TheBrickster

Bridges & Inclines

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traintech1.jpg

bridges.jpg

Have you built a LEGO bridge for your train layout? Have you tried and been unsuccessful? How about creating an incline needed to rise over your other trains?

Let's discuss and share some tips and secrets to spanning those layout canyons and chasms.

From the small arches that pass over steams and rivers, to the large cable bridges that connect table top layouts, share your hints and tricks.

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What a wonderful idea Brickster! Unfortunately, I can't really contribute with any tips or useful pieces of knowledge, but I strongly suggest indexing and adding all bridge-related MOCs to this thread - that should give us a perfect overview of how it's done!

These two bridge-related entries from last month's Train Tech Contest could be a good start

bridge.jpg

The Train Bridge / Viaduct by Nagy László

and

trainbridge.jpg

rickbrick's Railway Into the Unknown

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For everyone who wants to know how steep they can build inclines: click here.

In my yet to build layout there will be no bridge. The inclines needed to give the bridge enough height are too space-consuming. If you have the space, it's highly recommendable. It adds something extra to a layout.

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For everyone who wants to know how steep they can build inclines: click here.

This is indeed a very good site :thumbup:

I have used that before, I must say that I have done it a bit diferent now.

Most important is the first climb, which is less steep then the above example.

(where p = plate and b = brick)

1p, 2p, 1b, 5p, 7p, 9p, 4b, 5b etcetra.

After the first 3 bricks, I go up with 1 brick per rail. I must say that I use RC powered trains, and they both have 2 engines. 1 engine is enough to make the climb, but once you stop the train, it will get of its spot any more, you definitely need 2 motors for that if you place the train on a climb.

I found out btw that I only have pictures of the WIP, not of the end result (which is broken down again)

EDIT: Oversized image removed by Moderator.

You can find it here.

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For everyone who wants to know how steep they can build inclines: click here.

In my yet to build layout there will be no bridge. The inclines needed to give the bridge enough height are too space-consuming. If you have the space, it's highly recommendable. It adds something extra to a layout.

For your last point, some people have made the scenery change in height (which can happen steeply in a small space) rather than the track (which cannot). Trains are more reliable on flat track and the scenic effect can be just as good.

I have a number of model railway books that suggest things for layouts.

Scenery slopes (such as cutting sides) can be made steeper if the viewer is facing them and shallower if the viewer is at the top of them, to improve the view (since that's the ides of an exhibition layout)

A maximum slope of 1 in 30 is recommended for a model railway. That's 1 plate per 12 studs length for L-gauge. Not even 2 plates per piece! 1 plate per 12 studs length fits well on a 48x48 plate = 4 plates per baseplate.

Make the change in slope really gradual. For large train models, 0.5 plate change in slope per track piece ensures no motor speed fluctuation as the train passes the change in slope. Even 1 plate change per piece can induce a "wow" in the motor as the wheel-slip changes.

This diagram illustrates slopes and changes in slope - how to extend a slope with extra modules inserted.

Contrary to the above link, I have found points OK on slopes up to 1 in 30 as long as there is no change of slope adjacent to the points in any direction. It only really matters for the curved direction and the toe, not the straight road.

Folder 1 and Folder 2 show sloping track modules.

Mark

Edited by Mark Bellis

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The old Carstens Publishing Bridge & Trestle Handbook was really nice for bridge info, but good luck finding a copy--I wish I could find mine again!

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Inclines are perhaps not a good idea if you intend to run an Emerald Night. I ran mine on track laid over a slightly uneven carpet and even then it kept stopping with its wheels turning just above the rails because of the loco's complete lack of any springing.

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Do these inclines work on the 9v tracks where they have to be connected for it to work though? I would doubt it but it could be worth a try.

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Do these inclines work on the 9v tracks where they have to be connected for it to work though? I would doubt it but it could be worth a try.

Yes, all my inclines are done in 9V track.

The 9V track has two contact points between each pair of adjacent rails.

As long as the change in slope doesn't get too great (far greater than I would use for trains, but maybe for a roller coaster) then the contact will be good.

