Sunday, September 22, 2013

Scenicing the Richmond River

Today I went down to the Shed and got stuck into scenic opening across the Richmond River at Cassino.  As stated last week I removed the piece of pine that previously carried the track across the opening.  Because of this, trains cannot run in this section at the moment.  I temporarily placed the bridge piers and my bridge girders on the southern approach bridge.  I then rested the not yet complete bridge on the plaster cast piers and temporarily installed a girder section on the northern approach.  Below is how it looked.

This is a photo of how it will look when completed.

The same scene from a lower perspective.

A bit of a close up of how it will look.  I laid two pieces of code75 rail across the bridge girders on the southern side of the bridge for a test.

So I cleared out the area and got started throwing a small amount of plaster around to blend the southern side of the embankment into the scene from the previous ground level down to the new waterline.  I have now run out of plaster.  I've had it on my shopping list for some time to buy another 10kg bag of casting plaster but I have not been to Bunnings lately.

The opening all cleared out after the first bucket of plaster had been thrown around.

After I had let the plaster set for some time, I thought I would try and make the bridge girders sit on their piers.  The piers are made from Hebel block.  It is so easy to cut.  Someone gave me a small piece many years back and I had always planned to use it in this location.  I might have to go and get another block of it and replace some of my other piers in the future. 

The test run of the piers and girders following the first splash of plaster.

I was thinking about installing the rail for this section across the four girders.  So I took the girders and a length of weathered code 75 rail to the workbench.  I installed a home made track gauge made from a PC board and rail joiners soldered to it, onto each end of the code 75 rails, and turned the rail upside down and applied superglue to one girder length of rail.  I then placed the rail on the girder and used another track gauge running up and down the rail to ensure it was all in gauge and the track was centred on the girder.  I then did the same to the next girder and so on until I had four girders laid with a section of rail across them.  As I went I used a Eureka cattle wagon and a Eureka sheep wagon as test vehicles on the workbench to ensure that they did not fall through between the rails. I then installed the girder section onto the piers and then I needed to cut a section of track between the point into the Bonalbo Sleeper Siding and the girders.  This was cut and the track all joined up.  I then did a few test runs of the Eureka Sheep and cattle wagons and two 80 foot container wagons through the southern side of the bridge opening.  So far everything works well.

The track laid up to the main bridge span.

I still have to trim down my bridge piers and then paint them.  There still needs to be a bit more plaster installed behind the piers and of course when the piers are ready to be positioned finally on the layout, they will be laid into wet plaster and I will ensure that they are installed vertically.  I also have to ensure that the bridge girders are as near as possible to horizontal across the opening as well.

So at the moment these are exciting times as I progress the track back across the Richmond River.  I will have to seal the river base then and look at what I will use to simulate the water.  But I'm in no hurry to accomplish this task.  I am hopeful that my Central Valley girder kits will show up next weekend at the local hobby shop, but I am not that certain they will.  I think I might still have to wait another fortnight.  I really need them so I can progress the bridge which is my entry in our Model Railway Club's annual Christmas Modelling Competition held in early December.

I'm off to Canberra tomorrow afternoon and back on Tuesday night, so I will perhaps get some time to do some reading of the latest AMRM.  I do enjoy this magazine.  See ya next week!


  1. Lucky you told us what the piers are made of as I thought you'd been in the kitchen and gotten some puffed rice cakes!

  2. G'day.The bridge is coming along very nicely and will be quite a feature when it's finished. There is a new Gordon Gravat book from Wild Swan on how to model grassland,water and river banks if your interested as it could be of some use to you.Regards Peter

  3. Peter,
    Thanks for the tip about the book. I will scan for it.