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OO OLE Opening post:

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  • OO OLE Opening post:

    Cantenary and Overhead Line Equipment remains in our portfolio. We are currently working on gantries/portals initially for OO, later for N.
    One issue is that of length of the span and the method we use to achieve a variable span if this is the way we go.
    The choice is to offer a range of pre-defined widths (i.e. 2 line, 3 line, 4 line etc.) or to produce a modular version. Both have advantages and disadvantages. It should be noted that these are intended for mass production and some compromise is inevitable, i.e. thicker section construction elements etc. Only etched brass kits can re-create the full prototypical level of detail
    Method Advantages Disadvantages
    Fixed span
    • Accurate
    • Robust
    • Easy to install
    • Multiple packages (Dealer storage)
    • Requires 'standard' line spacing
    • Difficult to modify
    Modular span
    • Simple to modify
    • One pack fits all
    • Easy to purchase & stock
    • Potential for un-prototypical appearance
    • May require assembly / gluing
    • A little more fragile
    I have attached some examples of the various choices for discussion purposes. You will note that there are two types of portal proposed.
    The modularity does cause difficulties as it is probable that the connection method may require enlarging, making the model less prototypical. (already the square section of the members is incorrect)

    For those who do not wish to glue the model together, it's possible to include strengthening clips, which are optional. These do show up a little though! and many will prefer not to use them.

    I have created a poll here. Please let us know your thoughts.
    Last edited by Andy Dapol; 13 June 2016, 19:39. Reason: Added Poll

    Dapol Staff Member

  • #2
    Looks very promising. I would personally like to see the level of detailing as good as the technology allows along with the east of constructing. The current Dapol offering is very easy to construct and offers a good disquisition from the competition. Considering most modellers shall be starting from scratch with an electrified line, or making a new section on the layout - the issues of standard spaced lines does not seem to be too much of a disadvantage. Certainly fixed seems to be an advantage over the enlarged modular design.

    Shall the current wiring fit these new designs?

    Thanks for sharing !


    • Andy Dapol
      Andy Dapol commented
      Editing a comment
      One thing worth mentioning is that the modular version will enable a greater range of spans to be covered than the fixed span versions. It's a fairly tall order (literally!) to expect dealers to stock many differing sizes and to dedicate the physical space, so we'll probably keep the range down to two or three spans. The main difference between variable and fixed will be factory assembly as opposed to self-assembly. The modularity will still be there, but pre-assembled. Otherwise the tooling would need to be physically huge, and also unique for each span.

  • #3
    Normally I would say that accuracy is everything when it comes to railway modelling, which would support the Fixed Span option. However, I think when it comes to catenary, those modellers seeking to install OLE on their layout, will probably be fairly experienced modellers, certainly compared to someone just running a 'train set' who probably wouldn't go to the time and expense of adding OLE. Therefore I think that the modular version may well be best, as it allows the modeller greater options in modifying to suit their own particular layout. A bit of cutting, badgering and gluing should be within the grasp of such modellers.


    • #4
      Originally posted by Andy Dapol View Post
      One thing worth mentioning is that the modular version will enable a greater range of spans to be covered than the fixed span versions. It's a fairly tall order (literally!) to expect dealers to stock many differing sizes and to dedicate the physical space, so we'll probably keep the range down to two or three spans. The main difference between variable and fixed will be factory assembly as opposed to self-assembly. The modularity will still be there, but pre-assembled. Otherwise the tooling would need to be physically huge, and also unique for each span.
      I feel you have answered your original question yourself. If started saying fixed shall be more detailed than modular due to the former's need to have larger connection method for self-assembly, but then answered that as the fixed is factory assembled, it would start as a modular design. Thus I cannot now see where the advantage or disadvantage stands between the two?

      Would a design where the self-assembly spans come at standard 2 or 4 lengths and rather than connecting these together, they connect with the 'pole' (is it portal). There seems to have more viability for the span to 'clip' into the pole than the spans clip together under an enlarged tooling?


      • Andy Dapol
        Andy Dapol commented
        Editing a comment
        The main difference would be that if factory assembled, the fitting method would be a little finer, and would not need to cater for those who are assembly adverse. It could also be given a coat of paint. Regardless there needs to be some assembly, since the standoffs/cantenary supports will need to be adjustable along the length of the portal in order to sit in the correct place above the track and to cater for 'stagger'.

    • #5
      Modular span gets my vote...It also encourages a bit of modelling in the form of "some assembly required".....I know it's just an easy job, but nonetheless requires patience and skill to an extent. Something we need.
      Jeremiah Bunyan...


      • #6
        Hi Andy

        I am a bit confused, after the introduction of the Mk3 cantilever mast for single and twin track, you are developing Mk1 portal. The two systems are only seen together where there has been an extension of the OLE. Examples being Weaver Junction, Colchester (Ipswich line) and Wickford (Southminster branch). Surely Mk3 headspan would have been better for multitrack and for use in station areas to match the mast already produced.

        The Mk1 portal mast with the type of registration assembly you are proposing to make is mainly confined to large stations, New St, Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool Lime St,and Euston. On open line there are two designs, one where the catenary wire goes over the portal and one where it goes under.
        Attached Files


        • #7
          Are there any updates on this yet? Trying to decide whether I should invest in peco's OHLE system or wait for these to progress!

