HO curved bridge

Terry has been in touch with his HO curved bridge – I do enjoy seeing the solutions you lot come up with:

“Al-I couldn’t help but admire the recent pictures from Michael which included a long straight trestle.

For some reason every time I build a HO layout (and I’ve done probably 20 in the past), my aerial crossing tracks always seem to end up on a curve and while I could have modified store bought items and made them fit, I’m not only cheap-I’m am also not a purist and so I decided to make my own and they came out very well.

As all my trestles cover a large distance, I needed something that would bend with the curve, look close to the real thing, and use what I had in my train box. After some thought I came up with the following method.

I use HO cork track bed which comes perforated down the center. By pulling them apart, I found that using one strip of the cork provided me with just enough heights to look realistic and not interfere with long cars overhangs.

HO curve

After splitting the cork I took another piece and cut a ¼ inch strip to serve as the cap for the top.

HO curved bridge

Spraying everything black I glued the ¼ in piece to the top so that it overhung the side panels. This didn’t look to bad but then I realized that there were no braces on the sides of the panels as there are on the real thing.

HO curve  bed

Because I use a lot of flex track cut to fit the track plan, I always seem to end up with a bunch of single ties in the scrapbox.

bridge flexi track cut off

Because the ties have slots at each end to hold the actual rail and I found that by cutting the slot off one end made the brace the correct length to fit the height of the trestle panel.

This left the slot at the other end of the tie open and I decided that if I was going to build a real railroad then it should also contain a pipe to carry wires, etc for railroad signaling etc

HO curved bridge:

HO curved bridge

To my surprise the telephone wire that I use to wire the layout fit exactly into the rail slots on the braces and a simple glue job held them in place. As the wires were already color coded I just used the ones with orange/white colors to make the units stand out.

HO curved bridge

Every layout has a story even– if you have to make it up sometimes. While a close look may show the “pipe” sagging a bit I blame a bunch of pipe layers being on strike and the rest being drunk as the cause. Haha.

Terry/Idaho USA”

Now on to Geoff:

“Ok Al, its been a while since I contacted you.

Firstly I have completely dismantled my UK layout in my garden shed.

That’s a new project when I get back.

I have been in Florida for 3 months now which has given me a chance to work on my American Railroad.

Scenery is a bit scant at present. I am not skilled enough to build a museum quality model railroad, and it doesn’t bother me that everything is not prototypical, but I like playing with trains.

You could even find British trains on my US layout and American trains on my UK layout

The track is Bachmann EZ track, Hornby, Peco and Atlas.

The points (switches) are Atlas with side mount motors plus a couple of Bachmann with under track motors.

The layout is DCC with sound, using a Bachmann EZ Command controller but the switches are conventional DC controlled.

I also have Hornby Railmaster, but you know what, I find the rotary control knob on the EZ Command easier to use

The track bed where it is not Bachmann EZ track is cardboard packaging edged with silicone sealer then painted grey to match the Bachmann .

The ballast has evolved! I am now using fine (black/grey) coloured sand from Dollar Tree. At $1.00 for a 1.1lb bag it is really cheap.

It is stuck down with Aileens Tacky Glue from Wal Mart, painted on with a brush, then the sand sprinkled over the glue.

I bought a bag of 50 assorted (almost) HO scale vehicle from e bay which look quite convincing. The bendy buses came from TESCO. Again they are almost HO scale.

The viaduct is made from old cereal boxes and the backdrop is a photo I found on the internet repeated four times!

The hotel similarly is a photo stuck onto some cardboard. I am leaving the USA on Friday and won’t be back until October so this is where we are at.

Keep up the great work.


A huge thanks to Terry for sharing his HO curved bridge and to Geoff.

Even after all these years, it amazes me what you lot come up with. All clever stuff.

Please do keep ’em coming – and don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to get going on your layout. There’s no time like now…

That’s all this time folks.

Oh, and have a quick look-see at the latest ebay cheat sheet too.



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

19 Responses to HO curved bridge

  1. Tom Lawton says:

    The Railmaster software can be used to drive the Elite, instead of the eLink. This gives you knob control, but you can then add a Select as a remote throttle/cab to allow some operator movement without compromising the wiring round the main controller. If you max the number of Selects, you can have 10 throttles plus the screen, so can (try to) control that many trains without swapping codes for every action.
    I have grandkids, and so can give them a controller and a train to drive, each, whilst I drive something else on the layout.

