Topics

Study of my own photos from 1971


Warner Swarner
 

This was John’s approach to unfinished bridge of Giant Canyon as it stood from my own photos in 1971.
Just kicking around old thoughts.
(Sorry using screen photos of my slides).



Here are his only two options from his construction of pier types.
More deck girder. (Don’t panic, That is NOT a G&D loco. It’s a PFM PS-4. John liked it but it was my friend’s)


Or a lift out deck truss. Neither would span that far in real life but there aren’t many options from his use of piers on other tall bridges on canyon to left.

There is no place to build an abutment for an arch bridge in photos of the giant canyon.

Arch bridges transfer force laterally and would topple any thin pier.
Anything across the gap would have to be a lift out span for frequent access up that canyon. Perhaps even adding another super tall pier but John would not do in his landmark view.
This remains quite a model railroad mystery. Just my 2 cents on recollections.


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Warner...  look at his other high steel arch bridge..    It was constructed exactly the same way as he would have done this one.  Long spindly legs that stretch out beyond all architectural bounds but will look great and do the job in HO scale...   I am trying to read what your saying but I am not sure I get it.  Are you saying he could not have built a steel arch like he did on the other side...?     and you seem convinced something would have to lift out..?  Interesting. 
 Give me till next summer and we will see.  My space in this area and my design is so close to Johns in every way this should be a great way to find out for sure. 

My scenery (like johns) goes right to the floor to the right of Scalp Mountain.  My bridge will be @ 61" top of the track....  Now Squaw Bottom might be @ 30" but since that is only relevant to the Left Side, this canyon that runs on the right side.... where I will have access, it is not only easy to get into but essential running from the floor and stepping up and around to the back of the mountain.     

It had not dawned on me before but in your slides and Garys I do not see the high bridge on the other side of the mountain done yet.    This was October of 1971....  So the other high bridge was done sometime in 72...Take a look at the girder approaches and imagine the same bridge just spanning a larger space.     It seems to me he was pushing HARD to get his layout done before he died.  He built that massive bridge that had these very same girder sections hanging out in the air (btw) waiting to have the steel arch bridge fill the space, just like the approach hanging in mid air from up by angels Camp.  Then he also built the two bridges in front of West Divide and the Two that were missing over the great Divide Yard in late 72. and all he had left was this last "Great Bridge" to finish in January of 73 or thereabout.     

Click for the original image

 

   


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

For the fun of It I might build a version of this bridge..  (Since the notebook sketches we know exist, do not seem to be in the hands of anyone who will ever let them see the light of day) To save the foolish arguments from other who might not actually read the posts.......""I do not think this is what John would have done""..  but Girder connections to some version of a half through arch could easily be made to look quite good. 

   Image result for half through arch bridge images


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Related image

Just for fun...  imagine this crazy bridge built using the older style lace girders.  IN the real world the arch has to have a certain ability to support the weight... and is often very tall and very over built.  IMagine a version of this where the arch only rises up and above the deck 1/3 as high as this one does.    A low angle of attack creating a wide spanning arch that can reach far over to the scenery under the track.    Again totally redrawn and designed to fit the space using the same lace girders and H channel and spindly material you can get away with in scale construction.  Imagine this is 5' off the floor... and you have the FLOOR directly under it your first step up is 10" and does not begin until just behind this bridge....  You duck your head under the bridge and step up and your body and shoulders move upward and toward the wall behind the bridge as you go up and away to get to the back wall area.   

Fun stuff...   I am building in a somewhat BACKWARD order to Johns overall efforts.   Why not finish things backward as well... I will get the High bridge functioning from the top of Scalp Mountain back down through Great Divide and then Port and down through the Cutoff Tunnel and out at Cross Junction.. first.   
  If I get the time, I will build "both" of the styles of bridges that could fit there just for the fun of answering any questions.    A suspension Bridge is just not even worth doodling...   

