Saturday, November 23, 2013


Completion of the Willamette River Bridge between Eugene and Springfield has been accomplished.  The gap is closed!

First train over the Willamette River Bridge!  SP X7474 East crosses the river toward Eugene.

The previous post ( discussed the steel bridge sections (two Walthers single track through trusses and a Micro Engineering deck plate girder) and the concrete pier fabrication.  Completing the job required a ballasted deck pile trestle for the Springfield approach.  I built a trestle bent jig using SP CS1600 plans found in the Steam Age Equipment Company publication of Southern Pacific Lines Common Standard Plans, Volume 1.  This matches well to my photos taken at Springfield in April, 2013.

Trestle bents built using SP Common Standard plans.

Springfield pile trestle approach, April, 2013.

My model trestle was fabricated using Evergreen styrene strip and a bit of V-groove siding for the ballast deck.  N-scale cork roadbed continues the model ballast form from the “land” side.

Model ballasted deck trestle trial fit.

Completed pile trestle approach with track loosely placed.

With all elements of the bridge fabricated and installable, I decided to try painting the Willamette River.  This was my first artistic venture using acrylic paints.  It took a couple of tries, but the I finally got the desired effect of sky and river bank tree colors reflected in the “water.”  While I was at it, I experimented with some backdrop painting, continuing the river onto the nearby backdrop.  The top photo of this blog post shows the result.  My attempts at weathering the bridge and pier pieces took several attempts using acrylics, Bragdon weathering powders and a final overspray with the base colors. 

A quick wiring job for the now-complete Eugene West Main detection block completed the job.  The bridges and bridge track are lightly affixed with Dap 230 adhesive caulk.  This will allow me to remove these pieces for further scenery work.  Eventually, the two bridge track sections will need feeder wires, but that can be done only when the installation is deemed complete and permanent.  For now, I’ll have to accept power fed through the rail joiners.

With the Willamette River gap closed at last, I can run from one end of the current mainline to the other—RR-West Oakridge to the RR-East end of the Eugene depot trackage. The elusive goal of beginning “beta test” operations on the current railroad just drew much closer.

Willamette River and bridge, April, 2013. 

Note that the actual Eugene truss bridge span is a long curved-chord truss while the Springfield truss span is a pin-connected truss.  I did not have space for both bridges, so I elected to do what a railroad engineer would do—use two standard bridges of the same design.  That led to the Walthers single track through truss which has the right “heft” needed for a heavy mainline.

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