A Bridge is Born

April 28, 2009

tm-logo-2009-smThere’s something magic and irresistible about a train going over a bridge. The toy train makers knew this so they made lots of bridges – girder, trestle, truss, arch-under, lift bridges, Bascule bridges, and – the most impressive bridge ever built for a toy train – the Hell Gate bridge. The Hell Gate was built by Lionel in the 1920s and was modeled after the famous rail bridge that spans the East River in New York.

Of all the different types of bridges, suspension bridges are among the most beautiful. The tall towers and the sweeping, curved lines of the cables make for a majestic vista – a perfect setting for a train. But there has never been a rail suspension bridge for toy trains. Until now.

TM Books & Video, who has been producing books and videos for the you train hobby for 35 years, is offering a new line of custom built bridges, designed with a toy train layout in mind. “I love bridges,” says TM producer Tom McComas. “I love to film trains going over and through bridges, but I got tired of seeing the same old bridges. I wanted something new.”

McComas started looking for new bridges. Couldn’t find anything so he contacted R. J. Walpole, a cabinet maker, who just installed a new bookcase in Tom’s office. “He did a magnificent job,” says McComas. “The bookcase is a work-of-art.” So McComas sketched a suspension bridge and asked RJ if he could make it. “Sure,” said RJ.

RJ made a fine model of a suspension bridge.
“Can you make more,” asked McComas.
“Sure,” said RJ, again.
And so the Custom Bridge Division of TM Books & Video was born.

“It was the same back in 1974 when we published our first book,” said McComas. “My focus group consisted of me asking myself one question – would I buy the book? My answer was yes so we published. Well, I’d sure buy this bridge.”

One style is currently available. It comes a 40-inch span with two towers ($395) and a 56-inch span with three towers ($495). Built by hand from scratch, the bridge reflects a skilled cabinet maker’s eye for detail, fit, and perspective. Different finishes and custom sizes are available.

“The bridge is gorgeous,” says McComas, expansively.

For more information call 800-982-2822, or visit TM’s website.