Bridge over……….

A few(?) years ago, when I first brought notice of Princes St to the then membership of ModellersUnited and others, the original plan for the Morrison St bridge was to use the Wills components for the side. This worked fine for the side nearest the station.

Thoughts about bridge sides never entered consideration when deciding to extend the layout to the Grove St bridge. It was only after buying another pack of the Wills components and examine photos that reality hit. The bridge sides at Grove Street, Gardner’s Crescent Main lines, and goods lines are all different. And none matched the side facing the station.

Initial thoughts were to bluff it. Use the same style of sides on both sides for the main lines on Morrison St. This looked not too bad. It resembled reality if you had a vivid imagination and kept your eyes closed! If you knew what the bridge side was really like….well. Not too many photos exist. However…….

The Grove Street bridge side, to the non-engineering oriented, ie me, is best described as a slab with rivets. To modify the Wills components would require significant cutting, with an excessive number of butt joints the I wasn’t confident I could lose. Knowing the height and length of the side, the decision was made to scratch build and use Archers Rivets to represent the riveting required. To date the rivets have still to be added, but the bridge side so far creates the correct illusion.

The Gardners Crescent bridges are more “interesting“. The sides over the main and goods lines are completely different. The goods lines portion appears to be a welded slab. The passenger lines side is a combination of weld and riveted. Again, Sod’s law makes the Wills components inappropriate for an accurate representation. To further complicate things, the pavement side of one side of the bridge over the passenger lines differs from the outside face. A good view of reality can be obtained from Google Earth, or the Streetview apps, but I’d recommend you move a distance away from the bridge to minimise the distortion caused by looking up from close range. Having initially accepted a loose ‘interpretation’ using Wills components, which was noticeable short for length required, a more accurate interpretation is underway, based solely on photos. Initial progress looks promising. The ‘Niggle’had increased to ‘replace’

Initial attempts using Wills components to replicate station side of bridge. It was uncomfortably tight for length, and unfortunately, looks nothing like the images available on Streetview or discernible from 1960s photos There’s nothing wrong with the Wills product, just inadequate suitability assessment and lack of planning on my part!
The side lighting exaggerates the relief. The bottom section contains the rivets, and is still to be attempted. But it does create a better impression. Once the cunning plan had been devised, it was surprisingly easy to execute successfully.

Other work since the last posting includes more work on the buildings on the Morrison St/Grove St boards. Initial testing to check proportions with adjacent buildings looks good. For some reason, I find that what I consider plain, everyday buildings as (un)interesting to photograph as wiring. No doubt others will disagree!

Looking across Gardners Crescent, over Morrison St. Original layout building with black/white side to be replaced with more accurate version including frontage to Morrison St
Looking down Morrison St towards Haymarket. The building on the right hand side of te road is too high in proportion to it’s colleagues.
Looking west down trackbed with Grove St bridge in distance. Must clean trackbed! The original buildings on right hand side are out of proportion ( too high) with the rest and are scheduled to be replaced.
The factory next to Grove St bridge needs to be raised @ 5mm, and the lean-to nearest the tenement widened a bit. Aren’t you glad we don’t take all the clutter from the models home to exhibitions?
Pavements in place for Gardners Crescent (left) and Morrison St. At 39’ between kerbstones, Gardners Crescent looks wide, but Google Earth measures out at 41’. Interestingly, or maybe spookily, for something laid out by eye to fit the baseboards, the angle and distance between building fronts at the end of the existing pavements is spot on for the real location.

The three bridges have become a welcome diversion. Although unfinished, the basic shapes have been easily defined. The detailing has required a degree of lateral thinking and a couple of trials to determine what works best for me. They have so far delivered a quick sense of achievement and motivation at a time when other ongoing work has longer completion timescales.

Author: Ian Norman

Modelling railways for nearly 50 years. Currently modelling part of a forgotten Edinburgh railway terminus in the late 1950s, early 60s.

5 thoughts on “Bridge over……….”

    1. Thanks David. Progress is slower than I would prefer, but I expect most modellers say that about their layouts. The prototype information acquired continues to increase, frequently being incorporated into the build to improve the accuracy and character of my interpretation of the station. It has increased my respect and appreciation of all modellers who build an absolute accurate scale model of a location on their own.



  1. I think you’re looking at a plate girder with cast iron parapet above (the rivet-free portion). My knowledge of steel structures is a bit rusty (boom boom) but I suspect the cast iron parapet will be largely to stop things falling from the street to an untimely death. The riveted plate girder part below holding it all up.

    And your model of the parapet looks well up to your usual high standard.


    1. Hi Jamie
      I’d forgotten about your engineering knowledge. You’ve just suggested a plausible ( to my non engineering mind) reason why the sides of the two spans that make up this side of the bridge are so visually different. You might just be able to see what I mean from this link

      I’m afraid the other part of the bridge is too well hidden by trees to get anything useful from Streetview.
      If we don’t get a chance to chat first, I’ll expand more when I get the whole bridge more finished.

      Take care


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