Randy 

   


Warner Swarner
 

OK, everybody, Forget my comments. 
Please forgive my misconceptions!  
That’s why this group discusses these thing politely.
Thank you, Randy for pointing this correct.
I never saw the high bridge in place.  !!  
Most of the talk about the “unfinished bridge” has been about the spans over Great Divide.  
I have always confused the “high bridge” photo (page 24 of the book) with another location (Bridge over Squawbottom). I never reconciled the lower picture on page 24 ( which is “my era” type photo) with the upper photo which must have been in 1972. 
Then, John DID build the steel arch bridge across Giant Canyon, and it must have been a “duck under”.
Please confirm this conceptual correction for my aging brain.  
Again, sorry, Please excuse my rambling about bridge supports.  John blew me away. 
You guys are super detectives.  Glad we are doing this in writing so future can figure out what happened.  This site is the Rosetta Stone for future model rail historians.
Warner 
(on the rails but there are some large gaps)


On Jul 24, 2019, at 10:29 AM, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:

Warner...  look at his other high steel arch bridge..    It was constructed exactly the same way as he would have done this one.  Long spindly legs that stretch out beyond all architectural bounds but will look great and do the job in HO scale...   I am trying to read what your saying but I am not sure I get it.  Are you saying he could not have built a steel arch like he did on the other side...?     and you seem convinced something would have to lift out..?  Interesting. 
 Give me till next summer and we will see.  My space in this area and my design is so close to Johns in every way this should be a great way to find out for sure. 

My scenery (like johns) goes right to the floor to the right of Scalp Mountain.  My bridge will be @ 61" top of the track....  Now Squaw Bottom might be @ 30" but since that is only relevant to the Left Side, this canyon that runs on the right side.... where I will have access, it is not only easy to get into but essential running from the floor and stepping up and around to the back of the mountain.     

It had not dawned on me before but in your slides and Garys I do not see the high bridge on the other side of the mountain done yet.    This was October of 1971....  So the other high bridge was done sometime in 72...Take a look at the girder approaches and imagine the same bridge just spanning a larger space.     It seems to me he was pushing HARD to get his layout done before he died.  He built that massive bridge that had these very same girder sections hanging out in the air (btw) waiting to have the steel arch bridge fill the space, just like the approach hanging in mid air from up by angels Camp.  Then he also built the two bridges in front of West Divide and the Two that were missing over the great Divide Yard in late 72. and all he had left was this last "Great Bridge" to finish in January of 73 or thereabout.     

Click for the original image

 

   


David
 

Randy-

I've got the perfect solution.  Just install a bascule bridge.  It will lift itself!  You know I am just kidding...  But then again.

David (Dry Gulch & Western)

On Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 10:59:54 AM PDT, Warner Swarner via Groups.Io <wbswarner@...> wrote:


OK, everybody, Forget my comments. 
Please forgive my misconceptions!  
That’s why this group discusses these thing politely.
Thank you, Randy for pointing this correct.
I never saw the high bridge in place.  !!  
Most of the talk about the “unfinished bridge” has been about the spans over Great Divide.  
I have always confused the “high bridge” photo (page 24 of the book) with another location (Bridge over Squawbottom). I never reconciled the lower picture on page 24 ( which is “my era” type photo) with the upper photo which must have been in 1972. 
Then, John DID build the steel arch bridge across Giant Canyon, and it must have been a “duck under”.
Please confirm this conceptual correction for my aging brain.  
Again, sorry, Please excuse my rambling about bridge supports.  John blew me away. 
You guys are super detectives.  Glad we are doing this in writing so future can figure out what happened.  This site is the Rosetta Stone for future model rail historians.
Warner 
(on the rails but there are some large gaps)


On Jul 24, 2019, at 10:29 AM, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:

Warner...  look at his other high steel arch bridge..    It was constructed exactly the same way as he would have done this one.  Long spindly legs that stretch out beyond all architectural bounds but will look great and do the job in HO scale...   I am trying to read what your saying but I am not sure I get it.  Are you saying he could not have built a steel arch like he did on the other side...?     and you seem convinced something would have to lift out..?  Interesting. 
 Give me till next summer and we will see.  My space in this area and my design is so close to Johns in every way this should be a great way to find out for sure. 

