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 Posted: Mon Jan 31st, 2022 07:15 pm
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BCDR
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Hi all,

Covid travel restrictions between the US and Canada along with some government travel warnings ("Avoid Canada!" which as a new US citizen I really should follow) meant that progress on the Alberta lines has come to an abrupt stop. I really needed to spend some time researching records in Ottawa, Lethbridge and Calgary, a daunting prospect given the current restricted access to university libraries (students only) and government records (take a number), with the possibility that having got there access would be refused.

By chance I came across the Ohio River & Western Railroad (the "Old, Rusty and Wobbly") a 3-foot gauge line that ran from  Bellaire on the western bank of the Ohio River west to Zanesville from the 1880s to the 1930s.. See the map below for the various companies that formed the Old and Rusty. Run by the Pennsylvania from about 1910.




What really grabbed my interest was that the various bits of stock (locomotive, passenger and freight I have been accumulating will be right at home on the OR and W, and the line had some really interesting wooden trestles, something I've fancied doing for several years. Plus a short section of dual gauge track at the Zanesville terminus shared with a standard gauge railroad. I was just about to start building some trestles, this line had quite a few interesting ones, including an S-curved one near Key that will present some building challenges.Opportunity strikes!

I am not the first modeler to tackle this narrow gauge line, fortunately there are readily accessible records and publications. The eastern terminus in Bellaire is 4 hours and Zanesville 5.5.hours by car from where I live in Virginia, well worth a few days visit when the weather gets better.

More to come.

Nigel




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 Posted: Mon Jan 31st, 2022 08:07 pm
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Hello Nigel and welcome back again, your railway insightful knowledge has been sadly missing from the forum for far too long.
 
I’m sorry to hear that your plans for Canadian research have to be shelved for a while, but hopefully you’ll get there to enjoy snuffling through old and rusty records at a convenient time. The thought of creating an “S” bend trestle structure is a fascinating one, as I seem to recall that IKB built some similar structures where transport of stone presented more difficulty and the thought of creating one for a moorland section on the Newton Regis Branch has already occurred to me as a likely opportunity and challenge for an interesting seldom modelled feature, as least in British outline.
 
I must also thank you for the heads up on the touch toggle system, which I have been began installing and it appears to work really well with Tortoise slow through motors.
 
Looking forward to more 3 foot news before long.
 
Best,
 
Bill



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 Posted: Wed Feb 2nd, 2022 06:07 pm
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Yes, good to see you posting again Nigel. :cheers

Narrow gauge eh ?  Whatever next .............................!!!

Looking forward to reading your updates.



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 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2022 07:17 pm
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BCDR
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Thank you gentlemen. I started out RR modeling in OO-9 with a couple of Langley kits in w/m that my LHS manager chickened out of building, so nothing new here. Biggest issue I suppose is whether to continue in HOn3 or switch to HOn30 (equivalent to OO-9) which would mean I could use some of those nice UK Bachmann Baldwins, and modify some US Bachmann N-scale steam locomotives. A tempting approach given that brass HOn3 locomotives run around $300-$800.

Trestles. For those not familiar with them, wooden ones come in 2 types - piled and framed bents Piled means circular posts driven into the ground, framed usually means dimensional lumber built in a frame on a ground support (wood or stone). The bent structure supports the rail bed. There are hybrid ones where the framed bent is supported on piles, usually found in swampy or soft ground. Trestles were much cheaper to build than embankments. The OR&WRR had 262  trestles and bridges in its 112 miles, over 2 for every mile. The photograph below shows one of these trestles, the "S", found near the town/hamlet of Key, Ohio, in Ozark mountain country . The photograph was taken on the day of closure of the line in 1931. Note the lean on the first engine due to super-elevation of the track. Those bents look wide enough for standard gauge track.



The photograph was taken by Bob Richardson in 1931. The train is posed on the trestle for photographs to be taken. Trestles and track on the line were built with radii of of around 200 feet, and a super-elevation of 3 inches. Riding the line was reported at the time as being akin to a roller coaster, albeit at a top speed of 16mph. As far as I have been able to determine the photograph is now in the public domain, as no extension after 28 years appears to have been made. I claim exemption from any copyright as the photograph is being used for personal research and educational purposes (fair use).
.

