In under two hours I managed to lay the track and ballast it. This is much quicker than conventional hand ballasting which takes a while to do, and to dry. I used Gaugemaster Ballasted Foam (GM200) which goes under the track to give the effect of gravel around the track and sleepers. Simply glue it on. Then glue the whole lot to your baseboard, or leave it free-standing for a temporary layout. This is 00 gauge but it also comes in N gauge.
GM114 is the loose granite ballast on its own, suitable for filling in gaps between tracks, so that it matches and looks like one piece of gravel. It comes in grey or brown colours. Moltopren is the name Gaugemaster use nowadays and I am expecting it to be longer-lasting than the plain old foam, which can deteriorate over time. This is a different compound, and is covered in granite chunks. Even if it does ever need replacing, the whole track can be re-used and re-ballasted in an evening.
Another big advantage is that is does not impede point operation at all. Also it is very quiet compared to hand-ballasted track which has also been track pinned to a wooden baseboard. To me the sound difference is outstanding and I do have a ballast comparison video:
I only hand ballast in exceptional circumstances now. Mind you hand ballasting is cheaper. This foam ballast costs About £22 per 5 meters.
But bear in mind how your layout should look, especially if you are modelling something specific. If it does not have the humped effect (shoulders), then this product may not do. Hand ballast for a flatter effect. If you want the hump, this requires a bit of patience hand ballasting. So then the foam might be better. Also if you are making an exhibition layout then hand ballast, as this method the purists will frown upon. It is not considered true modelling but I’m not sure why? I think people should make their own choices, and this ballasted foam sells loads these days. Also use flexi track for the same reason if making an exhibition layout. But for my own layout I am only trying to impress myself, not anyone else, so ballasted foam has more advantages, and set-track is a uniform curve (so the locos have uniform resistance). Research, and make you own choices. But this way is the easiest for sure. I am using radius 3 curves as these will take almost any train, even the larger ones, and still fit nicely onto a 4ft wide board. Smaller radius 2 or 1 curves may cause larger trains to derail. Larger radius 4 is available as set-track too. Flexi-track, as its name suggests, can be curved into any radius and can look more realistic if you have the room.
Hornby and Peco track have different colour sleepers and different chairs, so pick one make and stick with it for each layout.
Please don’t judge the final effect by what you see here – once the loose ballast is added and the grasses etc it will really look good and the humps won’t be so pronounced. Also any tiny gaps between the foam joins will be filled.
Romford Model Railway Society is sponsoring this railway layout.
Use glues and paints safely and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Prices mentioned in all videos are of course correct at time of making the videos. This sequence of videos is to give an idea of perhaps what to do. I (and RMRS) accept no responsibility for your own mistakes. Look at other videos as well to get plenty of knowledge and ideas. Good luck.
Internet search ‘Calvertfilm’.
Calverton web page:
Please do research and find methods that suit you. Don’t just take my word for it. This is just one way to make a layout but there are many techniques. This is a fast, simple way. Myself and Romford Model Railway Society are not responsible for any mistakes that you make, and please use tools, and chemicals wisely.