My scenery (like johns) goes right to the floor to the right of Scalp Mountain.  My bridge will be @ 61" top of the track....  Now Squaw Bottom might be @ 30" but since that is only relevant to the Left Side, this canyon that runs on the right side.... where I will have access, it is not only easy to get into but essential running from the floor and stepping up and around to the back of the mountain.     

It had not dawned on me before but in your slides and Garys I do not see the high bridge on the other side of the mountain done yet.    This was October of 1971....  So the other high bridge was done sometime in 72...Take a look at the girder approaches and imagine the same bridge just spanning a larger space.     It seems to me he was pushing HARD to get his layout done before he died.  He built that massive bridge that had these very same girder sections hanging out in the air (btw) waiting to have the steel arch bridge fill the space, just like the approach hanging in mid air from up by angels Camp.  Then he also built the two bridges in front of West Divide and the Two that were missing over the great Divide Yard in late 72. and all he had left was this last "Great Bridge" to finish in January of 73 or thereabout.     

Click for the original image

 

   


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Gaps indeed Warner.   All we can do, in so many cases concerning John, is just guess.   No worries here my friend.  I hope anything I sent helps explain Johns plans and timetable better and does not add to the controversy.   
      The layout work of so many modelers through the years has been helpful in answering many of these questions for sure....  I hope the things I am getting into will answer even more. But I am only 7 months into this whole thing....So long way to go for me.
     
    Toms pointing out of the bridge feet support pads below the drains area and they are a fantastic find.  A very telling pair of small clues right there..!   These, coupled with the other known pieces of evidence and I think we are good in our detective work.    But we all know John was capable of anything and he could have just simply covered them over and built a through arch for the hell of it and surprised everyone including himself.  He did hate to build any bridge alike..   That is the fun of John Allen.. the unknown is fun.  I only wish I could see the DRAWINGS!  If I ever did build a through arch for fun.. I would want to to resemble his ideas.  But that is another story and a generational phenomenon that I hope is addressed in my lifetime.   Because I won't be letting it go.       

As for these bridges and the confusion we all have.....I am learning, only recently, just how late in his construction many things appeared, including his steel arch bridge.  That high steel span over Squaw Bottom that he finished is one crazy impressive iconic image. That picture is one of the things I stared at for hours as a kid.  
 Now the the unfinished bridges are what we are all discovering recently as his last modeling work and the last of his unfinished jobs in connecting that last High Route and driving his golden spike.  This work must have commenced just after the time you guy's all made your trip out there to see John in late 1971 Warner. 
  In that next year, and few months, he managed to build this beautiful spindley steel arch span on the left of Scalp Mountain..    and we know he worked from the other end and connected the West Divide section (the orpheum theater area) bridging the long standing "GAP" from above Andy's Drug Store over to the CV building. Then he built  the two steel truss bridges over the GD yard.  leaving only the Great Bridge to finish the route. 

Randy  

      


David Woodrell
 

On Wed, Jul 24, 2019 at 12:55 PM, Randy Lee Decker wrote:
  [  Toms pointing out of the bridge feet support pads below the drains area and they are a fantastic find.]

Do you have a reference page in the book for Tom's (I assume Hokel?) discovery?  I seem to vaguely remember the string, but I have a hard time keeping track of all the paths we go down in our detective work!!!

Dave


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Hey Dave I am glad you are seeing these...  Good stuff here 

I don't  I am not sure if that photo is in the book or not.  Most likely it is in the "slides" section on GDLines.org.    This is my go to source for building my layout as accurately as possible.... 

I will check and see if this is correct and try and find the page and number to help find it easier.  Tom might see this and jump in as well before then.   Either way  Check out the web page.    Click on either photo on the main page.. from there you can indulge in so much fun!   Warners fantastic photos, he took, during his visit back in 1971 (he is referencing in this thread) are there as well....  Enjoy 

Randy


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Dave Toms mention of it is in the Original Drawing Size thread I began a while back.    

