Bachmann EZ Track FYI

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Herc Driver, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Just a few things I noticed using Bachmann EZ Track...maybe it will help someone else using it too.

    All the points of the turnouts need filing to reduce the number of derailments.

    All the rail ends need filing as almost all rail ends have metal burrs from fabrication/cutting during production.

    Trying to glue the ballast down is a task I have yet to master. Trying to get the ballast to stick onto the plastic side of the roadbed requires a 2:1 water/glue mixture. Brushed on very liberally, I still found areas where no ballast adheared to the roadbed. I'll need to go back and touch-up those places to create a more uniform look.

    The track sections snap together well, but not uniformly. Some snap better than others and leave little or no gap between joined sections. And since the rails are very hard to move, you can't really slide a rail forward to minimize the gap between track sections. I might try soldering then filing between the rails to reduce the number of derailments caused by some of my more fickle cars. (Ironically, I noticed that the more expensive the car (MicroTrains etc.)- the more prone it was to uncoupling or derailing. The really old and cheap stuff runs fine. I guess all this means I don't have my track "tuned" to the next level yet allowing the better rolling stock to work as well as possible).

    Some turnouts work better than others. The Bachmann EZ Track Layout book available at most LHS gives a good suggestion about cutting off the snap connections of the turnouts so they can be removed for easy maintenance/repair. Wish I would have done that with one of mine...I can't figure out why it moves correctly but won't stay firmly in position allowing all the cars to travel over the points without derailments.

    The turnout switches have no means of fixed attachment to your train board. The back of the plastic switch box is flat enough so that I used industrial velcro (available at any hardware store) and velcro'd them to the trainboard, that way I can move them when necessary.

    Overall, the trains sound like they are running over pastic - which of course they are. The entire track is not as quiet as its corkbed cousin. But I'll downplay this fact because I built my whole layout on a hollow door to allow easy and light weight movement. I think the plastic roadbed transfers the sound of the running trains to the hollow door well. I imagine a solid structure like plywood would not transfer the sound/vibrations as well.

    I'll stop rambling now. If there's anyone else out there with Bachmann EZ Track experience - write about it. If I haven't already noticed the same problem, I probably will soon and will need your experience. Thanks.
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Personally, I don't use EZ Track, although they should be paying me a royalty for the use of the name.:D Yeah, I do have some that I used last year to set up my Christmas display, but that's it.

    That having been said, I was watching an episode of Radio Controlled Hobbies on the DIY channel yesterday where they were showing how to use DCC. The guy, from Ahearn, made his 4' x 6' HO layout in a weekend, and he used EZ Track, but what he did was snap the track out of the base,first and spray it with Flex Paint that you can buy at Home Depot. He then reassembled the track, but never showed anyone how it got on the layout. That was suppose to take care of his balasting. It worked, but looked too consistant, not at all realistic.:rolleyes: I guess if you only have two days to complete your layout and less than a half hour to show it and how DCC works, you can only do so much and can't cover everything you should.
  3. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member


    Because I am faced with a layout with access only along one side (and a chronic back problem) I chose to use E-Z track, but I had never heard that the rail/tie section can be separated from the roadbed... if I am understanding correctly. If so, that would simplify weathering considerably for yours truly.

    Tomorrow, I'll try to gingerly pry the two sections apart on a section of track.

    Thanks, Bob :wave:
  4. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

    Herc Driver...

    Try covering that "door" with a thin sheet of pink or blue foam. My E-Z track is a quite operation due to the foam underlay. I weathered my track on the workbench, and then mounted it to the benchwork, did a light "touch-up", and then ballasted. (Just another "lazy Loadmaster" trick !!!)

    Load clear.... Bob :thumb:
  5. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Thanks Iron Goat

    I discovered placing blue foam board down on my door AFTER I had already glued and decorated almost everything. I went back and brushed glue and applied more ballast around the track to give (IMHO) a more realistic ballast look. Actually, I don't mind the work...Getting the ballast between the ties is a real trick.

    I think only the Kato and Atlas track can be removed from the plasitic track base (according to their advertisements)...but I could be wrong.

    Speaking of "Load Clear"...had a Heavy Weight hang up a few nights started to leave then stopped. It finally left...but took it's sweet time about it.
  6. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

    Herc Driver,

    I agree that E-Z track isn't going to be separated from it's roadbed without damage... and ditto on the ballast problem. My solution was using the FINEST ballast I could find [I think it was actually for N scale..] for "between the rails, and then used regular HO ballast for the sides of the roadbed.

