Just looking for your thoughts.  I'm getting ready to build my first American Flyer layout, a small one. As I previously posted I've already bought the postwar trains that I wanted, track, switches, accessories, etc.

I also bought a supply of rubber roadbed, and herein lies my question. I know that I want to use traditional track, permanently mounted, but I'm not sure if I want to use the road bed or just the tracks with added ties. Noise is not an issue, I like the sound of toy trains running. Your input here would be appreciated.

If I use the roadbed, is double sided carpet tape a good method of mounting. Using staples as recommended just sounds weird to me.

 

Original Post

I like the rubber roadbed and per Gilbert's instruction manual you only tack down the roadbed not the track so sound will not be transmitted.  It also looks good.  If you were going to do the extra ties you may consider Gar Graves track. It looks good especially when ballasted and can be flexed into larger curves than Gilbert made.  Gilbert made their own custom track for many of their displays to have larger radius. 

John,

My previous layout was traditional Flyer and the rubber roadbed was my choice.  It looks good, goes together well, and I had a lot of it on hand.  I used a hand staple gun to tack it to my table and you can hardly notice, especially if you dab a bit of paint on the bare metal staple.  GarGraves is also a good choice, but if you already have the track and roadbed, go for it!  I'm not a fan of ballast on traditional Flyer layouts, but that's just my own opinion.  The look of a traditional layout will never go out of style.  From my own experience, a permanent layout is rarely such.  With a stapled down track, changing a bit for an added siding is easy.  Much easier than ballasted GarGraves.  Again just my opinion.  Double sided tape is OK, but that stuff is STICKY!  Be sure you're not going to ever change anything. 

Let us know what you decide.

 

 

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John, I used all Gilbert track and roadbed on my layout. My track is laid on foam. I used a Stanley hot glue gun set on the low temperature setting. It has been down for several years with no problems and no damage to the roadbed when I took some loose to modify my Gilbert turnouts. Very satisfied with the results.

Ray

Thanks for the response Ray.

I have decided to use the rubber roadbed and will begin to clean the supply I bought shortly. I thought that I would use the double sided carpet tape but, based on your experience, I may use hot glue - I love that stuff.

Work on my small Flyer alcove layout will begin in a week or so, as soon as I finish some work I started on Warrenville. I have already designed decals and finalized my plan for a 1950's type store display for above the Flyer layout.

I'm looking forward to sharing pics here of my Flyer alcove layout and display within a month.

Lionelski posted:

Thanks for the response Ray.

I have decided to use the rubber roadbed and will begin to clean the supply I bought shortly. I thought that I would use the double sided carpet tape but, based on your experience, I may use hot glue - I love that stuff.

Work on my small Flyer alcove layout will begin in a week or so, as soon as I finish some work I started on Warrenville. I have already designed decals and finalized my plan for a 1950's type store display for above the Flyer layout.

I'm looking forward to sharing pics here of my Flyer alcove layout and display within a month.

John,

Allow me to suggest a cleaner for your rubber roadbed.  It's called Wesley's Blech White (yes, it's spelled correctly).  The product is available at auto supply stores, and is designed for car tires.  Being that both the roadbed and tires are rubber, the product works great.  I cleaned my roadbed in the basement in the laundry tub.  Spray it on, wait a few minutes and scrub with a medium hard brush.  Wear gloves and don't inhale the fumes.  Do it outside on concrete if possible.  Rinse and dry.  Repeat if necessary.  The roadbed will look like new.  Some of mine was in a smoker's environment, and yellowed, but all was removed.  There may also be other products for car tires, like Armor-All tire cleaner (not the tire treatment) or others, so if Wesley's isn't available, there are other options.  Ask the counter guy for his/her recommendations.  

Looking forward to seeing your layout progress, and Happy New Year!

My old Flyer layout:

 

 

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poniaj posted:
Lionelski posted:

Thanks for the response Ray.

I have decided to use the rubber roadbed and will begin to clean the supply I bought shortly. I thought that I would use the double sided carpet tape but, based on your experience, I may use hot glue - I love that stuff.

Work on my small Flyer alcove layout will begin in a week or so, as soon as I finish some work I started on Warrenville. I have already designed decals and finalized my plan for a 1950's type store display for above the Flyer layout.

I'm looking forward to sharing pics here of my Flyer alcove layout and display within a month.

