Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 20 of 46 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently returned back to railway modelling (43, last did it as a teenager). I've built the baseboard, and decided on my track plan and I am about to start laying the track. But what to lay it on ? I have got some Peco Streamline Moulded Ballast Inlay, but to be honest, I don't like it. If I look at all the REALLY NICE layout's in the magazines, they never seem to use it. What's more, if I do use it, how to I make that nice little pile of ballast either side.

Sorry guys, I know there are similar postings to this, but the only relevant one I found was a debate about foam versus cork. I'm a bit of a novice after all these years.

Ideas or advice would be welcome.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
526 Posts
The choice seems to lie somewhere among 1) nothing 2) cork 3) foam and 4) rubber .

There are exponents of all of them.

I cheated, I used Tillig Styrostone.

Nothing:- obviously glueing track straight onto baseboards is an option but can be noisy.
Cork:- Good but expensive now as cheap cork DIY tiles seem in short supply.
Foam:- solid foam is OK but again the cheap stuff is a bit inclined to go to chips. Proper layout foam as you have is OK if you spray paint the track and foam with acrylic paints. Don't use spirit based anything on this stuff as it dissolves.
Rubber:- Camping sleep mats have been suggested.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,854 Posts
I think the general consensus here is to use a closed-cell type of foam such as is sold by Woodland Scenics. The pre-formed Hornby/Peco type track bed is 'open-cell' which goes brittle and crumbles away over time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,201 Posts
Hi The Shunt Master,

Welcome to the forum


As has been said the Peco/Hornby underlays do not last and crumble in time to dust, Woodland Scenics trackbed is excellent and gives you the right side profile ready for ballasting angle ........... giving a very queite running track, on another thread on the forum it is the reccomended type to be used.

Heres a drawing showing the end on profile of it cut it to length and in the centre to create a straight edge if you have parallel tracks ....... glue down with Copydex to help with noise reduction.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,998 Posts
Hi Shuntmaster,I didnt use anything on my layout ,Probably "cause Im a bit of a tighta**e, but seriously,I thought about it and tried but didnt like the look of it,plus I run dcc sound and always have music on so never notice much noise unless Im running a five foot long goods train. IMHO it can make certain parts of a good layout a bit toy-like,but thats my personal view. "Happy railwaying"
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,578 Posts
Have to agree with frame on this. I dont like underlay but if I HAD to use it Id go for cork.
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
Hi & welcome to MRF.

As another member said - the open cell foam goes brittle after a while & crumbles - the underlay made with it is another "OK in it's time" product but one that should now be consigned to history.

The closed cell type of foam is probably the best in terms of sound insulation, other people use cork. Whatever you use don't pin the track down - the noise will then go straight through into the baseboard. A latex based adhesive helps the noise insulation.

Hope this helps.
 

·
Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
Joined
·
844 Posts
I use the closed cell variety marketed by Richard J at DCC Concepts which is more reliable than the Woodland Scenics variety in terms of its manufactured dimensions and offers great noise reduction. The proviso with that is that you don't use track pins that transmit the vibration and hence noise through to the rigid baseboard thus negating much of the benefit. I glued my track to the foam.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,837 Posts
"Anyone got any good tips on how to cut a similar profile in cork" (TimP)

Don't bother is my answer. I tried experimenting with cutting the cork (I use Wickes 1/8 inch thick floor tiles - not bad at £7 for 9 square feet) at an angle but it proved very difficult to keep the angle constant. I gave up and just cut it square-edged. I haven't yet started ballasting but when I do I don't expect any difficulty in producing a shoulder with the ballast material. (Perhaps I'm naive and it won't be that easy.)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,201 Posts
QUOTE (TimP @ 10 Feb 2009, 09:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Anyone got any good tips on how to cut a similar profile in cork?

Hi Tim P,

A small block of wood with an angle on one side with an Xacto or similar knife blade screwed to it the depth of the cork and the right angle works, use a steel ruler as a straight edge to run the block against as you cut the cork, keep pressure on the ruler to avoid any wavering of the blade.

 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
*** Neil... have you any more track to lay?

