Building Trestles for your Garden Railroad

Power Curve trestleI have always thought that every railroad needs a trestle or two. There is just something about the wooden structures of a trestle that make for appealing visual eye-candy.


Dragon Falls trestle

Everything on a trestle just looks a little bit better than it would otherwise.




Dragon Falls and mountains

Trestles can be use as transitions to and from mountains…




Ogle Loop trestle

… or you can transition from a ground level elevation across a descending grade and maintain level track.

So far I’ve never had an opportunity to build a straight level trestle. Seems they are always on curves and going across unleveled ground.


Under construction 1

I construct my trestles in sections, with trackwork (instead of just running the track across the tops of the trestles) to hold the store bought track. I find trackwork looks better to me and I make it so the off the shelf track’s (Aristo) plastic ties lock in place between the wooden ties of the trackwork.


Assembling the Ogle LoopOnce constructed I assemble the “pieces” onsite in the layout. Each section bolts to the next so a section could be removed and replaced if it needed some reworking or extensive maintenance.



Primarily because I only work on my layout sporadically with months sometimes between working on a project and the next time get back to working on it, it became necessary to document what I was doing so I could go back and look and refresh myself with what exactly it was that I was doing.

Trackwork jigSince I have a background in documentation I wound up with a master document on how I was constructing my trestles. From the necessary tools, to creating jigs, cutting lumber and assembling sub-assemblies, I wrote it all down.


The finished document is nearly 40 pages and has 34 pictures showing how to cut, glue, nail, preserve, stain, assemble and build trestles.

Running on the Ogle LoopIf you’d like a copy of this PDF document you can request download instructions by clicking on the Request PDF link at the top of each page on my site here. The file is approximately 22 megabytes in size and you can open it in your browser (after I send you the link) and then save it to your local computer.

Let me know what you think about it! –TJ

(Originally posted 10/28/2011, revised 8/09/2013)

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2 Responses to Building Trestles for your Garden Railroad

  1. William Nesbitt says:

    Dear TJ,
    I filled out the form to get a copy of the PDF for the instructions for the trestle but nothing happened.
    Are you still offering the instructions or have you stopped. Sure will be dissappointed if you did
    Bill Nesbitt

  2. TJ says:

    Sorry you did not get the file. The first time I responded I got an “unable to deliver” notice. I have sense resent the link to the file and am hoping you receive it.

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