  2. Brad Cochran says:

    I look forward daily for your posts. It has been over 40yrs. since I had a train set up. I thoroughly enjoyed every hour I spent building it. A lot has changed over the years though. My last set up was N-Guage. My first was HO. Between my two uncles, a grandfather and a cousin, along with my set up in Ho we could have almost had a half mile of track laid end to end. You might say it was in the family blood. My father and uncles along with my two grand fathers worked for the PRR out of Altoona Pa. Anyone traveling through Altoona Pa. needs to stop by the Railroad Museum. Train Buffs will love it.

  3. Fred Pohl says:

    this is a throwback to the 1950’s back to my childhood days

  4. Rod Mackay says:

    Surprisingly nice job on those bridge girders considering the materials, they do have the right sort of look, but I can’t think I’ve ever seen such a thing in reality? You usually form a curved bridge (if you really have to) out of straight girders of varying length between piers set at an angle. Curved girders would be harder to make and presumably create a lot of torque under load, remember bridge structures are normally free at one end so the steel can expand and contract. Aw, still looks cute, though!

  5. Joe Cavilla says:

    Very imaginative and workable ideas. Good job, I like it.

  6. Lynn Taubeneck says:

    So you have a “union” operation in your layout. I hope the engine crews never go on strike. Very nice work and good use of scrap material. I try to save everything I can for future projects.

  7. Perry says:

    We have several overpasses built using curved girders.

  8. Don says:

    Walmart has 12×12 inch 4 packs of 1/4 inch cork for $5.95. It is great for freight yards.

  9. Thomas Murphy says:

    To Geoff and Terry, I found both of your presentations to be quite extraordinary and helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your ability with us.
    Regards, Tom (USA)

  10. Robert Shuman says:

    To Terry and Geoff, As stated by Al ‘thanks for sharing’. It’s novel ideas like yours that I like to steal ….wait wait sorry ‘borrow’. And in turn it makes me think of some new ways of doing things. Thanks again

  11. John Reynolds says:

    Well Played indeed!!!
    I too look for daily posts but only see them on the weekend…
    Usually one Friday and one Saturday with one occasionally showing up on Sunday or Monday… Ass are inspiring!
    Love the cut out scenery too…

  12. Philip says:

    I bought an engine at a train show which worked perfectly there. Got it home and put it on my track and it stutters with sparks coming from the wheels. Any suggestions?

  13. Fred Svoboda says:

    Nice layout!

    By the way, one of the model railroad magazines recently suggested painting otherwise bare ground surfaces with an olive green color. Just cheap interior latex would do. If Terry were to do that the whole layout would seem “finished” with all the other scenery/backdrop stuff he already has done, and he could add detail at leisure.

    This is the voice of experience. When I was a kid I had a Lionel layout on a 5 x 9 foot piece of plywood (side of a packing crate with bracing already installed), and it never looked complete because you always could see the plywood.

  14. don kadunc says:

    An inexpensive way to make both high and curved trestle is to used the Cornerstone Trestle with Deck Girder Bridge (933-3147) I provided photos on a previous post showing the technique I used. After assembly, I used brown primer and weathering with powders and dry brushing. The cheapest rail I used was to remove it from flex-track. If that post is not available,I can send a new post with pictures.

  15. Peter morra says:

    On ballast has anyone tried cat litter it’s almost fine enough for any gauge and I’d needed it can be even made finer . I also made a 3 track trestle bridge on my layout not sure many have seen it on my layout which
    Al posted recently on his site I like making things by hand I will soon get a few pictures to Al on my Mount Rushmore and my ear memorial including the Vietnam wall it’s in HO scale . Peter Morra

  16. Robert Brady says:

    Terry picture # 4 why did you ( S ) turn that area? All non essential ( S ) turns make a train look like a slivering snake. The key is straight track and slow curves in a true RR . Your trestle piers don’t seem to be efficiently spaced nor strong enough to carry the load. I once had a collapse because of that.
    The Critic

  17. Andy Evans says:

    Robert, you may notice that it is quite busy under Terry’s trestle. Sometimes you need to deal with existing situations and structures to place those needed supports. Perhaps you may have seem the Milwalkie Road’s S-curved trestle at Tacoma, Wa? And it was wooden to boot.

  18. Erick says:

    Looks pretty kool.!!!!

  19. Randy Geisick says:

    Terry, If you ever find yourself in the Twin Falls area, visit the Magic Valley Model Railroaders located at the county fairgrounds in Filer.

    Randy Geisick
    Kimberly ID

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