Few questions regarding ballasting?

Discussion of N gauge model railway specific products and related model railway topics (problems and solutions). (Graham Farish, Dapol, Peco)
bluechang
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Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby bluechang » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:39 pm

Hello all. I have a few questions regarding ballasting if you could help me with?

- Can anyone recommend a way of lifting track that has been ballasted without damaging it? I am in the middle of removing track of my old layout board in prep for the newer, smaller one but 1/3 of the track is ballasted and in an ideal world, i would rather not have to go out and replace the pieces.

- Once the track is removed, can anyone give me ideas on how to clean the track up, removing the remnants of the old ballast and any other rubbish that has contaminated the rails?

On the new layout, I am going to use cork matting directly underneath the track (unlike my last board, where it was glued across the whole surface) to raise it slightly. two questions -

- first one is on a dual loop, what gives a better look, the cork matting cut to fit both tracks on one cork matting, or each loop on its own individual piece, with a gap in between?
- Secondly, how far out from the sides of the track gives the best look?


many thanks in advance

Andy

bigbob
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby bigbob » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:43 pm

If you`ve ballested it properly then i wouldn`t bother to be honest, it`s going to take you ages to get it lifted and cleaned without damaging it. Better to bite the bullet and replace it :(

Bob
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bluechang
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby bluechang » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:06 pm

bigbob wrote:If you`ve ballested it properly then i wouldn`t bother to be honest, it`s going to take you ages to get it lifted and cleaned without damaging it. Better to bite the bullet and replace it :(

Bob


I have plenty of time - this is a long term project.

bigbob
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby bigbob » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:26 pm

In that case, very carefully!! :D :D
Growing old is compulsary, growing up is optional!


ALL CLASS 50`S SHOULD BE CUT UP INTO SMALL PIECES AND USED FOR SOMETHING MORE USEFUL LIKE A PAPER-WEIGHT

craw607
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby craw607 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:32 pm

Just a thought if you used PVA glue could you not spray
with hot water and see if it would soften ballast and maybe
let you start to ease it up.
Regarding cork cutting I have cut mine to width of track so when
I start ballasting it should hopefully give me a shoulder then a fine
sprinkling between both tracks.

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ASFC
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby ASFC » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:48 am

Water...

Soak the ballasted track in water, if you used PVA, it should bring it up (I used an off-cut of a sponge to dibble the water on).

Then soak the track in a bowl of water for an hour or two, before cleaning with an old toothbrush. Leave to dry before re-use.

No idea on Cork I'm afraid, I don't use the stuff.
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bluechang
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby bluechang » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:23 am

craw607 - I will try the hot water spray a little later on, when I get a chance

ASFC - do i need to add anything else to the water, like a small drop of washing up liquid, or does that not matter?

Will try both methods and a combination of the two if either don't work. I will let you know how I get on later.

Grahame
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby Grahame » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:22 am

bluechang wrote:On the new layout, I am going to use cork matting directly underneath the track (unlike my last board, where it was glued across the whole surface) to raise it slightly. two questions -

- first one is on a dual loop, what gives a better look, the cork matting cut to fit both tracks on one cork matting, or each loop on its own individual piece, with a gap in between?
- Secondly, how far out from the sides of the track gives the best look?



My advise is don't use cork under the track. In N gauge it just raises the track too high, looks silly, makes ballasting more difficult and extensive, means trackside structures and equipment have to be raised by the same amount, adds unnecessary cost, weight and time to the project, and so on. Just look at the mess Chris Leigh made by doing just that on his first time N gauge layout in the Jan issue of Model Rail. If you must use cork on the wood baseboard surface use tiles laid across the entire baseboard not just under the track. With Peco track (and most N guage makes) the thickness of the sleepers means you already need to deep ballast (to get to the sleeper tops) and can easily form a protoypical shoulder and cess without the need for cork profile underneath.

G.

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sishades
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby sishades » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:55 am

When I dismantled my diorama I tried the hot water method and to be honest it really was not worth the effort.
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smallman28
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby smallman28 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:01 am

When I lifted some of my track I was in haste and did damage it but if you are REALLY careful it should be possible to lift it.
I have found that despite the fact I soaked some of the ballasted areas so much with PVA I thought the track would never come off it did in fact come off quite easily and the bits of ballast left on the track also picked off very easily.
Getting the ballast off the baseboard can be a bit more difficult but most of mine came off quite easily with just the odd stubborn bit that I had to chisel/chip off.
Try something like a wallpaper scraper or filling knife than has a thin flexible blade and see if you can get it under the track.
I would accept that you are probably going to loose the first bit trying to get the knife under it but take it carefully from there and you should manage to save quite a bit of the track.

bluechang
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby bluechang » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:17 am

smallman28 wrote:When I lifted some of my track I was in haste and did damage it but if you are REALLY careful it should be possible to lift it.
I have found that despite the fact I soaked some of the ballasted areas so much with PVA I thought the track would never come off it did in fact come off quite easily and the bits of ballast left on the track also picked off very easily.
Getting the ballast off the baseboard can be a bit more difficult but most of mine came off quite easily with just the odd stubborn bit that I had to chisel/chip off.
Try something like a wallpaper scraper or filling knife than has a thin flexible blade and see if you can get it under the track.
I would accept that you are probably going to loose the first bit trying to get the knife under it but take it carefully from there and you should manage to save quite a bit of the track.



I had a go at it earlier this morning using a flat head screwdriver to scrape the ballast away from the middle of the two lines and it took some of the old cork matting with it. I have managed to remove a fair few pieces of track - the most important pieces being the turnouts seem to have come off very easily. i have noticed that I will probably need to replace the fishplates on most if not all of the track (inclusive of those not originally ballasted) as some have become sloppy and may cause a problem in the future when it comes to re-laying the track on the new board.

I think I will use cork tiles this time around, rather than sheets of cork matting as they seem to be easier to lay. One further question - would it be beneficial to paint the boards before gluing the cork tiles in place? The layout is stored in a centrally heated hallway so isn't going to be at risk of wildly fluctuating temperatures like you would get in a shed.

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ASFC
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby ASFC » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:31 pm

bluechang wrote:ASFC - do i need to add anything else to the water, like a small drop of washing up liquid, or does that not matter?



Nope, just water. As you have already realised it isn't a quick job and new fishplates will be needed.
My New N gauge layout thread 'Chinley': viewtopic.php?f=22&t=41038

My Old N gauge layout thread 'Ollerton': viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32899

bluechang
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby bluechang » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:42 pm

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I am about half way through the track removal. i have all of the unballasted track off with the odd damaged sleeper, but can still be used in areas that won't be readily visible. I will update later on once I have the rest off the board

bluechang
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby bluechang » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:46 pm

cork tiles - can they be glued using standard pva or do you need to use a special cork adhesive?

smallman28
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Re: Few questions regarding ballasting?

Postby smallman28 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:51 pm

ASFC wrote:
bluechang wrote:ASFC - do i need to add anything else to the water, like a small drop of washing up liquid, or does that not matter?



Nope, just water. As you have already realised it isn't a quick job and new fishplates will be needed.


Add a drop of washing up liquid,not so much as to make loads of suds though :D
The washing up liquid breaks down the surface tension of the water,if you apply the PVA/water without it it will tend to form a blob,the washing up liquid helps it flow better.


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