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PC: RE: Re: "O" catenary

OK, NOW I'm in the mood to put up some catenary!!   Oh well, maybe when retires he will think about it. =)


From: 	Garrett Rea[SMTP:glrea -AT- earthlink.net]
Sent: 	Wednesday, December 23, 1998 9:11 AM
To: 	penn-central -AT- smellycat.com
Cc: 	Fred Gehret Rea
Subject: 	PC: Re: "O" catenary

Josh and all-

My brother and I made some out of erector set one time.   First, we rewired
my father's prize GG1 to the exacting, UL-like, standards that only two
early teenagers can (secret- use tons of solder everywhere!!) to run on
overhead.  His was an early single motor model, without magnitraction and it
had a horn that sounded more like Mexican food revenge than a horn.  Then we
built the catenary.  This set up worked great on 0-72.  The pure
entertainment of the sparks, the buzzing sound that the 'cat would make at
loose joints, and the Hollywood-like disaster of when Dogzilla (the family's
pet Corgi) got hold of it seems like yesterday.

We had several sets of erector, from the 1900s to 1980s to loot. We used the
narrow flat beams for the overhead on end and they looked good - we used the
1940's lattice pattern AC Gilbert parts.  (yes Gilbert with Lionel, but we
had Lionel erector and Meccano from UK, including a stationary live steam
engine!!)  Boy did they look good.  Single track had one pole and a flat
piece under the ties (insulated with cardboard) or a (yuck) plastic part
from the 1980's set was used.  On double track or at switches, two towers
were put up and the cat was strung between.  Once again, cardboard to
insulate.  All of this was run on black, yellow, red, and orange thick shag
carpeting so shifting track and shorts were common.   This stunning 1978
vintage carpet also did wonders for the motors and caused many a Realtor to
try and get my father remodel prior to selling the house.  Now all of the
70s stuff is in, if he had only waited....I am sure the back and gold flake
wallpaper in the bath off of the family room is gone to, this stuff would
bring a mint today!

On the GG1 the pantographs are insulated, but the horns are not.  (are the
newer Gs plastic?) This can cause trouble with the pan that is down.  The
swing-happiness of these ozone-emitting monsters can too, as on tight turns
at speed, the pantograph can swing outside of the cat.  I left the wire to
the center rail pick up in so the 1:48 folks in Madison, Irvington, and
Manhattan could have light.

Using dowel rod at the hardware and some other odds and ends, a good (better
looking and probably a lot quieter) system could be made, especially if you
do not run on the floor like we did.   I had also though of making a system
out of wood that would screw into the holes in the ties, but before that
happened I discovered the world of girls and cars.

Now,  when I meet my father and brother this weekend, we may have to dig all
of this stuff up (we never tore erector apart, just enough to pack away and
this was the last project) and do it all again to my wife's, mother's and
two new Dogzillas' (Corgis still) chagrin.

My father was always jealous of the fact that we did this- he had always
wanted to run the G on overhead, but had never thought of using erector.
Must have been all those lead soldiers he smelted as a child.....

Josh, thank you for bringing back this great memory!!!

Happy holidays, good luck, and let me know how it turns out.

Garrett Rea.

-----Original Message-----
From: Thomas K. Trower <tktrower -AT- earthlink.net>
To: 'penn-central -AT- smellycat.com' <penn-central@smellycat.com>
Date: Monday, December 21, 1998 10:15 PM
Subject: PC: "O" catenary

>Is there a web page anywhere on the net for a company that makes catenary
that could work with our Lionel???
>Thanks In Advance.

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