Walkways on trestles

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by pastoolio, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

    Guys, I'm starting to build my steel trestle, and was wondering if I should add a walkway down the side. Looking are prototype pics from all eras, I see some trestles have walkways and some do not. Is there some sort of regulation about having a walkway or not? Or was some rule imposed after a certain year that they all need to have one?
    I don't really want to bother with adding one, but I want it to be as close to prototype as possible.
    Thanks all :)

  2. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Supporter

    I have never seen a trestle with a dedicated sidewalk or walking deck. Instead, there are safety refuges, often with a drum filled with sand for fighting fires.

    For those railroads that do have walking decks, and I have no doubt there are some, it must be a policy that drives such a construction. It may have had something to do with providing a walking path across the trestle for rail workers who needed access to both sides of the obstacle. It could be, for example, that a yard was at/near one end of the trestle, and some other facility on the other end, and employees would have found the path directly across a trestle to be handy. I'm just fishing here, obviously.
  3. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

    There is a steel trestle on the CNR line at Ste-Ursule, Quebec, over a valley. It's about 1300 feet long, 180 feet high, and has a walkway along one side, and at least one safe area. Considering that CNR has a strict no trespassing policy, it's definitely for the workers. I suspect that the length of the structure has something to do with it - if it's a long one, you need a place to go in case a train comes rumbling along. Other than diving off the bridge, of course. :D
  4. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    I have seen them on wood and steel bridges that were a good distance from a car bridge to get over the obstacle. But not if they were close to a road. They were not intended for pedestrian traffic but often did get used that way.
  5. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the responses guys :) After doing more looking, it seems that the larger they are, the more chance of having a walkway. Here are a few examples I've found that my trestle will end up looking like. Both have a walkway on one side. So it looks like I'm gonna have to build one in...

    And Crandell, here is a modern steel trestle that has an "escape area". Didn't think these were still used. :D

  6. Scott Stutzman

    Scott Stutzman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

  7. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    These pictures are all deck girder types. What about through truss bridges?

    Here are the walkways on BLMAs through truss bridges. These bridges are relatively long and walkways would seem to me to be a safety factor. The reason I ask is that I have a modified Kato single track truss bridge and I need to add a walkway. Maybe use some type of brass industrial walkway type?

    Here is BLMAs bridge detail from their website.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2010
  8. cmstpmark

    cmstpmark TrainBoard Supporter

    Wooden bridges would have been more likely to have the walkways, as there would have been water barrels placed at intervals on the bridge to help the train crew/line crew extinguish any fires started on or near the bridge by the cinders from the engine.

    Steel bridges would have walkways if they were long or of a construction method that required yearly inspections (cable, strung or pinned truss bridges).

    Bridges would generally not have walkways if they were short, easy to inspect from the banks, easy to access by the public or in high population area. There are several long, high bridges in the Allegehnies that I know of that lack any walkway strictly to keep the locals from even thinking about walking across them.

    In my years of photographing in and around railway property (Midwest area) the only times I have ever been given grief from rail workers has involved two subjects-being too close to moving equipment and being on or near a bridge. There seems to be a gut reaction from employees regarding strangers on their bridge.

    When I have seen photographs of railbridges that were designed with walkways, they have all been circa 1860-1920 (hmmmm-before a large increase in vehicular traffic) and they have usually been two story bridges. The pedestrian deck was usually above the rail deck on small bridges, and between the lines on two line large bridges.

  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    It seems to have been dependent upon the company, for whatever practice they adapted. In my corner of the USA, smaller wooden trestles more often than not, were without a walkway. Trusses on one company had a walkway, a similar length for another RR a couple of miles away, none.

    I sure remember the fire barrels. Many as they rusted away from disuse.

    Boxcab E50
  10. PGE-N°2

    PGE-N°2 TrainBoard Member

    Here are a couple images of a modern steel bridge with metal walkways built along it.
    It is used frequently by civilian foot traffic.


  11. Othello

    Othello TrainBoard Member

    Let me guess; CN/BC Rail Capilano River crossing near Ambleside?
  12. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    This pic by an unknown photographer of the Peoria and Pekin Union Railway draw bridge over the Illinois River was taken in the 1930s or 40s. Those are workers visible in the distance. The bridge was replaced by a double track lift bridge in 1984 and I believe still has a walkway.

    Several RR bridges in my area have walkways when passing over busy highways. rivers, or deeper ravines, but not when crossing small creeks or rural roads that can be safely or easily crossed by a pedestrian.

    I think your bridge is long enough and will be high enough over the valley to warrant a walkway. Libraries, county historical societies, or local newspapers in the area of your bridge may have pictures, and, if the bridge is still in use by a RR, sometimes googlemaps satellite pics can show enough details to guide your modeling efforts.
  13. PGE-N°2

    PGE-N°2 TrainBoard Member

    Pretty close, but it's actually a good deal farther east from there. It's a river crossing on the former BC Electric interurban line now operated by Rail-links Southern BC Railway. I do have some pics of the Capilano River crossing with 2816 on the bridge.

    I also heard that they are replacing the other bridge across the Capilano River on Marine Drive, which makes me mad. They have absolutely no imagination in bridge design these days, so they're going to take that nice green curved-chord truss and replace with a flat, featureless concrete beam. Blah!:tb-mad:
  14. fgcrail1

    fgcrail1 TrainBoard Member

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is (what I think) the primary reason for having walkways on the bridges- for a crew member who has to walk a train for whatever reason. I've personally had the air go in emergency while strung out over a bridge with no walkway, and no way for the conductor to cross the river safely- it tends to turn into a lengthy delay as someone else has to either show up and ferry the conductor around to the other side, or he has to make a dangerous crossing of the bridge over/under/alongside the cars. Not long after the CN acquired us on the WC they initiated a campaign to add walkways along our bridges. As of this date I can only think of a few short spans that are not equipped...
    Think of the bridge walkway as an insurance policy against a long train delay. Eventually, for whatever reason, a train crew member will have to walk a train that is on a bridge...just a matter of when.

    -George Widener
    CN Fond du Lac, WI

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