Sunday, January 7, 2018


Continuing construction of my model of Salt Creek Trestle, the next major element to add was the trestle towers.  The girders were covered in the first post of this series:
That post included a prototype photo shot from the RR-East end of the trestle.  Five towers were needed for this trestle, with the end towers having shorter legs near the ends of the trestle to account for the sloping ground. 

I needed additional photos to help with modeling.  Fortuitously, I had an opportunity to drive past Salt Creek Trestle on my way south to the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society Annual Convention in November.  That netted additional overall and detail photos just as I was building the trestle towers.

RR-Western-most four towers of Salt Creek Trestle.  November 2017.

A half dozen years ago, as I was planning the layout, I began stockpiling parts for my steel trestles.  I knew these trestles would be signature features on my railroad.  At that time, the best choice short of total scratch-building was to use the trestle towers from Micro Engineering (255-75169).  The middle three towers were relatively simple modifications to the Micro Engineering kits, trimming them from three panels high to two panels high. 

The two end towers needed further trimming of the end legs, closest to the ends of the trestle.  As shown in the photograph above, the RR-Western tower had a full upper panel and a half lower panel, with the end trestle-bent legs just one panel high.  This also was a simple modification to the Micro Engineering tower; just cut off all of the excess leg height.

RR-West trestle tower under construction.  The two bents have been trimmed to height and the first horizontal strut is joining the two bents.  Assembly on top of graph paper helped keep the assembly square with the addition of a measuring square to assist keeping the short bent square to the horizontal strut.

The RR-East trestle tower posed more of a challenge.  Indeed, with most of my photos shot from this end of the trestle, this tower had evaded much of my photography.  That fortunately timed trip in November provided an easy way to supplement my photos.  

The RR-East trestle tower for Salt Creek Trestle.  Amtrak Number 14, the northbound Coast Starlight, passed over the trestle while we were shooting detail photos.  This was a good day!  Note the end trestle-bent legs are shorter than the legs closer to the road (Oregon Highway 58).  The longer legs are the same length as the legs on the middle three trestle towers, seen in the top photo.

Shortening the uphill trestle-bent legs required both shortening the leg height and shortening the bottom horizontal bent-strut.  The initial assembly of a Micro Engineering trestle-bent starts with gluing two face pieces together.  I chose to make the cuts and re-splicing of the horizontal strut at opposite ends of these pieces so one side would have the originally molded part opposite the splice on the other face piece.  The rest of the assembly continued that philosophy, providing a strong final assembly.

Splicing the trestle-bent pieces together for the RR-East bent for the RR-East trestle tower of my model Salt Creek Trestle.  The pencil outline on the graph paper shows the original height of this bent.

Eventually, I had five assembled trestle towers with appropriate leg heights.  A coat of aluminum paint prepared them for use.

Trestle towers assembled for Salt Creek Trestle.  The trestle piers and under-pining will be discussed in a future post.

Salt Creek Trestle with girders and towers in place.

With the trestle girders and towers in place, my model of Salt Creek trestle was taking shape.  Future posts will cover the underpinnings and the walkways.

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