Monday, 14 July 2014

The Halls Creek Bridge

Photo from Merriwa Rail Society website - Photographer Unknown
After removing the non-prototypical and very distinctive brick viaduct, I still would like to have at least one reasonably sized bridge on the layout. Over the last few months, I have been searching the internet for possible prototypes and came across the bridge over Halls Creek at Sandy Hollow on the now disused Merriwa branch line. Interestingly, Google Maps (a very definitive source??) names the watercourse at the crossing point as Giants Creek but all of the literature that I have found refer to it as Halls Creek.

Photo from Merriwa Rail Society website - Photographer Brian Leedham
According to the Byways of Steam article on the Merriwa line (Byways of Steam 10 p62), this bridge was one of three on the branch line and the only one no longer in service. It is also the most basic but perhaps, the most interesting of the three with a combination of steel and timber superstructure and a mixed arrangement of piers. The other great attraction for this bridge is that a gentleman by the name of Brian Leedham took some photos of the main span which was still in place in 2009 and these have also been published in the Merriwa Railway Society's website ( The photos have been a great help in determining the arrangement of the main beams and the internal bracing for these. They also give an idea of the arrangement of the timber bearers on the shorter spans.

My intent is not to create an exact copy but use the bridge as a guide. Unfortunately I have not been able to locate any drawings for the bridge, and therefore, the dimensions that I am using to create the model are approximate based on comparisons with locomotives and rolling stock shown in several older photos of the bridge.

To date, I have fabricated the major span steel bream arrangement from styrene and the timber piles from bamboo satay sticks and stripwood from Northeastern Lumber. I have also added bolt heads from Tichy Train Products on the timber pier sets but drew the line at adding rivet heads to plate web girders. I have also cheated a little by not including all of the internal vertical cross bracing and the horizontal cross bracing attached to the bottom flange.

Once the individual components bridge are painted, I'll probably finish the bridge upside down, fixing everything to a length of track before placing it in position. 

The bridge when completed will not form part of the main layout but will be shown as a cameo scene on the branch line before it enters a helix that will provide access to the upper level.

More to follow as the project develops.


  1. Phil, I have a heap of other photos and info on that bridge if you need it.


    1. Ian,

      Thanks for the offer. I probably have a reasonable coverage of the steel beams but I am still searching for information on the bridge abutments if you happen to have any. I'll send you a quick email so that you have my address.

      cheers Phil

  2. Hi Phil.Did you mange to obtain the 36ft tank parts you needed,if f not get in touch as I may be able to help you Peter

    1. Peter,
      Have not been resolved as yet. Will respond via email with more detail.

      cheers Phil