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Track laying underlay

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joe123
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How much track to you want to lay? Do you want something quick and simple to simulate ballast or do you intend to eventually ballast the track? You may want to think about how important noise reduction is to you.

 

Your options consist of preformed open foam underlays that are readily available in models shops, cork, or a closed cell foam like builders foam.

 

Have a look at this and another thread reefed to therein with some decent videos which should provide some food for thought

http://irishrailwaymodeller.com/showthread.php/5048-Track-Ballasting-Which-method?highlight=closed+cell+foam

Edited by DiveController
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Hi I will be lying peco track very soon now. And would like to know what is the best track underlay to used and were can I buy same. Is there any easy and cheap way of doing this?. cheers.

 

Hi Joe. I used Peco foam ballast underlay about 20 years ago which originally was intended as a semi-temporary measure. This gave me time to easily make adjustments to the track layout in the early years before gluing down with ballast on cork. So far I have not yet replaced it and it did not perish or deteriorate. Peco have rolls of foam ballast underlay and underlay for points and cross overs. It has proved excellent for sound reduction (i.e. no noise transmitted to ply base boards). I do intend to either replace it someday when I get around to doing scenic work, or perhaps ballast up to the edges of it with a sprinkling over the top of it. On an old layout I had glued and ballasted all the track down but it was a nightmare to adjust destroying any track pulled back up, so I vowed not to repeat until I was confident the track work would be permanent.

 

Few photos of what it looks like pre-scenics. I hope to try some samples of ballast material that runs up to the edge and in-between the foam underlay.

 

DSC_7972.jpg

 

DSC_6520-1.jpg

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Hi joe123.

 

Assuming you are not going down the road of PECO underlay, there are three options

 

1. Cork Mat

2. Closed cell PU foam

3. Direct to the baseboard

 

No 3 seems to be preferred now amongst the P4 brigade, and emphasis has therefore shifted to sound deadening baseboards instead of track.

 

No 1. Is the traditional method. Using approx 3mm cork , however the typical PVA and ballast method tends to make the whole thing rigid and the vast majority of the sound suppressing is lost.

 

No 2 is a more modern alternative and as its non porous, the whole thing doesn't get glued up solid. I've tried pieces in test mode and it was pro and cons. I think for robust track like PECO code 100 it's very good. For finer scale Ie flimsier track , I don't like the amount of movement.

 

Horses for courses

Edited by Junctionmad
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Hi joe123.

 

Assuming you are not going down the road of PECO underlay, there are three options

 

1. Cork Mat

2. Closed cell PU foam

3. Direct the baseboard

 

No 3 seems to be preferred now amongst the P4 brigade, and emphasis has therefore shifted to sound deadening baseboards instead of track.

 

No 1. Is the traditional method. Using approx 3mm cork , however the typical PVA and ballast method tends to make the whole thing rigid and the vast majority of the sound suppressing is lost.

 

No 2 is a more modern alternative and as its non porous, the whole thing doesn't get glued up solid. Be tried pieces in test mode and it was pro and cons. I think for robust track like PECO code 100 it's very good. For finer scale Ie flimsier track , I don't like the amount of movement.

 

Horses for courses

 

 

I agree, most of the layouts that I build the track goes straight to the baseboard, it's personal choice.

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I agree, most of the layouts that I build the track goes straight to the baseboard, it's personal choice.

 

Indeed , my preference now, is to focus the sound deadening in the baseboard technology and lay track directly onto a smooth flat ridge-less surface . Ballast shoulders can be constructed by extra layers of timber ( balsa looks promising )

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On my last layout over 25 years ago the track was glued straight onto ply base board with some mdf sections, with ballast sprinkled onto it using strainers when glue was wet. The ballast looked fabulous but the sound was annoyingly horrendous. The baseboard was like a guitar body amplifying the sound. I know newer MDFs are much better, but I would recommend some form of sound insulation between the track and any form of wooden or composite wooden baseboard. I will post some experiments with ballast combined with the foam underlay in the coming weeks. Open structure baseboards do not conduct noise as badly as large flat baseboard sections, and in USA some modellers use white foam to build up structure laying track on it which helps reduce noise.

Edited by Noel
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On my last layout over 25 years ago the track was glued straight onto ply base board with some mdf sections, with ballast sprinkled onto it using strainers when glue was wet. The ballast looked fabulous but the sound was annoyingly horrendous. The baseboard was like a guitar body amplifying the sound. I know newer MDFs are much better, but I would recommend some form of sound insulation between the track and any form of wooden or composite wooden baseboard. I will post some experiments with ballast combined with the foam underlay in the coming weeks. Open structure baseboards do not conduct noise as badly as large flat baseboard sections, and in USA some modellers use white foam to build up structure laying track on it which helps reduce noise.

 

 

Ply and 2by 1 , is particular bad at generating in effect , a soundbox. But there have been a fair few discussions on the scalefour forum looking at direct track laying and in building the sound deadening into the base board.

 

If you intend using PVA and ballast method , I don't think you preserve much of the sound insulation anyway , definitely the cork mat, PVA and ballast is practically the same as fixing to the base. Boards directly.

 

A lot depends on the level of " finish " the OP wants to achieve

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I have used foam wood floor underlay under some sections of track on my layout, which seems to work to good effect, plus a roll of it is relatively cheap.

 

Just be aware , to my knowledge , that is open cell insulation and is sensitive to UV degradation ( since it's designed to be out of sunlight )

 

I would have concerns over its longevity, I have stored some of this stuff in my garage in the dark and it's starts to crumble after about 5 years.

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