Category Archives: History

The inspiration for my concrete arch bridge

Walnut Lane bridge over the Wissahickon creek

The Walnut lane bridge was certainly most of my wanting to reproduce something similar in HO scale. Although the Walnut lane bridge is a roadway bridge with cantilevered sidewalks, the main structural elements for a railroad bridge would be similar, and I did not try to reproduce an exact copy this bridge, which is right in my neighborhood.

Walnut Lane bridge from creek walking path

The bridge was built in 1908 and at that time was the longest masonry arch span in the world, just now finishing a restoration.

Continue working on the Yard & Engine Servicing area

Some Photos showing progress, and also trying arrangements of structures for the engine servicing facility, and how these would photograph in different light (time of day-or weather)

Working with laying track and stone wall at one yard lead

Track down and stone wall further along with concrete cap.

Trying position of servicing structures

Working it out.

Trying angles

Camera and lighting set up after placing structures and ballast, greenery etc.

Final early morning light Photo.

Early morning happening-Click to enlarge


Steamtown National Historic Site

In an ongoing summer of visiting railroad related sites, we visited Steamtown national Historic site in Scranton PA. run by the national park service. A lot of very interesting trains and exhibits. I’ll post more in a future post, but thought this cool cutaway of a steam engine showing the firebox, Boiler, smokebox and cylinder, was a good introduction.

Steam Engine cutaway


Visiting Chicago Museum of Science and Industry / Tranportation

Visited the Museum of Science + Industry, Chicago this past weekend, to see their terrific HO model railroad exhibit, from Chicago through the plains, the rocky mountains, and ending up in Seattle.

I will put shots of the exhibit up in future posts, but this one to one scale Empire State Express greets you at the beginning.

Empire State Express

Closeup of Driver

Empire State Express Driver

Cast Concrete arch bridge


Picking back up on a much earlier post, I finally started casting my concrete arch hydrocal bridge in two halves.


Wood & Sintra Mold

My waxed wood and sintra casting form


Wood & Sintra mold showing thickness

Pouring hydrocal with steel rod reinforcements


Pouring requires working quickly as Hydrocal sets fast

Leveling  to the face of the form


Level as close to flat as possible

Exterior pieces of the form being removed


Exterior parts remove easily

Casting removed from the mold and flipped over, with only the individual small arch pieces to be removed. These pieces have a 3 degree slope for ease of getting them out of the piece.     Still required a few knocks with a small hammer on each to remove!


Casting lightly sanded at this point

First half cast, but I’ll add some detailing with a file, forming casting joints and other details, then cast the other half and place them back to back, with a spacer which is typical for this type of bridge, really two identical arches, connected at the top.


Casting before final detailing