HO scale lift gate bridge

Bob’s been back in touch again with his HO scale lift gate bridge:

Here’s his last post.

This time he’s been busy on his swing bridge:


I have done some more work on my HO scale lift gate bridge for my new layout. I have wired the gate as far as I can until it is in place on the new layout. Attached is the schematic of the wiring.

The switch is on the gate near the hinge as well as the terminal blocks. The track on the gate will be isolated by the cuts on both ends.

The track on the fixed portions of the gate will isolated by the cuts on the gate and the other ends will have insulating rail joiners joining them to the rest of the layout.

The picture shows the entire gate.

HO scale lift gate bridge

HO scale lift gate bridge

The first picture shows the conduit I used for the wires so they won’t bind when the gate opens and closes. The second picture shows the gate in the open position. You can see how the conduit slides in and out of the slot. The On/Off switch controls the power to the three sections of track on the gate.

HO scale lift gate bridge

HO scale lift gate bridge

The Red bus wire goes directly to its terminal block.

The black bus wire goes through the switch before connecting to its terminal block.

There are three sets of feeder wires that are connected to the terminal blocks: one for the fixed track on the hinge side of the gate; one for the track on the swing gate itself; and one that connects to the part of the latch on the gate.

The feeder wires for the fixed track on the end that opens are connected to the other half of the latch. I checked continuity between the bus and all of the feeders and they are solid.

I hope this help other folks who are want to use a HO scale lift bridge instead of a lift-out. I know you can do a swing gate that drops down or one that swings up but I feel my gate will blend in with my new layout.

I haven’t started taking down my existing layout yet because of two things: 1) I installed NCE USB interface n the existing layout and loaded JMRI on a laptop that I rarely use so I have been building my roster and getting use to the JMRI throttle; 2) I received my BLI ES44AC with Rolling Thunder that sounds great but even better it smokes.

I have promised myself I will start tearing down the existing layout this week.

HO scale lift gate bridge

HO scale lift gate bridge

model railroad bridge

And now on to Thomas – these pics made me smile. Fab idea:

“I may have one of the largest collections of G-Scale trucks and cars converted to run on 45 MM in the USA.
I just LOVE converting them !

Best Regards


HO scale truck

HO scale truck

And now on to Cassio (his last post is here).

He’s not a man of many words, but I do love his stuff:

Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

And now on to Hall of Fame member, Brian.

He’s helping with a display in a shopping mall:

“Hi Al, eyes have improved greatly after the operations to both of them.

I have been helping on an ‘n’ scale display layout in a shopping center in our town.

The photos below show how I built the waterfall. (Please note – a change of scale for me. Only temporary)

It had to be made to fit in the center of this layout. The lines seen here are where the module joins are and once permanently on display, will be sceniced to hide them. I used marine silicone sealer on a piece of glass made to the right width and length for the waterfall.

model train waterfall

Two lengths were joined in the middle to get the height required. (800mm)

model train waterfall

Here, Woodland Scenics water affects was used to get more flowing water and shape.

woodland scenics water

Cushion stuffing was used to create water crashing over a rocky outcrop and was glued in place with the WS water effects.

cushion stuffing for water spray

Again cushion stuffing was used at the bottom of the waterfall to creat churning water hitting the pool below. (Still to be poured with Woodland Scenics realistic water)

woodland scenics

The cushion stuffing was then teased into shape (in my opinion) and the water from top to bottom was dry brushed with a very light blue to reflect the sky. A final layer of WS water effects was put on to give it that glossy look. (Not on the cushion stuffing)

model train waterfall

This is the ‘n’ scale display layout almost complete before moving it to the display area in the shopping center. It is 7.3 meters wide by 2.3 meters deep at its widest point. It is of modular design to enable it to be moved into it new home.

It is run by DCC Digitrax with three controllers and is of continental prototype running steam locomotives.

This will be its final position as a working display. A total of 8 people including a 16 year old female art student who built over 500 trees for the layout which began in June.

Note:- it was not built here because of space problems. It was built upstairs in an empty shop.

Many thanks

Brian Knysna RSA”

A huge thanks to Bob for sharing his HO scale lift bridge, and to Thom, Cassio and Brian.

Really enjoyed putting this post together, it’s wonderful to see the updates, and to flick back to thier last post.

Hope you’ve enjoyed it too.

And for all those who want to take the plunge and get going, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



8 Responses to HO scale lift gate bridge

  1. Dwight in Toronto says:

    Brian … nice job on the waterfall. Just curious:
    – where is this layout located (ie – city/town, name of shopping mall, where will it be placed in the mall)?
    – why did a retail mall contract for a model railroad (ie – relevance)?
    – who paid for the construction?
    – who will have the enjoyment of operating the layout, and how frequently?
    – who will service and maintain everything, and who will pay for upkeep?
    The project sounds wonderful, and could well be a stellar way to spark the imagination of prospective new hobbyists, both young and old. But with respect to location and application, it seems a bit unusual, no?

  2. skip mufalli says:

    i enjoy looking now – my family asked me to sell all my Lionel trains – i filled a 6 by 12 trailer and took them to the auction house – ambrosebehar

  3. Tony Kitty Hawk, NC says:


    Ditto all of Dwight’s questions. This seems like a great project that could be replicated anywhere. Would love to hear all the details. Waterfall- WOW!

  4. Bob — Very well thought out design of the Swing-Gate/Bridge. Eager to see the final project and the ongoing progress on the layout.

    Brian — Beautiful showcase modular layout. Great job overall but the stellar work on the landscaping sells the project. Love the creative use of “cushion stuffing” for the wafting water clouds. And as others have mentioned, ditto on the need for more info on how this project came about and where it’s being displayed.

    Arnie Steiner, Staten Island, NY

  5. Phyllis Phillips-Clower says:

    Such a wonderful idea! I am still gathering my “town” , and I need to figure out where I want to set up my RR, but I never thought of a waterfall before! So COOL!

  6. Bob Rolfe says:

    The swing bridge, I think we all would like to see the finished bridge. I have DC and maybe I have missed something, I do not understand the need for the switch to turn off power, if the bridge is open, well I do not understand why you would need to cut power to it, as if open the (whatever on the track) would fall to the floor no matter if the bridge had power or not.
    Like I said, I may have missed something.

  7. Bob Filipiak says:

    Cutting power preventsca a running train from entering when the gate is open. The gate and about a foot on either side is a block and is isolated from the rest of the layout. With the power off, a moving locomotive will stop if it enters the fixed approach track on either end of the gate. Hope that helps.

  8. great waterfall

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