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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First let me say that this idea would only be suitable for well-braced permanent layouts where weight is not a problem.

My idea is to make up a mortar mix of dry cement and very fine sand. This could be applied to the track in the usual way with spoon and brush or any other technique that you prefer. When you are satisfied with the shape of the ballast, spray it with a fine mist of water OR, and this is what I think makes the idea interesting, you could just leave it to absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Obviously it would then need painting to the right colour.

I have not tried the idea. Has anyone done it? Can anyone forsee problems or reasons for not giving it a go?
 

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QUOTE (Robert Stokes @ 26 Oct 2007, 14:47) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>First let me say that this idea would only be suitable for well-braced permanent layouts where weight is not a problem.

My idea is to make up a mortar mix of dry cement and very fine sand. This could be applied to the track in the usual way with spoon and brush or any other technique that you prefer. When you are satisfied with the shape of the ballast, spray it with a fine mist of water OR, and this is what I think makes the idea interesting, you could just leave it to absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Obviously it would then need painting to the right colour.

I have not tried the idea. Has anyone done it? Can anyone forsee problems or reasons for not giving it a go?

I've done it with gauge 1 on my garden layout - a temporary (10 years ago) solution to get over a level change, mixed up sharp sand with dry cement 4 : 1 & being outside just left it. The actual weather has done the rest.

No reason that it could not work for OO either, as you say for layouts not subject to movement or weight restrictions.
 

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QUOTE (Robert Stokes @ 26 Oct 2007, 14:47) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Can anyone forsee problems or reasons for not giving it a go?
Cement dust is very fine and will 'travel' at the slightest provocation, it will also likely settle in the sand/cement mix if the trains are run before it has gone off, resulting in a weak mix at the top and loose sand. Sand is very abrasive and isn't getting any closer to my OO mechanisms than I can help. (For this reason I wash stone ballast before it goes on my layouts.) Cement will also accelerate the formation of verdigris on alloys containg copper, like nickel-silver rails.

So if you were going to do it I suggest at least getting the humidity up once laid, so it goes off quickly. Leaving a kettle or a wall paper steamer boiling in the room would do the trick.
 

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Personally I wouldn't consider it at all for one very good reason - it would make any remedial work almost impossible.

Regards
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your replies. You have almost steered me away from the idea. However, before finally giving up on it, I might try a test piece using an old piece of code 100 track and a point that is past its best, neither of which is needed in my storage sidings. Britho, I would hope to get it right first time so no remedial is necessary - am I dreaming?

Cheers, Robert
 

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I think for an indoor layout it is a no no but might be suitable for garden railways where large lengths of well supported track need ballasting
 

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Hi all, I did this 30 years ago on a garden O gauge layout, but used 1mm single sized grit from a sand pit at Leighton Buzzard, it worked very well for about 5 years and then I left the track current switched on for several weeks and got a natural diode develop accross the track, full power only in one direction a dead short in the other. I then lifted all the track about 90 yards, bar 1 yard that would not come away from the base, its still out in the garden to this day, but the rest of the track was easily cleaned off, including three points and used in the loft.

If you use this method then the mix has to be right, 4 sand to 1 of cement gave the best results and you have to wet it before applying, if used dry and then wetted it makes a mess and runs under the sleepers, I know, I had to lift about 5 yards that I had done this way as stock kept comming off on the humps that developed, semi dry but wet worked well and gave a very firm track bed that stood young children running on it!

Do not have any pictures from that period, but can say the 1 yard still out is as good as the day it was laid.

regards to all

mike g
 

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QUOTE (Robert Stokes @ 26 Oct 2007, 19:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Britho, I would hope to get it right first time so no remedial is necessary - am I dreaming?

I wasn't suggesting it wouldn't be right first time around, but how often in modelling does something get damaged or need to be changed?

Regards
 

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Paul Hamilton aka &quot;Lancashire Fusilier&quot;
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Sorry to resurrect if not desired however concrete shrinks with time and will exert forces (unwanted in most cases) onto your track work. Additionally, to ensure the cement powder is fully saturated is also a challenge too.
 
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