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Roadbed & track

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  • Member since
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  • From: Dallas, TX
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Roadbed & track
Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, May 07, 2018 11:18 AM

Not sure who I had the side conversation before about using minimal roadbed but I am finding with my curve laden new layout it isn't working out so well.   For one the Woodland Scenics foam roadbed is too pliable and the track is warping in areas leading to flanges lifting out of the flangeway and some derailments.     So I flipped back to full width cork track roadbed.    Much easier.    Also replaced my sectional track with flex track..............less feeder wires and I also find with flex track I can up the curve radius just a little from 22 inches on curves.     For roadbed I am basically following the you tube video.    Waterproof wood glue on one half the road bed and tack it down with thumb tacks then use the first half of the roadbed as a guide for the second half and repeat with the glue and thumbtacks.     I used the sectional track to trace a rough curve on the benchwork of what the radius curve should look like at 22 inch and then if there is any room I can expand it a little more.    As others stated with double track use 2.5 inches off track centers for clearance and that seems to work fine.

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Posted by SouthPenn on Monday, May 07, 2018 10:42 PM

I used Atlas Track Nails to install the cork roadbed on my layout. It's much easier to make changes and faster to install with nails.

I also installed flex track with these nails. 

South Penn
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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, May 07, 2018 11:21 PM

SouthPenn
I used Atlas Track Nails to install the cork roadbed on my layout. It's much easier to make changes and faster to install with nails. I also installed flex track with these nails. 

I'll look into that.   The glue is working out OK so far because the trackplan is pretty much set in stone now.    I layed it out on paper then with sectional track.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 5:42 AM

SouthPenn

I used Atlas Track Nails to install the cork roadbed on my layout. It's much easier to make changes and faster to install with nails.

I also installed flex track with these nails. 

I have done the same on my last three layouts.  Yes it's old school and bucks the trend of gluing everything down with caulks or adhesive.

The really great thing about using Atlas track nails is track is fastened down instantly AND you can tweak it a bit to get it "just right".  If something is not right, no problem, just pull the nail back out and re-lay.

I prefer to use sheet homasote in yards and traditional cork in the rest of the areas.

Here is track going down on cork "old school":

Here is track going down on sheet Homasote (which has a coat of latex to seal it):

 

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 6:28 AM

I use homasote roadbed like thst from Cascade and I install if with a pneumatic brad nailer, then I glue the track with adheasive caulk, Fast, easy, solid.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 10:33 AM

Save your self some money. Stick with the cork, it is good stuff and way cheaper. Also, just in case that remotely possible headache or change of ideas happens, this is what I do in advance: I nail the track in one spot almost all the way and then slide the roadbed under. Then I nail it down the rest of the way so that by repeating this for each nail hole, you have adequetely fastened roadbed that can be removed easily at any time, and it will still conform quite nicely to the curves, twists, bends, and straights you may have. I used to glue it, then I tried my new idea. I am not going back.

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Posted by bearman on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 11:50 AM

I have the WS scenics on my layout and I have not had the problem you describe.  glue it down with adhesive caulk and it works just fine.  Is your layout in a climate controlled location?

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 4:13 PM

bearman
Is your layout in a climate controlled location?

Yes it is in a inside bedroom the house has a new HVAC system.    The Woodland scenics foam absorbs the ties if you nail it down, the cork resists that.    Just remove the track from the WS foam and you will see the ties imprinted substantially.   On straight sections it is not an issue but in curves and switches it tends to warp the track in my experience with it.

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 7:16 PM

 I used WS rooadbed on a previous layout and had no issues, certainly not causing it to buckle the track, but then I was only curving it to a 30" minimum radius. 30" and larger it does not need to be split down the center, for tighter radius curves they recommend splitting it along the already partially cut line down the middle, so it doesn't bunch up on the inside of the curve.

                                --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, May 10, 2018 8:00 AM

Isn't the W-S road bed soft and spongy?  I've read some comments by people have had problems later on with ballast and scenery cracking and chipping when the spongy W-S roadbed deformed and the scenery above it started coming loose.  For that reason, keep that in mind if you go that route. 

Cork has very little give so that eventuality is virually nill; cork has just enough give to allow you to conform it to normal track configuration and can be sanded where-ever needed for uniformity before laying track.

I prefer the split down the middle of cork - to me it is a major advantage as I can lay the cork dead-on the center-line which I draw, and then the seam is where I can put the track nails in.  Very accurate that way. 

I find the idea of covering over the center-line with a solid piece of sub roadbed a method which makes it harder to accurately follow the center-line since it is totally hidden.  The old school split cork method with track nails means there is nothing at all to obscure your center-line; you simply butt the inside edge of the cord right on the center line and secure - I use Atlas track nails about every 3 inches on straight aways and every 2 inches on curves.  That has worked excellent on 3 layouts so far.

