Bridge question?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by trainsteve2435, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. Hello everyone, could someone recomend the most practical type of bridge i could install in the photo below? The benchwork is composed of the following... 1" x 4" frame with 1/2" plywood topped with 1" extruded foam. Im useing open grid type benchwork. I would like to maybe find a curved trestle or a nice curved bridge of some type. Also, could someone recomend the best way to install / create the space needed for the bridge. Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  2. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    What is the track radius on the curve?? 22's
  3. Hello Trucklover, no, there 30" radius.
  4. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Couple more questions for ya,
    1. Do you want a steel bridge or a wood trestle bridge?
    2. What do you want the bridge to cross? (a valley w/ or w/o a river, just a river, a road...)
    3. How long do you want the bridge to be? (long, medium, or short)
  5. Josh, i want a steel bridge and i want it to cross a river or lake. I also want it to be a medium length bridge. Thanks!
  6. jr switch

    jr switch Member


    Hey Trainsteve, how've you been? Trucklover has good questions, but it looks like you can just carve a river or creek in the foam, start inside the circle and wind your way out to and under the track and then try and decide what you want there. I have the 2005 Walthers dealer catalog and they have a great selection of bridges. Try www. and see what they have. Let us know what you decide to do.----John R
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The Surf Line between L.A. and San Diego originally built by the Santa Fe, but now owned by Amtrak has a bunch of very low wooden trestles over marsh land. If you want any sort of high bridge, the only way to get it is to either raise the track or lower the benchwork. Whatever height you want the briodge to be over the benchwork, the track has to be at the same distance from the benchwork. What you can do to lower the bench work is to do what hot rodders have done for years to lower their cars. It is what is called a "Z'd" frame. Essentially you take a 1 x 4, or a 1 x 3 going down from the bench workwhere you want your gorge to start. Make the board long enough to put the top of the new bench work at the bottom of your gorge. Then you fasten a second 1 x 3 or 4 parrallel to the existing benchwork at the end of the board you just bolted to the benchwork. Finally fasten a second 1 x 3 or 4 from the other end of the new lower piece back up to the original bench at the other end of your gorge. Finally, cut out the piece of original framework that is bridging your new gorge.
  8. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    I assume you are willing to cut down into the foam layer of your benchwork, right? Would you want to cut deeper than the foam?

    I also am looking for a curved trestle, and am figuring that I'll just have to scratch build it to get it to fit just right.
  9. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Check out the middle pic in my reply to this post.
    It shows how I'm doing pretty much what you want to do. I'm just cutting into foam whereas you will probably have to cut into your bench work but the principle is the same. I laid all the track and then kitbashed a straignt trestle kit into a curved trestle by cutting the stringers at an angle and angling each of the trestle bents to make them radial to the curve. I then carved out the foam under the track to make it fit.
    Show us some pics as you go along.
  10. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    That's excellent, Doc. That's just about exactly what I need to do. What straight trestle kit did you start with?
  11. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    I used a HO scale Timber Trestle Kit by HELJAN (# 174)
  12. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    That looks like a winner. Given its size and number of parts, I bet I could get two small trestles out of it...
    So, no problem making a curved trestle out of it?
  13. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    It was really easy to do. I laid out a full size arc of the centerline of the track radius (18" in my case) as long as I wanted the trestle. I then drew 1.5" cords along the curve wich represents approximately 10' in HO scale. This will be the trestle bent spacing. I then drew radial lines thru each point where the cord hit the centerline to the center of the 18" radius curve. This gave be the location and angle for each trestle bent. Using these radial lines as a guide, I carefully cut the top stringer plates for the trestle into short segments that, when assembled and glued, followed the 18" radius for the track. Build each trestle bent normally. Turn the stringer plate assembly upside down over the template and glue each of the bents along the radial lines. Then cut and glue the individual horizontal and diagonal cross bracing, keeping in mind that the lengths along the outside of the radius will be a lot longer than the inside. I used CA glue and scribed each individual piece of the plastic "timber" with a fine toothed razor saw to create a grain effect. After glueing I sprayed the whole thing with flat white spray paint and then applied several dozen costs of black india ink wash to weather it.
  14. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Do you think this would be any more tricky to do from scratch than from a kit? I'm thinking along the lines of buying wooden dowels and square and rectangular sections and building from that. Does the kit offer any specific advantages, Doc?
  15. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    The kit offers a few advantages, but nothing that a little patience and hard work can't make up for. The bents come pre-molded in one piece which reduces time and provides consistency. The top stringer plates are also pre-molded which makes it easier. Other than that, adding the horizontal and diagonal cross bracing is just like scratchbuilding.
  16. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    You can also buy ready made trestle bents from several sources. I went through the modification thing on our club layout in order to put a bridge in. Had to cut through the benchwork, rebuild the bench in the area of my creek, re- scenic the whole area and install abutments and a bridge. Its mostly finished now but I'm still waiting for Walthers to make a double bridge track. Seems they made more bridges than track for them. I may end up having to make my own.

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