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Garden Railways Review - April 2003


This review is reprinted with permission from Kalmbach Publications - Garden Railways Magazine

Girder bridge and catwalk

Garden Metal Models

PO Box 155

Sykesville MD 21784

Prices: 24" deck girder bridge, $89.95; 24" catwalk/bridge-tie combination,



Steel deck-girder bridge and plastic tie-and-catwalk sections to sit on

top; high level of detail; bridge is powder coated steel, flat-black

finish; well detailed, black-plastic tie strips with crisp simulated wood

grain; code-332 rails not included. Dimensions: 24" long; 3-3/4" to top of

deck; 5-7/8" to top of railings; deck, 3-1/4" wide; catwalk 7-7/8" wide


Pros: High level of detail with the strength of steel


Cons: Rail not included; spike detail designed to hold rail down unusually

coarse in relation to the otherwise high level of detail elsewhere, though

not out of character with other commercially available track sections


This bridge is the sum of two products, so I'll tackle each one separately.

First, there's the guts of the works, the steel deck girder. My first

thought was "wow." I've not seen this level of detail in a bridge in our

scale before. The internal bracing is even evident, something rarely seen

unless you look up from below. Add to that the fact that it's made from

steel, and it's definitely a winner. It comes in a powder coated,

flat-black finish, so it should be able to survive outdoors without fear of

rust or corrosion for a good, long while. There is no scale specified, but

the dimensions are such that it scales out well with any common outdoor

scale. Bridges came in all shapes and sizes, and this one captures the look

and dimensions of a typical deck-girder bridge. The "feet" of the bridge

have slots cut into them, so the unit can be secured to a pier. My thought

would be to use a concrete screw into a concrete-abutment casting. It's

unlikely that the bridge would go anywhere then.


My only complaint, and this is very nit-picky, is that the sides may be too

far apart for "scale." Typically, vertical supports on deck bridges were

directly under the rails, which in our gauge would be 45mm apart. This way,

the weight of the passing train would be sent directly through the ties to

the girders. The girders here are 2-1/2" apart, which isn't necessarily

unprototypical, as many narrow-gauge railroads used standard-gauge bridges.


As far as putting ties on top of this bridge, you have a few options.

First, you can cut your own out of the material of your choice. This way,

you can customize the decking to fit your particular scale and tastes.

However, Garden Metal Models also provides its own molded-plastic ties to

go on top of these girders, if you prefer.


These ties and catwalks come in 6" sections and have snap-on handrails and

steel railings. The detail of the molded plastic is very crisp. The

sections are designed to accommodate any code-332 rail (not included). My

only complaint is in the rail anchors, which are coarse and out of

character with the level of detail in the rest of the bridge.


The instructions with the tie/catwalk sections show how to cut the sections

for curves, or to remove one catwalk if you have a double-track mainline.

It also shows how to assemble the handrails. As supplied to us, the kit

came with 12" lengths of steel rod for the handrails. Personally, I'd pick

up some longer lengths of 1/16" piano wire, so each handrail would be

continuous across the entire bridge.


All in all, I'm impressed with this bridge. It would look as good sitting

on a shelf, showcasing your prized locomotive, as it would outside in the

garden. -K. Strong

A note from Garden Metal Models:

The complaint above about the spacing of the sides being too far apart is unfounded.  The sides are typically set on 6'-6" or 7' centers for spans up to 70' long, and up to 9' for longer spans. This provides for lateral stiffness. As you know this IS wider than the 4'-8-1/2" standard gage rail spacing. A tremendous amount of research goes in to the development of each product so the end result is as realistic as production constraints allow.