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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As the roadbed for our branch line has worked its way up the hill, runnoff (or rather the lack thereof) in certain areas has led to the creation of dry waterfalls and riverbeds. In order to actually lay track up the hill, the first one had to be crossed. This post describes my first efforts at trestle building!!

Since our line is losely modeled on the Rio Grande Southern, which had I think a bit more than one trestle for every one of its 160-some-odd miles, I wanted to try and model an RGS-style trestle as much as possible. On the other hand, I wasn't quite ready to hand-lay track onto a deck of prototypical bridge ties, so some compromises were in order. I'm certainly no expert, but this was a great learning experience, and a necessary one, since I've got a 4-foot long trestle next up and then a giant 270-degree looping trestle that will top out at over four-feet high! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif) So I'm learning to crawl before I try and run a marathon!)
My primary source of plans, prototype info and construction advice (besides MLS, of course! ;)) were the excellent articles by Bob Hyman (Trestles RGS Style and Building RGS Bridge 45-B) and article by Bill White on RGS bridges on his RGS Technical Pages site.)

I already had a piece of Aristo 5' track bent (using the belly method) to fit the curve of the roadbed, so I printed out scale copies of the deck plans for Bridge 45-B and rearranged the angle and spacing of four of the bents to fit the gap I needed to span:



Going crazy with my table saw, I ripped and measured and ripped and measured clear cedar until I had scale lumber that roughly matched RGS practice. I found that I would need to build my trestle to 1:20.3 dimensions (even though I model in 1:24-1:22.5) because otherwise the width of the track would throw everything off. At least I know it'll be robust enough to hold any visiting F-scale trains!

Even though it is probably not necessary, I dipped my cut lumber into a clear oil-based waterproofing treatment to enhance the cedar's weather-resistant properties and at least slow the wood's fade to driftwood-grey. I'll let you know how it works out in a few years!

Next step was to cut my stringers to length to fit the plan. I wasn't precise about the angles of the cuts--nowhere near as precise as Bob's methods provide for! (I don't think Sn3ers have heard of the "10 foot rule"--or maybe they mean 10 *scale* feet!)



Now I had to get clever--prototype practice built the deck last, on top of the bents and were nailed into the bent caps that were underneath. I was constructing the deck first, so that I could measure how high the bents needed to be and then cut them to length. So I needed some way to  hold the deck together until I attached it to the bents. The obvious solution to me was, ties!

Since I was using wood ties only at every-other spot (prototype bridge ties on the RGS were twice as close on trestles), I lay the track on the stringers and carefully placed wood ties next to (but not directly over) the spots where the bents would be. (I needed to have plastic track ties over those spots, so I could brad-nail through the stringers into the bent caps for final assembly.)



To make matters more complicated, I wanted to model the galvinized metal flashing used by the RGS to protect the stringers from both cinders and moisture. I cut some "heavy duty" kitchen foil to size, then sprayed the pieces very lightly with Krylon Grey and Ruddy Brown primers, to hopefully create the mottled appearence of galvinized metal plus spots of rust.

With the flashing glued in place using Titebond 3, I repositioned the track and ties and started nailing away.



That's my B&D battery-powered 18 ga. brad nailer. LOVE IT! No hoses, noise, or compressor, and it takes 18 ga. brads up to 2"!!

Once all the ties were nailed on, I added wooden guard rails. I used Ozark NBW castings lightly "rusted" with Krylon and brass shipbuilders nails. I also put NBW castings on the sides of the stringers (but only the sides that would show on the layout!)



Next up were the bents. I made a jig by printing out scale copies of a 2 1/2 story trestle bent from Bob's site. My bents are all less than one story high, but I figured I'd try and make a jig that would work for the bigger trestles that lay ahead. Since each bent would be cut to fit the available height, I first just nailed and glued the bent legs to the bent caps. I also cut lots of short pieces of bent leg lumber and glued and nailed them together to make wooden footings. (None of these bents will be resting in water, so I was able to skip having to learn to cast my own simulated concrete footers, at least for this bridge!)



The far left bent shows the cut line. To the right of it are cross-braces to be cut to length, and a wooden footer. Next to the footer is a bent cap, which is all there is to my 1st bent--just a cap on a footer! Here's an example of a completed bent, nailed and glued to the footer.



Finally, I waited for a dry winter's day (In Oregon? Ha!) and put it all together.