Some examples of what I am currently building are shown in the next photograph. These are hybrid bents, framed dimensional lumber, 10" x 12" and 4" x 10", on 10" piles). Simple white glue construction using a template prepared in CorelDraw. Some scale NBWs will be added next. The tricky part are the sloping poles (batters), the angle is 9.61°. Best done with some 200 grit paper and the Mk-1 eyeball. 6 of these bents took about 30 minutes for cutting and assembly. Quite different to the bents in the photograph above, so it looks like I will need some new templates.



These bents were intended for a trestle across St. Mary's River coulee in Alberta, Canada, good job I didn't build all 50+ of them. I'll use them for a short creek crossing on the new layout.


Photograph courtesy of the Glenbow Museum, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Photograph taken around 1904 near Cardston, Alberta.

I've been using a book on trestles for reference - very useful. "Wood Trestle Bridges According To The Present Practice of American Railroads. Wolcott C. Foster, second and revised edition, John Wiley & Sons, 1897. Available free on Google books (several editions, the latter ones include sections on the then new fangled concrete ones).

That's it for the moment. Some topographic research of the area is next (the USGS is just up the road from where  live). Lots of insurance maps as well.

Nigel

Copyright 2022




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 Posted: Fri Feb 11th, 2022 06:03 am
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peterm
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That's interesting Nigel. How many trestles do you think you'll have to make?



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 Posted: Fri Feb 11th, 2022 01:01 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Pete,

Still deciding on the track plan, but at least 3. Plus a tunnel. Definitely one of the S trestles that followed the contour around the hills. The line followed valleys where possible, cost being a factor (and timber being cheap) trestles were preferred over embankments or cuts. The land for the line was donated by the local farmers, so the railroad was usually away from good farmland. No idea of how many bents it will take
This was coal mining country, so the track contour often followed for the most part the coal seam countour (real or suspected) or just below it. 

More on why the railroad was built in the next post.

Nigel



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 Posted: Wed Feb 23rd, 2022 06:01 pm
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BCDR
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Hi All,

Research continues on the Ohio River and Western. It looks like the period 1900-1920 has lots of modeling interest and is well documented. Sanborn Insurance maps and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) maps cover this period, and a number of online resources have old photos.

Woodsfield, a small town with a population of around 3000 in the 1900s lies at the midpoint of the line. Located on a carboniferous ridge of the Allegheny plateau it was a center for oil drilling and coal mining, and had extensive lumber works, dairy production and flour milling. The railroad layout  has a number of features that to me provide lots of modeling interest. Two large lumber yards and wood product manufacturing, so local timber in, finished lumber out, a 20 tons/day ice plant with attached cold room and creamery, oil drilling supplies and warehouses, 2 engine sheds, a passenger station and and luggage depot, and on the western side of the town a trestle tunnel over which one of the roads went. Still trying to work that one out, but looking at the USGS map there is a ridge over which a road went, so probably a cutting and trestles supporting the road. There must have been extensive cuttings either side some 30 feet deep. I've contacted the local historical society to see if they have any information.

There was also some interesting track work such as stub turnouts, and a couple of track crossings. No turntable, which would have made operations interesting. I suspect trains stopping at Woodsfield with passengers/goods would have continued on to either Bellaire or Zanesville to be turned. The presence of 2 engine sheds meant that some trains must have terminated here.  All trains appear to have been mixed, so there would have been some interesting moves to drop-off and collect goods from the various industries for any through trains.

Why was the line built? Primarily to serve Woodsfield, which was rather isolated from any standard gauge lines that would allow the town to develop. More on that in the next post, as the methods used to fund and build the line were rather unique. Plus more on the trades and industries in and around Woodsfield in the next post.
 
Sanborn insurance and USGS maps from the 1900s and the tracks shown below (all in the public domain). I will be doing some scaling and baseboard requirements next.


Nigel





 



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 Posted: Fri Mar 4th, 2022 07:39 pm
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BCDR
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Hi all,

Summerfield, a small station and depot in Noble County, a few miles west of Woodsfield, looks a more likely candidate for a small scale layout. Further research revealed there was a double track through the station, a 2-stall engine shed, a turntable, and that it could hold 11 freight cars on the siding. Timetables of the era show that Summerfield was a terminus for freight and mixed trains (and was almost exactly in the middle of the railway). The turntable was not accessed directly from the shed, but was behind it. To the west just outside Summerfield the track had a series of S-curves (one of many S-curves used in crossing the valleys and ridges). Looking at the map contours there was a fairly wide valley, some 60 feet below the elevation of Summerfield over which the railway had to cross. Steep contours either side, so a logical place for a few trestles. I've so far found no evidence of any trestles in this location, so Rule One applies.

