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This review appeared in the July-August 1993 issue of "Garden Railways" and was written by  Marc Horovitz

This bridge is based on one previously owned by the Denver & Rio Grande, and currently owned by the Durango & Silverton Railroad at Hermosa Creek, Colorado. Like all of Lone Star's wooden bridges, this one is made to an exceptionally high standard, in mahogany hand-rubbed with marine grade teak oil. All metal parts are either white-metal castings or brass rods and fasteners, and all are blackened. All joinery borders on absolute perfection, and many of the nuts and bolts are set into countersunk holes.

The cast pedestal blocks, against which the cross-timbers bear, are keyed into the top and bottom chords of the bridge to prevent shifting. Deck timbers are spaced to allow the ties on an LGB tie strip to drop between them. Those wishing more accuracy might want to lay stringers across the deck and lay track on that.

Top and bottom chords of the bridge, and end cross braces, appear to be made of multiple thicknesses of wood. In fact, they are made of heavy single pieces that are scored to represent individual timbers. All connections are mechanical, reinforced with glue where appropriate. All brad and screw holes have been filled with matching filler and sanded smooth. These are nearly unnoticeable. The bridge measures 36" long x 9.15" wide x 7.75" high. In 1:20 scale this works out to 61' long x 15.5' wide x 13' high.

This review appeared in the March/April 1995 issue of "Steam in the Garden" and was written by  Ron Brown

Nothing adds interest to a railway, ground level or elevated, like a bridge. And nobody builds bridges like Mark Smith at Lone Star Bridge.

We have reviewed several bridges from Lone Star, and we found them so irresistable that we use them on our own Catatonk Log & Lumber Company. Sometimes I think that's why Mark sends us so many bridges to review, because he knows we'll send him back a check instead of returning the bridge!

At steam-ups held here at Paradise East and everywhere we go where there are bridges installed on the railway you can easily tell where the bridges are without even looking for them. Just look for the places where the folks with 35mm cameras and video cameras are bunched up looking for a photo opportunity.

The Hermosa Creek Pony Truss bridge is based on a bridge currently owned by the Durango & Silverton RR at Hermosa, Colorado and previously owned by the D&RGW. Like other wood bridges in the Lone Star lineup, this one is made of hand rubbed mahogany with a marine grade teak oil finish. The bridge measures 36" long x 7.75" high x 9.15" wide. Lone Star notes that it is built to 1:20 scale, but it would fit in with any of the popular large scales used outdoors or indoors, for that matter.

Workmanship and fit & finish is furniture quality. Deck timbers are spaced so that LGB sectional track will drop right in. All metal parts (brass and white metal) are chemically blackened, and the bridge comes assembled and ready to install. This bridge, like all the products we've seen from Lone Star, is excellent in every way and would be a great asset to your railway.

This review appeared in the June/July 1993 issue of "Outdoor Railroader" and was written by Russ Reinberg

He did it. The owner of Lone Star Bridge, Mark Smith, finally produced a scale model of a specific prototype. The real Hermosa Creek bridge is on the D&RGW Silverton line (now the Durango & Silverton Railroad), about 15 miles north of Durango,Colorado. Kit versions have appeared in the smaller scales but, until now, no manufacturer has offered a model to hobbyists in the large scales.

Lone Star's model was worth waiting for. It is a very accurate reproduction and, as with all Lone Star products, the quality of workmanship and materials is unsurpassed.

Let's begin with the dimensions: 36 by 9.15 by 7.75 inches. In 1:20 scale, that works out to 61 feet long by 15.5 feet wide and side panels 13 feet tall. Those measurements correspond precisely with those on our plans.

But Mark went a step further. He actually drove to Silverton and climbed around the bridge with a measuring tape! He corrected some inaccurate plan dimensions. Such attention to detail is typical of Mark Smith's approach to business. Now let's look at the variations between the model and the original (they are few and minor): First and most obvious, Lone Star located the deck ties to allow you to drop in a length of LGB or Aristo-Craft  sectional track. The actual tie spacing should be closer. Prototype ties are available upon request. The dimensions of the model's X-bracing are consistent throughout whereas, on the actual bridge, the size of the bracing varied slightly between panels. Mark standardized the size in order to minimize production costs. Without a scale rule the differences are virtually impossible to detect. The model's metal end angle blocks are the same as the rest of the angle blocks even though our plan shows them cut in half. Mark says the plan is wrong the real bridge uses the same castings throughout. The size, number, and the placement of some of the nut/bolt/washer castings vary from the hardware on the actual bridge. Mark knows; it was intentional. He points out his larger NBW's look better, using fewer of them keeps the price down, and changing the placement became necessary when he reduced the number."Artist's license," he says.

The bridge certainly captures the overall appearance and the spirit of its prototype. It seems unlikely any modeler would find much to criticize. Mark built the model mostly of very high grade mahogany with a rich, satin, impregnated, weather resistant finish. He painted the white metal and brass hardware flat black. Only Lone Star's trade-mark, the polished brass star, shows its natural color. The excellent nut/bolt/washer castings are crisp. The other metal parts are of equal quality. Every aspect of the workmanship is top notch. Every corner is square and clean. Each piece mates precisely with every other. The end of each timber exhibits no splintering, rough grain, or fuzz; everything is satin smooth. The finish of the wood surfaces would be appropriate to top quality furniture. Lone Star even putties every nail or pin hole flush with the surface. It is impossible to detect a filling by touch and difficult to find it with the eye. The glue joints are invisible and the bridge is durable. Even the custom foam packaging to protect the model during shipping is a work of art.

This review has become awkward; I have no criticism. As usual, I found the perfection of Lone Star's work thoroughly disgusting. And this time more than the quality and appearance of the model impressed me; it is also a very accurate scale model. Considering the time it takes to research and build such a bridge, let alone one of such obnoxiously outstanding quality, the price seems fair. Few of us could match Mark's precision regardless of how long we worked. If you want a Howe pony truss on your layout or have always lusted after the Hermosa Creek bridge specifically, you should seriously consider Lone Star's model. It is truly excellent.



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