Glyn’s railroad bridge ‘how to’

Glyn has been in touch again and left me speechless. It’s not hard to see why. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. All images are clickable by the way.

“Hi Al – I’ve been traveling a lot lately but was awaiting the arrival of my Faller kit of the Bietschtal bridge to complete the double main line addition to the back of my layout.

The tracks crossed my river-waterfall feature at a higher level and I needed  the 43″ span of this bridge to make the project work. It finally arrived and I spent most of last weekend building this highly detailed kit 43″ long and 15” high.

I also needed to re-route my logging road through a side tunnel alongside the ravine so, inspired by John’s amazing use of your stone wall printout, embarked on a scratch built tunnel portal replete with curved stone abutment at the entrance to add some character. That printout is amazing and probably the best piece of modeling landscape material I’ve ever purchased – truly incredible what you can do with it and a little imagination! So here goes with the project step by step.

The support spans were built first – incredibly tedious as the catwalks have to be constructed within the bridge spans after everything has been assembled, the handrails being the worst part.

railroad bridge 1

railroad birdge 2

The stone arch supports added – these were a strange beige colour and not very realistic so I sprayed them and the bridge with gray acrylic primer then weathered the stone. The centre of the bridge sagged a little without appropriate tensioning of the support stanchions so I built a wooden frame to stabilize everything. Being 43” long this bends easily when lifted!

railroad bridge 3

The bridge’s stone portal were re-inforced with vertical pine struts painted gray. The support spans with their concrete bases were reinforced with transverse pine blockes glued to the horizontal wooden base at a point where they would provide vertical tension on the main bridge deck to prevent sagging as in real life. That worked pretty well and leveled the deck nicely. Then it was time for a trial fit into the river’s ravine. I added some styrofoam between the stone portal arches as a prelude to wrapping with Woodland Scenics shaper sheet for landscaping. \
Then it was time to lower the bridge construct into the ravine for a trial fit.

railroad bridge 4

railroad bridge 5

railroad bridge 6

Back out we came and I started the landscaping by wrapping the vertical supports and styrofoam with Woodland scenics shaper sheet. This stuff is amazing – so easy to use, no mess and it can be moulded and bent into shape and re-worked until you are happy.Then I stapled it firmly to the wooden frame inpreparation for plastering and painting using the leopard spotting technique described by Woodland scenics.

I’d marked where the river flowed underneath and started laying down river boulders and sandbanks. Then I leopard spotted the plastered shaper sheet with yellow ochre, burnt umber and Payne’s grey acrylic wash, let it dry and added clumps of colored lichen for bushes and undergrowth using a glue gun.

railroad bridge 7

Close-up of the weathered base evolving.

railroad bridge 8

The entire bridge on the workbench. Plaster moulded rocks were added and painted, slowly building up the scene and rapids were painted in with acrylic water texture paste and white acrylic paint.Next came another trial fit. This was the empty gap between the track ends:

railroad bridge 9

I needed to make sure the added landscaping did not impede my ability to seat the bridge within the fixed endpoints of the ravine –thankfully it fitted in perfectly.

railroad bridge 10

So now I had the basic bridge construct landscpaed, I needed to add the decking and handrails along the main pedestrian catwalks, out it came again for the handrails to be added.

railroad bridge 11

railroad bridge 12

Next, I lifted the old logging company road and changed its direction to run alingside the newly fashioned ravine edge, together with a quick re-do of the landscaping – playground sand, various woodland scenics turf colours, undergrowth and bushes.

railroad bridge 13

That all worked out well but I needed a scratch-built tunnel portal where the logging road passes through the mountains to my next town, which has yet to materialize on the right hand side of the layout! So I measured and cut out a tunnel portal from a plywood off-cut, coated it with PVA glue.

railroad bridge 14

Then I pasted on the stone wall printout from your website, cut to size and adapted as John described using bits and pieced glued together to make it look confluent,

railroad bridge 15

I bent the excess over the edges of the insides of the tunnel entrance to give the 3-D appearance that John describes.

railroad bridge 16

I needed a little extra support on one side so, for added interest , I added a curved support base as a bulwark and pasted a strip of wallpaper to give the appearance of a curved abutment.

railroad bridge 17

Then I sprinkled on some sand and glued bushes and foliage before gluing it in place and clamping it on. I used another piece of waste plywood covered in paper printout to achieve the interior tunnel wall appearance. So here is a close up of the tunnel entrance.

railroad bridge 18

And here is the final bridge inset showing the overall effect with all the bridges spanning my waterfall /river feature.

railroad bridge 19

Quite a deamnding piece opf medling but well worth the effort and it was tremendous fun getting it all done. Now I have to start building the mountains over the double mainline tracks and set up my backdrop (which should have been done first!).


Well, what can I say? An absolutely stunning ‘how to’ from Glyn, on his stunning layout.

But it gets better, this is just part 1 of Glyn’s narrative – so there’s more to follow next time.

A HUGE thanks to Glyn for taking the time and effort to put this together. I can’t thank him enough.

And if it’s inspired you, the Beginner’s Guide is here.

That’s all this time folks. Please do keep ’em coming.

Best

Al

PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

39 Responses to Glyn’s railroad bridge ‘how to’

  1. NJ Mark says:

    Truly amazing! Cheers! NJ Mark

  2. Raymond Bove says:

    Hi Glyn,
    Congratulations!
    This is not a model bridge, or a model of a bridge, it is a work of art. Admirable! Your patience and skills have duly been rewarded. What a daunting task to undertake.
    Thank you,

    Raymond

  3. Howard Thomas says:

    Super work and lots of patience to complete such a task.

  4. mark Allen says:

    Stunning doesnt cover it. Absolute Beauty. Great craftsmanship.

  5. MEL says:

    Amazing bridgework! You must have an enormous amount of patience and creativity.

  6. Bob says:

    Outstanding bridge work!! Are all the parts home made?

  7. Ray says:

    Amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Derwin Emerson says:

    These are the types of “how to’s” that I enjoy to get my creative juices flowing. I am so impressed with both the ability and creativity of Glyn! I hope to see the completed product at some point as well. I am appreciative of the post, Al.

  9. Palmer Schatell says:

    Dear Al: I enjoy each one of your sessions. I particularly enjoyed Glyns description of how he made a river. To my sorrow when I tried to save it my computer hid it so well I can’t find it. Please show it again. Thank you: Palmer Schatell

  10. truly stunning piece of work. Hats of to Glyn a marvel of model engineering thanks this is really inspirational. Regards
    Steve (UK)

  11. Peter Stok says:

    This man Glyn knows how to make bridges and tunnels. stunning. ,thanks for the mails you send me all the time, greetings from Delft, Holland

  12. Gerell says:

    I keep looking at your work here and thinking how long it would take me to create something like that. Your work is as Raymond said in his comment, “a work of art”. Congratulations for having such talent and thanks a million for sharing it with others. TX Gerell

  13. Gerell says:

    One weekend you say??? Your work is as Raymond commented, “a work of art”. Congratulations for having such talent and thanks a million for sharing it with others. The bridge work is incredible work and inspires me. Al, keep up your sessions They are valuable
    Thanks, Gerell in Texas

  14. SHELDON H. SCHUSLER says:

    Well done for sure !
    I would like to see all posts include the gauge. N, HO ect.
    Sheldon in Arizona

  15. Mike Pettruzzelli says:

    FANTASTIC BIT OF WORK!!!!!!!

  16. Dan Marso says:

    Amazing project, thank you for sharing!

    Danny Marso, D&WRR

  17. Pete Evangel says:

    Simply put, I dont have the vocabulary to describe what I see in these photos. Yes, stunning comes to mind as does phenomenal. But this seem to pale compared to this work of art.

    Pete-Silicon Valley Calif.

  18. Rob Honnor says:

    I would like to see detailed plans and material specs for that bridge (both of them actually) given to a qualified bridge engineer for him/her to carry out the associated calculations, because I would put money on the fact that those calcs would show that the model bridges are absolutely capable of carrying their scale loads with the expected safety margins, whether you did it by eye or by calculation matters not.
    I call it instinctive engineering.
    Apart from that they are exquisite examples of the inordinate skills of a superb modelling artisan.

  19. Keith Willoughby says:

    Hi Glyn,
    Fantastic work!
    I hope mine turns out half as good as yours.
    Keep up the great work.

    Keith

  20. Glyn says:

    Thank you all for the kind comments – it was great fun to build, just tedious with all the fine handrails etc. Someone asked about the gauge – this is all HO, Marklin C-track, digital CS-2 controller. Happy modeling to all! Glyn

  21. Fred says:

    Excellent work Glyn. One thing that would make the scenery better would be to cover your lichen bushes with the appropriate colour of fine turf, coarse turf or underbrush (use watered down white glue and a cheap hair spray to make it stick). The results are much more realistic and would be the ultimate touch for such a fine piece of work.

  22. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Outstanding work,truly beautiful.

  23. Ken Stramel says:

    Great work. It looks hook.

  24. Ian Mc Donald says:

    what a wonderful display of craftsmanship, the presentation of the how to just gets you back to the shed and start something .well done.

  25. Austin Wilson says:

    That is an outstanding work of art, not just a bridge but a truly amazing work of art. Beautifully done. Love it.

  26. Glyn says:

    Thanks for the tip about touching up the lichen bushes – I’ll give it a try – anything to make it more realistic!:) Glyn

  27. Cary says:

    I’m working on an outdoor G scale garden railroad, was not planning on any elaborate bridges but you have inspired me! Time to rethink my plan and do some more digging. Thanks for the post! Cary, Crestwood KY

  28. paul Otway says:

    I love that bridge.

    Paul from Ozzie

  29. Glyn says:

    Well I tried the tip on sprinkling coarse turf etc on the lichen and spraying with hairspray – it worked superbly – only problem is my train room and workshop smells like a hairdressing salon! Thanks again for the great idea. Glyn

  30. Jim Sulkosky says:

    Very nice, great work

  31. James Maitlasnd says:

    Beautiful craftsmanship!

  32. Gary Gissiner says:

    One of the best bridge constructions I’ve seen. Great work.

  33. Anil Majmudar says:

    WOW!!! Absolutely beautiful.
    I am a beginner in this hobby, and I hope I can come half way near in the next
    25 years.

  34. now THAS some terrific modeling work…
    this guy knows how to do it right!!
    keep em runnin fellas
    stjohn in long beach calif

  35. Sandy says:

    Wow I love this bridge It shows the skill of a master modeller and what kind of results you can achieve with lots of patience congrats on the job

  36. Chris Jordan says:

    Hi AL thanx for sending Glyns how to par 1 I am using mine as a duck under and was worried that the main deck would sag and am now going to use a steel hidden within the top deck so Grandkids and mates if they touch it accidentally It will not shatter and I will have to tension the two concrete supports some how maybe with ply pads screwed from under baseboard when is done I will send you the results bit poorly a the moment but its my new to be cellar 00 guage that keeps this 68 year old going kind regards and keep up the good work you and your lad

  37. Mark says:

    Where did you get the bridge?

  38. Kevin McArdle says:

    All I can say is wow, and well done you, please show pictures or video of trains running across the bridges,

  39. Rich B. says:

    Agree with all, is the bridge of all bridges, only one question. The walkways of the arch, drop off with no steps or embankment that I can see? Seems railroad owned property would have complete steps or ladders integral with arched part of structure?

    Have no idea how picture of my Boss Mustang got to your site lol- Rich.

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