August 2017

Repurposed Bridge Parts

Deciding to keep the Homasote sub roadbed spanning the creek limited my choices for the type of bridge to install. A girder type bridge would work, simply installing girders on either side of the Homasote might look reasonable.

Way back when I built the roadbed in this corner of the layout, I had a large inventory of HO scale components from my previous layout. One of the HO items I saved was an Atlas through girder bridge kit. I used the girders from that kit to determine how wide the bridge in this corner would be.

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I dug out the old Atlas girders and placed them in position after I had narrowed the roadbed across the bridge span. Everything fit just fine. The girders hid the Homasote with room to spare along the top for cross ties. Just like I had planned it all those years ago. Only problem was that I did not like it.

My impression of a right and proper bridge for a soapstone operation has been affected by seeing flatcars used as bridges. Flatcars were used as bridges in at least two locations that I saw myself.

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In the mill campus at Schuyler, an old fishbelly steel frame flatcar was used as a bridge to cross Ivy creek, and a few miles away another flatcar was used to bridge Sharon Creek. Neither of these bridges was used to carry the railroad across the creeks, but they still inspired me to try something creative as a bridge span on my layout.

Rummaging around in my collected bridge and crane pieces and parts, I came across a
Walther's N scale heavy duty overhead traveling crane kit. The profile of the crane spans appealed to me. I could see how they might be used for my bridge, with a backstory about resourceful repurposing of an old overhead crane or perhaps a (very small) standard gauge turntable bridge.

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The N scale overhead crane was too short to span the creek on my layout. I cut it up to create one long span out of the two that came in the kit.

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I used the lengthened bridge girder as a pattern to cut another one out of 2 mil PVC. The crane kit girder will be on the side of the bridge that faces the aisle. The PVC copy will barely be visible on the back side.