 I have not seen the calender where this photo was used before.  But it is a nice shot...  Must be  some of Model Railroaders Photos they rolled out again here.   I'd like to buy one of these calendars if anyone has one they want to let go of. btw    

Tom says Warner has a shot of it in his things as well.  So I'd check there as well...   What you're looking for is any photograph that shows the area directly under the protruding steel girder that hangs in mid air waiting for Johns last bridge to be built.      



 


Warner Swarner
 

Wow, what sharp eyes some of you have!  NOW I CAN SEE.  Like a light just switched on.  The footings were there, but since when?  I will go back and search my photos closer.
What YEAR was this Calendar photo in?  Recently I’m sure.  I have it in one of my stacks and never looked.
Now great detectives, what year was this JA photo taken and what year were those bridge footings put in place? 
Warner
  image1.png


On Jul 25, 2019, at 9:15 AM, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:

Dave Toms mention of it is in the Original Drawing Size thread I began a while back.    

 I have not seen the calender where this photo was used before.  But it is a nice shot...  Must be  some of Model Railroaders Photos they rolled out again here.   I'd like to buy one of these calendars if anyone has one they want to let go of. btw    

Tom says Warner has a shot of it in his things as well.  So I'd check there as well...   What you're looking for is any photograph that shows the area directly under the protruding steel girder that hangs in mid air waiting for Johns last bridge to be built.      



 


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Well if you look at your photo taken in 71  It is hard to see as you were not close or zoomed in like this shot was...  But if you use magnification you can plainly see the flat pads directly below the protruding girder there.   

Warner.....  I think there was still some confusion about the steel arch span John did complete BTW...  Perhaps this will help....  If you look at the plan for my room I sent along, you can plainly see Scalp Mountain. or for anyone else "what you see on Page 84"  In this birdseye drawing, the bridge that runs to the mountain on the left side is the one John finished and is pictured in my previous message...  it is that beautiful spindley box & lace girder, cross braced, masterpiece, in silver that we all have seen the photos of...   It crosses an area of about four feet... perhaps a bit more.   And it has a few spots where you can see the concrete pads those feet run to in the rock escarpments on each side.
     
    I have just recently realised he was pushing hard to finish his High Bridge Route...  Oddly enough it must have been immediately after the time you guys were there in October of 71 Warner ......  To do so, there were SIX spans that needed to be bridged to achieve this and drive his last spike.  The two massive spans one on each side of Scalp Mountain.... and the Two over the Great Divide yard and the two in front of West Divide....    
  
 So in the winter of 71-72 he built the one steel arch span...on the left side of Scalp Mountain, we know this because the photo's of it prove it was done by January of 1972 and this fact is in the book as well.  Jim Findley talks about being allowed to do some scenery work to try and fix one of the foot placements on that big bridge..  (something John never let anyone do before) (Jim felt John must have touched it up anyway as it looked better later than Jim remembers leaving it)   LOL  ... but the other 5 bridges still remaining were still a work in progress.  I am not sure what John was doing most of early and mid 72?   But he did work on the two steel truss bridges over the Great Divide yard area and the two in front of West Divide and had them done all about the same time in late December of 72...... (Don Mitchell recently sent us a photo of this work)     We know this was very near Johns death before he got them done...    Rod Smith has told me he visited Johns layout about a month or a little less before John passed. In December of 72...... He does not remember these bridges at all and did not have a camera with him anyway.   Don Mitchell had his camera and had the time to visit due to a postponement in his transfer while in service so he spent his time at Johns place while waiting... And luckily he took a series of photographs  (MANY OF US ARE PRAYING AND WAITING FOR HIM TO RELEASE for 46 years now.. )    Don would have to verify the actual day and date but we know it was about "two weeks" before John died.    Don's images might very well be the only record of Johns last efforts. 

So in January of 1973....this left John with the "Great Bridge" as the last section of track unfinished.  The steel girder was left hanging there and might just be the saddest, most visually poignant poetic image there is to tell this incredible but tragic story. 

