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laying track over bridges

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laying track over bridges
Posted by sickdog5 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 6:34 AM

Can someone tell me the best way to lay track across a bridge? Do you buy the bridge track? Or just lay a piece of flex track? This is the bridge i am using. Thankshttps://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Metal-HO-Scale-Train-Double-Track-Railroad-Girder-Bridge-3-1-2-T-x-15-L/114670952578

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 9:00 AM

Bridge track models the heavier tie structure required when laid on the bridge deck without ballasting. Another technique was to lay regular ballasted track into concrete troughs set onto the bridge deck.  ME bridge kits come with those moulded "concrete" bridge troughs if you wished to model this version.

Maybe other methods were used but bridge track models unballasted track found on all types of railroad bridge.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 9:06 AM

I think bridge track would be the way to go with that bridge. You could just lay regular flex for now just to get it up and running for now and swap it out down the road.

Brent

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 9:06 AM

sickdog5
Can someone tell me the best way to lay track across a bridge? Do you buy the bridge track? Or just lay a piece of flex track?

My favorite product is Micro-Engineering's code 83 bridge flex track, but that is out of stock almost everywhere right now.

Central Valley bridge ties work very well.

I have also "hand laid" track on stained wooden bridge ties, and that is pretty easy to do.

Unless your bridge model has a ballasted deck, normal flex track will not look right, like in this picture. I posed this picture with normal Atlas code 83 flex, and it is obviously not right.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by hbgatsf on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 9:13 AM

I have done it both ways.  It depends on how prototypical you want to be.

When I built the Micro Engineering Tall Steel Viaduct I used the bridge track that was included in the kit.  It was actually two kits and was going to be in a prominent location so I went for the realism, expecially since the track sits on the top and is very obvious being almost eye level.

I also have two of the Walthers truss bridges supported by a center pier.  They are similar to the one you bought.  Back in those days my budget was very tight so  I just layed flex track accross them.

I never really look at it and think it is wrong, but if I was building it today I would probably use bridge track.  On the other hand I have no intention of changing it now.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 9:31 AM

For most people regular track is fine if painted, if you rivet count it is not.

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Posted by kasskaboose on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 11:14 AM

hbgatsf

I have done it both ways.  It depends on how prototypical you want to be.

When I built the Micro Engineering Tall Steel Viaduct I used the bridge track that was included in the kit.  It was actually two kits and was going to be in a prominent location so I went for the realism, expecially since the track sits on the top and is very obvious being almost eye level.

I also have two of the Walthers truss bridges supported by a center pier.  They are similar to the one you bought.  Back in those days my budget was very tight so  I just layed flex track accross them.

I never really look at it and think it is wrong, but if I was building it today I would probably use bridge track.  On the other hand I have no intention of changing it now.

 

 
Yes, once you set out with the flex track, I doubt there's reason to change for a small area. I have tw different bridges and both have code 83 flex track over them.   
 
I was curious about the difference(s) between regular track and bridge track.  Earlier thread for anyone's interest:  http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/77265.aspx
 
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Posted by Srwill2 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 11:15 AM

I used the walthers Bridge track, it worked well for me. 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 11:43 AM

Srwill2
I used the walthers Bridge track, it worked well for me. 

Is that still available?

I have one piece of Walthers/Shinohara bridge track, and they are going for $60.00 or more on eBay now.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 12:10 PM

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by jjdamnit on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 12:11 PM

Hello All,

Are you planning on using this bridge as a single track or double track, as listed?

As far as aftermarket manufacturers' bridge ties and stringers have you looked at Central Valley Model Works?

They have them for code 70/83, 83/100, dual gage, and narrow gage.

All are listed as "In Stock".

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by wp8thsub on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 12:22 PM

Micro Engineering or Central Valley bridge track work well, and are easy to use.

DSC02751

by wp8thsub, on Flickr

This truss bridge uses Central Valley ties, which are self-gauging and have spikes that you bend into place over the base of the rail.  https://www.cvmw.com/bridges.htm 

Lakeview Wash 2

by wp8thsub, on Flickr

This girder bridge shows another option, handlaying on wood ties (bridge ties are available from several sources or you can cut your own from 8" x 8" strip wood).  I drilled holes for small spikes to maintain alignment.

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 2:59 PM

Bridge track in model railroading has no real functional value. But, it looks great prototypically, so I use it on all my bridges. It looks great, although it is pricey. I recommend it to you for that reason.

