model buildings

 

 

Construct Beam Bridges
On Your Scale Model Railroad Layout

beam bridges

 

Railroads love cheap and easy. The number of beam bridges on prototypical railroads is proof of that concept. Every railroad that has to span a few tens of feet of open space has them, and they have been around almost as long as railroads have existed.

A beam bridge is just what its name implies. Several large weight bearing beams span the gap, and cross members join the beams together and support the track. Beam bridges come in all lengths from a single span over a street or road to multiple spans with concrete or steel piers supporting the beams across hundreds of feet.

Kitset Bridges

There are many model companies (Walthers, Atlas, Bachmann) that offer beam bridge kits. They can be easily assembled in an hour or two, and a short span is relatively easy to include in a train layout. Preparation for the bridge usually involves the removal of a short section of train track and scenery at some point that makes sense on your layout. If you haven’t included the physical feature like a creek or ditch to span, you should also plan to do that work at the same time you do the track removal. You needn’t finish all the scenery around the bridge right away, but completing the parts that would be hard to do with the bridge in place is certainly the way to go. Once your terrain work is finished, you can place the bridge and reinstall the track. Add guard rails and complete the scenery work around the bridge to finish off the project.

Scratch Building Bridges

Building a beam bridge from scratch is also an option, and an ideal way to break into the whole scratch building world. Model-size stripwood is available from a number of sources, and if you are modeling a late 19th century scene, a wooden beam bridge will be the only choice. Wood is easy to work with and will take practically any stain or weathering you care to put on it. Wood will need weathering to appear realistic, so a photo trip might be in order. You might not have a wooden trestle or bridge nearby, however the ubiquitous wooden telephone or power line pole will have use the same kind of preservatives and will have a similar appearance to wooden railroad structures.


Wooden beam bridges are built much like trestles, but usually only have one bent on each end of the span. If you are planning to build a wooden beam bridge from scratch, or think you might be interested in adding a trestle at some point, a jig will help immensely in constructing a set of bents.


Steel beam bridges came into wide use in the early part of the 20th century and continue to be built and put into service today. Modeling a modern beam bridge is easy, as there is a wide variety of scale sized plastic shapes for modeling available from companies like Evergreen, Plastruct and Knightwing. Search the internet or the hobby shop where you buy model train supplies for ideas.

As common as beam bridges are nowadays, it should be easy to find one locally to photograph for construction details. There are hundreds of modern and historical pictures of prototypical railroad beam bridges on the Internet as well, so making a plan or template for one should be straightforward.

 

 

Buildings & Structures

Series 1     Series 2

model railroad engine shed

Engine Shed

model shop

Model Shop

bus shelter model

Bus Shelter Model

grain barn silo model

Barn Grain Silo Model

Restaurant model building

Restaurant Model Building

Factory Model Building

Factory Model Building

model railway depot

Model Railroad Depot

 

 

 BIG BUNDLE >>> PACK #1                    BIG BUNDLE >>> PACK #2

 

Stratch built model railroad buildings and fun and easy to make from paper, cardboard, or foam board. Many model railway building kits come in plastic (they are expensive and still need painting and weathering after assembly), or you can buy model railroad buildings as printable downloads. When constructed from card (or foam board) they are extremely sturdy and durable. They don't need painting or weathering because that's already done (to a high standard) for you. Construction is fun and they are a fraction of what they would cost if they were made from plastic kits.

 

low relief buildings

Low Relief Structures - Pack B
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