American Made Steel Bridge truss bridge

Truss bridge for gauge-1 track
Marc Horovitz
Stainless-steel truss bridge
American Made Steel Bridge Inc.
PO Box 151
Winter Haven FL 33884
Price: See text

Truss bridge (#11036) for gauge-1 track; all stainless-steel construction from sheet metal; spot-welded construction; some assembly required; screws and nuts supplied; some holes must be drilled; instructions supplied. Dimensions: Length overall, 36"; width, 6"; height, 10" (inside clearance, 9 5⁄8")

Pros: Sturdy, durable bridge; should support the heaviest trains; stainless-steel requires no paint or protection from the environment
Cons: Instructions confusing at times; very sharp edges from manufacturing pose hazard
Marc Horovitz
The American Made Steel Bridge company offers a variety of bridges for both 0-scale and large-scale trains. Sent to us for review were a pair of 18" truss bridges (#10048, $108 each), an extra deck (#10049, $30), and a pair of straps to span the tops of the bridges (#10050, $5 for both). All necessary screws and nuts were included and everything in the package is made of stainless steel.

While this is not a kit, some assembly is required. Each 18" bridge is supplied built up and ready to go. Bridges are made of 24-gauge sheet metal, with components spot welded together. The two bridges are to be combined, end to end with the extra deck plate, forming a single truss bridge 36" long.

The first line of the instructions reads, “Caution, edges are sharp.” This is not an overstatement—they are very sharp indeed! If I was going to keep this bridge for use on my own railroad, I would first go over all of the sheared edges with a flat file to remove the sharp and jagged burrs, as these do present a hazard, especially if children will be in contract with the bridges. I really feel that the bridges should not be shipped without these sharp edges being removed at the factory.

The two bridges are first connected using an extra deck plate. This is inverted and screwed to the undersides of the bridges with the screws and nuts provided. Slotted holes are punched into the respective deck plates to facilitate this. I found that the holes lined up well and there was no difficulty in securing the two bridges to the third deck plate. The instructions are emphatic that double nuts be used on all screws to prevent vibration, when the bridge is in use, from causing the nuts to loosen. This seems a good plan and adequate nuts were supplied in the package for this purpose.

To form a continuous truss, as opposed to two truss bridges placed end to end, straps are supplied that are to be attached to the top members of each bridge, essentially creating a single structure. This is where the instructions start to get a little murky. The straps have slotted holes punched in them and there are also holes punched in the sides of the bridges’ top members. However, the instructions call for the purchaser to drill additional 1⁄8" holes in the top surfaces of the top members to match the holes in the straps. The reason for this was not explained. However, I followed the instructions. I found that 1⁄8" holes were not big enough for the screws supplied, so I opened them up to 5⁄32". Stainless steel is tough stuff and, once the holes were drilled, there were nasty burrs left on the underside. I removed these with my Dremel and a grinding bit.

Once the holes were drilled, I screwed the straps to the tops of the bridges with the remaining screws. The resulting structure is quite solid and should support even the heaviest train over its full length with no problem.

It should be noted that this bridge is not a scale model, nor is it advertised as such. It is a functional truss bridge, designed for service, and it carries no extra details. In the garden, it should provide decades of use. The stainless steel will not corrode or degrade, though its shiny finish should tone down some over the years. If you’re looking for a solid truss bridge to span a gap, this is definitely one to consider.


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