If you object to the track nails visible on the ties, no problem.  After the ballast is fixed in place, you can simply pull them out - plug the holds with a bit of spackle or suitable material and weather.  Nothing showing when complete.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, May 10, 2018 11:24 AM

And Cascade homasote roadbed is spit in the middle like cork, only better in my view. The straight pieces are "straight". The curves are curfed to allow bending.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BATMAN on Thursday, May 10, 2018 1:48 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I install if with a pneumatic brad nailer

Why didn't I think of that. I have both an electric and air brad nailer. I could have used it on my spline roadbed as well, even though I glued the splines together, I put a drywall screw through to reinforce them. A brad nailer would have done the trick with less fuss.Dunce

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, May 10, 2018 2:49 PM

 Yes, the WS roadbed is somewhat soft - it's not as soft as say the foam in a pillow though. And why are you leaning on your track like that? It's NOT going to flex and crack ballast under the usual weight of a train. I dunno, worked fine for me. I went with cork last layout because it was all 22-24" curves. Using Cascade stuff on the new one. I'd actually love to use both Cascade AND cork, that was my quietest test. I don't really want to use full homasote sheets and cork, although I could probably get sheet or rolls of cork and run it under the homasote roadbed material.

                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, May 10, 2018 3:20 PM

Never mind, Smile, Wink & Grin

Mike.

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Posted by bearman on Friday, May 11, 2018 8:21 AM

The only reason I asked about climate control is that the foam may get gooey at high temperatures, like we have here in garages in Phoenix in the summer.  I suspect that track nails will not be optimal for foam roadbed.  But, as I indicated, I have had no problems uisng it.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, May 11, 2018 12:31 PM

 If you have a layouy in Arizona that is not climae controlled, I'd think you would have more problems with cork - the heat and low humidity would dry it out and dried out cork just crumbles. The WS foam could potentially melt if you left it on the exposed dashboard of your car, parked in the sun, but not likely indoors even if it got up to 120. 

                            --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, May 11, 2018 5:13 PM

rrinker
The WS foam could potentially melt if you left it on the exposed dashboard of your car, parked in the sun, but not likely indoors even if it got up to 120.

They have covers for dashboard out in AZ so they don't crack.  Last time I was in Phoenix it was 117 and in an underpass the car outside temp indicator was 126.  We drove to the airport at 4 am and it was 103.  I don't know how they do it.  If your air conditioner fails, you could die.

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by hardcoalcase on Saturday, May 12, 2018 9:51 AM

CMStPnP

For roadbed I am basically following the you tube video.    Waterproof wood glue on one half the road bed and tack it down with thumb tacks then use the first half of the roadbed as a guide for the second half and repeat with the glue and thumbtacks.  

In the past I've used waterproof wood glue for the cork roadbed, and found that it is very difficult (darn-near impossible) to remove it and make changes after it has fully set.

I've done track with the track nails too, but years ago, decided I didn't care for the look of the nail heads.

On later layouts, I switched to using latex caulk for both the roadbed and track.  For roadbed, I tack down the ends of curves with T-pins, but you can remove these after about five minutes as the caulk grabs pretty quickly.  You can make changes easily with a putty knife or scraper, unless the cork has been down for years, in which case it takes some effort, but its do-able.

For the track, you can remove it the same way, and if you work slowly, do so without damaging the ties.  

Jim

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 5:21 PM

hardcoalcase

 I've done track with the track nails too, but years ago, decided I didn't care for the look of the nail heads.

Jim

You can still fix track down with nails and after the track has been ballasted pull the out.  So you get the advantages but removing the later no visual issues.  ;-)

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:29 PM

BigDaddy
Last time I was in Phoenix it was 117 and in an underpass the car outside temp indicator was 126.  We drove to the airport at 4 am and it was 103.  I don't know how they do it.

 

Phoenix is an exception to the rule around here. It has a high percentage of asphalt so it retains heat. I'm up the road a bit from there and the high temperatures in the day are lower, and overnight, the temperature drops 30-40 degrees. 

No one in their right mind lives in Phoenix--except maybe Diamondback fans.

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by bearman on Sunday, May 13, 2018 5:31 AM

I cannot speak to cork, Randy, since I have never used it, but there are some folks who have a layout in their garage and regret using foam.  As for living in Phoenix, I grew up back east, and spent the winter shoveling snow and freezing.  When Januray rolls around in Phoenix, I am on the golf course.  I'll take the stifling heat in Phoenix any day over the cold and snow.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by hardcoalcase on Sunday, May 13, 2018 10:12 AM

riogrande5761

You can still fix track down with nails and after the track has been ballasted pull the out.  So you get the advantages but removing the later no visual issues.  ;-)

 
True, but I plan to paint the track prior to ballasting, so if using nails, I'd need to paint, ballast, then pull nails and then go back and touch up the paint where each nail was pulled.  However, I'm quite sure that these extra steps won't phase a modeler that prefers the old school method.
 
One other small advantage to using the caulk for track laying - it comes in a variety of colors so you can match it to the ballast color, which helps hide any thin spots.
 
Jim
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, May 13, 2018 10:20 AM

bearman
As for living in Phoenix, I grew up back east, and spent the winter shoveling snow and freezing.  When Januray rolls around in Phoenix, I am on the golf course.  I'll take the stifling heat in Phoenix any day over the cold and snow.

Yeah, I hear that. I'm up the 17 from you about an hour and a half--just enough to take the edge off the heat. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by bearman on Monday, May 14, 2018 8:52 AM

SpaceMouse
 

Yeah, I hear that. I'm up the 17 from you about an hour and a half--just enough to take the edge off the heat. 

 

 
Yeah, I know where Rimrock is located.  Have never been there, but am familiar with the surrounding places, Camp Verde, Cornville, etc. The area has exploded with people in the last 20 years or so.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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