John,

Allow me to suggest a cleaner for your rubber roadbed.  It's called Wesley's Blech White (yes, it's spelled correctly).  The product is available at auto supply stores, and is designed for car tires.  Being that both the roadbed and tires are rubber, the product works great.  I cleaned my roadbed in the basement in the laundry tub.  Spray it on, wait a few minutes and scrub with a medium hard brush.  Wear gloves and don't inhale the fumes.  Do it outside on concrete if possible.  Rinse and dry.  Repeat if necessary.  The roadbed will look like new.  Some of mine was in a smoker's environment, and yellowed, but all was removed.  There may also be other products for car tires, like Armor-All tire cleaner (not the tire treatment) or others, so if Wesley's isn't available, there are other options.  Ask the counter guy for his/her recommendations.  

Looking forward to seeing your layout progress, and Happy New Year!

My old Flyer layout:

Thanks for the tip Jerry.

Just so happens that I have this in the garage - just didn't think of it.  I was going to use well diluted dishwashing detergent in water and finish with Armor-all, but I like your suggestion better.

Thanks for the cool pic too.

ADCX Rob posted:
poniaj posted:
Wesley's Blech White (yes, it's spelled correctly).

Close!  It's "Bleche White".

Oops, you're right.  I could blame fat fingers, but I guess I was lazy and didn't go to the garage to check. 

And John, love your basement.  Around here in Michigan I also have to run a dehumidifier most of the year too.

 

 

If you use armor-all on your roadbed, it will start cracking and splitting. Armor-all contains silicone which acts as a stress release agent, concentration stress risers from the molding process.  Do NOT use any product known to contain silicone on your rubber roadbed!

S'incerely,

David "two rails" Dewey

traindavid posted:

If you use armor-all on your roadbed, it will start cracking and splitting. Armor-all contains silicone which acts as a stress release agent, concentration stress risers from the molding process.  Do NOT use any product known to contain silicone on your rubber roadbed!

I dunno what to think, David. Their website says that it "revitalizes" rubber

Some of the roadbed that I purchased at York has the American Flyer name and # on the bottom, some do not, but they look almost identical otherwise. Did anyone else make this roadbed in the post war period?

I have some black roadbed with wide ties and some with narrow ties molded in. I think I will use the wide tie roadbed as it matches the track ties. I also have some grey roadbed with wide ties.

Any other variations?

John,

There were reproductions made of the roadbed years ago by a fellow named Johnson in California.  It was an exact duplicate of Gilbert's, so that may be what you have since it doesn't any Gilbert number on it. 

The three variations of Gilbert roadbed are all there are, as far as I know.  I find no listing for others in my collection.  The black variation seems to be the most common, and most guys prefer the large tie version since it matches the metal ties.  I used both types of black roadbed on my old layout, using the small tie version on the back areas farther from viewing.  I couldn't tell the difference from far away. 

 

 

John, the trains are Gilbert Flyer and Flyonel, also have some American Models, S Helper and a few MTH.

Layout is about 35 ft long and 8 ft at it's widest. The incline is 1 to 1 1/2 percent.

Ray

I am sorry but in describing the layout I failed to mention that my power is Legacy, I have 5 Powerhouses along with 3 Powermasters, giving the capability to run both TMCC/LEGACY locomotives and conventional locomotives with the wireless remote. The only thing I didn't take into consideration was set up for DC power, not sure if I could do that now.

Ray

Jerry,

In addition to the 3 American Flyer rubber roadbed variations, I've found 2 repro variations:

Black narrow tie, no markings on the bottom (like the one's I have) and black wide tie marked "Repro R Johnson" as I see on an ebay listing.  I wonder if wanting to sell at TCA meets was the reason for the repro info added to the mold?

Other than the markings the repros look exactly like Flyer, but I think the rubber is either a little thinner (or maybe just more flexible).

 

I only know what I have experienced with automobiles and pianos where, in the past, Armor-All has led to cracked dashes, plastic piano keys, etc.  Today's formula may be different.

As to varieties of roadbed, ACG made black and grey wide tie, and black narrow tie. They also made fiber narrow tie roadbed (paper!!). I have heard that there has been more than one maker of reproduction roadbed.

S'incerely,

David "two rails" Dewey

Good one, David!  It isn't seen very often due to its fragile nature.  If I remember correctly (and lately I usually don't) it's a cross between papier maché and pressed cardboard!  It doesn't take kindly to being bent.

Wishing all my fellow S gaugers a Happy New Year!

 

 

That is a new one for me, I never saw the fiber roadbed. This place always has a wealth of knowledge. On my layout l used both narrow tie and the wide variations. I would have used all narrow tie if I could have found enough to complete the layout. I had purchased a ton of roadbed before starting and as it turned out l had to use some gray sections, I painted those with black latex paint and when in place you will not be able to pick those out.

As Jerry mentioned, Happy New year to you all.

