Trestle construction

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Mike R, Jun 5, 2002.

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  1. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    There have been many, many articles in the model press, over many decades, on how to build wood trestles. Every one has been correct in simulating most of the prototype features of such construction. Modelers who wish to try a wood trestle should consult these articles, not just website photos or hubris-laden website wanderings, to avoid building what can only be described as vague caricatures of wood trestles. One can omit some of the detail in smaller scales, but the fundamental construction should appear correct. Flextrack on popsicle sticks isn't a tresle.
  2. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Hey Mike, Nothing more I can say to that except YOU ARE RIGHT!!!!!!!:eek:
  3. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Many of us N gaugers who have trestles do the structure as close to reality including those small wood extensions with a rail around and a couple of barrels of water on them to fight fires but when it comes to track laying, we use flex track and try to hide the fact that the ties aren't long enough. Purists we ain't.
  4. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    Robin : I agree with you on that...I wouldn't want to try handlaying N scale track on a trestle either, and like I said, in smaller scales some detail can be omitted. I'm no purist either.I was really after the HO folks who don't even try to put a planked approach to the first bent...the flextrack just magically rises up out of the roadbed, hangs in suspense, then settles down on bents that have no CAP, just a couple of sash planks glued on the side of the posts, horizontally. To me, these are about as realistic as the old '"over & under" Snaptrack and plastic pier sets from 40 years ago. Frequently, the bent posts on these trestles are impossibly long, 100' or more, held across by sashes instead of storied every 24' to 30' or so. The sway and wall bracing is often incorrect , and I have even seen bolt-washer-nut castings used where the prototype doesn't use, or need, a hole through the wood at all.
    Some nice modelling / photography on this website has been spoiled by such compromises.
    "Not-really-a-nitpicker-and-never-a-rivet-counter" / regards / Mike:
  5. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

    You are right there Robin. Some of us sit and even cut out the tie web spacing to slide the ties closer together. This curved one on my layout was very time consuming. (Wished I had taken the time to fill in the tie nail holes, still not too late I guess) For my guard rails, I cut pieces of track and preform it. Using a soldering iron, I CAREFULLY go alond and heat the guard rail. As it heats, I am applying a little pressure to push the rail slightly down and out. This will set the rail into the plastic tie and into the molded spikes. Takes a little practice, the key is to slide the soldering iron along when you first see the rail start to move. I found that the spacing of the rail, if just attached alongside the spikes, was too large and sometimes a bit too high. Luckily my trestle is right in front, great rerailer, for I use it to set up my rolling stock.

    Attached Files:

  6. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Micro Engineering does make bridge flex track IF you can find it.:(
  7. billk

    billk Active Member

    Bill P - That's a great looking trestle. Just curious - did you consider removing a part of the guard rail (sorta like the crude sketch below) so that it wouldn't be too high and wide and then gluing the guard rails down rather than using the "melt in" method you described?

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  8. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Spoiled??? I Don't Think So!!!

    Mike, I usually don't get "riled up":mad: at anything I read on these boards but I'm afraid you have hit a sore spot with me.

    Modeling anything is nothing but a series of "compromises". Just how well one can do so is limited by one's ability and talent. The guy with the HO 4x8 circle of track and some plastic buildings and his over and under trestle is just as proud of his work as the "pro" who has created a scale "empire".

    Unfortunately I see nothing but discouragement rather than aspiration in your comment. In support of what I've said I'm attaching a photo of a curved trestle I built last year. Its every thing you say it should not be...but By Golly I built it and I'm proud of it.

    Attached Files:

  9. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Bravo!!! <I thought I was the only one upset by Mike R's comments> And I for one think your trestle looks A M A Z I N G , Vic.
  10. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    I must have missed something somewhere Mike R.
    I've seen nothing in any post in The Gauge which could warrant such expressions.
    I'm dismayed at your choice of words although I do see what you were driving at. It would have been received with much enthusiasm had you included an excellent photo like Bill's or a detailed sketch to enlighten the likes of me who has never seen a trestle or drawings of one.
    Please don't take my post as a flame, but rather as a strong suggestion to submit items which will encourage others. Few if any of us are civil engineers and we model items within our skill range and willingness to compromise on detail. After all, it is the overall effect of what we model which pleases us.

    Vic, I need a trestle like yours, any chance of sending one in a "flat pack"? :D . You did a great job on that one, thanks for sharing.

    Bill, I'm saving your photo to hard drive for future reference, thanks for such a clear photo.

