Model railroad vertical lift bridge

Will’s been in touch. He’s shared pics of his layout and his impressive scratch built model railroad vertical lift bridge.

“This layout is gona be quite huge when complete,size is 15 x 33 feet with 2 islands.

I will include you a photo of my river span all kitbashed and scratch built. My very 1st attempt at a river span its 8 feet long.

I’m still laying track gona be doing that for long while LOL.

I took a break from it but plan on getting back to it soon. this is a walk around layout built in my house.most of my friends freak out when they come over and see it for 1st time at just the size of it. Plan is to also have 2nd level just for passenger trains.

And to give you more info its freelance and I’m incorporating some actual settings from my area.

The river scene is the Tennessee river in north Alabama with that scratch built model railroad vertical lift bridge that csx and northfork and southern use daily.

The layout will have 2 main lines,few yards, and long sidings to park long consist all analog dc for now because that’s what i have.

May go dcc later on because I have about 20 dcc locos out of the 80 I have now.

There will be plenty of rolling stock to fill the yards and run long trains last count I had about 450 peaces.been working on this layout for about a year buying inventory up for it about 3 years.


(images are clickable)

Model railroad vertical lift bridge

model railroad laying track for bridge

model railroad laying track for bridge

Model railroad vertical lift bridge

Model railroad vertical lift bridge

Will’s model railroad vertical lift bridge looks spot on – can’t wait to see more of this layout!


Here are some more photos of the MIDLAND GREAT CENTRAL JOINT RAILWAY.

I ballasted the the goods yard area with sand and grit from a building site.

I also used faller scatter material to make some track weed grown.

I used Pva glue mixed with water and detergent.

A word of warning don’t put any glue near the moving parts of a point it will gum up the point, but if you do hot water melts the glue, and the point will work again.


model railway

model railway

model railway

“Hi Al.

You have these sort of things in the UK.We have taken them and are using them on abandoned and working rail tracks in large groups. Sort of tour around. In the old days the track inspector’s used them to check out the track.But now they have modified pickup trucks and are bigger.

I been in a group who restored them to use on old tracks.Great fun and really boot along.they are called speedster’s.


speedster 450 train

“Hi Al,

Further to the various posts about wagon loads, for what it is worth, here is my method:-

First I lay clingfilm over the wagon and push it down into the corners. I then squeeze in a thick layer of ‘No More Nails’ until the wagon is about half full. Next I pour in the load. usually some scenic coal, or track ballast and tamp it down just a little. At this stage I cut off the surplus clingfilm level with the top of the truck so that it will not be seen. I then top up the load to the brim of the wagon and sculpt it how I want it to look. Finally I spray with hair spray which seals it all in place. You need to start the spray away from the model so that the load does not get blown away by the initial burst of air. I make the load quite wet with the spray, but it dries clear. I have been using this method for a while and so far no problems. The trucks do not spill their loads in the event of a derailment. The purpose of the clingfilm is to allow you to remove the load without marking the wagon. I have had no need to do this so far, but assume it will work.

Best regards,


“Interesting stuff. In case it might appeal….I’m an Englishman living in New York…building my second ‘N’ scale layout with the help of my stepdaughter who is now 32 yrs… the first one we made was in California when she was 11 yrs.

The whole point of this one is to use as little as possible things from the model shop (which are lousy in NYC anyway) and also to make it as individual and asymetric as possible…. it’s going to be a sculpture/diarama of New Mexico that happens to have trains.

My rolling stock is nearly all pre-owned (second-hand things) that we bought as ‘broken’ and rebulit/painted whatever…the baseboard is an open 3’x3’x3′ cube that the scultor downstairs in my factory/loft used to put sculptures on, covered with teo sheets of plywood from the dumpster….the furniture factory on my ground floor supplies foam that I grind up for foliage etc and we collect coffee/tea for ground cover/ballast etc.

We break ALL the rules..train liveries are all my designs, passenger cars all lit with their own LED/batteries inside…I have a flair for rebuilding locomotives, old pre-war American ones are particularly tricky in steam (the first trick is to put current pick-ups in the stupid 8 wheel,2 truck tenders so that the short wheelbase 6 driving wheels don’t stall on the turnouts (points) …the list goes on…just thought it might be of interest..specially ” What Not To Do’ written in a funny, entertaining way.

My loft overlooks the Harlem River by the Park Ave lift bridge which carries ALL the trains out of Grand Central (sadly now only boring details) and there is a freight line IN THE RIVER on piles which takes the CSX garbage trains from New York to Virginia twice a a day so I am not lost for references.