Figure 1 shows the location of Summerfield black), and the multiple S curves to the north west (red) on the 1911 USGS topographical map.




Figure 2 shows my Summerfield track plan around 1911, deduced from the USGS map and from photographs. No insurance maps unfortunately, but looking at the USGS map at x3200 magnification gives a good idea of the layout. It may not be totally accurate (the photos and the map do not agree, somebody got their east and west mixed up), but it is close enough. Coal and water are left to my imagination, although it is recorded that coal was taken directly from coal mines along the route. As locomotives were sheddded here there must have been a coal platform and some sort of water supply next to the shed. The turntable is interesting, there was a short spur to one side.



Figure 3 shows Summerfield depot in the late 1890s-early 1900s. The station is to the left, the turntable and engine shed to the right. (Photo courtesy of the Ohio Stations Past & Present website, used in the interests of education and research). Note the difference in track levels between the main and crossing line, the lack of ballasting, the rough sleepers (ties), the staggered rail joints,  the turntable to the right, and the short spur that came off the turntable.



Figure 4 shows a Templot screen shot of an HOn3 10.5mm gauge S curve with 2 different diameters (scaled from the prototype curves) and an easement between the opposing curves. Turned out easier than I thought, as Templot has the tools to do this. The transition zone is easily adjusted to the desired length.



We've been discussing easements and transition zones in a thread from Mike (Cyprus) on getting connectors to work with flextrack. They are very easy to do in Templot (easier than pencil and paper!). I would encourage everybody interested in smooth running track to incorporate them when laying track.

Nigel



 



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 Posted: Fri Mar 4th, 2022 11:39 pm
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Claus Ellef
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The layout of Summerfield station is very unusual and at the same time interesting. Worth to have in mind for the construction of the narrow gauge in Wombat Creek. 



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 Posted: Sat Mar 5th, 2022 02:32 am
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peterm
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It is interesting Claus and I'm looking forward to seeing more as construction progresses.



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 Posted: Sat Mar 5th, 2022 03:14 am
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BCDR
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Thanks gents.

Well, that was a quick doodle in CorelDraw, it now needs to be done properly in Templot. The photographs were used as the basis for the diagram, the USGS map doesn't correspond to the photographic record, so some guestimating was required. The mill was next to the station, so it makes sense for the siding to be close to it and to local traffic. Rule One. Passing tracks in the US, not the main line, were where the trains stopped at the station/depot. It was common for freight spurs (sidings) to come off this track. The positioning of the turntable and engine shed via the main line was probably due to the restricted level space available. Should make for some interesting operations. Still trying to work out what that small track off the turntable was used for. Turning a caboose?

Nigel



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 Posted: Sat Mar 5th, 2022 04:04 am
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peterm
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I was thinking either the caboose or a loco that's waiting to take a train. A loco comes in for example from the east. Uncouples it's train in the passing track, comes back down the main line and in to the shed area for coal and water while a loco comes off the tt, couples up and resumes the journey. The first loco can then go to be turned if needed and wait for it's next turn. Probably couldn't be more wrong if I tried, but it's a thought.



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 Posted: Sat Mar 5th, 2022 04:26 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Pete,

It would certainly look interesting. I'll see what space there is available. These little narrow gauge locomotives are not that long, the turntable was only 49 feet wide. I suspect when the line was built there was access to the shed from the turntable. It makes more sense. Looking at the back of the shed there are clearly doors outlined. Probably only one line to start with then the main line was built and they changed the location of the doors. The photograph was taken in 1912, the line had been in operation for some 10 years by then. Plenty of scope for modeling license here.

Nigel




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 Posted: Sat Mar 5th, 2022 11:20 pm
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peterm
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I use modelling licence to the fullest and then some. :)



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 Posted: Mon Mar 7th, 2022 03:51 pm
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BCDR
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Hi David,

Ultrascale have a NiSi set of 4 axles/gears/wheels for £32.09. Up to 8 months wait though. I think you need to take VAT off the Gaugemaster prices. Which would come to £36.00 for a set of 4 axles/gears/wheels. However the Gaugemaster website states they are for classes 26, 27, 33. Presumably they fit the class 35.

