I've been trawlling through google for past few hours looking for colour
pictures of plate girder bridges - found lots of refs to model bridges, B/W
pics etc but no colour suitable.
I'm looking for pix to use as a reference for painting, in particular rust,
grime, weathering etc . Whilst probably not making a lot of difference, pix
from UK would be nice.
Any ideas ?
Sorry ca't help you with pics however I may be able to assist you with
colour. In the main they're black, highlighted with black and with the
details gain picked out in black. Seriously the vast majority of the
bridges are painted with a very long lasting, hard wearing black paint
that is very rust resistant.
For instance on the old East Lancs Railway bridge (*) over the Ogden
just as it joins the Irwell hasn't had a train over it for nearly 40
years and still last time I looked a couple of years agao showed no
signs of rust.
The colour fades somewhat to a dark bluey grey other than that the only
real staining to be found on these kinds of bridge is underneith where
bird dropping collect on the girders used by roosting birds and where
there's a lot of vehicular traffic under the bridge the undersides will
get covered in a grey/brown grime caused by the traffic.
Failing all that in many areas nowadays the bridges are painted all
sorts of colours in all sorts of patterns as part of a process of
gentrification of run down (or tourist) areas. This is quite a modern
idea though that I've only really noticed occouring on any sort of
widespread basis over the past 10 to 20 years. Other than that it's back
(*) The one on the now defunct Helmshore line rather than the
Rawtenstall(**) one 50 yards or so away.
(**) Now operated by the new East Lancs Railway, idiots that they were
in preserving the wrong line.
Nope - there were very many examples painted in (let's call it) battleship
grey and more recently in a light green colour. I don't recall seeing many
(if any) in black, although of course in the steam era they may have
weathered that way.
There's no substitute for a photograph, and ideally one specifically of the
bridge being modelled.
Depending on the modelling era. At one time the big four used their
house colours. I don't know if this was general though. I suspect the
practice became less common as paintwork got simpler.
Draconus is right though - too many modelled bridges look pristine
even after the effects of smoke and weather.
Well that rather shot me down in flames, genuinely never seen a grey
bridge, must be something "To do wi that lot on t'other side ot Pennies not
doin t'job proper" ... not that Yorkshire folks having a reputation with us
Lancashire folks for being tighter than a ducks a*** :-)
The one up the road from me which carries the Coventry-Nuneaton line was
battleship grey but is now rust coloured with holes in the side big enough
to put your fist through. Water also pours through the sidewalls onto the
pavement below but whoever is responsible for maintenance has thoughtfully
provided a sign warning pedestrians that the surface is slippery.
Are you sure it's black? I note what you say about fading, but looking
at some bridges close up suggests to me that the colour was a dark elephant
grey with slight metallic sparkle as of some mineral being added to toughen
the surface. Newly painted bridges and old ones alike (such as the disused
bowstring bridge at Yarmouth which I was photographing on Saturday) seem to
be the same grey, and even if it were nearer black, allowing for scale
colour effect it ought to be rendered as weathered grey in model sizes. (The
coating definitely seems to be a paint rather than a plain tar/bitumen),
And the inside of the girders near the track will be browned to track
colour by spray from the wheels.
The fashionable colour scheme of NR these days seems to be two-tone
green. Spinach and eau-de-nil, yum. Modern synthetic weatherproof paints
seem relatively immune to fade so you're not restricted to all those stable
dull lead-based colours of yesteryear.
One the subject of model girder bridges generally, I find that most of
them look unsatisfactory and study of prototypes is necessary, especially
underneath. Most of the models look insufficiently butch for the purpose,
even allowing for speed restrictions over them. An egregious offender is the
Airfix/Dapol girder bridge which is neatly done but in terms of its girder
struts seems more suitable as a road bridge over a river - even as a single
track it looks like it ought to be beefed up with internal diagonal struts,
or two bridges cut about to make a double layer. The base plate is also
hopeless, seeming to be little more than plate steel in appearance - and
with those strength-sapping gaps along the centre line! - whereas there
would be steel beams and lattices below the track to provide 3D bracing
against bending and axle loading. The Peco plate girders are better, but you
still need to make a properly braced underframe, as well as having a plate
girder between the tracks instead of just as an outer coaming.
Yup, I've already been hauled over the coals for that one, apparently
outside of Lancashire and other similar places where quality counted (*)
they used a cheap grey paint with mica flakes in it Rather than a last
(nearly) forever bitumen based paint, I've lost the post now but a chap
very helpfully responded IIRC that he actually used to make the paint
and apparently the grey stuff is favoured over the black stuff as it can
be sprayed on whereas the bituminous stuff has to be painted.
(* Just a little friendly snipe at Yorkshire :-)
I used an Airfix turntable as a basis for a bridge on my last layout,
keeping the deck and upper works I used some girder section rod to build
up the undernieth and even if I say so myself it looked quite good.
Advertising hoarding stuck on the side. Worked well it was for an
industial line so the over all size worked well.
That were me, Chris.... The micaceaous (sp?) stuff was anything but cheap,
otherwise I'd have used it to paint my wheelbarrow- it was also very heavy
relative to the other 5 litre tins we used to handle.
Cheers Brian it was actually quite an interesting post. With regards to
cheepness, don't mind me I'm still sniping at the the followers of teh
inferior railways on the wrong side of the Pennines, LMS (well at least
the the L&Y/ELR part) and the GWR - black bitumious paint, what more
does anyone need to know if the GWR did it, it had to be right :-)
<ducks for cover>
There are some colour pictures circa 1962 of steam in stations showing
plate girder overbridges on the ex- Great Western Railway's Fairford
branch in BR steam days, on David Howse's web site at:
Agreed, so our friend Mal should state what period he's wanting to model,
then I'll go dig out pictures of plate grider bridges in whatever period is
relevent, but I recall bridges being grey back in the 1960s, and sadly I
don't think I've much in the way of colour material from then or earlier.
Thanks all. to honest the 'black' bit suprised me a little, as most of the
ones I have seen on models here were various shades of grey - but pristine
with little or no aging or weathering.
Thanks for the links to pictures - they will help to inspire.
Out of interest the bridge I am trying to model is the plate girder carrying
the GER over the A143 from Haverhill to Bury St Edmunds - in early sixties -
have no photos of it, the abutments remain but the girder bridge has been
replaced by a steel walkway. My version will take the road over the
Have had a friend take reams of shot of the abutments but she couldn't find
a time machine to go back and shoot the bridge ;-)
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