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Just started to think on Ballasting the new track.

Read many articles on the use of N gauge as against OO gauge (mine is OO Gauge) and considered N gauge ballast Dark Grey with a mix of Light Grey.

Now my track lenght of 4 lines is about 20m run and when I looked at the prices and quantities of suppliers it was a shock to me that I would need a bank loan (bad word at moment) to cover this area.

Any better and cheaper ways have the members done?

Oldtrain
 

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In depth idiot
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Try pet shops, garden centres, aquatic suppliers and the like for the grits and sands they offer. It's usuallly only a few pounds for a large bag, and even if you have to sieve out a lot of larger lumps and end up throwing half away it is still cheap. (If you are really lucky, your other half is into gardening and you can pack up the coarse sieved off remains as 'Sam Ramsbottom's Potting-on horticultural grit' and that makes a cheap stocking filler or birthday present.)
 

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I think I got about 20-30m out of a big jar of woodland scenics ballast. It would cost much more buying little packets. I try not to overdo the quantity first up then add a little if its a bit low to the sleeper height.
Andrew
 

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Hi

I'd agree with Andrew - It really does not take as much as you think, so do not scrimp on ballast quality.

I have just ballasted my test track which is a double track main line and three sidings about 15 feet long. It has used about 1/2 a coffee mug of ballast to do it all to the sleeper tops. (and it used less glue than you would expect - about the same volume of my favourite mix (equal parts of... water, PVA and methylated sprits glue mix)

If you are using a track-bed with a shoulder, if you first do all the shoulders by painting them with full strength PVA then sprinkling ballast on, they will hold the ballast in place for the top area really well and you will use much less.

I also "recover" ballast with a small portable vacuum cleaner (gift from the wife) for re-use... however a bit of panty-hose or similar fine material as a filter in a standard vacuum hose does the same job pretty well!

regards

Richard
 

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I refer you to my thread on ballast discolourisation, I have now found that Gaugemaster 'n' gauge ballast seems to work best. It still has a greeny tint when first put down but is fine when dry. OO gauge ballast is generally far too big but is handy as a foundation between sleepers. I have a large engine shed area with over 20 locomotives and for that I shall use sand mixed with coal dust from the beach, I don't know if it will work but will let you know. The coal dust is fine for wagon loads and is free. I have also tried sawdust in places to get texture but not as ballast, yet.
 

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I've just been laying some ballast on my slowly evolving loft layout.
1. A £3 tub of fine ballast from "Modellers mate" that I bought at an exhibition did half of double oval 10' by 15' ish but I've now used Gaugemaster n gauge ballast (like Patrick) which has a slightly more varied colour. Probably looks better if ballast not quite the same on all tracks?

2. I had a stretch of track which I'd used oo ballast on (which had turned green,) and putting a thin layer of n gauge ballast on top looked fine.

3. As a related issue, I used precision paints rusty rail colour on sides of rails, at first I thought it looked too light but the next day it looks dark enough for a main line.

Regards,
Bill
 

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Further to my last post, forgot to mention that Richard's idea of using full strength pva to build up shoulders for ballast along track then filling between them sounds really good, I'll try that on next section to be done (took me 2 goes the last time).

Cheers,
Bill
 

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Do not use the fine cat litter. It looks about right in colour and size (at least the stuff in Canada does) but it is water soluble over time and makes one heck of a mess. Note I did not find out the hard-way on the MR but when we put it down on snow/ice for traction (I live in Canada) and it started to warm up. It forms the most obnoxious grey goo you can imagine that sticks to boots and clogs up the poors of the boot cleaner with guess what, more sticky wet grey goop. But there is more, it sinks into the snow/ice forming an intimate eutectic goo mixture. Adding salt only makes it softer and more gooey. But it is not over yet, when all the snow has gone it leave this gooey sticky grey mess on the path that rain alone will not wash away. It took us nearly a month to finally get away from tracking this stuff into the house. The best thing was it was the wife's idea to try it. Sorry not MR but I would hate to see anyone make that mistake on a model
 

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I have used sand and coal from my local beach as a foundation and thin N Gauge ballast on top for my layout. If you seperate the coal from the sand it is great for wagons' loads too. I used to grumble about ships cleaning their tanks in the North Sea but I am helping to keep our beaches clean so I suppose I am being GREEN too.
 

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Tut-tut Patrick. You do know that the sand on the foreshore belongs to the Queen don't you?
 

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If that's the case then it must have been she who took 60 tons to fillup sand bags after the summer flood in 2007!!!
 

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QUOTE (poliss @ 26 Mar 2009, 11:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Tut-tut Patrick. You do know that the sand on the foreshore belongs to the Queen don't you?


Oh, it looks like I'll have to give mine back then, mind you I could say I collected it off Margate seafronts roads after the last North Sea gale!

Regards
 
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