MODELING: Mike George’s Fantastic Bridge

The following article was written by Mike George to provide background of the prototype Louisville & Nashvillle bridge and his model. This not Mike’s first bridge model.  He has built a number of wonderful bridges for his Hook & Eye Division.
I needed to add some interest to a corner of my layout. There was just enough room to squeeze in a 50′ through plate girder bridge. The prototype shown above is on a 6 degree curve and a .25% grade. I photographed and measured it. Mine was going to be on a 66″ radius superelevated curve and a 2% grade. The prototype is interesting, with a wider than normal distance between girders and unusually spaced ribs.
The model was constructed entirely of 0.010 styrene to duplicate the 0.5″ thickness of the prototype components. I tried this technique on a previous bridge that was longer and the deflection was minimal. So, the bridge is a 100% duplicate of the prototype in every regard (see photo above).  Riveting was done with a NWSL riveter mounted on a Sherline mill table. A jig was made for assembling the stringers and girders and angles were fabricated using strips cut from 0.010″ sheet.
I wanted the bridge to be heavily weathered (but not quite as much as the prototype). It was painted a light grey, sealed with Dullcoat, and then many washes of oil based paints were applied along with dry brushing. At various stages I would send photos to friends for suggestions. This is where having honest friends pays off, as many changes were made to get it to the final stage.
The abutments were made from individual plaster stones and castings to represent the concrete caps. The plaster was sealed with a coat of Mod Podge and the colored with acrylic latex colors using a series of washes. The water is Mod Podge over an acrylic painted stream bed on a piece of foam core board.
The most challenging part was fitting it into the layout. Roadbed had to be removed and L girder benchwork modified to make room for the stream bed. The scene is very tight, with the upper deck of the railroad only inches away from the bridge. All components were assembled at the workbench to check clearances and to get the superelevation correct.
This was a fun project. Full length passenger cars clear with no issues and it added interest to an area I previously thought did not have room for a bridge.
Wow! Mike George hits another homerun.   He is a great prototype modeler and craftsman who has demonstrated his skills in many disciplines.
Thank you for sharing your work with us.
Gene

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