Milan Branch of the Iowa Interstate RR

Category: Trackwork (page 1 of 3)

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.

New addition for the track gang

It’s been a while since my last post and not much has been happening on the layout because of business commitments. But I did add a new tool to help me with the remaining track laying – four custom track weight/gauges.

Since I’ve been working with a machining company to produce faceplates and handles for our ProtoThrottle, I asked them if they would machine some steel to help me hand lay my track more efficiently. They agreed, so I sent them some simple drawings and, bingo, relatively heavy track gauges that will work perfectly for my code 70 rail.

These are going to be a welcome addition because they’ll hold the rail securely in place because of the steel’s weight. Plus, they will come in handy for other uses where I need extra weight to hold something in place.

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.

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