Model Train Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I've recently become aware that, back in the heyday of three-rail O Scale modeling (~1930s-1950s), it was not uncommon for modelers to modify their rolling stock to draw power from a more-prototypical outside third rail instead of the (in)famous center rail.

Out of curiosity, would it be possible to power an S Scale layout in a similar manner?

The two largest concerns I've got are the smaller size than O (not just in terms of laying the rail, but creating a suitable pickup/shoe that's not too large) and the fact that a powered third rail is somewhat of a superfluous addition to a two-rail scale. It's a given that any rolling stock on this hypothetical layout would have to be either scratchbuilt or extensively modified, but since there doesn't seem to be too much available in the way of S Scale traction, that would be an issue with a more conventional two-rail layout as well.

Now, since you might be wondering why somebody would willingly create all of this extra work for themselves, let's say that this hypothetical modeler is fond of both prototypical outside third rail operations (interurbans and rapid transit) as well as S Scale in general.

This can't really be significantly more difficult than building N Scale layouts powered by operational overhead line and trolley poles (which I've seen done), can it? :dunno:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,018 Posts
Hello and welcome to the forum. I believe just about anything is possible with enough effort. To me the question would be is it worth the effort. You would have to scratch build everything, the track, rolling stock, motorized cabs. I see you do O scale, just stay with that as far as 3 rail and you will not pull all your hair out. I understand it is the size you like in S scale. In my world 3 rail and prototypical do not go together. There are no 3 rail around here. I also understand that there are areas that use 3 rail. I guess mainly for local passenger service. We have a trolley or two and light rail but all
are 2 rail. I also believe "your railroad, your rules". Good luck with your endeavor. I doubt you will find help here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,018 Posts
The outside rail is powered with S scale. Just put a fake center rail in the S track. That
would work if you are just going for the 3 rail look.

Sorry, just trying to help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,288 Posts
outside third rail

If your just going for the look it should'nt be to hard. Just lay a dummy outside third rail.

If you want it operational I agree with Mopac, about anything can be done. But is it worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
I have never heard of it being done in S. As far as I am aware the O scalers who did it only did it with fully hand laid. I agree with the dummy rail approach suggested above. If you are hand laying anyway, it wouldn't be that much more work.

I disagree with it not being prototypical. It absolutely is prototypical as these really existed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for the input.

To be clear, this is nothing more than a conceptual pipe-dream at the moment... I am currently committed to a large N Scale layout, this was just something that came to mind when I discovered that powering models via an outside third rail had, in fact, been done before (plus, who here isn't guilty of planning the next layout before the current one is finished?)

As to the dummy third rail - I appreciate the suggestion, but it just wouldn't cut it for me, knowing it wasn't the real deal. I just need to see my little cars sparking at the shoe. Call me crazy (you might not be too far off-base) but again, it's not too different than the madmen who just need their N Scale trolleys to run off of a live wire.

As far as prototype goes, I wasn't necessarily thinking of running diesel/steam off of a third rail like the old-time layouts of yore. I was thinking more along the lines of modeling a trolley line in the vein of the CA&E, Laurel Line, P&W or Sacramento Northern (among others).
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top