I tried to use a level to keep the bents vertical and the deck at the proper grade before nailing the deck down, but I'm not sure how well I succeeded.



I'm glad I added the NBW castings since they did end up being pretty visible. The retaining walls behind the first and last bents are made from sway brace material. I had some "first run" ties that were too small, but I treated them anyway and used them to hold the retaining walls together.



This last view shows the curvature of the track through the 1 1/2 "panels" of the trestle.

The last step will be to add flashing to the tops of the bent caps. I'm going to wait until the wood has *really* dried out before I expect the Titebond 3 to stick.

All in all this was a very enjoyable and satisfying first effort. But I was completely unexpected for how time-consuming the work would be! My next trestle looks to be well over twice this long, so I'm going to try and think through some work-flow efficiencies before I start that one!

Cheers,

Jay
 

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Very nice Jay! I have an area about that same depth, but a little longer and I think I'll do the same. Yes, the NBWs look good! Your wooden footer is unique and I like it. Thanks for sharing the pics and how to.
 

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Very nice first effort!! That 270 Deg trestle will be impressive. I do wonder about using Titebond III to glue on the flashings, not sure how well it will adhear to the metal. Something like Marine Goop might do better. Gluing wood and metal together is hard to do. The Goop has worked fairly well for me.
 

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This is an excellent write up for someone who has not built such a trestle yet, but who is about to.  ME!  Is it permissable and possible to print out just this thread as instructions on how to do this.
Thanks
Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Paul,

Thank you! It is certainly fine with me--I've certainly learned so much from MLS threads it only seems fair to pay back the favor from time to time!

You will find infinitely more detail at the links I provided--everything I did was a simplification of those steps. There are also some great threads in the archives that show a lot of great alternatives.

Please show us how things turn out! (Or ask for help if you get stuck--I'm sure I will when it comes time for "the big one"!)

Cheers,

Jay
 

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Paul

As far as I know it's OK to copy out things that you find interesting and useful to you.

As how to go about doing it, you didn't mention what software your using. But if you are using MS/Windows of some flavor and have MS/Word installed, then...
[*]Have MLS open in a browser window to the topic. [*]Have a blank document open in MS/Word. [*]Make sure that you have a few blank lines both above and below where you insert the copy, it will help if you've got some editing to do. [/list] [*]With the MLS browser window active. [*]Scroll to where the first line in the reply that you wish to copy is visible. [*]Place your mouse pointer just to the left of the first letter in the first line. Making sure that the cursor looks like a big uppercase letter 'i' [*]Then press and hold down the Control {CTRL} key and left-click the mouse. [*]The above actions will select all of the text and images within that one reply. [*]Next use the Copy keyboard key sequence {CTRL+C} to copy the contents of the selected text and images to the Clipboard of your local system. [/list] [*]Now make the blank document in MS/Word active. [*]Make sure that you've got one one or two blank lines above an below where you're going to insert the copy at. [*]Then use the Paste keyboard key sequence {CTRL+V} to paste the copy of the reply into the document. [/list] [/list]

Hope the above is found to be of help.
Stevec
 

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Posted By bottino on 02/21/2008 1:45 PM
This is an excellent write up for someone who has not built such a trestle yet, but who is about to.  ME!  Is it permissable and possible to print out just this thread as instructions on how to do this.
Thanks
Paul



New trestles for spring time open houses? /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif

-Brian
 

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You got it Brian.  Extending my one loop bigger, and I actually found some area in Delaware that's not totally flat.  So I either have to fill it in, or build a bridge over it.  Open houses June 14--16 and 21-22.  We are on the 22nd this year. We are also doing a demonstration layout in the OC convention center the last week in june for some kind of Municapalities convention.
Ill bet you are going to York this year, Mr President.
Paul
 

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Wow Steve, It worked just like you said.  It took a minute for all the pictures to come over but I got it.  Some forums actually have a feature to print a thread.
That will be great.
Thanks
Paul
 

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Posted By bottino on 02/21/2008 5:41 PM
Wow Steve, It worked just like you said.  It took a minute for all the pictures to come over but I got it.  Some forums actually have a feature to print a thread.
That will be great.
Thanks
Paul

Paul

The old forum software had a Printer friendly button, which made things easier. The new forum software is still in the process of ironing out the wrinkles, but I'm sure as time passes things will get better and better. I'm glad the above method worked for you.
 
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