Model Railroad – Power lines, Nostalgia and PCB

in #life6 years ago

I was very fascinated by my friends realistic looking power line replica on his model railroad. Everything reminded me so much of my grandfather. Many people from that generation worked very hard and somehow things seemed different back then.

They seemed to me almost idyllic in a way, like the scene preserved in detail in the model railroad.

Electric power poles in the model railroad – click for viewing full screen

Grandpa always loved those glass electric insulators on the power poles. I’ve inherited a couple of them from him. They are a very pretty green and blue.

I remember all the stories of all the things that would go wrong with the transformers in the cans on those power poles. Grandpa worked with the dielectric materials that were inside those cans. Shortly after he retired he passed away from blood cancer. Most likely it was caused by working with the PCBs and high voltage lines.

Sometimes those cans on the power poles would explode spectacularly and blow the top right off. Apparently they weren’t too resistant to stray rounds or other hazards and little holes in them would drain off the dielectric material slowly or cause moisture to get inside the can. The high voltages could start vaporizing things and build up pressure. (I’m not too sure of the details or accuracy of these childhood stories that I heard.)

There are a few places in the world now where extended loss of electric power could be more than a simple inconvenience. We could use solar panels and generate more electricity locally and not have to move the electricity through high power lines as much. I think my grandfather and dad would like that. My dad died of cancer as well and I wonder a bit about how much he was exposed to PCBs as a child although I think the link is probably not significant.

Reading about the history of PBCs and their effects can be depressing but it is interesting and good to know about these things so we can avoid them in the future. At times we all do things that we may later regret and none of us are really able to fully understand the advanced issues that can happen as a consequence of our actions. I understand how people and businesses can purposely manufacture or dump dangerous chemicals into the environment knowing how they can be factors in the premature death of many individuals, plants and animals, however, I don’t like it.

In my neighborhood now all the power lines, phone, and cable lines are underground. The natural gas system seems to be working flawlessly as far as I know. PCBs are no longer being used anywhere because they were banned from manufacture but can still be present in aging buildings and are all over in the environment.

It is interesting for me to think about future generations making model railroads of our time frame and looking back nostalgically at them. I wonder what they will be thinking about the way in which we live now.

Thanks for reading! I always value your support and comments. The pictures were taken by me with my Galaxy S9+. Text and graphics copyright 11/07/2018 lightsplasher & litesplasher.


I also wonder how future generations will view our actions and how we lived. Will we have done our earth justice?

Indeed and interesting and thought-provoking post.

I have several insulators too! Some are turquoise blue and the others are colorless (clear) I just came across them two days ago when I was sorting through some old memories.


Will we have done our earth justice?

That's an interesting question to me. Justice doesn't seem to have much to do with the earth in the way that nature feels to be fully able to treat all things with equanimity.

Nice that you found your insulators! Some of them are pretty valuable depending on when they were made and their color. I think they make interesting decorations. (If they weren't so heavy it might be fun to put them on the Christmas tree with some lights inside.)

How true!!!! Those would make amazing decorations! :) Yes!

Hello my dear how are you ... are you okay,

Well here of late contamination has been in the news a lot here in Michigan. First of course Flint MI with the lead, now PFAS at an air force base that has caused all kinds of cancers for decades...very sad.
I remember in the 1990's it seemed like there was going to be fuel cells that could use natural gas to produce electric. Not sure if that is still thought to be viable.

That was an interesting article. Water contamination can be a big issue not only for the people who drink undisclosed toxins but for creatures using the water running off into the ocean. Most larger rivers all have a low oxygen level area near the river delta that you can see clearly from space photos. Last time I looked for such photos I could no longer find them. I personally think disclosure of such things should be a priority.

Fuel cells really sounded like a good idea. I think that they were costly to make and funding wasn't there for lowering the cost and improving the technology. It actually surprises me that we aren't using a lot more low polluting technologies at this time.

very interesting article, @lightsplasher.

maybe in some parts of the world it is finished with the problem of electricity voltage using cables on the pole, replacing it under the ground.

but as technology advances, and sometimes we unwittingly carry the electric current where it is loaded into our smartphones and cellphones that we put in our pants pockets.

there are some people I know, no longer able to use smartphone because of exposure to radiation, although the cause may be from a signal, but I think the battery also affects health.

Nice day @lightsplaher

Somehow I think the smartphones and cellphones are pretty safe but I hardly every talk on them. Mostly it seems like I use them for text messages and taking pictures. I've heard that the EM radiation from them can be an issue though. There are even some studies that seem to indicate that the signals from phones are harmful to bees and putting a cellphone into a bee hive will prevent them from coming back to the hive properly. (Maybe you should search the web on this if you are interested, some of the details of the study I might have gotten confused over)

Good work, my dear, that electricity looks very neat, and it is also stacked with neatness, so it looks very beautiful,
The color of the electric tiyang is also very beautiful ...
Far different from the electricity that is in our place here,
Electricity is here, if the big one is made of cement,
But if on the small one, it's new from iron ...
If the electricity is there, it looks clean and neat

It is a replica of what things looked like around 1950 or so. The electrical lines look different now and many are underground where I live.

mostly if you have that long
made well and neat
, different from what is now,
I think it's the electricity that's made right now

Yes, good job dear friend @lightsplasher.

Looking back how innocent, or uninformed we were about potential
health hazards. The original nuclear testing for one.

Nuclear testing in particular was really a health hazard. Probably up there on the most carcinogenic things list.

I would think so, that and lying to your mother.

That model railroad with electrical poles is just marvelous to look at @lightsplasher
Inside those Electric transformer is oil and when they do get a problem they just burst into flames but that is seldom to happen but I saw it happened once in my country with kids below are the victims.
Anything working with chemicals really are in danger.

I doubt if we will ever completely get away with not needing some high power electrical lines and transformers but it would be nice if solar panels got inexpensive enough to take over a lot of the need for them. There are health hazards from living close to high voltage electric power lines too.

How are you, my dear, are you busy ... so you don't have time to make the post ... it's been a few days ...

I've been a bit busy but hopefully I will find some time to get around to posting again soon. I am fine but kind of in an introspective mood.

Hopefully, you could post a new post dear. if possible I know what you're busy honey. is busy with work

.hi, my friend, how are you tonight, friend, hopefully, my friend, @lightsplasher, always healthy and not lacking anything ... oh my friend tonight I sent some photos, how to cultivate it and the benefits of mushrooms, hopefully my friend I like it, thank you.


a hard worker is very risky, what else is riding an electric pole facing a very high voltage.

High voltage can be very dangerous. I've heard many stories about the things that have happened to people working around such things.

yes my friend @lightsplasher, in my area there are a lot of things like that.

hi, my dear friend @lightsplasher I am very impressed with the hardworking figure. especially the work of looking for electric currents like your grandfather, a friend who has died, because in my opinion the job of looking for electricity is very difficult for me, and also very challenging, if I see people riding on electricity poles I am very amazed.

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