Ultrascale also have a much cheaper wheels and axles "Eco" set for £13.17 if you just want to swap the gears over and put the wheels on the axles, or just put the wheels on (straightforward swap). 2mm axles and the old style rimmed wheels. If you go this route just make sure the gears are not cracked before you start. Inspect with a good magnifying glass or loupe. Set of brass final gears for the Heljan class 35 is £16.00. Which if you DIY is £29.17 for everything. I'd go for the assembled set.

Ultrascale products are finescale and have brass gears, no cracking! I've got an old Mainline Warship fitted with their final gear, resurrected from the grave (split final gear) and it runs a dream with the old Mainline flat motor and DCC control.

I've had quite a few sets of various types from Ultrascale over the years. Well made and better than OEM products. And an excellent replacement policy.

Nigel




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 Posted: Fri Apr 1st, 2022 12:32 am
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BCDR
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Hi all,

A little bit of progress. This my first go at a large trestle, so having reviewed a lot of "do it my way" on YouTube (most of it wrong in so many aspects), plus some instructions from some kit manufacturers (who want you to part a lot of money), this is my way.

First off is the size of the S trestle in HO scale - just over 5 feet long. And it will need a minimum of 18" width for a bit of scenery. Second issue is that the trestle was in the hills, with bent heights anywhere from 10 feet to 50 feet. Using some photographs as inspiration (and some reference measurement from the 3-foot gauge) I decided on the following plan:

1. Build it from the top up, i.e. upside down.
2. Use the Templot track plan. To save a bit of time messing around with tie (sleeper) spacing, I just used regular track spacing and double up the ties.
3. Try and use dimensional timber where possible.
4. Use the tomographic map from 1911 to get some idea of what the bent heights will be. I'm using the S-bend immediately west of Summerfield to get some idea of the land contours.

The diagram below is a combination of the Templot track plan (part of) and the contours from the USGS topographic map from 1911 (approximate). Summerfield depot was built on a small plateau, the track immediately west had to traverse some quite deep and steep terrain using S-curves.



 

The second diagram shows some work in progress. The ties are glued to the track plan using dilute PVA glue. I will have to remove some of the wood ties and replace with copper-clad ones in order to anchor the rails.Then the stringers, caps, and posts and batters can be attached. Building from the top up means no issues about trying to palace the structure on uneven bents while building it.



Last photograph shows a close up. Contemporary photographs show pretty rough track work, I've configured Templot to have some small variations in tie length and angle.



Tornado warning. Have to stop.

Edit: Moderate tornado touched down 5 miles east of where I am, nobody hurt but some damaged buildings. We get tornado warnings a couple of times a year.

Nigel




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 Posted: Fri Apr 1st, 2022 02:34 am
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peterm
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Looks interesting Nigel. Hope you get no dramas with the tornado.



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 Posted: Sat Apr 2nd, 2022 04:44 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Peter,

Thanks.

Pretty much making it up as I go along for the most part. Spent a few hours today laying some stringers. Photo's when done. Messrs Blodgit and Fudgit will no doubt be on the job from time to time. Like the original, I'm using whatever dimensional lumber is to hand while sticking to the  basic arrangements of how a wooden trestle was built. "A Treatise on Wooden Trestle Bridges" to be an invaluable reference (unlike some of the wishful thinking on YouTube).

The OR&WRR used a lot of local deciduous hardwood (lots of oak, elm, poplar) and local labor (both donated by the local landowners (hence the frequent failures and timber replacements as they clearly didn't read the book). The company had a trestle building and repair team later on. Good woods to use but needs lots of attention (no natural preservatives compared to a pine), plenty of them in this part of Ohio. Derailments and trestle failure were quite common (although I have no wish to model that!).

Nigel



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 Posted: Mon Apr 18th, 2022 02:32 pm
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BCDR
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Unfortunately some "Well I never!" and "Would you believe it!" moments. All my own fault.

Lesson #1. Do not use glue to attach timbers such as trestle deck sleepers to paper templates (unless you want to spend many hours getting it off). :thud

Lesson #2. Do not overlap the edges of paper templates unless a slight hump is desired in what should be a flat surface (usually not in the case of trestle decks). :thud :thud

Lesson #3. Paper when glued tends to buckle as it dries out. Which of course plays havoc with a paper template printed to an nth. degree of accuracy on a calibrated printer. :thud :thud :thud

Lesson #4. Double check dimensions, especially trestle sleepers. Closer spacing than regular sleepers (Yes, did that), length?? Hmm. Turns out the Ohio River and Western had a policy of replacing old narrow gauge sleepers with regular length sleepers. Aargh.... :thud :thud :thud :thud

As I said, making it up as I go along. I'm giving myself 4 well-deserved thuds for this. Good job it's all compostable.

