Mystery railroad girder bridge

“Hello Al

Love your site – so much useful stuff – and so friendly. It’s a fabulous thing you do for us all and I’m sure your hard work is well appreciated.

I’m sending you a bit of stupidity. I like a few visual jokes on my layout and I’ve just constructed this unusual girder bridge. Cost me nothing at all – just a coat of paint. Got to add some detail, re-paint, weather it and give it rust – but it looks surprisingly good in situ. In theory you could build a three metre bridge for no cost – but you’d have to shave five times a day.

Used superglue – poly-cement doesn’t like the chilled food packaging – which incidentally I use for hundreds of things – free plastic sheeting – strong and flexible – and the clear variety is great for glazing which I’m sure everyone has discovered.

Think I’ve cut the cross-members too thick so I’ll whip them off and create a more intricate design. I know there are much cleverer folks than me out there so it would be interesting to see what they can come up with using these things. They’re much too interesting to waste – and everything made of plastic goes in my box!

Thanks again, Al – for all you do.

Best wishes.


How about that?

Just brilliant. Utterly brilliant. A huge thank you to Roger.

Tips like these save a fortune. And with the money you do save, get more out of it with the latest ‘ebay cheat sheet’. You’ll save even more!

Don’t forget this cheap scenery too.

Keep the tips rolling in.



PS Looking for the Beginner’s Guide? It’s here.

66 Responses to Mystery railroad girder bridge

  1. Totally ingenious. I love it. It’s a shame I don’t use disposeable razors.

  2. Absolutely FANTASTIC, shared with a colleague who was equally impressed.

  3. OK for the first time, this O-guager is jeolous of N-guage. Won’t someone please supersize some razors?

  4. just a great tip very basic easy to construct and a talking point when discussing bridges keep sending them in i really enjoy getting them there alot beeter then work emails thanks again.

  5. How very imaginative! Who would have thought something so simple could provide this? Well done.

  6. Looks very Sharp and on the razers edge of technology
    but you are only scraping the surface with this type of idea.
    hope my comments do not cut too deeply.

  7. It is a brilliant idea, a great way of saving money.

    Re useing your old razers etc. is also helping the enviroment.

    Keep these great ideas coming.



  8. I agree, just brilliant and innovative for sure.

  9. Hi: I agree, just brilliant and innovative for sure. Thanks for the lesson on finding useful purposes for every day material that you normallydiscard.

  10. What a wonderful, wonderful green project. Just think of the millions of these razors that go to our landfill sites each day. This is a man that thinks outside the box for sure.

  11. Al thats a brilliant use of used material just wish my eye could spot this sort of thing. make note to myself to shave every day

  12. Wow !! What a fantastic idea!!

  13. Brilliant

  14. Absolutely ingenious. Must now stop my good lady from throwing away my ‘used’ razors

  15. I’m assuming that the engine was N gauge, so with a little more imagination you could do this for OO gauge. Fantastic idea I will be trying this one out for sure, thanks Keith

  16. Super Roger…hey guys when you find you look at every piece of wood scraps, or any scraps, or and product in a store, and you immediately think “modelling” man, you got the bug. Just use that imagination you have. This by the way greatly reduces the cost of modeling, but is more fun, cause you did it all….way to go Roger.

  17. The world is a better place to live in.Less shaving ,less face cuts more railroad bridges. Workss for me Next stop the United Nations.

  18. Absolutely FANTASTIC. Wonderful. Brilliant idea. Congratulations
    Joao carlos Lima
    Architect – Bebedouro-Sp – Brazil

  19. Good cheap idea`s are the best , think I shall have to throw my electric

  20. Looks very good – will show my miniaturist ladies at next meeting but does it mean my husband has to start shaving off his beard?

  21. that is very nice girder bridge absolutely fanastic fun to build i am sure .i model n-scale. i am going to save plan and constuct one when enough razors are available. puts a smile on the face. thk u crt

  22. Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Can I try with an electric rasor? With, imagination, it can be adapter for bigger gauge. (not the electric) Love it.

  24. Great idea, but unrealistic. It looks great on the layout, but in real life, it wouldn’t stand!

  25. Time to hit up a “Super 99 cent store”, I don’t use throw away razors. But for 99 cent I can buy a whole bag of them. Thats what this bridge would cost me. You can’t beat that for a bridge!!!

  26. After 35 years of not shaving, I suppose this beard will now have to go.

  27. Brill how to …( may have to use this..)

  28. I echo Mr. Baker…..everything looks different to me now that I’m getting involved in model trains.

    The real hoot will be when one of us picks up a magazine in the future, something like “Architectural World”, and see an award winning railroad bridge exactly like that but full size and winning a prize.

    Keep ’em coming, Perfessor!





  30. Ingenious, any ideas for N Guage?

  31. Super Idea, Recycling and Model Railroading, Who would of known? Well anyone who has thought about their “extra-stuff” and used it for the hobby can also go Green, “Save Our Planet” and “Boost Model Railroading” Kodos Al !!!

  32. Thanks for your kind comments, fellas. Meant a lot.

    Keith and Markus – this is OO (not N gauge) – perfect for the scale but it’s best to dry-test an arch of joined girders with a piece of track and a coach to ensure sufficient clearance either side of them. This determines the length of the joining section at the top of the girders – in my case a little piece of dowel I had knocking about.

    These razors come in all sorts of designs. I was lucky – mine had moulded hollows all the way down the shaft which could be plugged with the dowel – but they can all be adapted.

    Love to see what others come up with. I’ve got lots more freeby, superscrimping designs I can send if Al is happy to pass them on.

