More roundhouse pics from Brian

“Hi Alastair, fantastic response to the write up. I did reply to the questions asked in it.

I have a few more photos taken from the inside of the building in case you would like to publish these as well.
The question about the locomotive in one of the photographs, it is the front of a 3 truck Shay – a logging locomotive.

The photos below were taken with a GoPro Hero 3 camera which has a nice wide angle lens to get some nice shots of the interior. I connect this camera to the GoPro app on my cellphone, lift the roof off the building, place the camera inside and then put the roof back on.

The interior lights are turned up to 12 volts to brighten up the interior for the photographs, but during normal operation, they run at 6 volts for the correct lighting effect. This is a reply to someone who said that the lighting was a bit bright. No offense taken on the comment.

All the best


(If you missed Brian’s last pics, they are here.)

“Hi AL.

I read your email every time I get one. I enjoy them so very much.

I’m not exactly a newbie as I have made at least 10 layouts since I bought my first train set as an adult in December 1963 for my two sons, then ages 3 & 4. I have made or helped make layouts in O gauge, HO gauge and N gauge and have had fun with all of them. I’m current in HO gauge and probably remain there for the rest of my life.

I don’t know what category in which to put this, but I’m a number cruncher in real life (accountant) and here are formulas for calculating speed of HO/OO gauge trains.

actual feet/time in seconds * 59.386 will give scale mph

actual meters/time in seconds *313.493 will give kph


MPH: actual feet/time in seconds*32.728
KPH: actual meters/time in seconds*109.091


MPH: Actual feet/time in seconds*109.091
KPH: Actual meters/time in seconds*575.88

Lester in Georgia, USA”

“Hi Al

Love the posts. Thought I’d pose a question for you and the readers.

Can anyone name these lineside structures and what purpose they serve? Many thanks


A big thanks to everyone.

And can anyone help Simon? I have to confess, I’m as keen as he is to know. What on earth are they for?

That’s all for today folks.

But please do keep ’em coming. Don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide too, if you want to make your own masterpiece, step by step.



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

23 Responses to More roundhouse pics from Brian

  1. Alan McTavish says:

    Hi Simon,
    I always thought they were ‘joists’ for a small bridge. They way I understand it is that there was not enough room beneath the bridge to put substantial joists in so the construction method was to make some of the joists above ground. They are fabricated as ‘box section’ rather than solid beams.
    As always, I could be wrong. It’s not something that was explained when I learned to drive trains.
    Best wishes.

  2. Antony says:


    The linrside structures are the main spans of a girder bridge carrying the railway over (usually) a road or canal where there is insufficient clearance for the traffic below for any other type of construction.

    Hope this helps,

  3. Mervyn says:

    They are definitely structural and as suggested are part of a bridge structure where the beam depth available below the bridge is insufficient for the span required.

  4. David Flood says:

    In structures like this the issue is beneath the span. Insufficient clearance means that the load bearing of the span is raised above the load, as for example the Forth Road Bridge.

  5. Keith says:

    Very nice pictures

  6. Rod Mackay says:

    Yep, plate girders for un underbridge.

    Lovely pictures inside the enginehouse, but I don’t believe any floor exposed to steam locos and heavy engineering would stay THAT clean! Well done.


  7. Hemi says:

    They sure do look like Plate Girders for a bridge as mentioned, BUT what I’m NOT seeing, in behind them (in the background) is the lowering of the landscape to beneath the bridge (how we as modelers make scenery) BUT that said, I’m not sure either the picture could be deceiving too…. ~Hemi

  8. Robert Brady says:

    round house pics are truly life like.
    Ref Simon question Girder bridge section.why would you put in if bridge or tressel was never built.?Theirs no thoroughfare underneath.more confused now then before the question,lol

  9. Dana Vincent says:

    Awesome photos! Really great. I, also, agree with Rod on the exceptionally clean floors but don’t want to take anything anyway from such a wonderful job of detailing inside a structure. Brightness and camera info explained quite well. EXCELLENT!