End result - replacement dimensional timber ordered. In the meantime...

Some nice weather (80°F) over the weekend, so I got to enjoy the outdoor workshop (the balcony). I pulled out those work-in-progress bents and completed them. Six in total, which makes a respectable scale 90' straight trestle (the Ohio River and Western had plenty of those). Using some regular sized sleepers (7" x 9" x 8.5' instead of 8" x 8" x 6.5') I quickly drew up some straight narrow gauge track, printed a suitable length of template, butt-jointed the template sheets, and fixed the sleepers in place with double-sided adhesive tape (like wot i do for turnouts). Stringers were attached with white glue (six in total). Next step is to attach the completed bents and and add some anti-sway timbers. Pictures and description in the next post.

While in a trestle-ish frame of mind (:roll:) and waiting for the glue to set I made a cuppa and perused some of the Brunel wooden trestle plans. Wooden trestles (viaducts) were found not just in Devon and Cornwall, but over much of the original broad gauge territory before being rebuilt as stone or brick ones as they aged and became unsuitable for the higher loads from heavier stock. Maybe I should have a small one on the EM GWR layout?

Which got me thinking about baseboard design. Trestles and viaducts work best on open-frame baseboard designs rather than those with flat tops. a 50 foot high trestle/viaduct needs 7.9" height in OO, 6.9" in HO. So I pulled out my Linn Wescott for some ideas.

Nigel






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 Posted: Wed May 4th, 2022 02:58 pm
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BCDR
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Hi all,

With those lessons learned, time to lean some more.

Straight trestles, one 18.5" long, the other about 8' long.

Plan of attack: Paper template, Templot. No overlap between sheets. Double side tape to hold trestle ties (sleepers). Decent weather so I can work on the balcony.

Long trestle:





Short trestle:



Lesonz wot i lurnd from orl ov thiss:

1. Cyanoacrylate adhesive (15 second) is better than PVA or wood blue with dimensional wood, minimal warping and much faster as parts only need light clamping for 15-20 seconds.
2. Roughing the dimensional wood surface with some 320 grit to provide a key is essential.
3. Tenon joints are very difficult in this scale (1:87). (I tried :sad:).
4. They may look flimsy, they are not.
5. Adding NBW (nut, bolt, washer) details at this scale is not worth it.
6. A "finger" type template for laying the bridge ties would be useful.

All in all an interesting first attempt at building wood framed bent trestles. A change of plan however means I will be going bigger (not necessarily better but I can but hope). In my searches for suitable locomotive stock I have hit a wall - 4-4-0 and 2-6-0 locomotives are pretty much hen's teeth scarce. There are the odd models in brass ("coffee grinders") from the 1960s-1970s, but at $300+ (in addition to another $100+ remotoring and regearing and another $100+ for a sound decoder), and a lot of body shell modifications that's a lot of money. There is a more recent Blackstone )n3 Mogul with DCC currently on eBay at $850. So, it's going to be a return to On30. Slightly different from On30 in the UK, as the scale is 1:48, not 1:43 (although I've interchanged them in the past). Current models with DCC cover my locomotive requirements (4-4-0m 2-6-0 and 2-8-0) and the range of passenger and passenger and freight stock is much better than in HOn3. It also has the benefit of locomotive chassis will run on HO gauge track without modification.The other advantage is of course the scale is more finger friendly, a distinct plus for those of us with age-related dexterity issues. Plus freight and passenger stock is half the price of HOn3 stock.

So...an On30 trestle. Hmm. 12'' timbers come in at 0.25". That should be big enough for some tenon joints at the header at least. Not sure about the stringers and and ties. Good job my order for dimensional timber was on hold at the suppliers. I'll need some wider baseboards as well.

One interesting snippet re the brakes on OR&WR stock - they were vacuum operated using the Eames system. New one for me, more research. Comparable to UK vacuum brakes except a steam exhauster was used to create the vacuum rather than a piston driven system. Nearly all other railroads in North America used/use compressed air brakes.

Nigel
 




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