It is finally time to ballast.  I am thinking of using rubber ballast.  Any thoughts, opinions, etc about using rubber vs traditional stone ballast?  And....is it really necessary to cement ballast in place.  I can't see any reason to cement.  Thanks in advance!

PS....I am using Atlas track.......if that makes a difference.

Original Post

I'm using Atlas track and rubber ballast not glued down. Haven't had a problem in 10 years now.

The one section of the layout I used conventional ballast glued down is the noisiest part of my layout, and I'm hoping to fix that this winter.

Hey AMF. 

If you have back issues to OGR....go find Run 255. My layout was the cover feature with lots of pictures inside. That layout was completely ballasted with rubber ballast in (2) sizes. After installation, it was weathered with diluted India ink. I always got a lot of positive comments.

My new layout features real granite ballast by Dennis Brennan. Hands down, the best you can buy. I would never use anything else.

Yes...I glue it all down. Spray (soak) with "wet water" and apply thinned down white glue with a squeeze bottle. Do a search on the board, there are dozens of posts on application.

I never understood making a permanent layout and then not cementing the ballast in place. I just cannot imagine constantly having the ballast "moving around" or having to dress the ballast edge unless you never touch the layout. Just my opinion.....but then I also put grape jelly on my egg and sausage sandwiches.

Have fun.

Donald

"If two rails are good, than three rails has got to be better."

 

"Give a person a toy train and watch them play for a day. Teach a person to fill their basement with trains and give them a lifetime hobby."

jhz563 posted:

Donald,

can you tell any appreciable difference in noise levels with the rubber vs the granite?

JHZ563

Hello JHZ563.

A short answer, No.

Both layouts shared the same construction techniques. Either table top or open grid / "L" girder wood framing with a 3/4" plywood top. All glued and screwed together. Then I used Midwest cork products followed by GARGRAVES / ROSS track with wood ties. I screwed the track to the plywood with small Atlas track screws and then applied the ballast.

I never removed the screws.

Truth be told, I never worried about the noise level. I like it but with topics like this I am usually in the minority. When I have guests, I typically run 3 or 4 trains at a time and it does get a little loud in my 25' by 35' train room for normal conversations. I have acoustical ceiling panels and 5/8" foam interlocking floor panels that may help to "soften" the decibels a little.

Donald

 

"If two rails are good, than three rails has got to be better."

 

"Give a person a toy train and watch them play for a day. Teach a person to fill their basement with trains and give them a lifetime hobby."

Hey guys...here are a few pics from the "Old Layout" with the rubber ballast....

IMG_0677IMG_0843IMG_0997IMG_1175IMG_1314IMG_3604

Donald

"If two rails are good, than three rails has got to be better."

 

"Give a person a toy train and watch them play for a day. Teach a person to fill their basement with trains and give them a lifetime hobby."

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Using "commercial" ballast is too expensive.  At any farm or Tractor Supply store you can buy a 10lb bag of starter chicken grit (fine chopped granite).  Buy a $1 bottle of gray color hobby paint at Walmart or Michaels. Toss/stir it a bit of the paint in a 5 gal bucket with the granite to achieve the color you desire. Let it dry overnight in warm location, toss again the following day. It should be ready to use

Builder of the Hill Lines ( New Delta Lines). Recreating history for the model RR community.

"Yes...I glue it all down. Spray (soak) with "wet water" and apply thinned down white glue with a squeeze bottle. Do a search on the board, there are dozens of posts on application."

Hey 3 Rail 2

Did you use white glue or mat medium? Also, I was told that granite has metal in it and is a potential hazard for the trains. Is that true and have you had any problems?

 

FWIW, you can buy roofing granules in quantity and get them in a variety of colors, several well suited for ballast.  Much cheaper than buying little bottles of ballast for large layouts.

Search for Best Materials Roofing Granules, 60 pounds for $45.95, but shipping is $63 to SE-PA, but they're in AZ, so that makes sense for 60 pounds.

 

TrainHead posted:

"Yes...I glue it all down. Spray (soak) with "wet water" and apply thinned down white glue with a squeeze bottle. Do a search on the board, there are dozens of posts on application."

Hey 3 Rail 2

Did you use white glue or mat medium? Also, I was told that granite has metal in it and is a potential hazard for the trains. Is that true and have you had any problems?

 

Hello TrainHead. I use good old Elmers white glue...."Glu-All". I thin it 50% with distilled water (water from my dehumidifier) and a few drops of dish washing detergent. As far as the granite...I purchased all of mine from Dennis Brennen. He has been selling it for a long time and I never heard any issues with metal particles. I am sure his process of manufacture includes a pass thru with a magnet. Hope that helps.

Donald

"If two rails are good, than three rails has got to be better."

 

"Give a person a toy train and watch them play for a day. Teach a person to fill their basement with trains and give them a lifetime hobby."

jhz563 posted:

Donald,

can you tell any appreciable difference in noise levels with the rubber vs the granite?

JHZ563

I ran my 2 rail O for a few years without any ballast on cork roadbed. I recently added real rock ballast and glued it down. I was amazed how much louder my trains are now. It's not bad, just about twice as loud as before. It just caught me by surprise. My 2 rail now sounds like Realtrax or Fastrack 3 rail with the plastic base.

 I think anyone worried about noise, should look into using homasote or quiet board to help. I'm not sure how the rubber would compare if you glued it? I have a feeling it's the dried glue bonding the track down to my plywood that amplifies the sound?

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

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