  11. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    I don't normally respond to what I consider to be a negative post as I think it should be left to die and we can all move on. That said, Mike R I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume you are a really nice guy that didn't mean for your post to sound the way it did(you being the world's foremost expert on trestles and lecturing us on our many shortcomings in said area). I always look at my own photos over and over to see what I'm doing wrong (and some days it seems there is a lot I'm doing wrong), but the fact of the matter is if we don't stop on a project until we achieve near perfection we will never come close to finishing a layout. Vic's trestle looks great to me and if I needed a trestle like that on my own layout I would be very proud if I could build one half that good. Same for Bill's. The truth of the matter is alot of us (and a lot of visitors to our layouts) may have never seen a this or that in real life so wouldn't know the difference if it hit us between the eyes. My take on modeling a railroad is if it looks good to the naked eye and the builder is happy with it then it's good to go! THIS IS A HOBBY, not another job. If you get hung up on all sorts of little or not so little details go for it but don't tell me I have to do it the same way. The truth is we have to make a lot of compromises in this hobby for a lot of reasons (space, talent, money, time etc.) I'm looking forward to a pics of your trestles as I will need one on the other end of my layout one day. Hopefully pics of yours will help me do a better job on mine. But if mine doesn't come out as good as yours please spare me the lecture. :p
  12. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Trestles and Nits

    It's interesting to me the way different folks react to different posts. I guess that's one of the problems with electronic communication without the "body language." I, for one, didn't feel that Mike R's original post was flaming or picking on anyone; but simply stating facts. For those who were "stung" by his remarks, that is certainly their interpretation and they are entitled to it. However, with all the "good stuff" that passes on The Gauge, I think it should all be taken with the proverbial grain of salt and, if the shoe fits, wear it. I doubt that the original post was intended to offend anyone, and I really don't think anyone should be offended by it. The air seems to have cleared, however, and now we can move on to more of the wonderful stuff that is posted here.
  13. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I agree with you Dave Flinn so all I will say is I really like the way you did the guard rails Bill. Just excellent.
    Vic, your trestle looks just like the old ones that existed around loop creek near Rogers Pass on the CP line. They all disapeared when CP built the Connaught tunnel .
    Well done guys
  14. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Well, I must admit that all my trestles were built from photo's of originals, and only from the side, never ever seen the top of a prototype. Anyway, here's a trestle I made years ago for my N-scale, I know that these monsters on it wouldn't have been using this kind of bridge, but I liked them.



    Attached Files:

  15. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    I think Vic and Tyson said all I wanted to say. I read the opening of this thread by Mike before any answers. I was wondering if anyone would. I'm glad they did, but I didn't think it deserved any. I made a berm alongside a bank by the rails. I used approximately 12X12 uprights, the used popsicle sticks for building up horizontals. I have seen better, but I was very pleased with the way mine turned out. ANYBODY that does their best gets nothing but praise from me. IF Mike was blasting, please Mike, don't ever look at anything I do. If you didn't mean it that way, I will readily say I see your point. I spent many years of my life for your right to say.

  16. Wyomingite

    Wyomingite Member

    Trestle Bridges

    Hi Guys,

    Those are beautiful bridges you guys built there and should be very proud of them. I loved them so much I'm going out to my layout and cover mine up. Thanks for the pictures. Ron:D
  17. Uteram

    Uteram Member

    Vic, nice trestle!
  18. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Hey guys, I really like the photo of Vics trestle, but whats in the big paper bag it goes around? (JUST KIDDING):eek:
  19. bobrien

    bobrien Member

    thanks everybody for a great thread. I have enjoyed very much reading everybody's comments irrespective of their bias, and certainly enjoyed seeing the work of Bill & Vic and Shamus yet again.
    For someone who is new to the hobby and keen to learn EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW - the simple fact that The Gauge exists and elicits the differing opinions of so many experienced people, can only be to the betterment for all.
    Well done Mike R for opening the thread and thanks for all the subsequent contributions.
    Roll on the next sensitve topic - this is great communication :D ;) :D
  20. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    Wow ! I guess I need sensitivity training. My choice of words was probably way too caustic. Thanks to Andy and Dave, who I think understood that my real intent was to steer modelers toward available articles in the model press.
    I am NOT an expert on wood trestles, I simply read everything I can, that the experts write, so I am somewhat knowledgeable, for which I seem to need to apologize.

    -RMC May 1951
    -RMC Dec 1957
    -RMC Jan 1960

    -MR Sept-Oct-Nov 1958 [ most detailed series on trestles ever ]

    -Kalmbach 'Model RR Bridges & Trestles' book, which is a collection of top-notch MR articles from 1962-1991.

    No need to see a real trestle, any more than you need to see a real link & pin coupler, or a real wooden combine...all the data is out there.
    Some of you who have taken the most umbrage at my remarks, seem to have the catchiest nicknames, and so I wonder if
    "Thynrd Skynrd" was already taken ?
    And Shamus, is there any thread ever posted that can't be enhanced by one of your pictures, and the loyal adulation that follows ? REALLY NICE TRESTLE, SHAMUS! There you go, just a quickie compliment fix, as some of your regular disciples were a bit late with the kudos this time.
    regards / Mike
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