Work begins on the Lynn Valley Trestle

My friend Chris Abbott had an appointment downtown this week, so we arranged a brief work session. Rather than tackle more full-size lumber projects, I thought it would be fun to work together on a model.

Since getting the benchwork, roadbed and ties in place, I’ve realized that it would be great to have the three bridges I need for the layout ready to go before laying rail. Those bridges include a trestle in the Lynn Valley, and it seemed like a good project to tackle.

Lynn Valley trestle.

The prototype is straight, and has about 15 bents. Because of space limitations, I’ve had to select a location on the layout that will only allow for a curved, six-bent trestle. (That’s fine: I can live with this compromise because low, pile trestles were quite common on railways throughout North America so it’ll look right at home.)

Roadbed - Lynn Trestle.

Chris took on the task of building a fixture to glue up posts and cap into bents. He used .060″ styrene sheet and some strip styrene for this:

Trestle bent assembly fixture.

Chris also cut and distressed the caps. They can be seen in the upper right of the photo, below. This image also shows the stained dowels that we’ll cut into posts:

Prepping trestle posts.

Meanwhile, I tackled the stringers and ties that make up the trestle’s floor system. I traced the roadbed onto a piece of kraft paper. Then, since I would be building this trestle upside down, I transferred my tracing to the other side of the paper so I’d have a mirror image. I then laid a piece of tape sticky side up over my mirror image tracing and stuck ties to it. The stringers were then cut and glued to the ties.

When everything was dry, I carefully removed the assembly from the tape and stained it, using a black weathering wash from Hunterline. I did the caps and dowels at the same time:

Trestle deck construction - from below.

When this was dry, I went over the tops of the ties with thinned burnt umber oil paint to give them a brown tone. I’m quite pleased with the result:

Trestle deck construction - from above.

Two books from Kalmbach are proving themselves very handy for this project. The first is Model Railroad Bridges and Trestles, a compilation of articles from 30 years of Model Railroader magazine. The second is The Model Railroader’s Guide to Bridges, Trestles and Tunnels. I recommend them both for any hobbyist’s library.

I look forward to the next time Chris and I get together to work on the trestle. It’s fun to see this coming together.

During our work session, Chris and I each enjoyed a pint of Stonecutter Scotch Ale from the Renaissance Brewing Company of New Zealand. And we finished the day at Rancho Relaxo. Not my favourite Mexican restaurant in Toronto – but Rancho is cheap, filling and close by.

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