  10. Appookta says:

    Lester, I’m confused by your formulas. Am I to assume the . represents a / in the directions below, meaning that an N gauge train will travel 109 feet in 91 seconds?
    N gauge – MPH: Actual feet/time in seconds*109.091
    If that’s not correct, would you explain it more clearly?

  11. John N Frye says:

    In rare cases the plate girder bridges were used where it’s not possible to get a solid roadbed, essentially building a bridge on the ground. Maybe a swampy area, or a peat bog. Unusual to happen these days with modern geo-fabric and cement like chemicals which can be mixed into soil to make it more stable, but in the past it was done when necessary.
    John USA

  12. Lynn Taubeneck says:

    I worked in my fathers shop for many years. Every night the floor had to be exceptionally clean despite the fabrication and manufacturing events that took place all day. This was very reminiscent of my early years with my father.

  13. Don Jennings says:

    Simon what do you think they are?. Have you checked all around to see what they might be there for?. Like a stream or road underneath. Check it out first.

  14. My understanding of Lester’s formula is that the “dot” is a decimal point and the N gauge formula for MPH can be simplified to “Feet divided by seconds then multiplied by 109”.

    Lester is an accountant and is therefore obsessed with the need for accuracy in numbers. he has provided us with some very useful information. However, In all of his formulas the multiplying number can be reduced to the nearest whole number.
    As modeller railroader we usually only need to know that the speed of our trains is in the correct ball park range so in this example, rounding the multiplying number down to 100 will almost certainly be accurate enough for our needs.

    Model railroading is supposed to be fun so don’t get bogged down unnecessarily.
    Trevor LL.

  15. That inside shot is so cool

  16. Mike Pettruzzelli says:

    Brian AWESOME….Lester confusing….Bridges over opening under…I’m thinking you are on a commuter train?…Have a good day all….Mike

  17. Rob Shuman says:

    The amazing thing about the roundhouse photo’s is…they look real to me! I had to zoom in to take it all in.

  18. An example for N gauge. If a train travels 16 feet in 26 seconds it will be going 67 MPH.

  19. Tim Morlok says:

    If you enlarge the photo, there appears to be another bridge and modern road lighting to the right. These could be an old underpass that was filled in when the new road was built. To the north of Portland, OR there use to be swampy lowlands towards the Columbia River. The railroads crossed it on low trestles for the bridge approaches. When the city filled in the area for industrial sites, the railroad just buried the trestles in ballast and left them in place. Tim

  20. John K says:

    They are built up plate steel Bridge Girders.

  21. Vance says:

    the structure is probably a( T ) rail bridge where one rail is placed upright and the next upside down all the way cross the opening and the pieces on top that you are seeing are the top caps for easy identification

  22. Hello Al,
    Your articles and comments are very interesting and helpful. And as I plan and develop my second upcoming HO train layout, as my youngest Grandson grows up (he’s still young to really ‘get into’ this great Hobby) ; and with all the fun times this Hobby is going to bring our famiy.

    I have several stages drawn out and I’m also developing a “working budget” so as to control expenses, from adding additional circuit breakers, lighting for maximum coverage for the layout and work bench and my text desk. All for maximum fun! I’m certain there are other factors. However, I foresee challenges in the Electrical Wiring, in all aspects. The construction of the layout ‘table’s will be great, because I’ll be constructing with added ‘weep holes’ so as to string wires and camoflauge train switches and other electrical ‘runs in concealment over and under the table.’ top.

    As of recent, I’ve been studying your concepts/ideas regarding the building of water i.e. Water falls, streams and rivers and ponds. I intend to design/build several water features, also.

    I’m looking forward to many more of your very cool ideas and helpful advice.

    Ralph O.
    A Proud American Viet Nam Veteran.

  23. David Wooff says:

    Those Lineside girders are probably taking the carrying the stresses of the track & train weights over weak ground e.g. subterranean culvert, natural drainage route. Seen also around stations sometimes where there is a pedestrian subway connecting platforms.

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