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Telegraph poles

Telegraph poles add a lot to the appearance of the railway in the landscape. Not all narrow gauge railways have a requirement for telegraph poles but the Evensford and Midland is a proper railway and has the need for communication between stations and signal boxes and for the token machines required for single line working.

Below, we see the EMR's converted Hunslet tank engine climbing the Evensford bank in the early days (the loco only has two bolts on its buffer beam!). The row of telegraph poles gives that "railway" feel to the shot.

So how to make them?

Bachmann sell plastic telegraph poles, which are fine for some scales and railways but we needed a pole about 10 scale inches in diameter. Therefore, a half inch dowel was chosen for the pole.

In the photo below, the Bachmann plastic poles can be seen.

Take a sharp wood chisel - on the right (it helps if it was your Dad's - totally infused with a love for railways...). The three cross pieces can be removed and we will use one per pole. The EMR needs telegraph wires, but it's not a busy main line, so that will be enough.

Each cross piece can be drilled in the centre to take a tack...

The tops of the ceramic insulators were removed to make them a bit more British in shape. They were then painted white. The EMR did not go for colour-coding according to department.

The poles are cut from dowel, a 45 degree top was cut and a recess for the cross-piece. The poles were immersed in creosote substitute for about a week. They are about 18 inches long and this allows about 12 inches to protrude from the ground. After two winters, they have not rotted but I expect they will over time. They have weathered well and have taken on that unique shading, different on one side from the other.

The cross piece is fixed onto the pole with a tack. This has proved very durable and not one cross piece has come adrift so far after two summers and two winters.

Here are those poles again, just sitting in the landscape, like telegraph poles do, looking like telegraph poles and making the whole scene look like a railway (even with the fence in the background Grrrr), which it is of course.