To underlay or not....

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philnet
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To underlay or not....

Postby philnet » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:38 pm

I'm after some advice from some more experienced modellers.
I've planned my track layout and built the baseboard, everything is in place to lay out the track and fasten it to the baseboard.
My problem now is that I can't decide if I should use foam underlay.
Long term, I'm planning to ballast the track but if I use underlay, the track bed will be slightly higher than the surrounding ground level, which might look a bit odd.
I'd be more interested at this point if anyone can tell why I should use underlay as currently, I think I'm swinging against using it.
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Ex-Pat
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby Ex-Pat » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:08 pm

philnet wrote:My problem now is that I can't decide if I should use foam underlay.

but if I use underlay, the track bed will be slightly higher than the surrounding ground level, which might look a bit odd.


It won't look odd at all - see:

http://uk.search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt= ... =sfp-yff25

(Although this is the Canadian Pacific Railway version the British version is not too disimilar - after all the trackbed has to lend itself to drainage, and that is why it should be higher than the surrounding ground level - although depot lines and sidings might lay flatter than the main running lines.)

If you opt for foam underlay then make sure you get closed cell foam (which doesn't disintegrate like the old stuff used to) and it's also superior to cork in my opinion (others will argue for their own particular favourite of course!).

Dad-1
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby Dad-1 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:24 pm

Like many I don't use any underlays, particularly the Peco sponge type.
Many British lines have minimal shoulders and the depth of ballast you get
to sit right with the depth of Peco sleepers is enough. I will admit many of
the fastest main lines do have more depth, but unless you're doing the west
coast or east coast main lines I'd develop a shoulder edge with your ballast.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

philnet
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby philnet » Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:15 pm

Thanks for both your replies, I'd already bought the underlay (its the peco foam stuff) but after having a look at the images (ta for those!) I think I'll leave the foam and just ballast the track once it's pinned down.
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bike2steam
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby bike2steam » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:28 am

It's just a matter of what level of realism you want to attain, do you want to include an obvious point rodding,cess,and drainage system that many don't. Good to not bother with the foam underlay, it'll only disintegrate over time.

Ex-Pat
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby Ex-Pat » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:58 am

bike2steam wrote:. Good to not bother with the foam underlay, it'll only disintegrate over time.


The Peco foam may well do, but closed/close cell foam won't.

b308
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby b308 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:36 am

If you just need the height then the cheapo cork floor tiles will do the job. Personally I've never yet seen foam ballast which looks anywhere near as realistic as loose ballast.

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bike2steam
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby bike2steam » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:55 am

This is the stuff I use, tried many different sources, but this is the best to work with especially if your building a large layout, gives me perfect track-bed profile, the 98ft rolls are good value.
http://www.charlescantrill.com/model-ra ... trips.html

locoworks
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby locoworks » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:58 pm

I can't recommend foam underlay, I had foam peco underlay disintegrate cos it was in the sun. this was many years ago and it may be more UV tolerant these days but I'd still use cork instead.

Ex-Pat
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby Ex-Pat » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:19 pm

locoworks wrote:I can't recommend foam underlay, I had foam peco underlay disintegrate cos it was in the sun. this was many years ago and it may be more UV tolerant these days but I'd still use cork instead.


Nor would I recommend "foam underlay" but I would use nothing other than close/closed cell foam. They are 2 distinctly different materials - the former destined to disintegrate - the latter promised to be immortal. If you haven't tried it then you won't know how good it is. I have been far from pleased with cork as that disintegrated.

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pete12345
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby pete12345 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:53 pm

I can't see any advantages to using peco or hornby foam 'ballast'. Used with typical track, it sits much too high as the sleepers themselves are thicker than scale. It looks quite frankly terrible and nothing like real ballast. I've seen some otherwise highly detailed layouts ruined by this awful stuff. It also disintegrates with age and the track then has to be ripped up. It's for train sets and when you can't be bothered to do the job properly.

For most purposes, you can get a decent ballast shoulder using the track straight onto the board. The thick sleepers of commercial track will raise it up enough to get the right effect. For modern lines or when using scale thickness sleepers, you can raise the track slightly using an underlay material under the sleepers, giving a more pronounced shoulder when ballasted.
Once an engine attached to a train, was afraid of a few drops of rain...

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TimberSurf
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby TimberSurf » Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:20 pm

My sixpenneth worth........
Foam is for toy layouts (although I know not why they want it!) :o

Why fit underlay? There are two reasons that drive us, sound deadening and raised track (see comments above).
There is a perceived problem that the board amplifies sound. Some would argue this is desirable! But others go to great lengths to remove this with underlay.

If proprietary "open cell" underlay is used, it does disconnect track from board, it reduces low frequency sounds and amplifies high pitch rattles! Makes tinny noise worse!
If "closed cell" or cork underlay is used, it has limited effect and is completely a waste of time and effort, as the PVA glue added to the ballast reconnects the conglomerate back to the board! (using copydex instead of PVA may relieve that issue)
If the board were 2" thick wood (or solid concrete) there would not be a problem! (makes note to use Scaffold planks for all future boards!)
The most likely problem is that the board is poorly constructed with too few cross bearers and has wide (thin) resonating expanses that amplify sound like a speaker box!
A long time ago (showing my age) there was only one way to make the base board! That was to deck it with "Sundeala".
I believe (from an Engineering point of view) that using "fibre board" (and maybe ply underneath) is the only effective method of deadening the sound.

So...if you want to use foam, available from the likes of plumbing suppliers like http://www.comfortunderfloorheating.co.uk/accessories/insulation-/-levelling/close-cell-insulation-10m2/prod_100.html?added=1 (as quoted by MetmanUK), then use a rubber adhesive if you fit ballast.
If you want to use fibre board, its available at most builders merchants in various grades/sizes
Or like me, PVA ballast to board and make a thunderous racket!
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bike2steam
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby bike2steam » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:16 pm

Well if some will play with their trains running at a scale 200 mph, then it will make a noise. All bonding, cork to baseboard, track to cork is with pva, because of the radius of curves, and point-work in the station area, my layout has a maximum speed restriction of a scale 50 mph ( 9.5 inches/24 cm per second -ish), and very little noise, my baseboards are all 9mm ply construction - no drumming noise.

Woodywood
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby Woodywood » Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:32 am

So apart from the fact I brought the wrong underlay(foam) any ideas how to ballast it? Which size ballast to get?

Richard Lee
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Re: To underlay or not....

Postby Richard Lee » Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:48 am

I recommend Woodland Scenics Fine ballast for 00 layouts, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it really is fine, which looks more realistic, in my opinion. Some other types of ballast look like huge chunks of rocks (which are valuable for making loads for stone wagons, but not for track ballast). Secondly, because WS ballast is made from some kind of vegetable material (ground up nut shells I think), it doesn't cause quite so much mayhem to points when you ballast nearby.

If you happen use track such as SMP or C&L, which has sleepers that are not as deep as Peco or Hornby, you will find a fine ballast a lot easier to do than coarser stuff.

EDIT: Some companies' 'fine' ballast is coarser than others. Don't assume that another company's ballast is of similar size just because it is called 'fine'. Woodland Scenics was not the first ballast that I used, but I would use it again if I did a new layout.


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