I did have 1 or 2 issues connecting a lot of track modules together, but that's more to do with holding the modules with a great enough squashing force over a 16ft length! I have a plan to overcome that, by using the screens bolted to the tables to squeeze the layout together, at least to make the initial solid track piece connections. I might also use a block of bricks on each module to push them together. They'll stay put once connected.

Mark

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Yes, all my inclines are done in 9V track.

The 9V track has two contact points between each pair of adjacent rails.

As long as the change in slope doesn't get too great (far greater than I would use for trains, but maybe for a roller coaster) then the contact will be good.

I did have 1 or 2 issues connecting a lot of track modules together, but that's more to do with holding the modules with a great enough squashing force over a 16ft length! I have a plan to overcome that, by using the screens bolted to the tables to squeeze the layout together, at least to make the initial solid track piece connections. I might also use a block of bricks on each module to push them together. They'll stay put once connected.

Mark

Thanks I may try this then I assume as long as the trains not to heavy the motor will have no trouble.

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Thanks I may try this then I assume as long as the trains not to heavy the motor will have no trouble.

My trains are quite heavy but I usually put 2 motors in the loco, in a similar size & weight of vehicle to those in the train.

Make sure the track is well supported, at least at each end of each track piece. Middle too if it's at a suitable height.

Don't get too steep of the motors will struggle. If they go too slowly then reduce with the the slope or the load.

My main slopes have supports every 3/4 straight (12 studs).

For the curves I'm aiming to use the 8x16 tiles to support the whole track piece, with the mounting of the tiles being dependent on the slope and cant (yes, that is the right term for the angle of tilting track! :classic:) I need for the track. E.g. A Pendolino train has 8 degrees of tilt plus 6 degrees of cant on the track. That's about the same as 1 plate height increase under the outside rail of a curve.

Mark

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My layout is confined to 8 feet by 4 in the spare room (guests have to use the room occasionally....), so to make the most of it I've crammed in 3 levels with therefore plenty of bridges/viaducts/hills/tunnels and 1 incline - the 2 12v levels are linked so trains can be swapped over. There are pics on Brickshelf here. (Some of the pics have just been uploaded for this post, so are awaiting moderation.)

Getting the long grey viaduct/bridge at the back to stay solid with one main post was quite a challenge - there are multiple plates and technic bricks underneath, and the solid walls definitely helped.

The station building plays it's part in supporting the top (9v) level, with "arms" being built into the building and extending to take the main running line. The siding is currently supported by a series of columns of 2x2 round bricks until I can buy the pieces to build that viaduct!

Much of the rest of the top level is supported by the two mountains and tunnels at the ends of the layout, as is much of the second level.

The incline is fairly solid, and was reinforced with a series of 1x8 plates running in between the track and conducting rails. Doesn't look much like ballast, but as there is another 12v line running right next to it, space on the inside was fairly limited, so all support is underneath and in the embankment. The points behind the incline connect the two loops on the bottom level, meaning any train on the bottom can get to the middle loop and vice versa.

Hope these comments and images help others with their building.

Andy

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My layout is confined to 8 feet by 4 in the spare room (guests have to use the room occasionally....), so to make the most of it I've crammed in 3 levels with therefore plenty of bridges/viaducts/hills/tunnels and 1 incline - the 2 12v levels are linked so trains can be swapped over. There are pics on Brickshelf here. (Some of the pics have just been uploaded for this post, so are awaiting moderation.)

Really want to see your pictures as your layout sounds great in words.

I can't acces your brickshelf folder at all, it says folder not yet public.

Maybe you pointed to a subfolder.

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Your layout looks fantastic, I like the position of the trainstation as central (and also structural) part off your layout although it doesn't leave much space for other building structures. The scenery looks very nice with all these bridges, tunnels, and mountains. i do like the fact that your incline looks massive, and while the gray plates don't look like ballast, you could also imagine that it represents continuous concrete flooring like they use for highspeed trainstracks occasionaly.

One minor thing, I have the feeling that the roof at you station is bit out of balance, It looks so massive. I guess I would have chosen a roof with lots of glass, similar to the facades.

Are you also planning some facilities for all your freighttrains?

Keep us updated.

Jan

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and while the gray plates don't look like ballast, you could also imagine that it represents continuous concrete flooring like they use for highspeed trainstracks occasionaly.