If so I am so certain its bettter that I will send you some of my closed cell EVA foam no charge to prove the point. I sold over 10,000 metres of it last year and will exceed that this year - in fact nearly three cubic metres of it arrived yesterday! I can honestly say I have never had a client that sampled it and didn't buy more.

I never sell anything I won't use myself or haven't proven to be top quality. I actually made this product as I was so P-ed off that woodland scenics HO Roadbed varied by over 1mm in thickness box to box when I tried it.

I've now also used over 400 metres of my own roadbed on my own layout, which is C&L track and hand made points throughout.

Cork only came into common use as quality synthetics didn't exist when it was first used... and the real answer as to why many still use it is just "Habit" ... same as many things in the hobby. (Althought the really fragile open cell foam used by Peco was prone to failure, which didn't help - however Peco material and our quality EVA foam are chalk and cheese... nowhere near the same material!

EVA foam makes a far, far better surface for the track than cork or just laying on the BB, it has proper angle of repose for ballast as a shoulder angle and there really are no downsides to it at all. If bought and specified properly its remarkably consistent in thickness and quality and EVA foam is good enough to get a 10 year UV rating here in Australia, so it'll last forever in the UK!

BTW - Bromsgrove also have stock of it in UK at the moment.

regards

Richard

QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 10 Feb 2009, 07:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I prefer cork as I have had many negative experiences with foam.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 10 Feb 2009, 23:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>*** Neil... have you any more track to lay?

If so I am so certain its bettter that I will send you some of my closed cell EVA foam no charge to prove the point. I sold over 10,000 metres of it last year and will exceed that this year - in fact nearly three cubic metres of it arrived yesterday! I can honestly say I have never had a client that sampled it and didn't buy more.

regards

Richard
No, it's all laid Richard, however I dare say it will not be the last layout I make. So I'll look into your foam next time around.

Is it a flat strip or does it have those stick through the track bits the PECO or Hornby stuff has?

cheers

Neil
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Richard,
I still have all the track to lay on my layout, and was pretty well set on using cork for underlay. I need to be convinced that your closed cell EVA foam roadbed is better than cork.
Therefore I have some questions for you.
1: Do you still ballast in the "traditional" method after laying the track on to your roadbed?

2: Is your roadbed available in Canada?

3: Is it possible to obtain a sample from you?

Hope thats not too many questions.

Thanks and cheers,

Chris
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
***Neil, Chris: To answer you both.

The trackbed is flat on top with 60 degree ballast shoulders. This is far better than having sleeper indents which create more problems than answers. Its designed to be properly ballasted, unlike Peco etc.

Yes I ballat normally after laying track. I have my own way of ballasting at the same time as laying the track but thats not for everyone as you have to be 100% confident in the tracks accuracy and placement..

However its easy to ballast the traditional way using the roadbed. I prefer a mix of glue, water and methylated spirits though.

If really tidy ballast is wanted, you can paint the shoulder with straight glue then sprinkle on ballast and let dry/vacuum before covering the track in the normal way. This gives really nice shoulders and makes for a generally tidy ballasting job.

Re Canada - no, its not on sale there at the moment, sorry - Just AU and UK right now. I can ship directly though. You could also use WS foam which is siilar and will definately be available.

If you look in my gallery you will see some layout "in progress" shots - all that track is on foam.

Richard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
All,

Thanks a lot for all the advice. I'm amazed ... I joined a fly fishing forum the other month, posted a thread and got nothing. I posted on this forum, went away for 2 days, and got 17 replies. You do the forum proud. Different points of view of course, but all good advice and top tips.

Tempted to try out Richards EVA foam. Where's the best place to get some, and does it come in N gauge ?
Need to get the track and underlay down, then will come back for advice on ballasting ... you guys know what you are up to.

Thanks again.
Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Thankas Richard,
I need more info. regarding your EVA foam underlay, and have sent you an e-mail . Need to know how to order from you .
Glad to hear that you are not in the area affected by the horrendous fires. We in Canada often complain about the cold and snow and ice, but can be thankful we do not experience bush fires on such a large scale as Australia.

Cheers,
Chris
 
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
Top