You could use also use standard flextrack and use smaller scale rail for the bridge guard rails by applying adhesive to bind the smaller scale rail to the flextrack ties.

Rich

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 4:32 PM

richhotrain

Bridge track in model railroading has no real functional value. But, it looks great prototypically, so I use it on all my bridges. It looks great,...

...

Rich

 

Rich, I hope you won't be miffed if I point out that your two statements are contradictory.  We're modelling.  We create an illusory 'railroad'.  So your second statement is important, and true.  If that is so, it contradicts what your first statement says.  Mechanically, very true; there is no real need for the extra beefiness under the rails.  But as your second statement suggests, the first can't be true at the same time. Smile

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 4:52 PM

selector
 
richhotrain

Bridge track in model railroading has no real functional value. But, it looks great prototypically, so I use it on all my bridges. It looks great,...

...

Rich 

Rich, I hope you won't be miffed if I point out that your two statements are contradictory.  We're modelling.  We create an illusory 'railroad'.  So your second statement is important, and true.  If that is so, it contradicts what your first statement says.  Mechanically, very true; there is no real need for the extra beefiness under the rails.  But as your second statement suggests, the first can't be true at the same time. Smile 

I hear ya, Crandell, but I don't view the two statements as contradictory. 

When I say that bridge track in model railroading has no real functional value, I am referring to the fact that something like Walthers Shinohara Code 83 bridge track does nothing to prevent a derailed locomotive or train from falling off the track, whereas real bridge track does serve that purpose on the prototype. Or, as you say, mechanically, there is no real need for the extra beefiness under the rails on a model railroad. 

Rich

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 6:13 PM

I have built a few sections of bridge track by removing the ties from Atlas flex track, cutting the webbing between the ties and sliding them back on.  I started this because that part of the layout was Code 100,  but continued to the Code 83 track.  I'm happy with all of it.

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 8:24 PM

Hi sickdog5,

Welcome to the forums!     Welcome

Walthers is offering Code 83 bridge track again. Each 36" length comes with two end pieces. It is supposed to arrive by April 18th:

https://www.walthers.com/code-83-nickel-silver-bridge-track-1

They also offer separate end pieces in pairs if you are doing more than one bridge.

https://www.walthers.com/code-83-nickel-silver-bridge-track-2

Dave

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 8:31 PM

Now, isn't that ridiculous?

At one time, Walthers Shinohara bridge track came as one piece with the converging guard rails at each end.

Then, later, the bridge track package included the bridge track plus two separate end pieces with the converging guard rails.

Now, you buy the bridge track and then you also have to separately purchase the the two end pieces with converging guard rails.

So, 50 bucks for a single bridge track. That's why I mentioned earlier that the bridge track is pricey.

Rich

Edit Note: This third version of Walthers bridge track does include the two end pieces. See later replies for clarification.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 10:04 PM

richhotrain
Now, you buy the bridge track and then you also have to separately purchase the the two end pieces with converging guard rails.

If I am reading it correctly, the 36" piece of Walthers bridge track comes with two end sections. You can buy two additional end pieces seperately and make 2 sections up to 18 inches.

Still pricey. Hopefully ME code 83 bridge track will be available again soon.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Srwill2 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 10:47 PM

Not to my knowledge, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they are selling for that much on eBay.  I had no idea!

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 11:21 PM

Srwill2
I shouldn't be surprised that they are selling for that much on eBay.

I can't justify the cost. The Walthers/Shinohara bridge tracks are nice, but not that nice.

Central Valley bridge ties are fine.

This auction was for two packs.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, April 8, 2021 12:42 AM

richhotrain
Now, you buy the bridge track and then you also have to separately purchase the the two end pieces with converging guard rails.

Hi Rich,

I was confused about that initially too. However, if I am reading the Walthers listing correctly, the 36" piece of bridge flex track comes with two end pieces. The only reason that you would need to buy extra end pieces would be if you wanted to model more than one short bridge or a double track bridge that is less than 18".

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, April 8, 2021 5:59 AM

SeeYou190
 
richhotrain
Now, you buy the bridge track and then you also have to separately purchase the the two end pieces with converging guard rails. 

If I am reading it correctly, the 36" piece of Walthers bridge track comes with two end sections. You can buy two additional end pieces seperately and make 2 sections up to 18 inches.

hon30critter
 
richhotrain
Now, you buy the bridge track and then you also have to separately purchase the the two end pieces with converging guard rails. 

