Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Discussion of N gauge model railway specific products and related model railway topics (problems and solutions). (Graham Farish, Dapol, Peco)
barkfast
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Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby barkfast » Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:40 am

I'm not far from starting to lay track, and was wondering what sort of underlay is best...

Cork seems to be the conventional way, but is the newer foam type (like the woodlands scenics stuff) worth the additional cost???
Terry

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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby Grahame » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:48 am

my recommendation is none in N gauge. Lay the track directly on the baseboard (or trackbed on open frame baseboards) and then deep ballast to the sleeper tops forming the shoulder as you go. Underlay will raise the track unrealistically high and make it tower over lineside equipment. Underlay just adds unnecessary cost, time and weight to the project. Check out real track and replicate that.

G.

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sishades
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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby sishades » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:44 am

In OO gauge do not use foam as they have a limited life span. Also you would have to improvise when laying points anyway.
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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby RFS » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:08 am

sishades wrote:In OO gauge do not use foam as they have a limited life span. Also you would have to improvise when laying points anyway.


This only applies to the cheap open-cell type of foam typically used by Peco in track underlay where the Peco catalogue says it has a life of 10 years. Better quality closed-cell foam such as EVA, and as provided by Woodland Scenics etc does not have this characteristic.
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barkfast
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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby barkfast » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:25 pm

Grahame wrote:my recommendation is none in N gauge. Lay the track directly on the baseboard (or trackbed on open frame baseboards) and then deep ballast to the sleeper tops forming the shoulder as you go. Underlay will raise the track unrealistically high and make it tower over lineside equipment. Underlay just adds unnecessary cost, time and weight to the project. Check out real track and replicate that.

G.


agree completely. Standard cork underlay is 3mm high and it just looks a bit odd - especially because my track sits above the scenery.

In saying that, I want the track to be slightly elevated (maybe 1-2mm) ....so I was thinking about cork tiles. I just did a google and apprently you can get a 1/16 inch (1.6mm) - which seems like an ideal height.

Has anyone used cork tiles as underlay? If so does it deaden noise?

Does it matter if the tile is coated?

I would cut the cork tile to the width of the track.
Terry

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blooregard
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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby blooregard » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:36 pm

I used 1/16" cork underlay on all of my layouts, I tend to just cover the board which is overkill (just a bit) but covers baseboard joins and any sloppy holes for point motors\trackfeeds etc.

It does have limited sound deadening qualities as long as its used to sperate the track from the board, obviously if you ballast over the sides of the cork and onto the board there are no sound deadening qualities whatsoever. This is the same as if you leave your track pins in, both will transmit vibration to the board.
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barkfast
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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby barkfast » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:05 pm

Thanks for everyones replies!! It's great to be able to run ideas past people... Especially while I'm in hospital helping the wife with our new born :D

I'm considering this http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150423366518&ru=http%3A%2F%2Fshop.ebay.com.au%3A80%2Fi.html%3F_nkw%3D150423366518%26_sacat%3D0%26_odkw%3DItem%2Bnumber%253A%2509150423366518%26_osacat%3D0%26bkBtn%3D%26_trksid%3Dp3286.m270.l1313%26_fvi%3D1&_rdc=1#ht_4114wt_694

I would cut the cork to width of the track, rather then covering the entire board.

Leaving a gap between the ballast and the board maybe a bit challenging. :shock:
Terry

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blooregard
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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby blooregard » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:16 pm

Especially while I'm in hospital helping the wife with our new born


Congratulations dude, is this your first child? my youngest was one abotu a month ago and is currently at the tearing down the house stage. Nothing is safe.

That cork sheet should be fine, but as others have said, they manage perfectly well without anything.

In the past I have used double sided tape which was also 1/16" thick and was exactly the width of the track, it was flexible and held the track in place perfectly. It was also really cheap, costing £1 for about 16 foot. The only problem was that its no good for any unballasted areas of track where the tape attracts dust and hair and all kinds of other things.
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klaatu
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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby klaatu » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:57 pm

Grahame wrote:Check out real track and replicate that.
But doesn't real track sit on top of a layer of ballast? Around 300mm on high speed main lines? Admittedly, 3mm Track-bed works out at somewhat more than that...

Steve
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Grahame
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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby Grahame » Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:25 pm

klaatu wrote:But doesn't real track sit on top of a layer of ballast? Around 300mm on high speed main lines? Admittedly, 3mm Track-bed works out at somewhat more than that...


The thickness of the sleepers is over scale so that already elevates the rail top - no need to raise it further. And that's why I said deep fill with ballast; in that you need sufficient to fill up the overscale thickness and reach the sleeper top for realism. And that allows you to form a prototypical shoulder/edge. If you really must use cork then cover the entire baseboard - there really is no reason to have a separate strip under the track.

G.

barkfast
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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby barkfast » Sat Jun 05, 2010 1:58 am

blooregard wrote:Congratulations dude, is this your first child? my youngest was one abotu a month ago and is currently at the tearing down the house stage. Nothing is safe.

That cork sheet should be fine, but as others have said, they manage perfectly well without anything.

In the past I have used double sided tape which was also 1/16" thick and was exactly the width of the track, it was flexible and held the track in place perfectly. It was also really cheap, costing £1 for about 16 foot. The only problem was that its no good for any unballasted areas of track where the tape attracts dust and hair and all kinds of other things.


Thanks Blooregard.

Interesting tip on the double sided tape... I'm a fan of PVA for glueing track down because its solid but dead easy to remove should you need to.

We already have a 21 month old. I know exactly what you mean about nothing safe :)

I just measured the height of peco track and its about 2mm which in scale terms is 29.6cm.

I can only go by pictures, so is that a reasonable height?

In Australia, ballast seems to be double that at minimum.
Terry

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budmanuk
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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby budmanuk » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:59 pm

Woodland Scenics foam. 'nough said.
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barkfast
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Re: Track underlay.. Cork or foam?

Postby barkfast » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:39 am

Just thought I would add some closure to this post :D

After much searching historical photos, the track seemed to be quite low to the ground, indicating that there wasnt much ballast.

So I've decided not to use any underlay.

Thanks for everyones input! :D :D
Terry


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