Cork Track Bed

Any questions about designing a model railway layout or problems with track work.
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 5:10 pm

Cork Track Bed

Postby dowdings » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:51 pm


I have read alot on here about using cork as a track bed and making it easier to create a relealistic shoulder to the ballast.

However, what cork do you use and what is the ideal thicknes for a OO layout?
Do i need to buy specific railway cork which is already cut to size or just buy cork tiles and then cut them up?

Thanks in advance

Posts: 435
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 1:27 pm

Re: Cork Track Bed

Postby noel » Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:26 pm


My preference is to use the rolls of 3mm cork available from craft shops.
It comes 300 and 600mm wide, and about 5 metres in length. It is versitile
for cutting.

Where a mainline runs near sidings, I usually use a second thickness immediately
under the width of the sleepers, to show off the better maintenance of the gravel
bedding for the mainline.


Posts: 462
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:12 pm
Location: up the junction

Re: Cork Track Bed

Postby craw607 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:51 pm

I've used the close cell foam for laminate for underlay.
Just another option that you could think about.

Posts: 794
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:46 am
Location: Kalgoorlie West Australia

Re: Cork Track Bed

Postby buz » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:52 pm

Hi dowdings
I use split cork track bed made for model railway use, its not expensive and easy to use.
But you must take care to make sure your measurements are right or the track will not line up with it.
Some people use sheet cork and even cork floor tiles each method works.
I would go for which is the most readily available source of cork.
do make sure you give it a light sand once down to make sure its flat and the track will sit level on it.
I also paint mine grey on the basis it looks better than bare cork until such times as I get around to ballasting.
I tend to do what takes my fancy rather than following a set order once track is down and trains running so bare cork for me would be an eye sore.
regards John
A model railway can be completed but it's never finished

User avatar
Posts: 1061
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:46 pm
Location: near Blandford

Re: Cork Track Bed

Postby bike2steam » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:00 am

The best cork is that supplied by Charles Cantrill (Quality Cork), for 00 gauge track bed profile use 1/16" for pre 1968, or 1/8" for post 1968 or pre 1968 ex GWR main line.

Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:56 am

Re: Cork Track Bed

Postby harun » Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:47 pm


Below are the applications of cork-beds.

Basics and ballasting.

Application on points and special tracks.

Application on flexible tracks

Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:24 am

Re: Cork Track Bed

Postby jem12 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:34 am

i am from Australia. Roadbed makes your track look more prototypical keeping your track above the encompassing area. It also has some sound deadening capabilities.

Most cork roadbed that I even have seen comes with a forty five degree slice down the center . Separate the 2 pieces, then lay them with the straight sides together along the center line of your track. i feel most people consider this the right width for normal roadbed.

Sounds like an honest deal to me.

User avatar
Posts: 13484
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: Cork Track Bed

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:28 am

Ten Years on this supplier is still around -
the link is the same as the clicks you need from the start of their website.
The sound deadening properties of cork don't work if you encase it in glued down ballast!
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

User avatar
Posts: 1097
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 7:53 pm
Location: Coventry

Re: Cork Track Bed

Postby pete12345 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 6:45 pm

Also bear in mind that peco and hornby sleepers are thicker than the real thing. I've always found that this gives an acceptable ballast shoulder without using cork or any other sort of underlay. Maybe for modern high-speed lines with deeper ballast, but otherwise I don't see the need for it.
Once an engine attached to a train, was afraid of a few drops of rain...

Return to “Track/Layout Design”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests