How to make model bridges for HO train layout

John’s been in touch again with how to make model bridges for HO train layout.

His first post is on the bottom half of this one if you want to get up to speed.


Thanks for running the first part of my “bridge module.”

Seeing one’s work is an encouragement to do more.

I made time to put in another few days on the next 2 bridges, and finished painting/weathering the rest of the module’s rock cliffs and concrete features of the bridge piers.

I also put the ever-present rust on the first bridge.

I thought some folks might be interested in how the bridges are being constructed, so I have left the thin plywood “dummy track” pieces in the photos, and show how sections are temporarily wired in place.

As I set the heights of the various tracks, I ran into problems with where the bridge tower legs would land (can’t be in the water!) I had to design bridge sections long enough to get across the river.

Fitting all of them together required the plywood tracks to hold each in place until they are glued together and painted silver.

By the way, many USA railroad bridges on the east coast are black, but many out west are silver, and I think they show rust and weathering better than black.

I had the concrete piers and walls kind of gray, but when I checked my photos, I see that most concrete around railroads is a lot darker than new concrete, and the rust from rails and wheels add some reddish-iron-oxide into the mix.

I’m looking forward to doing the scenery, trees and bushes, dirt and all the vines that are always climbing up the bridge supports around here.

I also sent in the general track plan for the layout, general because I’ll be building the mountains first, and the tracks may have to be modified to fit the terrain.

My staging tracks will be housed under the mountains to the left of the drawing, accessed from another door into the room.

I’m hoping to have a mini-camera system to see what’s going on under there.

I’m also painting the backdrop in my mind (I’m sure it looks better there than what will be on the module, but one can wish!)



How to make model bridges for ho train layout

How to make model bridges for HO train layout:

How to make model bridges for ho train layout

How to make model bridges for ho train layout

HO scale model railroad

A huge thanks to John for sharing his ‘How to make model bridges for HO train layout’ post – you all know how I like an update.

Can’t wait to see the next one.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

30 Responses to How to make model bridges for HO train layout

  1. Rod Mackay says:

    Excellent track plan, plenty of operating interest, realistic and not too crowded, I really like that.

  2. Robert Brady says:

    Beautiful realism ! Could you come over and build me some rock formations and realistic looking bridges ? When you get time you see… Lol ,Great job !

  3. NJ Mark says:

    I envy those folks who envision their layouts in 3-D and then construct them. Extremely wonderfully done. Cheers! NJ Mark

  4. Bill Holt says:

    Fantastic !!!!

  5. Jim Maitland says:

    WOW! You can come real bridges in the US.

  6. Robert Matteson says:

    Very nice, great detail.

  7. Bob Bouskill says:

    Looks like it is a great scene to hang around and watch trains

  8. Svet says:

    It`s cracking ,thank you

  9. Jan Boen says:

    Great stuff!

    Watch out though that you don’t create a reversing loop at the turning disk.
    All will depend on how things are wired up.
    You have a real reversing loop situation at the purple Y-junction on the top right part of your lay-out.



  10. mauurice says:

    I am now thinking along the lines of adding a bridge to my layout You have certainly inspired me to get cracking.
    Great job. Thanks for sharing.


  11. Joseph Arcuni says:

    Always had train sets as a kid… Then went to school, got married, had kids, worked two jobs and never got into it again… Finally I retired at 70, have grandkids and now starting again..

    I really appreciate the ideas you give all. Some really impressive layouts.

    I’m starting out with a 4×8 board and working on layouts…..

    Thank you Al


  12. Ian Mc Donald says:

    unreal great bridges thanks for sharing

  13. Louie says:

    Thanks for the 15′. I don’t like to guess the layout size. Great job.

  14. Mark says:

    Great Job

  15. Joe Petrozelli says:

    The right portion of these bridges are OK, but, sorry the left halves are definitely not right. I am a retired structural engineer with 35 years of experience.

  16. Ron Logston says:

    It’s hard for people to realize the talent and time it takes to make a beautiful layout Luke this. Hats off to you!

  17. Michael Glass says:

    You’re bridge is AWESOME.

  18. Greg Schaefer says:

    So Joe, if the left side is not right, can you share what you think the problem is? Is it just an appearance issue or is there something technically wrong? Now is the time that John can make changes, before he lays track. And Model Railroader use to run a column called “There’s a prototype for everything”. Maybe that’s the case here.

  19. Alabama Mike says:

    John, you do beautiful work with scenery and bridges. I also like your track lsyout.

  20. Gary M from Long Island says:

    John…….that bridge is excellent……… detail is fab…. I have saved a copy of your two post with all the pictures. I plan to build the same type bridge and will use your bridge and ideas
    as the model. Great work

  21. Larry Arendas says:

    Would like to know where I can get O gauge lattice structural members? Those shown are obviously HO gauge.

  22. Old Taz says:

    You do beautiful work you must you must have a engineer’s license. Well done. That must be a very large layout. For me to work on that project I would have to take some altitude pills. I love the layout that has more than one level.

  23. Those bridges are fantastic.

  24. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Great looking Bridge work!!!

  25. Erick says:

    Wow that’s pretty kool.

  26. Allan J Jelinek says:

    WOW !!! What an artist.

  27. TIM KUSTUDICH says:

    Very interesting the way you have all the different bridges. Bet it wasn’t easy.
    Looks good.

  28. Brian Olson says:

    While I doubt I’ll ever take on this type of project, I sure admire those who do. Thankfully it’s not over troubled waters!

  29. Andrew Aves says:

    Superb modelling John. As Jan Boen says in their comment above, you have a reversing loop. This is not a problem and it adds extra operating opportunities but will require careful wiring.
    Andrew in Oz

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