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.  

Sunday 11 November 2018

The un-named creek bridge

Kyeamba Creek Bridge – pt 4 - the unnamed creek

It was really great to get to the Wagga Wagga model train exhibition last weekend, seeing some great layouts,  and even better to renew or make new contacts.

Stockinbingal layout, built by the Wagga Wagga Railway Modellers, and recently restored by Rodney Smith and team, made a welcome reappearance at the November 2018 Wagga Wagga model rail exhibition.  This layout was featured in AMRM, and AJMR almost 2 decades ago.

  The Tumba Rail group had a stand, and their brilliant display of pictures on the Tumbarumba branch never fails to inspire.  Mark Pottie (Tumba Rail) advises that he is planning a new booklet with more pictures of the branch to Tumbarumba, including the stockyard siding at Ladysmith.   I also received valuable information, including a picture, and mudmap of the Humula sawmill.    During the weekend,  I had an unexpected visit to my home in Junee, by Peter Beyer (“Branching out NSWGR” blog). Peter gave me  one of his shapeways printed toilet block for Tumbarumba.  Fantastic detail.  The model will still need to be finished, but I have a few projects to do first – one of them is the Kyeamba Creek Bridge

All the piers are now attached.  Only the longer ones are touching the wooden base.  I have also added the tie plates to the bridge sleepers, in a similar fashion to my earlier effort on the Murrumbidgee River Bridge

Addition of painted rail, shows how the Peco code 100 track will connect.  The Peco sleeper base will need to be painted too, as it looks far too plastic.  Ballasting will also help.  But I am still unsure if I will use code 100 rail, or opt for a finer code 70.  If I choose the latter, I will handlay instead of using Peco.

The bridge, and the rail have not been secured - as it will be easier to detail the scenery under the bridge if the bridge isn't there

As I indicated at the end of the last Blog, I had a lot of repetition on the Kyeamba Creek bridge.  Well, I am happy to report that the bridge is now essentially complete – so it was time to move onto the unnamed creek crossing
I have shown this picture before.  The end abutment had been washed away in the 2016 rain event.  This 3 span bridge is around 100 metres away from the Kyeamba Creek bridge, and is good from my modelling viewpoint, as a model of its timber abutments will use the abutments I had in the Ironbark models kit

The third span of the bridge over the unnamed creek was added to the existing 2 spans previously constructed almost 30 years ago.  The extra span needed sleepers, but the original Ironbark Models provided only enough sleepers for 8 spans (6 spans worth of sleepers were used on the Kyeamba Creek bridge).  I had thought that I would raid my supply of NE stripwood for the remaining sleepers, To my dismay, I didn’t have the right size in stock.    Quick inexpensive solution – cut my own from a sheet of scrap basswood.   

The basswood sheet is sliced into sleeper width strips.  Make sure your knife is extremely sharp, and use multiple passes, and not much pressure. 

Once the strip had been cut to length, I compared my batch with the originals in the kit.  Yes, mine will need to be weathered, but from a dimensional viewpoint, spot on

The abutment construction starts with the attached support pier. 

The end abutment pier was previously constructed.  The timber for the wings was still in the Ironbark models kit, and this was cut to shape using the templates supplied in the kit

The poles were glued to the wing wall timber at the appropriate spacing

The wooden poles were cut to shape.  Note that the wing walls slope slightly inwards, which means shaping the bottom at a slight angle off the vertical
I made a base for the wall sections to attach to.  The 3 sub-assemblies were glued together.  Later I installed a reinforcing block of wood behind the end pier, and wing walls

Now that the abutment was built, I used the 3 spans to determine where the abutment needed to be installed on the board.  Note that the base of the abutment sits above the baseboard (and the creek level), so some extra tweaking of the benchwork support was done to maintain the correct height.  

New and old sleepers to go on the third span.  I am getting happier matching my original weathering.  I had not yet fitted the nut/bolt/washer castings to the wood beams in this picture 

I used the deck of the 3 spans to position the end abutment.  Both abutments are sitting on wood supports, above the wooden board.  The newly made abutment is not finished, but the effect is there.  The 2 intermediate piers are still to be built

Both bridges, but there is more work on the unnamed creek bridge, before it is ready for scenery.  Length of the board is 1.2 metres, and this should be enough diorama for any future branchline train photography

Once I complete the woodwork for the unnamed creek, I will start on the  scenic work.  Only then will I add the bridges,  rail, and ballasting.    This simple project is taking far longer than I would have originally hoped.

Until next time.