Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bridging the Gap

When I first built my layout I constructed a large area at a reduced height that allows for the eventual installation of the Richmond River at Cassino.  The opening was spanned by a specifically cut length of 42mm x 18mm pine which had track laid across it.  This section can just be lifted out and replaced with a bridge and a few girder sections either side, as the scenery in this area develops.  I have currently completed the basic scenery either side of the opening.

At the Tuesday Nighters this week I asked the guys if anyone had a copy of the Data Sheet for the NSW Pratt Truss bridge.  I was pretty sure I had one, but could not find my copy.  No one had a copy.  I thought I used my copy to assist with building my Pratt Truss bridge over the Upper Richmond River at Kyogle a couple of years earlier.  Anyway, Arthur, one of the newest attendees advised that Arthur Robinson would surely know about that bridge and might be able to assist.  The next day I received a forward of an email that contained a document about the design of the Bridges on the North Coast.  Sure enough the details of the bridge over the Richmond River at Cassino was included.  This bridge was a 180' version with 8 sections of 22' 6".  The document also covered many other valuable dimensions.  So 180' works out to be 63cm wide, quite a span.  It needs to carry the weight of 3 locos - no mean feat when made from just styrene.

I was planning to scratch build the bridge completely in styrene.  But on Thursday afternoon, I made my way to Austral Modelcraft and purchased a Central Valley kit of the 150' Pratt Truss bridge and a couple of extra kits of additional bridge girders.  This kit models a bridge of 6 sections of 25', where as I need 8 sections of 22' 6".  So I have decided to use some components from the kit and scratch build additional components from styrene. 

So far I have made the base of the bridge (mostly from scratch built styrene components) and have started the front bridge girder work.  I am grateful that I was able to attend last years Armidale Convention and take a few photos of the various Pratt Truss bridges on display there.  I will post some photos of my progress next weekend.

Yesterday Greg came over with his Raspberry Pi, and a few other bits and pieces, including keyboard, screen, powered USB hub, wifi dongle, a few cables, and tried to connect it to my NCE Power Pro 5-Amp system.  I provided my USB to Serial converter and you would not believe it.  He basically plugged it in, configured a few items, and then restarted it and Voila! He had control of a train from his keyboard via an onscreen throttle.  Next out came the I-phone and he had that working too.  Damn Amazing!

I might have to invest in one myself and have it available for future operating sessions, so operators can use their smart phone instead of a plug-in throttle.  On that topic, it looks like I might have to arrange the next running session for Saturday 6th of July.  I wonder if I can bridge that gap before then?

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