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Ballast shoulder is not wide enough before drop off, how to fix

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Ballast shoulder is not wide enough before drop off, how to fix
Posted by rrebell on Sunday, April 25, 2021 10:16 AM

I am starting to ballast and of course I started in the hardest part. The trouble is that the track centerline shifted during construction so it is nearer the edge of the flat edge of the cork. Normally this is a non issue that ballast covers up, but here there is a drop off. Came up with one idea that I could use clear caulk to build up a wider sholder and ground cover the side so no one ever knows but if this dosn't work would like other ideas. Also did railways do small retaining walls in such areas, could not find a picture of that except for ones far from the rails.

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Posted by dknelson on Sunday, April 25, 2021 10:54 AM

The beveled edge of regular cork roadbed is nowhere near the angle of slope of real ballast, so this issue exists even when the track is dead center in the cork roadbed.  Remember that there is almost always a drainage ditch to the side of the track too, so the actual slope is almost a gentle S profile.

Caulk is (in my experience) a bit pricey and hard to control to create the angle of slope you seek.  I'd be tempted to try fairly thin lengths of foam, same height as the cork, and after the glue or cement dries, create the angle of slope using a hot knife or hot wire tool.  

Dave Nelson

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, April 25, 2021 11:06 AM

I think I'd try thin strips of thin foam or cork.  Glued to the existing cork 'shoulder' this would re-create the slope further out.  Trimming the top 'flat' is complicated a bit because the track is down, but I don't think that's too difficult; any gaps in trimming the bottom edge would be covered when you ballast.

Note the comments on modeling drainage accurately.  They are valuable.  I suspect many people using cork inherently accept that neither accurate 'rivet-counter-accurate' imitation of drainage arrangements nor angle of repose  are critical to them, but a consistent prism appearance is.  Hence using strip to keep the angles near consistent.

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, April 25, 2021 11:07 AM

Try some Sculptamold or similar product.

York1 John       

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 25, 2021 11:23 AM

There is such a situation near my home on the old Rock Island tracks, now the Metra Rock Island.

In the first photo, you see the typical ballast profile.

In the second photo, the road alongside the tracks dips down below grade, so to speak. You can see how ballast was applied in that situation.

What I would do is to apply some sort of white glue on the slope and then apply a thin layer of ballast, just like in the second photo.

Rich

ballast1.jpg

ballast2.jpg

Alton Junction

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 25, 2021 11:30 AM

Then, there is this from model-railroad-hobbyist.com.

Rich

ballast3.jpg

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, April 25, 2021 11:50 AM

I used clear caulk as it is a glue so to speak and you can form it (used to be a renovation expert).  I will never make rivit counter, I have tried but HO is and has been too small, even with skills but my over all feel can be quite good and things look good from one foot so that is what I am shooting for and of course beleivable.

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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, April 25, 2021 11:51 AM

Also didn't use white glue because not enough body.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, April 25, 2021 4:20 PM

rrebell
....the track centerline shifted during construction so it is nearer the edge of the flat edge of the cork. Normally this is a non issue that ballast covers up, but here there is a drop off....

I'll pre-aplogise if I've misunderstood your situation, but I had an area where the track is fairly close to the edge of the layout, and the landforms there drop quite severely.
I solved the issue by creating a temporary "dam" using insulator's metallic tape...

...then added some rip-rap (broken plaster) and quite a bit of ballast (crushed-and-seived limestone).
I then thoroughly sprayed the area with wet-water, then applied a generous amount of diluted white glue.  When I peeled off the tape 7 or 8 days later, the top was solid, but the base took a few more days to fully solidify.

My take on things is that the scene "suggests" that there's a drainage ditch somewhere beyond the edge of the layout...

...and that I'll eventually add some suitable groundcover to reinforce that suggestion in the area shown below...

Wayne

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 25, 2021 4:40 PM

Good stuff, Wayne.

I believe that there are some easy solutions to rrebell's issue.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by selector on Sunday, April 25, 2021 5:39 PM

As we would expect, Wayne has already encountered this and solved it.  I happen to have realized that this is the best way, for me, to do the same thing where a river meets the Drop of Death. I smooth and paint the front-facing surfaces to provide a good surface for tape of a kind, and then tape across the opening, taking care to press firmly everywhere.  That is where I feel I can do an initial trial pour of epoxy to test my work.  And as for ballast near the edge, or at it, same thing: I dam it with tape, pour the ballast, groom it, wet it, glue it, and remove the tape once I know the mass has dried and cured.

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Posted by York1 on Monday, April 26, 2021 8:54 AM

Great modeling work, Wayne!

York1 John       

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, April 26, 2021 10:40 AM

Thanks, John.  Now if I only had some time to work on the scenery, that area might look a little better.

Wayne

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, April 26, 2021 11:01 AM

Hey Wayne, great idea. This is not near the edge of layout (for that I just add a board and a new peice of facia). This is at the start of an incline (2%)  about 3' in with a siding below for the engine and flats for the car float. Everything was planned well but things can sometimes get mis aligned as you make sure all the curves are what they need to be  18" in my case for small trains and small engines. Never a problem ussually but this one spot has a drop off. Now for an update, caulk has cured and scenery reapplied to edge, just need to ballast the top, then we will find out for sure. Surveyed the layout and this is not a problem anyware else, what a place to start.

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