Bridge Gaps in Train Tracks
- What: Brio Double Suspension Bridge
- When: 18 months and up
- Why: Expand layouts, can be used together or separately
- Where: Amazon
Looking to spice up your train track layouts? Maybe you need a great gift for the train lover who has almost everything. Look no further than these suspension bridge pieces from Brio.
These Brio bridges will work with any wooden track, from Thomas to IKEA and Target and everything in between. You get two bridge pieces in one box, and two ramp pieces as well as a small connecting piece of wooden track to connect the bridge pieces. All the pieces hold up very well to wear and tear and trains. More importantly, unlike older version, the bridges have supports on both ends of each piece, which keeps them from tipping. Older version only sported support in the middle of each piece, which made building and playing much more precarious. I intentionally avoided adding these pieces to our collection despite how much my kids loved them at other people’s houses and other places for that reason.
Storage can prove tricky, since the large pieces don’t compact. We now lay ours flat in a drawer stacked on top of each other, and put other pieces in the open space to get the best use of space for track storage. They would fit in baskets and bins or drawers underneath train tables, but take up a lot of room, especially if kids toss them in willy nilly during clean up.
Almost all trains will fit underneath our bridges, though, with enough clearance for track as well. And unlike the arched bridge, you can get trains underneath at any point along the length, giving a lot more flexibility for track builders big and small alike.
Each bridge piece has a small lip to support other pieces without requiring a separate piece, which also comes in handy for building more complex layouts. The box only includes two ramp pieces, though. If you want to separate the bridges, which I love about this set, you’ll need two more ramp track pieces to get up and then back down (unless you keep the track in between elevated as well).
Connected together, these bridges take up a lot of real estate. If you’re confined to a train table or other limited area, it might be frustrating to not be able to build one big bridge. We’ve never had that problem because we build on the floor, and I’ve seen train table layouts at museums and other places that use one suspension bridge successfully.
My kids, one of whom has never even been to San Francisco, call these California bridges after the red Golden Gate bridge. Last time we were there, they were about 18 months and 3 years old. Although we did stop in various places to admire the bridge and drove over several times, I didn’t realize their impressions would last so long. In fairness, quite a few books and magazines picture that iconic bridge to help keep their memories fresh.