Bridges were the first product that Dan created when he began this hobby and joined a garden railroading club. He visited a few layouts and attended meetings to get ideas for his layout which is now the Wild Eagle Railroad. After seeing several layouts and reading tons of garden railroad magazines, he noticed that there weren’t any steel bridges, and since bridges are made out of steel, and he had a welding shop, it didn’t take long for him to start designing G scale bridges.
At this point, they weren’t created for any business purpose; it was mainly to trade with other people in the club to get some help with things he didn’t know about. He started taking them to club meetings, and he designed them to see peoples’ reactions and hear their opinions. He got some good feedback, and was surprised when people asked to buy them right then and there. Dan didn’t even have an idea of what to charge for them at that point!
During that time, someone mentioned that he needed to get a hold of Barry from Barry’s Trains in Las Vegas. Dan called him up and told him what he had, and he asked Dan to send some pictures. When he saw the pictures he called and told Dan, “I think you got something here; I didn’t know what to expect, but these are really nice!”. Barry told Dan to contact Mark Horvitz in the Garden Railroad Magazine and put the Bridges on the new product review section.
Dan took some pictures of the bridges sitting on some bricks in the back yard, and sent them in. Calls came in from all over the United States, and orders were taken, with Dan still not sure about what to charge. In the meantime, Barry said to contact Mark from Lone Star Bridge and Abutments. When he contacted Mark he was really nice, helpful and encouraging and directed Dan in the right way for marketing.
Dan started with 5 original designs which were:
The curved cord truss which is the # 111 now.
The flat top thru truss currently the #109.
The reversible 3’ deck or thru girder # 113.
The reversible 3‘ deck or thru truss #106.
The curved open thru truss # 107.
Soon after that, but before he made a brochure and to give customers a better variety, Dan also created the 4’6 and 8’ arched deck truss which are now the #101 and #102; the straight or curved deck girder along with the deck truss which are the #103 and the # 104 (which made it necessary to create 4 legged and 2 legged steel piers); and finally the 5’ trestle with 18” deck girder, which is great for rivers or washes that are more shallow..
Arched Deck Truss #101
Arched Deck Truss #102
90 Degree Curved Girder # 103
Deck Truss # 104
After the first designs, and as more people learned about Dan’s bridges, customers would make suggestions and would also request different bridges to be built. One of those were the #109 which several persons wanted to have it more sturdy so it was built with I – beams; and upgraded the steel which created the #110 Flat top thru truss with I- beam construction. Both of these designs are still available. The same I – beam concept was used for the #111, which became the standard way to build it. This bridge has also been built up to 16’ long and 4 tracks wide.
Flat top thru truss #109 – Light construction
Flat top thru truss #110 – I – Beam Construction
Dan was out at a customer’s railroad talking about bridge for his layout; the customer was getting a few custom-made ones. He had one spot that would take a 2’ bridge. He asked if Dan could take the #113 thru girder and round the ends then as they talked, he thought it would be good to put ribs on the inside and outside of the bridge to give it more detail thus became the # 114 rounded end thru girder.
Deck Girder # 113
Round End Girder # 114
One year at the Big Train Show, a woman, while looking at the bridges, saw the 8’ arched deck truss and mentioned that if we flipped it upside down and the train ran thru it, that it would look really neat. Dan remembers thinking to himself, “what are you talking about?” After talking back and forth for a while, Dan asked if she wanted something like a suspension bridge; she responded yes, and asked whether Dan could build it. Dan, of course, assured her that he could. When he got back to the shop, the #100 suspension bridge was created. Since then, this bridge has been made in different sizes anywhere from 8’ up to 18’ double track with custom piers.
Arched Deck Trus #102
Eaglewings started building bridges since 1996, and all the while, listening to our customers, which has been one of the most important parts in developing Eaglewings Iron Craft’s line of bridges. We would like you to keep in mind that if you have an idea for your railroad, we would love to help bring them to life. Thank you for keeping us in mind for your next railroad project.
If you would like to see pictures of our bridges installed in different layouts; you can visit our website: http://www.eaglewingsironcraft.com/bridge_gallery.php.