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Ballast or alternative - General Model Railway Discussion. - Other Areas. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Jul 12th, 2017 08:07 pm
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Kev
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Hi this might sound like a silly question. I'm not a lover of ballast so is there an alternative to using ballast such as cork underlay as I'm starting a shunting layout from scratch. I have ballasted in the past and I seem to muck up my points. So I have stopped using the stuff. I was thinking of using the cork underlay and bringing the scenery to the edges of the underlay. ;-)



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 Posted: Wed Jul 12th, 2017 09:39 pm
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Grumblebum
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Yes Kev,

There is an alternative, more details to follow once I get some pictures etc of what I use.

Best regards



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 Posted: Thu Jul 13th, 2017 12:35 am
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Longchap
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Hi Kev,

Properly painted, ballasted and weathered track looks fab and groovy, however, many can't face the task of ballasting track work, particularly point work, so have you considered pre-formed track underlay, such as made by Peco for example?

Their range can be seen here:

http://www.hattons.co.uk/stocklist/1000407/1000588/1000678/0/Peco_Products_OO_Gauge_1_76_Scale_Track_underlay/prodlist.aspx

Other manufacturers are of course available.

Cheers,

Bill



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At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

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 Posted: Thu Jul 13th, 2017 12:54 am
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Ben Alder
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Take a look at this stuff - makes ballasting a doddle  - http://www.tracklay.shopbuilderpro.com/page/tracklay-underlay -
I use it for plain track and use Peco underlay for points . To match the ballasted track I brush Copydex on the foam, put the point in place and sprinkle loose ballast on to it. Leave to dry and shake off excess. The same thing can be done with Peco plain underlay if you wish but Copydex dries quickly so it might be best doing this in small lengths. The foam can also be painted with acrylics to make it look less "foamy" and to match whatecer colour of ballast you decide to use.

HTH

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 Posted: Sat Jul 15th, 2017 03:39 pm
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xdford
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Hello Kev

Max has covered this topic, I think rather admirably in

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=13263&forum_id=62&highlight=max+ballasting+points#p236209

I have not tried it myself yet as I am still testing some relaid track but I think Max has done the hard yards for us in your situation!

Cheers from Oz

Trevor

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 Posted: Sat Jul 15th, 2017 04:54 pm
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Longchap
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Thanks Trevor and Max,

I knew I'd seen that most useful tip before, but couldn't quite remember where!

Now safely filed in my model railway archives.

Many thanks,

Bill



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At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

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 Posted: Sun Jul 16th, 2017 12:23 am
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BCDR
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Hi Kev,

No pictures ( was going to do some when I start ballasting), but another adaptation of a method that John (Brossard) first showed me for adding the trackside walkway (usually cinders in steam days).

1. Fix track/turnouts with pins (not through the sleepers, but using 2 pins either side of the rails at the ends and in the middle).
2. Use masking tape to define where gets ballasted either side of the rails. Mask off the point blades and the contact areas on the rails (and any other moving bits such as those joints in Peco turnouts). You can mask off the tie bar between the points, but it's easier to take a couple of bits of thin card, ballast them, and slip in either side of the bar with a small spot of adhesive on the sleeper side underneath to hold in place. That way you avoid getting adhesive under the bar. Or like most people, don't bother, just paint the gaps.
3. Using a fine brush, paint between the sleepers with a 50:40:10 by volume of PVA, water and IPA (95-99%, not rubbing alcohol, which contains funny stuff such as camphor). Mix well, and keep the container closed when not using. Under the rails, either side, down the middle.
4. Sprinkle with ballast, let sit for 15 minutes, vacuum excess ballast (and reuse).
5. For long (boring) tangent (straight) or curved track sections, raise the track (the pins will keep it in place, paint the track bed except for the end inch or so using a 1" brush with the adhesive mix, drop track, check position (use the ends, having marked the track bed and sleeper in the middle), ballast. Use the brush to complete.

If you want to be more prototypical, spend a few minutes cutting off the webbing between the sleepers, that way you'll get air underneath, JLTRT. Not that important for a yard, where the ballast was often up to the bottom of the rails (and also over a lot of the sleepers).

PVA at 50% concentration flows well, just like acrylic paint, the alcohol draws the adhesive up the sides of the ballast, but not over the top. Keep away from dish washing soap as a surface tension reducer, even the unscented stuff leaves a residue.

Using this method it's possible to do 6-9" at a time, and depending on the boredom level, a couple of yards or more in an hour. Using the paint and drop method, a yard every 2-3 minutes. And no glossy ballast or rocks on the sleepers (unless you want them).

Nigel



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 Posted: Sun Jul 16th, 2017 10:09 am
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allan downes
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I've never used Peco underlay myself because I've heard that it breaks down after time.

Allan 

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 Posted: Sun Jul 16th, 2017 12:57 pm
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Longchap
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allan downes wrote: I've never used Peco underlay myself because I've heard that it breaks down after time.



Allan 


'Other manufacturers are of course available.'




:cheers

Bill



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At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

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 Posted: Sun Jul 16th, 2017 01:07 pm
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Sol
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But the Peco underlay was designed to fit the Peco turnouts and track whereas other brands are just plain foam.



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 Posted: Sun Jul 16th, 2017 06:03 pm
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Ben Alder
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It does crumble after a time, but how long before it does seems to have varied over the years. I certainly used it in the past and still do on hidden(Peco Code75) track for the continual run. When I dismantled my previous layout the foam was about twelve years old and while not as springy as new, still appeared to have plenty life left in it. The deciding factor might be how long is my layout likely to exist. Many seem to last less than a decade, which would mean no such problem would arise.

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 Posted: Sun Jul 16th, 2017 06:57 pm
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allan downes
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I do know for a fact that at the Peco Modelrama every so often they have to change the curved track on continuous run layouts because the outer rails wear thin and thus loose gauge and, it wouldn't surprise me if they changed the underlay at the same time

Anyway, who keeps a layout more than a couple of years then scrap it in order to make room for an even grander scheme of things where, for example, I'm forever changing mine on almost a daily basis ! 


Allan.


Now, where's that plan book.....

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