Hi Rich,

I was confused about that initially too. However, if I am reading the Walthers listing correctly, the 36" piece of bridge flex track comes with two end pieces. The only reason that you would need to buy extra end pieces would be if you wanted to model more than one short bridge or a double track bridge that is less than 18".

Dave 

Oops, I stand corrected.  My bad. Embarrassed

I should have read the fine print. 

So, this does get interesting. The original WS bridge track, and the second version were shorter bridge tracks, just under 20". This newest bridge track is around 36". All three version come with the end pieces.

I need to edit my earlier reply. Thanks for the correction, guys.

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, April 8, 2021 6:06 AM

Srwill2

Not to my knowledge, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they are selling for that much on eBay.  I had no idea! 

I did have to correct my earlier post. The latest Walthers bridge track does include the two end pieces. So, the cost would be $40, not $50.

Rich

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, April 8, 2021 6:07 AM

richhotrain
The original WS bridge track, and the second version were shorter bridge tracks, just under 20". This newest bridge track is around 36". All three version come with the end pieces.

I am sure they will be on sale at Walthers at some point, and hopefully available for less elsewhere.

I only need about 48" of additional bridge track for the layout. I was hoping for ME code 83, but will take what I can get.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, April 8, 2021 6:11 AM

SeeYou190

I can't justify the cost. The Walthers/Shinohara bridge tracks are nice, but not that nice.

The cost of Walthers bridge track has always bothered me. I have two Walthers Double Track Truss bridges, three Walthers Single Track Bascule bridges, and a scratch built double track vertical lift bridge. The cost of fitting these bridges with bridge track has been relatively astronomical.

There is no way that I could justify the cost, but I bought the necessary bridge track anyhow because I wanted those bridges to look prototypical.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, April 8, 2021 6:26 AM

I have mostly used Micro Engineering bridge track, also pricey.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Track fiddler on Thursday, April 8, 2021 7:13 AM

Good morning

 

I have ME Bridge track for my bridges as well.  I chose PECO for my layout track as it's so robust and It's proven consistent quality of flawlessness.  Also Spendy!  The one thing that bothers me is the PECO ties are to European specs so they have bigger ties then the ME Bridge ties.

It's not going to be a problem for me to iron out the rail height difference between the ME and PECO.  But it has been said here through the years many times that bridge track ties are bigger than main line ties.  I thought to myself yesterday "I just gots to knows"

 

I took a little field trip to visit an Old Friend as I do every spring.

The Childhood Trestle

The trip was a little early this year.  The weather wasn't very nice but I needed to determine tie sizing for myself.

From an overall view the main line ties looked bigger.

A more zoomed in closer look.

Standing there you could definitely see the bridge ties were smaller.  If you look at the tie plates, you can see the space on the ends that the main line tie is 2" wider.

I'm sure bridge ties are larger in other parts of the country but in Minnesota they are smaller.  The curiosity was killing me and I just had to know.  There has never been guard rails on this bridge or a derailment for as long as I can remember.

 

 

 

TF

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 8, 2021 7:23 AM

I was going to mention this earlier but I thought it was too obvious to mention to professional-grade model railroaders.

Most model track as provided, including flextrack, is no more a reproduction of prototype construction than a 'waterline' ship model is -- and for comparable reasons.  Bridge ties need be no deeper than mainline ties -- and it is the depth, not the length or necessarily the close spacing that is the visual 'showstopper' here -- and the "answer" might be as simple as increasing the perceived tie heights; for example I'd think a simple 'proportional' expedient would be to remove the rails from a comparable piece of flex or other track, file or sand it flush, spray it with suitable adhesive and just stick it under the proposed piece of track for the bridge.  Use some thick craft paint or equivalents to dutch over any visible 'seams' at the tie ends, or just simulate stringers with something like styrene or basswood. 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, April 8, 2021 9:14 AM

Modellers should want bridge track to simulate the much closer tie spacing.

Having said that I point out that some of us concentrate mainly on the trains. The scenery, the track and the whatever else is window dressing for running the trains. For some of us that's enough (and judging by the apparent proportion of unfinished layouts that are running trains, that's a lot of us). 

Bridge decks really do draw the eye so using the correct track is important. Correct grassy fields not so much,

Alyth Yard

Canada

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