EVShield Controlled Double-Leaf Bascule Railway Bridge

Double-Leaf Bascule Bridge
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I have started work on another Bridge for my LEGO Railway layout, but this time I have built a Dual Track (Line), Double-Leaf Bascule Railway Bridge. This does mean I will need to build yet another baseboard to house it on, but I have received a large heap of LEGO Train Track, so all should be fine.

A Bascule Bridge (commonly referred to as a drawbridge) is a movable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances a span, or “leaf”, throughout its upward swing to provide clearance for boat traffic. It may be single or double leafed.

Double-Leaf Bascule Bridge Railway

A Bascule Bridge (commonly referred to as a drawbridge) is a movable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances a span, or “leaf”, throughout its upward swing to provide clearance for boat traffic. It may be single or double leafed.

The name comes from the French term for balance scale, which employs the same principle. Bascule bridges are the most common type of movable span because they open quickly and require relatively little energy to operate, while providing the possibility for unlimited vertical clearance for marine traffic.

Double-Leaf Bascule Bridge

Bascule bridges have been in use since ancient times. However, it was not until the adoption of steam power in the 1850s that very long, heavy spans could be moved quickly enough for practical application.

Double-Leaf Bascule Bridge Schematic

I have used a Arduino Uno with an attached Mindsensors EVShield to Control the Bridge. The EVShield attaches directly to an Arduino and allows you to connect up to 4x NXT or EV3 motors, and 4x NXT or EV3 Sensors, and program them through Arduino sketch. You can attach up to 6x RC Servo motors to EVShield.  The EVShield also has headers on top to attach existing Arduino shields.


The Arduino UNO R3 is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega328. It has 14x digital input/output pins (of which 6x can be used as PWM outputs), 6x analog inputs, a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a USB connection, a power jack, an ICSP header, and a reset button. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started.

Arduino IDE

You can write your programs for the Arduino, using Arduino’s C/C++ programming environment pictured above, and the EVShield Library. Alternatively, you can use the JavaScript interface available in Johnny-Five using Node.js.

Johnny-Five is the original JavaScript Robotics programming framework, which was released in 2012. Johnny-Five is maintained by a community of passionate software developers and hardware engineers.


Example Code:


When installed into the Train Layout, the Arduino with have a ‘Bluetooth v4.0″ module attached so it can interact with the Locomotives fitted with “sBricks” instead of a standard LEGO Power Functions Receiver. Can’t have a Loco hitting the bridge when it’s deck is heading upwards. Also I will attach Signaling Lights to alert rail traffic of the Bridge’s current status.

The Bridge speed of movement will also slow to make it appear more realistic. It will also take out a lot of the vibration in the bridge’s deck when in motion. Also despite what appears as a large (One LEGO Stud) distance between both bridge decks when the bridge is lowered, the Locomotives and Rolling-stock traverse it with no issues.

Grand Central Chicago 1901

So for now, please stay tuned for further developments as integrate this new bridge into my Modular LEGO Railway Layout. It should be a great fit with my existing Vertical-Lifting-Span Railway Bridge. Next off I might build a Single Train Track (Line) Swing Bridge to pair with this Double-Leaf Bascule Railway Bridge.

Double-Leaf Bascule Railway Bridge



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