Who hasn’t gone web surfing and ended up in a strange place on YouTube? Lots and lots of odd stuff out there that for some reason has been captured for posterity. Occasionally though something genuinely useful comes along and while the amateur plot lines may be rough, the content is interesting.
I’m not sure how I arrived at this video but it shows an old, abandoned Warren Truss bridge in the backwoods of Florida on the Little Manatee River. The bridge was once part of the Seaboard Air Line Railway, built in 1902 and abandoned in the late 1980s.
What I found interesting was the height of the bridge over the river. Lots of times in Florida you’ll see bridges that hug the water surface but this bridge has at least some height to it. As soon as I saw this bridge I knew I wanted to incorporate a similar look into the Waterfront Project!
Awhile back, I built the Micron Art Pratt Bridge in brass with the idea of using it as an abandoned bridge on a layout. I heavily weathered the steel and removed the deck. I always thought I’d have some foliage wrap itself around the skeleton of the bridge. This layout now looks like a perfect place to finally use this brass beauty!
The actual Florida river bridge in the photo and video is a Warren Truss bridge and the Micron Art bridge is a Pratt Truss bridge. Creative license is a wonderful thing! By adding this bridge to my scene I’ll gain two key elements. First, I get to add some height to a portion of the layout. Given that this is a river / coastal Florida scene I didn’t think I’d get away with this, but the prototype bridge is over a river that feeds in to Tampa Bay. That’s definitely coastal!
The second benefit is the bridge helps establish a scenery-only zone. This is a great concept from Lance Mindheim that says a scenery-only zone makes a layout look larger as well making the layout look more attractive visually. Even though this bridge is a man-made structure and not technically scenery I suppose, the fact that it’s now an unused and overgrown bridge makes it so. Another cool aspect of this abandoned bridge is that it will add some age and history to the scene.
Category: Z Scale Basics