Ray

So my display will consist of what appears to be a shelf in an alcove, but the train displayed will be able to run and enter a tunnel into my workshop making a loop and returning to the alcove. This will replace a Lionel shelf/loop currently existing in this area that I will demo today.

Above it will be a reproduction of a AF 1950's store type display that I also planned out and will build.

Last evening and this morning I cleaned roadbed with a soak in diluted dishwashing detergent and brushing with a soft brush and drying with a towel. Then as suggested by PONIAJ.

Track was tested for shorts (found none) and cleaned.  I first brushed off any loose dust/grime and then polished the rails with dollar store plastic scrubbing pads. Pins were also polished and shined with these pads. Lastly a wipe down with alcohol.

IMG_5983IMG_5982

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LIONELSKI, I would add one recommendation to what you have done, I would put a drop of Railzip on each pin as you assemble the track. many times the inside of the rail where the pins enter is oxidized, I did this on all sections of my track and the continuity is very good, consider also soldering power drops not farther apart than five rail sections to be trouble free.

Ray

Rayin"S" posted:

LIONELSKI, I would add one recommendation to what you have done, I would put a drop of Railzip on each pin as you assemble the track. many times the inside of the rail where the pins enter is oxidized, I did this on all sections of my track and the continuity is very good, consider also soldering power drops not farther apart than five rail sections to be trouble free.

Ray

Thanks again, Ray. I'll pick some up.

John,

Looks like you may have already cleaned your roadbed, but if not I used Dawn detergent on mine with the previously mentioned medium stiff bristle brush with good results.

Just to add to the R Johnson repro roadbed discussion, he also made it for the Kline/Lionel 54 inch curves.  Sometimes you can find it on eBay.

As for glueing down the roadbed I used Alex DAP in a caulking tube and it works great, had to remove a few sections, and just used a 3" putty knife to cut/separate the roadbed from the plywood.  This stuff sort of rubs off the road bed like rubber cement.

I attached a couple pictures.

Afllyer

ACSG Carolinas Division

NASG

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Hi Aflyer,

A soak in diluted dishwashing detergent followed by a brushing is exactly what I did.

We are on the same wavelength in another area too - I've been giving more thought to putting down the track and just the other day decided on using dabs of Alex DAP - I always have some on hand. I figured that hotglue would dry too fast for track positioning, double sided tape would hinder slight adjustments too. Staples would be hard to use in some areas of my project.

I should be up to track laying in around a week, a lot of base prep work was needed after removing the old Lionel tracks. I think that tonight I'll work on making the two tunnel portals that I'll need. They will need to be in place before I position track.

Thanks for sharing the layout pics!

Update:

All traces of the old O gauge loop in the alcove are gone, as are the old display shelves. Some demo and reconstruction on the back platform was necessary to accommodate the different track radius, back platform painted, new tunnel portals made and installed, connection wires soldered to track, the cleaned/tested track inserted into the cleaned roadbed, and tracks laid down (but not attached to the board) for fit. Temporarily powered up the track with alligator clips.

Here is the biggie: FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY ALMOST 69 YEARS I RAN AN AMERICAN FLYER TRAIN!

Progress continues.

Track with roadbed is down - I decided to attached them firmly by drilling a hole in the center of ties as needed and screwing the track down with 3/4 inch # 4 panhead screws.

Wiring is done for the tracks, lights and whistling billboard. Scenery should be finished today and the lower level of O gauge cleaned of the debris from working above.

I picked up the lumber I need to make the 1950's store type display for the wall, and appropriate American Flyer signage decal lettering for it has already been designed. I hope to start working on this part of the alcove project tomorrow.

 

Sounds like you're having fun with your trains, and that's what it's all about, isn't it?  Our previous house had a nice low shelf layout with two drop leaf style turns, dog-bone style.  The previous owner took up all the O gauge track, but you could see where that 3-rail stuff was.  I used it for my Flyer trains, and it served me well for years.  Be sure to post some photos for us, OK?

I'm in the process of taking up my present layout in preparation for an eventual move, hopefully this coming Spring.  It's sectional, so moving it is no big problem.  But it's amazing how many trains I've accumulated over the years, though...  I'll have a LOT of 1:64 vehicles and a few trains for sale at the upcoming Spring S Spree (shameless plug).

 

 

IMG_5997You asked and you shall receive. Here are few pics. The Flyer is on what looks to be a shelf but the train will have the option to enter and leave my workshop via the two tunnels shown. The 1950's style store display (that I hope to start to build tomorrow) will be on the wall above.

