Sunday, 25 November 2018

Scooter's Bridge

A few months ago, I was contacted by “Scooter”.  Scooter informed me that he once lived in the Wagga area, and had constructed a HO scale model of a small bridge on the line just east of the Wagga RAAF base.  Scooter has now moved to Western Australia, and no longer modelling NSW HO.  He offered me his model, as he thought  it would be better on my layout, than languishing in a drawer.

Worse for wear, the rail bridge is visible from the Sturt Highway just east of Forest Hill
This small bridge is located in a field, and visible from the Sturt Highway.   I searched my slides taken in the 1980s, and 90s, and disappointingly, I could not find any of the bridge.  Fortunately, the bridge still exists.
So armed with a high zoom camera, I traveled along the Sturt Highway.  The bridge is located on private land, and trespassing to get closer would not be appreciated by the farmer.

The camera was at x 36  zoom, and I used a fence post to stabilise the picture, but there are some optical distortions that make the bridge look even worse than it currently is. . The wing abutments had eroded in the 30 years since the last train.

View from O'Hehirs Road.  Note the 2 piers - one is 3 posts, the other is 5. As the height of each pier is the same, I really don't know why there is a difference
Another picture from O'Hehirs Road.  The telephoto effect makes the 42' of bridge look like a small culvert. What is obvious is that the line dips down to the bridge, and there are no checkrails

The bridge has 2 piers, and three 14’ openings.  What I did find unusual, was that the two piers have a different construction – one having 3 piles, and the other 5.   I don’t see any photographic evidence of bolt holes on the angled bracing to indicate that the missing 2 piles were ever there.  The abutments have heavily eroded.    My picture taken from O’Hehirs road also show no checkrails

Scooters bridge model arrived in the mail, and I was extremely pleased.  The detail work is brilliant, and it is great to see an alternate approach to building a trestle bridge.   Scooter has modelled both piers with 5 piles,  and this just adds to the mystery.    I suspect that I will be locating Scooters Bridge on the layout’s lower level, just before the helix.  And the Scooter’s name will be retained – a lot better than “unnamed trestle bridge in a field”

Scooter's model is in far better condition than the prototype. Scooter has added all the sleeper bolts, which makes me think I need to add these to my kyeamba creek trestles

Scooter's models of the wingwalls show what the prototype bridge has lost

Parts loosely assembled.  Compare this shot with my prototype bridge picture taken side-on at the start of this blog post.

Thanks Scooter.  


  1. Hi Rob, nice to see another addition to your collection of bridges :) I have some photos that I can scan that show it better condition when I measured it back in 2004. Looking forward to seeing it in place with trains running on it!

    1. I too look forward to the day when trains return to the branch (albeit in HO scale). Yes please, the 2004 pictures would be useful. Thanks again Scooter

  2. Thanks Ray. That means a lot coming from you!
    For the record, I still model NSWR in HO, just not a branchline setting. Plus no layout ☹️

  3. After some deep thought, I will not be able to install this bridge in its correct location between Wagga and Ladysmith, due to the kitchenette that I am planning reducing the amount of track on the lower deck until the helix. However, all is not lost, there is a similar 3 span bridge on the line between Tarcutta, and I can install the model on the upper deck, between my stations of Borambola and Humula, and be accurate to that location.