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Bascule lift bridge

5275 Views 18 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Ironton
I need to install a lift bridge on my layout to get access to the inner portion of the layout. I was thinking about a Bascule lift bridge. I googled but could not find any good pictures or plans. Does anyone have a plan for some good pictures? My railroad is all narrow gauge steam from the middle 1800's to the early 1900's time frame. Appreciate any help.

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Click the following link and when the screen displays type in the search term bascule into the Search this collection text field, located in the upper-left. After the search completes you should come up with around 78 records. Won't say you'll find exactly what you want but it should be a start.

American Memory / Built in America
Model Railroader Books has "Model Railroad Bridges and Trestles" which has plans for two, a Scherzer rolling lift bridge, which is the fancy Bascule, and a very plain bascule bridge that looks more like a plate girder bridge that goes up.

The book is so old that I think George Stephenson contributed to it, but it is still in print. I got mine from a local hobby shop, but I see Amazon has it in stock.
On my screen that's an ad for it right there
(arrow pointing at ad)
I found the book at our local library. Just what I needed. I also ordered a copy from Amazon. Thanks for the help.
There was a guy with a live steam layout in Las Vegas that was on the 2007 Garden Railvays Convention tour that had a very neat working Bascule bridge. If i can find it I will post a picture. You might contact Dan Houg at Eaglewings Ironcraft. I'm sure he can build you one.
Hello John,

I have a copy of the original blueprints for the bascule bridge shown in the link below. It is still in service in Victoria, B.C.
If you want I could have them copied and sent to you, but they are very large and weigh about 50lbs so it might be a little pricey. Let me know if you would like a copy though.


I have a neighbor who is a certified welder. He voluntered to weld the bridge together for me if I cut out the parts. He said he could weld aluminum angle so that is what I plan to use. I want it to look like something a shoestring logging company would have built. Nothing fancy just cheep, easy to fabricate and install. Most of the small loggin lines could never afford to have this type of bridge built. However, on my layout I want the bridge to stay in the open position and only lower it when the logging train has to cross. That is why I was leaning toward the Bascule design as it looks good in the open position. I will let you know of my progress.
I had one lift out bridge for access and some times of the year it worked fine, other times it was hard. depends on iF you could have the base support as one piece to keep the proper spacing.
I'd like to see how you do it. they always work good at first. One year later we'll see.
Lift out/lift up bridges can be left, usually accidentally, in the open position when running trains. I don't have a bridge of these types but if I did I would make sure that the track sections either side if the bridge were de-energised when the bridge was in the open position - avoiding a possible wreck.

This applies only to track powered guys of course: how the battery folk manage only they can tell. ;)
I made mine so it didn't have a way to leave it set open without holding.
I'm curious what motors. controllers. and gears anyone has used for a bascule or lift bridge. It seems like there are a zillion choices for small dc motors and gear sets. For someone with no real knowledge of this stuff it is incredibly overwhelming.
That looks like the China Basin bridge in San Francisco

Ron Senek just did one, posted a few pix the other day in the forums.
I think it is a poor mock up of this bridge in Buffalo NY VERY Functional though as when I saw it it was one handed operation to lift it up walk thru and close like a simple gate.


West Ferry Street Bridge in Buffalo. Easily visible from I190.
Mine is not Bascule bridge it is center span lift. Copied from railroad bridge crossing Illlinois river at Ottawa.
These guys list one for sale: http://gnomengineers.blogspot.com/

No relationship with them, just popped up on another site. Hope it helps.
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