The loop is behind the scenes in my workshop, the center of which will be used to again store gallon cans of paint.IMG_6003IMG_6005IMG_6006IMG_6004

 

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poniaj posted:

Sounds like you're having fun with your trains, and that's what it's all about, isn't it?  Our previous house had a nice low shelf layout with two drop leaf style turns, dog-bone style.  The previous owner took up all the O gauge track, but you could see where that 3-rail stuff was.  I used it for my Flyer trains, and it served me well for years.  Be sure to post some photos for us, OK?

I'm in the process of taking up my present layout in preparation for an eventual move, hopefully this coming Spring.  It's sectional, so moving it is no big problem.  But it's amazing how many trains I've accumulated over the years, though...  I'll have a LOT of 1:64 vehicles and a few trains for sale at the upcoming Spring S Spree (shameless plug).

I am Jerry, and yes, it is about having fun.

Good luck with your move. I couldn't imaging tearing down Warrenville to move, much less its walls of trains. Its good that you thought ahead by building with modules.

I hope that you took many pics of the layout, and will take more of the take down process

Hi John,

Nice use of a shelf and your workroom.  Very Old School!  Love it! 

My house has cinder block walls, and the other side of my layout room is the boiler room, so your approach isn't in my cards. 

As to photos of the layout, I have a ton, from the tear down of the previous one, to the present.  Right now, I have 9 tubs of trains and three more waiting to be filled.  Geez, I have too much!  Anyway, the sections were planned for an eventual move, and a "proof of concept? came when I had to remove one section to do some electrical repair over one section.  Here's the section in place, and then removed:

Any "during the move" photos will probably not be taken since I'll not have time with all the rest of the house to take care of.  30 years worth of "stuff".  Need I say more?

Now, post some of the upcoming display when you're ready...

 

 

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John, all that Plasticville brings a smile to my face. I like the way you cut them down. I'm guessing you have lots of pieces for a future project.

Jerry, it was six years to the day we started the process of selling our house. Lots of stuff and losing over 1000 sq. ft. and a second story was "interesting. Good luck. Remember thistrains 1

I was not as  as well prepared so my layout did not come apart well.

Cal

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Thanks Jerry

From the pics it looks like your layout is plenty strong to move - you were smart to build it that way. Was it your design? I never saw a structure like that - me likey.

You might want to consider moving the trains yourself. I have several friends who moved from LI over the years. Unfortunately two who used movers had trains disappear during the move. One had whole boxes that did not arrive, the other had trains missing from boxes. Both are having issues trying to get any reimbursement from the movers.

 

Thanks Cal,

The Plasticville came from parts and pieces I had in my junk box. The tunnel portals were also free, I made them from scrap Styrofoam. Most of the trees were also free - made from various weeds.

Thanks for the pic of your very neat train room - mine is a mess now, can't wait to clean it up. Amazing how work in one tiny space can clutter all of Warrenville. Previous display and tracks on the floor, trains taken from the old loop and display on the couch, scenery items in boxes on the floor, American Flyer in boxes waiting to go on the layout and new display, folding table with tools, scraps, etc. on it and general work dust on the floor. In my workshop I can hardly see my workbench - gotta clean that off before I start work on the display.

I don't like running trains when everything is messy.

John,

Your pictures of your AF S gauge shelf layout tell me that you made the perfect choice for track and roadbed for your shelf display/layout. The AF rubber roadbed ties (pun intended) the classic Gilbert AF scene together.  Nice work.

I have a ton of AF roadbed and am seriously considering it for a “permanent” home layout.  

Getting back to the traditional track options of this topic, we did use some AF tinplate sectional track I had on our sectional display layout which has been in use at Christmas and various train shows for over 37 years.  

Instead of rubber roadbed, we milled wood ties which were glued to the platform on their side so that the width became the height to the bottom of the rails, and the top edge was the visible portion the tie.  After adding sandblasting sand as ballast, the look was not unlike the type of AF rubber roadbed with narrow ties between the wider tinplate ties.  As these pictures show, we made no attempt to actually disguise the AF tinplate ties completely because of the concept  that the layout pays homage to A.C. Gilbert and to his birthplace.

Cheers!

Alan

1072842F-E88B-4D35-8702-06C7E5AF6717E004EBC8-BD8F-4B5A-A33D-D6243817EC6D

PS: John, The clutter in your room pales in comparison to my “train room/workshop,” pictures of which have been posted under other topics on the Forum.

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Thanks for the kind comment and pics Alan. I really like seeing what other people do with a common product (in this case, track).   As you may know, the main Warrenville layout uses traditional tubular track dressed up with over 2,000 wood ties and ballast.

I am very happy with how the AF rubber roadbed looks on my new display, I even trimmed of a half inch of the edge of one piece to place next to the switch track, it all blended in well. Here is a pic:

IMG_6007

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Alan B
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