Here’s a few pix of how we have progressed since December


model railroad laying track

model train track plan

model railroad laying track

model railroad lift riser

model railroad bridge

model railroad lift riser

bridge lift riser mountains

model railroad vertical cliff

model railroad bridge lift incline


model train diesel locomotive by vertical cliff

start of model railroad



A big thanks to Will for sharing his model railroad vertical lift bridge, and to Michael, John, Kim and Paul.

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.

34 Responses to Model railroad vertical lift bridge

  1. Nice job you have done there Will

  2. Ralph Berry says:

    That is one huge layout Will, I like the size of trains that can be run, that river crossing is a marvelous central feature.

  3. Ralph Berry says:

    That looks very rustic Paul. The tip about the glue is very timely as I am about to do some ballasting this weekend.

  4. Don Ripper says:

    Hey Will, just love your river – the water is perfect. More info please?


  5. will says:

    Thanks guys,it has been more of a project than I thought.LOL!!

  6. Great looking layout.


  7. Bill Stevens says:

    An exceptional presentation. I can only imagine the finish product. Excellent work.

  8. Rob says:

    All, your layout looks lily will be a stunner.

  9. Jim says:

    Great water effect. Please elaborate on method used.

  10. Skip (Greywoulf) says:

    Nicely realistic appearing moving boats in water. -Something not easily accomplished nor often seen done as well as this! -I would hesitate to sit in the office chair by the water’s edge, for fear that the river might spill over into my lap! ;>})


  11. Rog says:

    Nice work.. Water has great effect & lotsa work on the Bridges.. Thanks
    for the tip on “Glue”.. Keep Railin’ Fun & have the same with your weekend-

  12. Jim in NC says:

    Super-looking layout! Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  13. paul Otway says:

    About the loco in the photos I sent, it is a Hornby railroad Jinty of the S&DJR.

  14. Tom says:

    Great Looks! Great work! Keep up both!


  15. THOMAS says:


  16. Wow, I wish I had that sort of space, I like what you’ve done with the scratch built bridges, you’d never know it was your first go at this type of build as it looks like a manurfactured kit, only much better. Can’t wait to see the completed layout, in time. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!!!

    Stemar, (Downunder.)

  17. Ian says:

    great layout nice and big. great looking bridges. will enjoy the next round of photos.

  18. will says:

    Jim I mixed and used acrylic paints and dry brushed the color in using Google earth to get color I wanted added some lighter color to get a current effect.brushed on poly and checked when it got thick and used paint brush to give the motion and churning effect of the boats moving I have never did this before but some how got the effect I was looking for

  19. will says:

    Stemar I have a good wife and 3000 sqaure foot house that kids just moved out of.the one main line I have done is around 3 scale miles I luv running long consist

  20. Willie Kerr (Glasgow) says:

    The water looks fantastic. I have just started my layout and need all the help I can get. Keep all the info coming.

  21. will says:

    The bridge piers were made from ripped up 2 x 4s sanded the edges round and painted to look like weathered concrete.

  22. B Clifton says:

    When using hairspray, use the pump spray, not pressure can spray. Doesn’t blow things away.

  23. Rod Mackay says:

    Beautiful bridgework! Sure, we’re all looking at that lovely water, but there’s an awful lot of hard work in those bridges. Well done.

  24. will says:

    With fall comeing on hope to make more progress with track laying still have alot to lay

  25. dan o wiseman says:

    lots of good work going on here , great lay out hey a week back the video had a working crain in the lay out , dos any one have information on where to get one or was scractch build thanks ex_blue@hotmail,com

  26. Desert Rat PHX AZ says:

    Great stuff ONCE AGAIN WHAT GAGE??????????????????????????????

  27. Mr. Ron from So Mississippi (former New Yorker) says:

    As a former New Yorker, I wonder how much you have to pay for rent where you live. Looks like you have a view from your kitchen window.

  28. Brian Olson says:


  29. Robert Brady says:

    Love the bridge over muddy waters , fantastic. Layout.
    The critic


    Great stuff, I enjoy all of the posts, keep it going.

  31. Erick says:

    Wow that amazing good Workmanship? I hope mine turns out that good .

  32. Dan Piccolo says:

    Al, I read your posts every day and really enjoy them. I always wonder if you have a layout and if so will we ever see it.

  33. William says:

    This is for Kim. He sent the pic of the “speeder’ or motor railcar or…
    If anyone wants more info on one of the groups having all this fun go to NARCOA.

  34. Tom Provo says:

    I loved the river and the long bridges. Can’t wait to see the finished layout.

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