Randy

      


Bob Friddle
 

Randy, this is a beauty and certainly John Allen-worthy! I agree he repeated few designs, and this would definitely be a nice addition. I’m thinking that this particular viewing angle, if reversed and scaled properly, could be superimposed on the classic giant canyon photo to get a good idea of its impact. If I can find some time I’ll try to make it happen with my rudimentary skills.

Cheers,

Bob Friddle

Gabriele Lines – Route of the Angels

Minneapolis

 

From: GandD@groups.io [mailto:GandD@groups.io] On Behalf Of Randy Lee Decker via Groups.Io
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 12:36 PM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] Study of my own photos from 1971

 

For the fun of It I might build a version of this bridge..  (Since the notebook sketches we know exist, do not seem to be in the hands of anyone who will ever let them see the light of day) To save the foolish arguments from other who might not actually read the posts.......""I do not think this is what John would have done""..  but Girder connections to some version of a half through arch could easily be made to look quite good. 

   Image result for half through arch bridge images


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Well sir... anything is possible...   We know it had to be one of these two designs. 
    With the evidence of an almost exact longer copy as he made for the other side of Scalp Mountain the best guess and best evidence of final design our group has come up with so far. 
There is just that "John Allen" factor hee that can't be ignored.  He did not like making any two bridges alike.. !  I fact he had managed to NOT do it in the more than 100 he'd already created to that point.    So I guarantee he was considering every option.    Doing both would really be a crazy fun madman's endeavour...!     John would approve...

Randy      

On Thu, Jul 25, 2019 at 3:45 PM Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

Randy, this is a beauty and certainly John Allen-worthy! I agree he repeated few designs, and this would definitely be a nice addition. I’m thinking that this particular viewing angle, if reversed and scaled properly, could be superimposed on the classic giant canyon photo to get a good idea of its impact. If I can find some time I’ll try to make it happen with my rudimentary skills.

Cheers,

Bob Friddle

Gabriele Lines – Route of the Angels

Minneapolis

 

From: GandD@groups.io [mailto:GandD@groups.io] On Behalf Of Randy Lee Decker via Groups.Io
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 12:36 PM
To: GandD@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GandD] Study of my own photos from 1971

 

For the fun of It I might build a version of this bridge..  (Since the notebook sketches we know exist, do not seem to be in the hands of anyone who will ever let them see the light of day) To save the foolish arguments from other who might not actually read the posts.......""I do not think this is what John would have done""..  but Girder connections to some version of a half through arch could easily be made to look quite good. 

   Image result for half through arch bridge images


Jeffrey L Witt
 

It's from the "Landmark Layouts 2012 Calendar".


Tom Hokel (Pine Ridge RR)
 

Warner,

It's been there at least since 1957! Long time. Well, they said John planned his layout (like laying wires) years in advanced. He knew where he was going,

IO Groups hung up when I tried to add this MR Dec 1957 photo from Jeff, so I'll try my Pine Ridge RR album.

--
Tom
<PR> PINE RIDGE RR


Tom Hokel (Pine Ridge RR)
 

It wouldn't post in my album either. Jeff named the photo "MR-19571200-038-600_70.jpg."

--
Tom
<PR> PINE RIDGE RR


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Its there Tom...  has the Shay behind.... there's a few... they must have all dumped later..   .

Wow 1957...    I figured he would have done these much later.... as things can change and pads are not exactly hard to instal anytime and in fact these are so close together he may have had to widen the stance on this span a bit anyway when e got to it.    But he actually put them in back when he first ran this back wall in 57..  I am totally blown away  I never would have thought that. 

Randy    


Bruce Wilson
 

Cropped showing footings for bridge





Bruce Wilson
Barrie, ON


Tom Hokel (Pine Ridge RR)
 

Oh, good. I deleted the extra ones. Looks like it posted them all in my album, even though I was just trying to include it in my message. 

Looks like the footers were plaster-covered card stock. They could be easily adjusted up or down. 
--
Tom
<PR> PINE RIDGE RR