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thanks for following on my queue elsewhere...

Overhead catenary is but one issue.....tramway modellers have overcome most of the issues raised above (no pun intended) with overhead...seeing as very few tram systems ran without..London being one exception.

US traction modellers also have overcome the same issues....

I personally even arranged a short traction wire on an NMRA module I built years ago....simply to 'run' my taction loco conversion from the MDC Ingersoll -GE boxcab diesel....

but the issue isn't about overhead least, not the one I was thinking about.

The comments by the Bachmann representatives concerning the success of their forthcoming 4CEP set, made me wonder why SR electric sets as a whole were'nt modelled in any numbers?

when DMU's abounded?

and I concluded the reason may well lie with the trackage?

we have had access to the means to CONSTRUCT 3rd rail electrified trackage for years, courtesy of Peco....

but I suspect the reasons why so many modellers/enthusiasts BUY stock items like Bachmanns are to do with NOT having to glue , cut, paint, etc to any great degree.
Time being an issue?

therefore I posed the question, why will a maker not produce a simple line of 3rd rail trackage as a package?

after all, I can go out and BUY ,off the shelf,complete trackage systems that give me such esoteric items as dual gauge flex track and a variety of combinations.

whilst 3rd rail flex track may be a unique product for the UK, so is the 4CEP.......and the two would go nicely together?

the ability to buy easy to lay trackage with that 3rd rail would go a long way towards making the realistic usage of SR electric sets a possibility.

then those pickup shoes wont be obviously hanging in mid air?

[simple, basic pointwork with 3rd rail add ons would also complete the ensemble?]

who knows?

with such an idea, maybe the 3rd rail could also be used for pickup?

with all that realistic flashing?

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QUOTE Hi - Its probably easier to use the Peco add-on rail as the 3rd rail switches over from one side to the other past pointwork

not quite the point I was making.....

I think the very idea of 'having to glue and sort' peco track components is an issue.

why do folk 'do without' the third rail?

However, if some enterprising body made, for example, set track or flex track with a built -in third rail...even if only a moulded gesture, which could simply be 'bought and laid', then maybe, SR electric sets might appeal more?

even to the collector who only wants a length of track for display?

the side the collector rail sits is irrelevant...turn the track around?

point work isn't really an issue.....3rd rail can either be built/mouded in, or supplied as a complete add-on?

in fact, a clip=on plastic 3rd rail , complete and ready to plug in, would be better than nothing?

the peco parts are excellent...but they are just
they require flddling with, gluing, sorting out......and their lack of general usage is probably for the same reasons as most folk don't hand-build their track anymore?

when was the last time most of you used Individulay? With its individual pandrol clips?

what, no one?

all using Peco Streamline?

I wonder why?

suggestion to bachmann.......they already have a world market trackage system.........

why not produce some flex with outside third?

the wood covers could be a natty add-on? for those so inclined?

all to sell alongside the 4 -CEP's?

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I once lived near Brum......

Having read the above posts with great interest, I see they are posted obviously be modellers with some skill, or awareness, and able to consider3rd rail..but as a ''scratch' building project.....which is essentially what the Peco components provide?

my train (!) of thought started with the BAchmann reps comments on the poor sales for electric locos...and their doubts as to the saleability in numbers, of SR electric sets.

It occurred to me that one issue regarding SR electrics was, the unrealistic trackwork currently available.

Together with my impression (from this forum and others) that time for tedious scratch building is at a premium with most modellers, such that most prefer to tolerate the compromises in appearance offered by Peco Streamline and others...set track, for example....

put the two thoughts together, and I came up with...why not set-track, or flex, with ready-made '3rd rail?'

Nothing complex.......if a modeller wants complex pointwrk, then for 3rd rail, peco might be the answer.....

but if Tillig and others can produce commercial dual gauge track....why not some 3rd rail stuff for the UK?

the point being...a chicken and egg principle.

Easy use, [plug and play??] 3rd rail track...trainset or flex....might open the door for the likes of bachby to produce EMU's, which might sell?

After all, 3rd rail electric trains are a very big part of a lot of people's railway experiences?

We currently have a LOT of SR steam..some diesel, or electric locos......given that so much of our well known rail system is behind 3rd rail, I am supprised someone hasn't actually produced something that makes things easy for everybody to achieve that extra bit of realism....WITHOUT EFFORT?

peco..though a fine product, isn't within everybody's skills to take advantage of.

ready made, easy use is needed.

