Milan Branch of the Iowa Interstate RR

Category: Prototype (page 1 of 2)

The great bridge saga continues…

Today I received an update from my friend, Clark C., who is helping construct the two Rock River lattice truss bridges for the branch.

Clark is a true craftsman. And in the tradition of craftsmanship, he is testing the design approach to the bridges. Below are two images that show a “test bed” span. He is testing such things as lattice thicknesses, materials approach and heating the acrylic to help form it for alignment, etc. All this attention to detail is greatly appreciated and it will make for a spectacular presentation once completed.


Also: this last weekend I was at Trainfest in Milwaukee promoting the ProtoThrottle with Michael Petersen and Nathan Holmes. It was my first time at Trainfest and although it was rather grueling standing for almost eight hours both days, we all had a great time.

Nathan had graciously agreed to 3D print both bridge abutments and the one pier I needed. I plan to “skin” the three components with plaster and then distress, chip, and weather them to fit within the scene. Below is a rough setup showing the girder spans in approximate placement.

Rock River bridge girder spans

I just received my two Rock River girder spans from my friend, Clark C. They came in a very well designed protective wood enclosure because of all the delicate parts. The spans look fantastic and I’m excited to get to work on prepping them for placement.

Both spans need to be reinforced with metals strips along each inside length to make them more rigid to support the weight of the trains. After that, I will prime and paint them in a dark rusty brown color, add the ties and rail and then move on to scenery construction for the piers and river scene.

Clark provided the spans so that I can get the track work up and running across the river. The lattice trusses will come later and will be attached via the side beams. Both spans measure roughly 16 inches in length.

Here is an overall view of the two spans.

This closeup shows some of the detail. There are rivets lasered into the acrylic, but it is hard to see in the photo.

Lattice girder development

Work is progressing with the lattice  truss bridges. My friend, Clark C., who’s helping me with the bridge design and fabrication is doing a fantastic job. I really appreciate his talent.

We decided the best approach would be to design and laser the girder structures for the two spans first so that I can put them in place to get the track operating. Clark has designed the bridge so that the side trusses can be fabricated separately and then attached to the girders at a later time.

Of course, once one of the trusses is complete to our satisfaction, the other three will be easy to create.

I’m very excited about these bridges because they will be my signature scene on the layout. Lattice truss bridges are not modeled very often, so they will be a truly unique feature.

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