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Building Your Own Large Model Train Bridge

Aug 2, 2008
A beautiful feature of many well planned model train displays is a large bridge. They can look very involved and complex. The truth is that they are easily built and just require a bit of planning. Before you can build any part of it however you will need to design the bridge you wish to build. You can start by examining existing bridges to get a good idea of how they are designed and start coming up with designs of your own. You can find these examples on the Internet, library books, or even by taking pictures of bridges near your home.

Once you have decided on the general shape that your bridge will take you will have to base your necessary materials on that. One thing to note is that unless you are making a suspension bridge (which are usually unsuitable for trains due to their habit of swaying) then you will most likely be creating some sort of bridge that makes heavy use of trusses. Trusses are used to cross gaps between other supports and gives the overall structure much more support.

After you know whether you are building a trussed or a suspension bridge you can begin to gather your materials. While true bridges are most commonly constructed from steel this just would not be practical for building models and as such is not a viable option. You can, however, choose to use wood or plastic to make your bridge. You can even make it out of brass if you choose to spend a bit extra.

If you do choose to build it out of plastic or polystyrene as it is properly called then you can choose a number of prebuilt structures that are available for hobbyists both online and in model railroading magazines. Once you decide what material you will use you should also consider building a jig to ease the assembly process. A jig is used to hold parts in a particular pattern when you are repeating that pattern over and over. As trusses definitely fit this description a jig will come in very handy.

Once you begin building you will notice just how rapidly it can go. You will quickly get your pattern down and be able to reproduce several pieces of your bridge in a relatively short amount of time. Make certain as you go that your bridge does not "outgrow" the spot it is to be occupying. Once you have it fully assembled you will be in the home stretch. Your next step will be to remove any bits of stray material or splinters. Trim and sand it down a bit but make sure that you do not remove too much material.

You can then paint your new bridge. Get creative and add some weathering effects to it so that it appears older than it is. You might also consider adding a road or a body of water under your bridge to make it seem more in place. You can also add LED lights to it for even more effect. It is all up to your imagination.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for model cars, model trains, and model trucks. You will find excellent hobbying and trading resources here for model car tricks and tips, model train bridges, and model trucks.
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