Part 4 Bridge and Wye Track

The Wye track and SCRR Forks Creek bridge (Phase 6 et al.).

On the track front, ballasting is mostly complete and the Phase 6 Wye track foundations are being dealt with. Fuller D Earthwurk, George Metro and the maintenance of way gang have been working tirelessly to get this ready before the fall as they don’t want to have to deal with the wrong leaves on the line.

The timber Queen post bridges have been completed and lifted into position over the dry creek bed at the tail end of the Wye track (UK term is ‘triangle’) in order to turn the trains and build a small terminus under the lee of the western boundary hedge by extending the tail of the Wye beyond the bridge.

Photos 1 & 2 show one of the bridges as they were left, unfinished at the SCRR workshops, in 2006. There is only one X brace loosely fitted and no side support beams. The decking crossties (sleepers) and safety rails are absent.

The material used is mainly willow offcuts from the local prosthetics factory. The various  stringers, beams and struts were cut, in accordance with the drawing cutting list, slightly oversize, by a friend who worked at the factory, on their machinery. Quite a time was spent sanding them smooth and to size at the time. (The steel tie rods are made from two sizes of bike spoke that had been salvaged from a couple of old wheels many years ago. They will take an 8 or 10 BA thread depending on which size. It’s amazing how useful these spokes have been over the years, various projects have included small scale point operating rods sliding in net curtain spring.)

Photo 1
Photo 2

All the joints are rebated or fixed in place with the rods only, as necessary, there is no glue used in the construction. In full size practice each beam has a rebate to take the angled feet of the upright and sloping braces and struts but several of the less important ones have, necessarily, been omitted. Indeed every crosstie and safety rail should also be rebated slightly although, as the builder only has  a limited lifespan and many projects yet to build, they too were ignored but without detriment to the safety of the structure.

Photo 3

Photo 3 shows the base, end supports and the central pillars.(which are fifteen out of about one hundred 2 inch dia. plugs drilled out of 1 inch thick birch faced ply blocks used to make aircraft weighing scale spacers.) This picture shows the bridges bolted together in the final stages of construction  with the rails in the process of being spiked down.

Photo 4

Photo 4 shows the underside of the completed bridge showing beams stringers and corner braces. The capping has detached from the nearest pillar as it had been left it out in the rain overnight when trying it in position. Just goes to show that the cement used is not waterproof and the engineers will need to secure each of the five layers with steel rods. The abutments are solid.(made from pieces of an old door frame, salted away over 30 years ago as was the hardboard creek bed base!)

Photo 5

Photo 5 shows the final assembly, complete with entry section and support. This recently made trestle bent was constructed, using details from the NMRA HO model making manual, to a D&RGW design except that, being left handed the engineers fixed the diagonal bracing top left to bottom right. Ah well, it looks ok in the mirror! Finally, the photograph lying next to the bridge was the main reference for the full size 1:24 scale engineering drawing made in order to work out a cutting list and show details of its construction.

With the bridge installed and all but the tail of the Wye track ballasted the major  works are now complete. Locomotives No. 2 and No. 4 have both taken trains over the Wye and across the bridge enabling them to easily reverse direction without the use of a turntable. Wallace the engineer, not an easy man to please, commented ‘I was most impressed with the reversal process at the Wye track and the quality of the track refurbishment over the whole system.’

Gromit the fireman was also impressed, he said ‘ Having laid temporary track myself,  when trying to apprehend a jewel thief , I think the maintenance of way gang have done a cracking job on a very tight budget.

 Ben, Bill and Lil have been very pleased with progress so far and look forward to welcoming visitors to the line when the weather improves and free movement is possible.

That’s all for now folks.

Evet S. Kook.

Publicity officer for the SCRR & Triple L Co. (Formerly editor of the Ouray Anupshe Riser newspaper)