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This looking down view shows the stock, point and guard rails of the turnout on the left side of the outboard end of the bridge. The frog, of course, would be located on the deck of the three-track car float. The steel plates connecting the pairs of run- ning rails allowed the track to be slewed a bit if necessary to line up with a rogue car float where the track spacing wasn’t quite up to snuff. This was done using a screw arrangement that the author did not have the space for on the model deck. You can also see three of the large toggles that were used to “pin” the float to the bridge. The sockets, or staples, on the car floats varied as to position, depending on the type of float (two or three tracks and the owning railroads own standards), hence the need for three toggles on each side.


table saw rip some stripwood to the cor- rect profile so I could make additional pillow blocks to use when constructing each truss; most of the ones that would have been in the kits were gone. All the wood was pre-stained with Campbell’s tie stain (no longer avail- able) before any gluing was done.


Truss assembly


I started by making a simple jig to hold a half dozen or so diagonals at a time and carefully sanded all of them until they were the same length. One of the beauties of the Howe design is that all the diagonals are the same length. I also sanded the upper and lower chords until their lengths were identical. Using another jig I laid the chord material in it after marking each piece as to upper or lower chord, which truss they were for, and which would be the “shore end” of the completed model. (Note that references to “right” and “left” in the text are in relation to the observer standing on the float bridge apron looking towards the wa- ter.) With a small engineer’s square I marked a line across each pillow block location on all three sets of chords. This ensures that any discrepancies in the spacing would be the same.


I then


glued the pillow blocks into place, mak- ing sure that I used the correct shape at each location. (There are three dif- ferently-shaped blocks in each truss.)


RAILROAD MODEL CRAFTSMAN 63


These are most of the pieces for the two mooring winches: four side frames (two on po- sition on their extended floor beams), and the gears. Locating a sufficient quantity of identical gears to make two identical winches was a problem that stumped the author for some 25 years. In the background is a portion of one of 24 sheets of drawings the author completed showing the construction details of the bridge.


It was during this step that I made the only major mistake on the project, which I didn’t realize for some time. Actually, it was almost 30 years before I noticed it! If you look at the plans you will note that there is a vertical post at each end of the truss and a third one


located near the outboard end, between panels 15 and 16. I inadvertently added another vertical post between panels 3 and 4, and this error was re- sponsible for almost half the final dis- crepancy in the overall length of the trusses.


On the far side of the scale rule are the major parts for one winch, ready to be assembled. On the nearer side is the other winch, complete except for the winding wheels, and with a fresh coat of grease (gloss black paint) slopped all over it. The author had some concern that the winches wouldn’t look very much like the prototypes, as the gear teeth were differ- ent sizes from one diameter to another (even though all of a given size were identical). How- ever, when they were done, and the “grease” was applied, all the discrepancies between the gears vanished. This was in large part due to the reflections from the high gloss paint mak- ing it barely possible to see the gear teeth, let alone see that they don’t mesh properly.


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