    Many thanks again. Roger.

  33. great modelling

  34. What an example of insight and ability that you must be blessed with, please keep it comming for all of us.

  35. WOW Factor 100% . This is why my Fiancée asks me if i want some things before they hit the trash bin. Congrats on this . Bridge.

  36. Well now I can find a different use for my used up razor. What a clever idea. Simple, diffently affordable ( no cost ) and a nice addition for any model railroad.

    Nice job.

  37. Awesome job, my first thought was as someone else said I don’t use disposable razors” Then I realized the wife and daughter seem to go through a tone of them. They may be pink but they will paint up well!


  39. Roger,
    RichD’s comment is, at first blush, quite correct. That is, in full life-size (scale 1:1) this design would fail. However that doesn’t mean the concept is wrong, just the sizing of the elements. It is a challenge and I will have to put my mind to it, starting with a static analysis of the vectored moments of the theoretical live loads assuming a structural steel based approach.
    Of course industry will in due course be able to utilise composite materials (i.e. carbon fiber etc) which would considerably reduce the dead weight loads of this type of design. I look forward to lively debate. Keep up your ingenuity Roger,
    Dr Bruce

  40. I’ve modeled HO and N and do a lot of scratch building. I’m open to ideas as interiors for N are few and far between and expensive. I’ve made cafe tables and booths out of wood, I use straws for outdoor drain pipes, just paint them silver and make patios out of flat small rocks picked up in sand piles, I use rocks out of driveways for boulders on layouts, just paint them how you want them, more realistic than plaster and I’d like to hear other ideas from other people and things they have used. I’d have never thought of using these razors. The trinket isles at craft stores have contributed many things to my layouts, notably trash cans at homes or parks, get a dozen for 99 cents and a little paint makes them perfect trashcans. Beads can become flowerpots in all sizes, popsicle sticks were a must on HO layouts, can do many things with them, plank bridges one of my favorites, even fences, in N, 1/16 and 1/4 balsa strips (square) can make furniture, counters for stores, and outdoor BBQ pits are simple and look realistic with thin copper wire or cloth mesh for grills. Bottle caps make good stock watering tanks painted “concrete”, windmills out of matches and soda straws, for farms. I’m always looking for good ideas and many “accessories” aren’t available in N scale, they have to be made.

  41. Great piece of work. The design is brilliant, and what it is made of make you wonder what else you could do with other things lying around the house. Good job, keep this up and I might get a few good ideas of my own.

  42. To think of all the disposable razors looking exactly like those in the picture that I have thrown away over the years. I am turning 66 in June 2012 and I use one such razor for about a month before throwing it away, since I shave about twice a week. However, I will now shave daily so that I can get enough razors to build bridges and stuff with.

    I will also look at everything I see with a different eye, namely: ” How can I use that on my layout ?” May be a few things, such as Live Elephants or aircraft carriers, will be excluded from my gaze, but anything of appropriate size and which I can get for free will be fair game.

  43. What a great idea,fantastic.

  44. Execellent design I will adapt and use this great idea…

  45. This is good enough to use as a model for a real one!

  46. Roger, your brilliant and innovative idea is what makes our hobby such a fun and relaxing way of life. I am sure glad all our train friends share their ideas with others. Keep up the great ideas.

  47. Wonderful and nice bridge. He turned useless thrown away things into invaluable assets. Thanks AL for your site

  48. How big and long are the wooden pegs you used between the razor’s. I use these razor’s since I shave my head since I don’t have much hair. Go through about 10-12 a month.

  49. That is realy great !!!!

  50. I love simple ideas and never think of them! That’s amazing!

  51. Could this be scaled up to “S” gauage?

  52. A great way of shaving some of the cost of model railroading!

  53. Quite inventive, I like it

  54. sharp!

  55. Bic is now experiencing a surge in razor sales.

    and WOW comes to mind also

  57. Looks great. Love the novelty factor. Trusses have a top chord.

  58. I plan on doing this and letting my family think i am ingenious! Who would have thought!

  59. Great use of trash-to-treasure thinking! I collected VHS tape cassettes as people switched to DVD. Used the screws to hold down my S-gauge track, used the wheels to store wire from old Christmas light strings until I used on the layout, used the metal pins and plastic clips to build rotating parts. Saved audio cassette tapes to use the tiny screw to mount lights, used the metal plate to repair worn motor casings,used the wheels to create gears for moving parts on log loaders, etc. Hanging file folders have steel bars that can be used to build bridges, steel frames for buildings under construction, etc. The possibilities are endless! And people love to donate as much as you can handle if they know their junk is being used! Keep thinking outside the box!

  60. I wish I could think outside the box! Brilliant!

  61. Great use of things we never think about when we throw them away, I do not use that type of razor, however many do. Only thing that might look better would be to cut off the razor head, don’t know for sure, just saying.

  62. What is the cheap scenery printed on do I have to print it out. Myself

  63. Hello & Good Morning,
    Excellent use of disposable razor after use. It contributes to maintain ecological balance as well. Very good idea for the manufacturers, who can adopt this craft for their campaign as well. All in one. No more USE & THROUGH! Now it’s – USE & REUSE !!!

  64. What a great idea. Like we all say, don’t throw any thing away. Thanks again.

  65. This is an excellent idea. Now, if I can get my wife to stop shaving her legs for a few months, I can make one of these as well. Then again, do I really need another bridge with a wife having go-rilla legs? I think I’ll let her shave 🙂

  66. The person who commented that trusses have a top chord is correct. This clever bridge needs a longitudinal member running the full length on top. Easy to add.

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