Sunday, October 7, 2018

New Bridge for Little John Creek Under Construction

Deer Creek bridge in California shows its age. It was built in 1898 by the Cotton Brothers of Oakland, CA for the wagon trade. My first sight of the bridge came in 1972 when I crossed it in the back of a Model T Ford.
 The last couple of months have been rather enjoyable, hectic and disappointing, all at the same time. First, as most of you know, the NMRA National Convention was in Kansas City during the first part of August. It was enjoyable for me to see a number of old friends and to meet some new ones as well. I gave a clinic on tuning steam locomotive mechanisms and modeling the nineteenth century using modern methods. Both were well-attended and received.
     The hectic part running back and forth from home to the convention hotel because each clinic presentation was on a different day. One day, I had two busloads of conventioneers go through the layout followed by a number of Layout Design Sig folks on a special tour. On top of that, I hosted two operating sessions for the Operations Sig group. There were also dinners and then the National Train Show on the Weekend. All of great fun but I was glad to get back to a more restless pace of life.
     Disappointment reared  its head when I tried to get a couple of projects done. The first is an interlocking which will control the Central Pacific/S&C diamond at Stockton. I was on a roll, got the circuitry wired and came up one semaphore base short. That project went on hold pending arrival of a new part.
   
The girders were made from styrene channel held together with laser-cut lacing. Tension rods along the bottom of the bridge are more laser-cut pieces reinforced by brass strips. A wood deck roadway will cover the stringers after painting.
 Enjoyment, however returned when I started building a steel wagon bridge based on a prototype bridge I had measured about 30 years ago. It still stands outside of Grass Valley, California but the road no longer goes over it having been rerouted. I have been putting off modeling it because it is of very light construction and I wasn't quite sure how to model the laced girders to scale. This problem was finally solved with the arrival of my laser cutter which allowed me to cut the lacing I needed.
   
The intricate lacing which makes up the arch is all laser-cut. The reinforcements around the edges are of styrene. 
As the photos show, it's mostly styrene with some brass strips and rod. It's turning out so delicate that I think I should put a clear plastic box around it to protect it from injury. It's ready for paint in the next couple of days and then I'm off to the annual Virginia and Truckee Railroad Historical Society meeting in Carson City, Nevada. It's always a fun few days. The weekend after that will find me in Atlanta for an  operating weekend called Dixie Rails. I've never been and am looking forward to it.