Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Line side poles

Look at a photo of any 20th century railroad line and you will see line side poles of some kind. These have been used to carry the wires that have done many things for the railroad including telegraph, telephone, signal control, remote turnout control, etc.  As the railroads adopted newer technology many of these overhead wires were no longer needed.  Often the poles have remained.

After working with a few different types of poles over the years on various layouts I have decided to used the Atlas 2801 Telephone pole sets as line side poles on this layout. 

As I have known I would need quite a few of these poles on this layout, I always have my eye out for any deals on ebay or at train shows for the Atlas 2801 telephone pole set.

Recently I found a stash of Atlas poles at a train show which I ended up paying $1.25 per box.  The boxes were quite beat up but the poles were just fine.

The Atlas set has 12 poles.  Some have transformers and trolley wire supports which I don't need.  The trolley wire supports are easy to cut off but I have not been able to remove the transformers without damaging the two top cross arms.
I normally combine multiple sets in a single box to save space.  The color of the stock poles vary from set to set which can be seen in this photo so I paint them Testors roof brown.

Before painting I cut off the trolley wire supports on the poles that have them and clean up any mold lines for flash.  Then I run my razor saw down the length of pole to give it a more wood look.

Here are three poles at different stages of work.  First I paint the top half brown, then after that has dried overnight hold it by the cross arms and paint the bottom half.  The after that dries I paint the insulators and cross arm braces. As a last step I then apply some high gloss to the insulators.


  1. HI Brad.
    I also found the Atlas poles to be very good for the SFRSD. I used to remove some of the cross arms for poles that were a further distance from say a station sometimes leaving just one. They certainly come up well with some paint. Yours do look very good. I also spaced mine out after stepping out some in your country whilst on a rail fan trip to get a standard distance between each one. LOL.

    1. Hi Rod,

      I think the Atlas poles are one of the oldest N scale detail items around and still in production I believe.

      In most of the photos I have seen of my modeled area there are only 2 cross arms. So what I may do is to remove the top ones and then attach them to the ones that have the transformers where 2 cross arms end up getting cut off. It is going to depend on how well I can bond the sections together.