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2,202 Posts
oh, by the way, a Triang 'Electra' was probably my 'dream loco'' when a young lad.......and their overhead seemed just fine to me!

I also grew up with the Trix EM1 on my 'wish list'....but both these locos were very much in the forefront of advertising when I was in my early teens.

before then, I thought Trix Twin, with its common return centre rail..enabling 2 or 3 locos to run independantly on the same be the dogsdanglers........

what goes around, comes around?


(anybody remember the Wrenn slot racing cars? With their '3rd car' and overtaking facitlity?? Off thread again, I know, but my mind flits these days.....)

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2,202 Posts
QUOTE Easy - too small a market.

yes, that is a 'given' in the current 'justification' I quoted the examples of Tillig..simply to show that adding a third 'rail' wasn't an, I suppose, just how limited is the market for dual gauge track?

The Bachmann interview raised a query regarding the saleability of the 4-CEP units.

again I repeat, why should Southern electric units not be as poplular as DMU's?

then I considered, perhaps realistic track for them to run on, that was easy to lay, reasonably priced considering the limited market, might JUST kick-start a rise in popularity?

as I said,its a bit chicken and egg?

BAck a bit, John Webb suggested

QUOTE Perhaps there is a market for 'add-on' flexible plastic third/forth conductor rail with insulators and end-pieces which can be quickly glued in position?

Perhaps this might be the 'way to go?'....especially if the prototypical 'correctness' was done by the manufacturer, rather than the individual modeller having to wade through reams of research?

I dunno....but then, I'm not buying any 4-CEPS, or any other SR electric for me the issue doesn't arise, however.......????

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2,202 Posts
I notice a lot of stuff concerning catenary.....( I made my own overhead wires..not catenerised, but strung, tramway-style....)

but what has happened to Sommerfeldt and its overhead products?

[I have a pair of Sommerfeldt pans, one in use, one in the box]

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2,202 Posts
given that we 4mm scale modellers are quite content to use underscale trackwork, then perhaps it wouldn't be SO important what teh third rail was made of, or its height, as long as it gave roughly the right appearance?

as for pointwork.....third rail layout can be quite simple......complication in trackwork is un-necessary...we certainly seem to think so when buying our Peco points...even setrack!

I would suggest, if complicated pointwork is the name of the game, then the modeller concerned is quite likely to be making their own trackwork, therefore not the 'target' of my suggestions.

However, perhaps I have mislead folks.....I wasn't really considering any operational difficulties with 3rd rail.....just suggesting the idea that 3rd rail trackwork, easy-to-lay in the best peco streamline manner, might be a way of encouraging more folk to think ''Southern Electric''....thus improving sales of such as the 4-CEP-units...perhaps opening up a new area of modelling???

After all, as has been observed herein, there are few, if any, new DIESELS are left for Bachman or hornby or whoever to make?

plus, there IS a limit to the different types of DMU they might want to produce?

do not Southern electric sets cover a broader timespan than DMU's?

justa thought, that to open a new 'market', might need more than one nice model?

It might also need some nice 'infrastructure' to go with it?

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further back, someone commented on spindly overhead in viewed poerrtions, but what of reliability in hidden parts?

I have 'done' overhead in the past..and for hidden portions, replaced the wire with [N gauge??] rail...very robust.

whilst the overhead does get in the way, re-railing is simpler with a re-railer?

and Doug is frantically conducting a missionary campaign to get us all hooked on Kadees...which operate hands-free...

but, there should be an NMRA, DOGA, EMGS, or whoever, strict rule, that overhead wires MEAN overhead pickup ONLY!

All future electric locos with pantographs, should, by law (EU law an' all!) be wired only to collect off overhead wires.

that should focus some minds?

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QUOTE If NMRA et all insist what you are suggestion then that means only live steam & live diesel for other forms of motive power...that WOULD place a moggy in the pigeon loft?

regarding the hidden sections thing, I WAS only commenting on my own experiences in sorting this problem...not suggesting the solution to be a panacea.

An exhibionist layout has moveability problems unheard of on one that stays put.


Tongue in cheek?

as if!
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