Overhead Line Equipment and the Seilbahn

All my previous layouts have used steam or diesel outline locomotives and trains, with just a touch of London Underground third-and-fourth rail electric. So the installation of overhead electrification equipment was quite a challenge. I don’t, or didn’t, know much about overhead electrification at all, and was unaware of the specifics of RhätischeBahn equipment, or even who might manufacture the components I would need. A friend lent me a magazine which recommended some publications which I acquired from Peco Publications, one of which in turn pointed me to Sommerfeldt OHLE and their manual, a 162-page illustrated book which I also bought. I was fortunate to acquire a large job-lot of Sommerfeldt kits and components on eBay. I had to bid a huge sum to make sure of winning it because the alternative of slowly collecting all that I might need was not attractive, but the eventual cost was not too bad for the amount of equipment I was able to buy all in one go. Quite a lot of the manual had English translations alongside the German text, but the diagrams tended to be labelled only in German – and I don’t even know much of the technical terminology in English anyway! Here is how it all went:

Installing the Sommerfeldt catenary system
Sommerfeldt’s own video showing how to install their catenary system!

Published by Mark Warrick

amateur photographer | railway modeller | rail travel blogger

4 thoughts on “Overhead Line Equipment and the Seilbahn

  1. Very interesting stuff here. Love the transformers at the top of the pylons. Your locos are moving smoothly too.

    Will you be adding some weight to the cable cars so they don’t swing so much?


    1. Yes, I love the smooth movement of the Bemo locomotives, and they are on brand-new track, of course! Weighting the cable cars would be good, but there’s not a lot of scope for it, with them being tiny. Depleted uranium might be dense enough to have a noticeable effect 😉 I shall see what I can do but I fear we may have to tolerate them much as they are, although I may be able to smooth out the cable run which may help more than weight in the circumstances.

      The real fun was taking the electrification over the baseboard join, but I think I’ve got it! Essential if it is to be exhibited, of course, but I also literally have to move a mountain to do that anyway.


    1. Sorry about that! I was desperate to buy a lot of kit but unsure of exactly what I needed, so a big job lot was ideal. It has been very hard to source Sommerfeldt equipment in the UK – but I’ll need more in due course.


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