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Development of the
Sandflea and Redbud Garden Railway

Trestles, Bridges, and Tunnel Portals


I have about 20 feet of trestle in three locations and three bridges to construct and put in place. I started first with the lowest trestle, elevated about 5-7 inches high.

Low trestle bent To make each trestle bent, I drew a template on a board to maintain uniformity in angles and certain widths. All bents were made of strips cut from cedar fencing. The legs were square and the cross-ties were 0.2 inches thick. The wood was glued together and secured with brass nails. A base of cross pieces was placed at the bottom of each bent to rest it on a concrete base. Nails through the base secured it to the concrete base.


Trestle temporary stipbase Trestle final stripbase The stretches of track to be on trestle have been resting on concrete blocks and cedar fencing for more than a year (left). I began by removing each fenceboard and cutting it about 0.5 inch inside the "weathering marks" left by the track on the board. This left a substrip about 2.5 inches wide under the track. The track was rescrewed onto the strip under the track.


Bent placement Bent attachment Bent concrete base
The bents were spaced at 6.5 inches apart. I began by digging a shallow hole under the location of each bent (far left). The bent was then screwed onto the track substrip, leaving the bent hanging from the track. I then poured concrete into the hole up to the level of the bent. After a few hours, I trimmed the cement back to a rectangular form.

Below is a photo of me applying Thomson's WaterSeal Waterproofer Plus Clear Wood Protector. This sealer is supposed to retain the natural wood brightness and prevent browning of the wood with age. I applied it with a squirt bottle to cover each bent thoroughly.
Spraying sealer on bents

I next added supports tying the bents together. This completes the trestle (see photo below).
Finished trestle



Tunnel portal in place Tunnel portal with retaining wall Tunnel portal with log supports
In June of 2006, immediately after completing the first trestle, I built a portal for the west end of the tunnel. Figure 1 above shows the portal in place and the adjacent unsupported wall beside the portal. The portal was fastened to the brick with concrete anchors and screws. Figure 2 above shows a retaining wall in place; concrete was poured behind the retaining wall for strength. Figure 3 above shows the log supports placed to appear to hold up the retaining wall.

The photo below shows the finished portal with ballast added on the right side (concrete underneath). The left side must wait for completion of the trestle passing over the front of the tunnel portal. Some trim around the top and left side of the portal will be added later.
Finished tunnel portal



I next added a bridge over one of my dry gullies. The bridge is unique in construction and in real life would be of questionable practicality. It is essentially a suspension bridge, with two log girders held up by four chains held above by vertical log posts and anchored into the ground on the other ends. Below are a series of photos showing the construction at various stages: the beginning span (Fig. 1), the supporting log beams wired on temporarily (Fig. 2), the supporting vertical logs cemented into place (Fig. 3), the anchoring logs cemented into the upland area (Fig. 4), the cross-tie logs for anchoring chains to the bridge (Fig. 5), and the anchoring chains in place (Fig. 6). The final large photo shows the completed bridge - the Troll Woman has placed logs across the track to stop the train and demand the toll. Troll bridge Fig. 1 Troll bridge Fig. 2 Troll bridge Fig. 3

Troll bridge Fig. 4 Troll bridge Fig. 5 Troll bridge Fig. 6

Troll bridge


Below are three photos showing construction of the entrance to the east portal of the tunnel in September 2006. The left photo shows the portal prior to new work. Concrete pieces and two stakes are shown supporting the dirt embankmnent on one side. The concrete pieces were left in place; the stakes were removed. A fairly dry concrete mixture was stacked on both sides to create simulated rock walls. Wadded tinfoil was pressed onto the surface to rough it slightly. The middle photo shows the fresh concrete. I then spray-painted the cement with various colors to simulate red sandstone. East tunnel portal before construction Concrete rockwork in place


Short trestle on east side under construction The photo at the left shows the second trestle under construction in September 2006. Two more bents (not shown) will be added to the left of those shown. No cross pieces will be added to this short trestle. The bents are spaced 8 inches apart.


In September 2006 I began work on the third and final trestle. It is about 20 feet in length. The photo below shows three bents in place. Note that most of the trestle is temporarily supported by stacks of bricks and concrete blocks. Bents are erected on each side of a temporary support column before the column is removed.
Overview of long trestle



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Shoppe Foreman is the family website of Larry and Sandy Foreman.
Revised November 2008.