          I have brought a pack of your mixed length masts... I have two questions regarding these... 1. Do you/will you make packs of just one length (instead of 5 of each). 2. Why are the catenary wires so expensive (compared to pecos)?


          • JeremiahBunyan
            JeremiahBunyan commented
            Editing a comment
            The expense is nothing when you actually get down to buying Peco OHLE which is really expensive and also incorrect!

          • Joel Dapol
            Joel Dapol commented
            Editing a comment
            Sales on our OHLE are poor and it makes investing further sums difficult when we have other stuff to produce that yields better returns. We have not yet decided to leave and cancel our announced items yet but they are not a priority and it maybe better to invest in Peco if you are in need of these quickly.

            With regard to pack contents, we have not had any complaints regarding the specific contents, so have not looked to change them. This was formulated some years ago and was made I presume to requests from customers. However, this was decided upon before the current development team were in situ.

            Our wires are hand made and hand soldered and this makes them expensive unfortunately. I know Peco have theirs made by Sommerfeldt so the process may be automated as the European market is huge and makes the expense justifiable.

            Sorry its not brighter news ;-(

        • #8
          Surely the "poor sales" are a bit of a self fulfilling issue when the multi-track spans, the double supports for pointwork and terminating posts are not available? For example, I have no need for single line plain track masts but I will need getting on for a dozen or so multi-track portal or girder spans, and terminal masts for bay platforms. I like the idea of the Dapol system without the need for soldering, and the CAD ideas shown earlier look ideal for people like me who are happy to have a British looking OHLE system without the need for soldering and the like.


          • Joel Dapol
            Joel Dapol commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi I would say `perhaps' the poor sales of current products are due to the lack of range - I for one am not sure at all. The question arises from our perspective, `what if the market is small and Dapol make this additional significant investment and it does not pay off?' Especially when we have products we can develop that we know with more certainty will be successful. At the moment I feel Dapol have dug a small hole with their entry into OHLE and we are in danger of digging a deeper one, hoping we will create a successful market, quite risky imho. I am not writing this off, but I hope you understand my caution. With the recent advent and popularity of Crowd Sourcing, perhaps this is the perfect product for this? I would like to add, however, that the crowd sourcing model is something we as a company do not want to subscribe to or manage and it would be up to others who perhaps already operate in this field to take this on.

        • #9
          I'll join the camp of 'waiting for the range to expand' before purchasing what I need. Regarding crowd-funding, I have deposits down for 5 of the DJModels Class 92 in OO and have 2 Bratchell EMU kits under development. I was also drooling over Hornby's re-tooled Class 87 and new Class 800 at Warley last weekend. So my AC fleet is growing rapidly and I'm hoping Dapol persevere with their OHLE accordingly.

          Fully understand that it's still a niche market, but hopefully with the aforementioned new releases, the interest/demand for OHLE will grow. I think Wayne's World got it right ... "Build it, and they will Come"


          • #10
            With the announcement of Hornby's Class 87 and Hitachi IEP Class 800, I'll be looking out for some Dapol OO OHLE too... Though I focus on N gauge now, I'll still have a diorama in OO!
            Jeremiah Bunyan...


            • #11
              Is there any progress with the OLE?


              • #12

                Having had a lot of experience modelling Catenary. Both German and Japanese types. Particularly in N scale, over the last 40 years. I would recommend, in view of what I read above. That Dapol as a commerical business, may need a little Market research on this one.

                My suggestion is to first look at the German ranges Sommerfeldt, Veissmann and Vollmer. Firstly this will give some idea of what those manufacturers actually make. How they deal with the problems of Junctions, tunnels etc. In view of the fact that they already have a fairly well established market.

                As none of the German firms as far as I'm aware, have ever contemplated doing British OLE, they may even be open to some form of direct liason, on the matter !

                You might also consider liasing with TOMIX, (although they only make dummy masts, and haven't bothered with adding wires in N scale) As I think you have already had some contact with them ! (Via a certain gentleman in Hagen Germany, who actually took over my Japanese Franchises.) I used to run JR Models (Taunton) and was the first European wholesaler with direct Franchises with all the Japanese Majors !!!! Not sure if that rings any bells ?

                I would also point out that as the number of overhead electric train/loco models, is only likely to increase as time goes by. Sooner or later someone is going to fill the OLE gap with a quality range. So it may as well be Dapol, as you have already begun down this road. It will take time to built sales, as OLE is a technical accessory, and basically new to the British Modelling public. Obviously exhibition layouts modelling OLE, and there are a slowly increasing number, will both aid and encourage your customer base to grow. And if you add overhead electric locos AND EMU's, to your own ranges, this should also help encourage sales of the OLE.

                One area where I personally found NO commercial solution to a problem modelling Catenary, was the problem of baseboard joins on exhibition layouts. My own solution was provided by using Sommerfeldt catenary masts, as their masts had a "U" shaped hook to the end of the contact wire attachment. This allowed masts to be placed at least 3 inches back from the baseboard join, making them virtually immune to damage in transit. Then a standard length wire could be simply hooked on to bridge the gap, once the baseboards were in position. Simple and effective, but not actually a design intention by Sommerfeldt.

                All the best,

                The Duke 71000


                • #13
                  As above, but also in "N"... 😉