-up urban areas, there would be as many as six, sometimes more. The width I used I think is approx 1/8th of an inch.

After sanding the beams, work out where you want them on the poles and how many for each pole. To make fitting them to the poles easier I made a sort of jig with a piece of white paper and a couple of strips of wood to keep everything straight and consistent .

oo-ho-telegraph-poles3I marked the positions of the cables on each beam using a pencil. Once you’ve marked the required positions on the beam, take a large dressmakers pin with the head and carefully and very slowly push into the beam to make a set of small holes in the marked positions. Don’t go all the way through or push to hard in case you crack the beam. Once you made  all the holes, take a left over LED post or other short length of appropriately sized wire and push it gently into the holes.

Take your time here. Once seated in the hole, take a tiny drop of instant glue and glue the length of wire into place. Try not to get too much glue on the post as you don’t want it to be visible when the post is complete.

Once all the pins are glued into position, mark the centre point of the beam with a pencil. This is where the beam will fix to the post. On the real-life prototype it would be fixed into position with one or more bolts. On our model, we take another large pin and once again gently make a hole all the way through the beam. Take care not to crack the beam.

Now take your dowel posts and make small, flat bottomed notch where you want to place the beam. This can be done with a craft knife or indeed filed using a flat needle file. Again, take your time. The notch should only be as wide as the width of the beam. Now take a large pin and a pair of pliers and slowly push the pin through the post where you made the notch to form the other half of the bolt hole. Once you’re through, remove the pin.

Now take the beam with the pin and insert into the post hole you just made. Use instant or white PVA glue to secure it in place.

Apply a small amount of instant glue (super glue – watch your fingers!) to each of the LED leads on your cross beams, then slip over 1, 2 or 3 beads as required onto each before the glue dries. How many you use is up to you. It will depend on the exact shape of the beads you’ve chosen really. Go with what looks right 🙂

Work along, one LED lead at a time until all are done then trim off any excess LED lead with a pair of wire cutters.

oo-ho-telegraph-poles2That’s it, the basic telegraph pole is ready for painting and weathering to get the exact look you need for your layout!

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