Atlas bridge job.

Alas offers a very useful plate girder bridge in both single track and double track styles together with extensions and bridge track. Perfect for one location of my Montana Rail Link layout.

A small section of baseboard top was removed and the pre-assembled bridge dropped in after some preparation. All of the parts were painted and weathered before assembly, a useful technique knowing that spray painting scenic features when in place can be tricky and messy to boot!

The kit is comprehensive and clips together in the main; the final assembly being completed with four screws.

All of the mouldings are neat and fit together well, including the bridge track panels.

This picture shows the bridge components painted grimy black over dark grey and weathered with Pheonix Precision Paints ‘rusty rails’ colour. A dusting of brake dust and under frame dirt from the same paint range was applied to the deck and track panels.

Assembly complete and ready to drop into place.

Here’s where it is to be located. The baseboards were already cut for the project when the tops were fitted at the start of the project.

The existing track is removed and trimmed to length to accommodate the bridge track panels. Accurate measurements are needed at this point.

Tracks one and two of the MRL 4th Sub main line are truly severed at this point. By the way, the bridge is being located on the double track section between Missoula West and DesMet. DesMet is where the 10th Sub diverges from the 4th Sub water level route.

I do not like having the layout out of action for too long, so the new bridge was dropped in place pretty quickly.


Everything is reconnected, the bridge track rails provided with power feeds from the bus and trains run once again. The next job is to complete the abutments and build the road. In the meantime, ballasting at the west end of Missoula Yard is ongoing and enough track to start work on the second deck of the layout has now been obtained. Anyone working with Atlas code 55 N scale track will know it has been in short supply in the US over the last couple of years, so finding it for a project in the UK has been nearly impossible – until recently.

Another change undertaken the dark and impossible Christmas to New Year period involved the relocation of an internal light switch in the layout cabin along with a few other electrical things. To enable a better staging yard arrangement for the N scale MRL to be built, I changed the choice of entrance door from the side to the front of the building quite some time ago – Sarah’s idea. With that change came the need to locate the main light switch – something I stupidly failed do at the time! The resulting stumbling around in the dark at this time of the year to find it on a wall far remote from the doorway when entering the cabin (and when leaving it too), became intolerable and the relocation of the switch is a sensible move and enables further improvements to the N scale MRL layout. It clears the way for the second staging yard.

The first staging yard representing the east end of the layout (lower deck) was built along the wall and across the old entrance door without the need to move any electrics. By blocking off the old door, a yard long enough for 12ft trains was possible (longer but that would be a waste of track because the maximum train length is 12 ft). The picture below shows the narrow shelf accommodating 5 long staging tracks. An identical one needs to be built above it for the west end of the layout and guess what…that hitherto mentioned light switch was in the way!


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