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I've not tried it myself but I've long considered that perhaps bicycle brake cable would work the same way as wire in a tube and maybe offer a cheaper alternative? If any readers have experience of this I'd be interested to read their opinions.

Personally I use either metal coathanger wire, old rails or umbrella ribs for under baseboard point rodding, but with my small layouts it is possible to reach over a foot or so and operate all the points from the same place so I don't actually have the need for longer runs of mechanical point 'rods'.

On foam underlay - 1. Fit it to the underside of the track then pin the track down - or 2. Glue it to the track then glue the combined track/ballast unit down. Depending upon what your baseboard surface is made of and how tight your curves are if using flextrack. A combination of pinning and gluing is the belt and braces approach. Use PVA glue it won't disolve the foam.

Either way of fastening down though you need to add ballast to track before adding track and ballast to the baseboard. If you lay the ballast strip first you'll never get all the sleepers to fit into the moulded recesses.
 
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