Peco's new Overhead Line Equipment under test.

Track laid, masts erected, awaiting ballast. Note the thick cork (floor tiles) that will aid creation of deeply ballasted modern track.
A 4ft long diorama is currently under construction, portraying a stretch of modern mainline, with the primary purpose of trying out Peco's new range of 24KV overhead masts and wires. Look out for a full 'Workbench Test' in Model Rail issue 225 (out at the end of July) As someone who's formative trainspotting years were spent copping blue 81s, 85s, 86s and 87s, I've long dreamed of building a layout with overhead catenary. However, the time involved in scratchbuilding has always put me off and all the decent ready-made stuff was aimed at HO, rather than OO gauge. Dapol's plastic stuff was OK, for cosmetic use, but this Peco range - manufactured by Sommerfeldt - looks far more promising. 

I haven't started fitting the wires yet - they're so delicate I want to get all the scenery finished first. And the mast spacings are a bit contrived, to try out as many of the different wire lengths as possible. But the diorama is going to serve a few other purposes too: as a photographic backdrop for AC electric models and as a trial run for an upcoming layout idea that I've been mulling over.

Right, better paint the sky backdrop, get the scenery done and start 'knitting' those wires together...

Track ballasted, waiting for the glue to dry. I used up a couple of bottle's of Deluxe Materials' Ballast Bond on this 4ft long section. Although the ballast is deep in parts, the glue will be rock-hard in 36hours - diluted PVA would take twice as long!

With the track and ballast airbrushed (reaching around the masts was a pain - in future I think I'll try removing the masts and blend in the ballast later), the landscaping has begun. The dummy signals are Knightwing kits, but they need some protective mesh screens adding.


  1. George

    Brilliant work as usual.
    One query - would there not be a signal located before the point/siding, not after it and or one to control entry from it onto the main?


    1. Hi Pete,
      Quite right, but as it's just a photo diorama, the signal would be in the way if placed in advance of the point. Also, because it's on a curve, it should've been a bracket signal, but I'm just using what I have to hand. The only reason the siding is there is to test how the catenary works over a point or crossing.


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