Brio produce one of the most iconic train sets for youngsters ever designed, it has covered the carpets of little boys bedrooms for decade, and here we have one of the most iconic sections of track ever produced, the Viaduct Bridge. Made from three separate wooden parts, the bridge allows children to expand their creative influence, forming figure-of-eight tracks, and even more complex shapes. When I first started collecting the track for my younger brother, I soon realised he was getting most of his enjoyment out of building the track as a pose to pushing trains along it. The most important sections of track were those that allowed the cross-over of lines, like the Viaduct Bridge and 'switches'.
The bridge allows for another section of straight or curved track to run beneath. There's enough tunnel height for all Brio trains and carriages to travel through, with the aid of a small child's imagination, and little fingers to match. The pieces of the bridge form together - like all pieces of track - with a finger joint, almost like a linear jigsaw puzzle.
The wood is good quality, sanded down, with no splinters or jagged edges at all - completely child safe. I'd trust a toddler chewing on the wood, it's had no toxic chemical treatment to preserve the material quality. As for durability: the wood can be dropped, crushed, thrown, or introduced to water, and it won't chip, scratch, snap, or sag - within reason!
This is an all round good product (best bought as part of a set) which is simple to assemble, but which adds considerable depth to the process of building a train track. This is a good fun game that teaches children the foundations of design and build!
AVAILABILITY: www.woodentoyshop.co.uk (this site has all the Brio series pieces, including some new models - some larger viaduct bridges as well!)
One of the more interesting and 3D enabling pieces of Brio equipment, this briding piece is yet another gem from Brio, the giants of wooden railway sets. Established over 50 years ago and known as the company to create the first wooden railway, they are noted for their quality in the product design, from the wood and how it is treated to how intricate the individual pieces are, when they fit in with other pieces of Brio kit.
This viaduct bridge is designed mainly to have a rise in the track, not necessarily with any sort of track going underneath and through but not actually stopping this from happening. There are other bridges that they produce that can have tracks running underneath them quite comfortably, whereas if you do this with this piece of the set then it will be a tight squeeze and you may not get wider train pieces through the gap.
This has three parts to it. The main central part forms the viaduct element, and then there are two end pieces which join on solidly to allow a smooth transition from the bridge to flatter track parts, of which many can be purchased to fit on the end. What I love about this particular piece is in looking at grain and feeling how smooth it is - there's no rough wood here, it's gloriously smooth on the sides of the bridge. It's also very strong, as with most Brio track pieces. This bridge has had pressure put on it from all kinds of angles, with young kids in the house this is inevitable, especially when the decision is made that the train track is going to be attacked with explosives and alien invaders!
The smooth grooves allow the trains to run seamlessly on them as well, and this along with the other plus points is what sets it apart from other products. You can get inferior wooden train tracks but they warp and get chipped and splinter, or the tracks aren't as well designed as they could be and it's less smooth for the trains to roll on them. Brio though hasn't put a foot wrong in my eyes, and this particular piece is clever indeed. The individual attachments for the three pieces use the full depth of the bridge to make sure it's solid, and it does so without any changes to the smooth flowing of the tracks.
Brio pride themselves as promoting motor skills with kids - I certainly agree here, as the intricacy of the design works very well and makes kids confident with putting two pieces together and having the trains run smoothly on them. Although I have said it's not a primarily a bridge used for trains to go through, they have left enough room for this to happen if you want to, so it's versatile as well.
The only downside here is the same with all other Brio products - the price. This particular piece will cost just short of a tenner, which seems like a lot for one piece of train track but actually represents decent value because of the quality. We were lucky enough that my father in law found a big batch of this for hardly anything at a car boot sale. The only thing you'd have to work out is whether you can justify the price. With Christmas looming, it would certainly be a welcome present for most kids, and parents as well. Recommended product, you get what you pay for.
Classic over-the-hill bridge for up and over play. Length 360 mm. 3 Years +