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Pacific Coast Railway bridge No. 5 Oil pipe support bracket


A soldering jig was used to create the iron truss rods (above). This was the most complicated component of the modeling effort. All the parts had to be cleaned, tinned and then held firmly in place to insure a proper solder joint at each of the twelve intersections connecting the truss rods. The accuracy and patience to get it right before assembly of the full structure were rewarded. A jig was also used to assemble the track (below left). PC board ties were cut and soldered to the rail sections every 20 ties to maintain gauge and rigidity (making sure to sever the copper foil in the mid-


dle to avoid shorts between rails). The distressed and weathered ties were then glued to the bottom of the rails (slightly raised by the jig shown), completing the track. To finish the track structure a central plank walkway and edge beams were added (below right). After gluing the distressed and pre-weathered walkway materials in place, a sharp mechanical pencil was used to repre- sent the spike heads (two for every five ties). A simple brass an- gle piece with a notch at one end was used to locate and drill the holes in the edge beams for the nut-/bolt-washer castings.


Basic construction The modeling effort divides into four categories: 1, constructing the base and wood trestle; 2, fabricating the truss assembly; 3, preparing the track struc- ture; and, 4, weathering and details.


Base and trestle The first step was to determine the


length and vertical clearances necessary for the model within the layout’s context. In this case, a seasoned piece of 1″×4″ birch wood 44″ long was selected for the base of the trestle and bridge. This would provide a stable base in which to bore holes for the piles and caissons and allow the bridge to be self-contained until it could be placed on the layout. One-eighth inch wood dowels were roughened with a fine razor saw to sim-


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ulate grain, then stained to a suitable weathered gray and installed in pre- drilled holes. To simplify construction and increase accuracy all the piles were cut the same length and set level for in- stallation of the pile caps. The grade variations of the beach will be done in the final steps of completing the model. Each trestle bent is composed of three


piles roughly 10″ to 12″ in diameter. The pile bents are spaced 15 feet apart with the individual piles approximately four feet apart within each bent. While light- weight for standard gauge railroads and even by D&RGW narrow gauge stan- dards, this was suitable for the require- ments of the Pacific Coast Railway. Pile caps (12″×12″) and cross bracing (4″×8″) were then added along with the lateral stringers, which in this case con-


sisted of three 6″×14″ timbers spaced under each rail for a total of six. One- inch spaces were typically between tim- ber stringers for drainage, with iron “thimbles” holding them apart. Long threaded rods passed through them and tied the stringers together with heavy washers and nuts on the ends. This con- struction can be seen in the photos. Note that the construction and loca-


tion of the piles varied somewhat, and we modeled this to provide the individu- alistic character for which the Pacific Coast (and many other narrow gauge roads) were noted. The end retaining walls still need to be installed. The cais- sons were made from dowels thoroughly sealed and sanded, then painted to look like rusted steel. They, too, were set in holes drilled in the wooden base.


SEPTEMBER 2012


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