PENNSYRR.COM by Jerry Britton

Jerry Britton's PRR Middle Division in HO Scale

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As an employee of the state, MLK Day is a holiday, and every year I spend it in the train room. This year was no different, and my mission was to complete the riverbed and adjoining city block where the PRR's Lewistown Secondary crosses the Juniata River.

A challenge is that the riverbed is just three inches above the yard ladder for staging, so the track needs to remain accessible for maintenance. That said, it all needs to be removable. I had previously created the riverbed where the bridge itself will be located. It is removable via three screws, allowing the through girder bridge to remain as one piece.


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First task was to create block supports for underneath the riverbed. These were created using two scraps of 2x4 stacked at various locations. The riverbed will literally rest on these.

Next, cutting the riverbed and city block themselves. I used cardboard to create a template... cardboard is much lighter for "cut and fit" versus handling plywood.

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Following cutting from the template, the city block section drops right into place...

IMG 1731 does the riverbed beyond the bridge...

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...and in front of the bridge.

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Foam is cut to be the basis for the riverbank scenery.

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I am using Chooch bridge piers and I had to shorten them slightly. Having two spares on hand, I figured I would try trimming them with my chop saw, expecting the plaster to shatter and go everywhere. Not so, it worked perfectly for all four piers!

The bridges are Walthers 90' kits. I built four spans. Weathering is a combination of washes and my first stab at Bragdon powders, which I really like.

The following, as well as the lead photo, are staged to show the intended scene. The piers are not yet permanently in place. I need to paint the riverbed and weather the piers first.

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