I actually think the grey plates make great looking ballast and I prefer that to the mottled look of many other lego layouts ballast beds with white, black, light and dark greys. To me the differences in color of stones is below the resolution of a 1x1 plate and the shading difference offered by only 4 tones.

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One minor thing, I have the feeling that the roof at you station is bit out of balance, It looks so massive. I guess I would have chosen a roof with lots of glass, similar to the facades.

Are you also planning some facilities for all your freighttrains?

Keep us updated.

Jan

I agree on the roof, sadly funds were limited by that stage so it was made from pieces I already had a lot of. Once the next viaduct is in place I'm aiming to replace it with something more subtle.

At the moment I have no freight plans, there isn't really space. The freight train "just passes through" so to speak.

Andy

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I agree on the roof, sadly funds were limited by that stage so it was made from pieces I already had a lot of. Once the next viaduct is in place I'm aiming to replace it with something more subtle.

At the moment I have no freight plans, there isn't really space. The freight train "just passes through" so to speak.

Andy

Love to see some video of this layout looks like a fast ride ;)

Edited by aZz

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Love to see some video of this layout looks like a fast ride ;)

That would indeed be great if you managed to get all that rolling stock on a video.

One suggestion for your freight trains could be to make the staiton more a combined people and cargo station, so for instance cargo loading bays in the lower part, and people on the upper two levels.

Jan

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That would indeed be great if you managed to get all that rolling stock on a video.

One suggestion for your freight trains could be to make the staiton more a combined people and cargo station, so for instance cargo loading bays in the lower part, and people on the upper two levels.

Jan

As requested. It's old footage, some of the locos have been updated since I shot it. Here's the link on Youtube. There's a video of the general layout and featuring a cab ride on all three levels.

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I'm looking into building an incline myself and notuiced that the link above to ngltc.org doesn't work anymore, but thank goodness for archive.org :)

http://web.archive.org/web/20080705054916/http://www.ngltc.org/train_depot/inclines.htm

I tried a plate per track incline today and rapitly ran out of space and bricks! so then I tried a brick per track, which seems to work okay but as mentioned in the article, the train does slip when trying to start from a stop position on the incline. I'm mixing it up a bit by having a modern power functions train on the old blue tracks so I wonder if it would slip less on new tracks but I think I'll go for the 2 plate at a time suggestion anyway.

I also remember seeing in an old Lego ideas book where they used minifig legs between the sleepers and the pillars to give a smoother angle, so I tried the same with hinges (e.g. http://www.peeron.com/inv/parts/3937 I used a single stud width top but I imagine a double would be (or seem) better).

Next step is to order more 4x2 bricks for pillars and I think I'll try the technic method as well, e.g. a long technic peice as the 2 vertical columns, pinned to the smaller horz pieces. :)

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From what I have read most people nowadays use 1 plate per brick to start and end the incline and 2 plates per brick for the middle bits. I have not tried to build much of an incline recently myself so can not say if that is good or not. I would say thought that I'd of thought the old blue track would have given more traction as if I recall from my youth it has groves all along it? I also recall from my youth that I used to build inclines at one brick per track length and that it was not very successful, but that was back in the old 4.5V days so again I could not say how a PF engine would handle it.

Sorry, not a lot of help really just waffle.

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From what I have read most people nowadays use 1 plate per brick to start and end the incline and 2 plates per brick for the middle bits. I have not tried to build much of an incline recently myself so can not say if that is good or not. I would say thought that I'd of thought the old blue track would have given more traction as if I recall from my youth it has groves all along it?

I think I'll give that one a shot tomorrow, ease it in and then nothing too drastic after that (i.e. 2 plates per track length). Straight and then straight and on a curve sounds like a plan :-)

The blue track has groves all right, but I thought the rubber "tyre" of the wheel might work better on a smooth track. I need some instuments to measure all this traction, friction and momentum! Where's my old school physics book when I need it... ;-)

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The blue track does have grooves, and the old 4.5V & 12V wheels have a greater contact patch (the 9V, RC & PF wheels ride a bit more on the flanges I think). I've had no problem with 1 brick per track inclines with 12V and 4.5V but the downhill speed can be a problem. The grip of the train can be far less if the rubber tires have hardened though. PF wheels might not be as effective on blue track.

Edited by peterab

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