    I have found that (with a razor saw...) I can configure E-Z track almost as well as I could if I were using Flex-track. Some think it looks "too perfect or too uniform) but the GN always maintained their mains like they were manicured, so I think that the mains look prototypical.... SO THERE !!!

    Due to an inoperable back injury, I need the track work to be as easy on my "6 o'clock" as possible, and I have had pretty good luck with weathering my track on the workbench, do touch-up's as needed after track is in place, and then ballast with a final weathering touch.

    Bob :thumb:
  7. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    What do you do to weather it? Paint the rails? Paint the plastic ballast areas? I need some ideas since I just vacuumed anything that wasn't glued down along the ballast line and track and again, most of it came off. I'd like an even appearance to the ballast and I'm just not getting it. I used a 2:1 glue water mixture, and a 1.5:1 mixture again last night but still can't get it to be glued where I'd like. I also used an N scale fine powder ballast...but without success yet.
  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I am positive that I separated some Bachmann track from its roadbed, but I am talking N scale. There could be a difference there. I also found a piece of Kato track where the ties were actually molded as part of the roadbed and could not be separated. I took this off of an N scale Kato bridge that was curved and had a curved rail section snapped into it. Again, the difference could very well be that you guys are talking HO and I'm talking N. I've got to dig into the Christmas decorations to find my EZ-track, but I'll let you know as soon as I can. But that isn't going to be easy since it's all in a storage shed, and it's pushing 110 degres out right now..:eek::rolleyes:

    If you guys say you can't separate HO EZ-track, I believe you, and I guess that guy on TV was using another brand, 'cause he did it. :confused:
  9. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    110 degrees?!?! I think there's a law about temps that high. Please don't go digging into sealed up boxes on my account...I must be wrong about seperating the Bachmann N scale track...I thought I read that it couldn't be done - so I never tried to do it. I probably should have tried, might have made this ballasting issue easier.

    I'm outta ideas about how to improve on the ballasting of this plastic sided track. I haven't tried to use the old "few drops of dish detergent...then glue" routing, but if there isn't other words of wisdom from others that have been down this path...that's what I'll have to try I guess.
  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Well, 110 isn't too bad, we've had 114 twice about a week ago, and look forward to it again by this weekend. The worst ever was about 15 years ago, just about this time in June, we hit 122. It's hot, but after it gets past 110, it's hard to tell the difference.:rolleyes: One doesn't go into a storage shed at those temperatures, it's hard to breath and you can get a bad burn if you touch anything metal...Like your car door for instance...:curse:

    Anyway, I've not balasted plastic roadbed, but I don't think the standard methods would work that well. You might try brushing on straight white glue on the sides first, then sprinkling the balast on top if it. Once it sets, I'd go with the 50% glue/water mix with a drop of detergent in it as a wetting agent to hold it all in place. You might try this and other things on a piece of track off your layout just to make it easy to experiment with and not screw your layout up..

    Good luck :wave:
  11. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Wise words EZ...

    I'll try straight white glue for this last (hopefully) ballasting attempt. And I'll try to "set" it in place with the 50% mixture with the detergent added.

    One of these days I'll have to post a pic of my railroad...after I figure out manipulate the file size properly.
  12. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Go look in the photo forum. I've got a thread there on how to do just that. There is also an active thread on how to download and use a free photo application.

    The links to them are:

    "How to post pictures...


    New f3

    If that doesn't help, let me know.
  13. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

    Herk Driver,

    The method I used when I started my layout the first time... (I'm re-doing it at present, as I realized I wanted masonite "wrap-around" background panels around the room, so down came the benchwork). The process involved painting the track sections a light grey to soften the look of the black ties, then I lightly airbrushed the rails with box car red, then I layed out my track and applied a light touchup at the joints as needed.

    Then I put the fine ballast inbetween the rails, and apply a heavy coat of Artist's Mat GEL on each side of the roadbed, followed by (courser) ballast in those same areas, and then soaked the ballasted areas liberally with 50% White Medium, 50% water, and two drops of liquid detergent. (I know there are a dozen different versions of this...). After it dries, I gently vaccumed the loose ballast up, and finish up with a very fine (mist type) spray coat of light grey paint... just to soften it's appearance a little more.

    I hope this makes some sense to you, as you're dealing with a old Herk L/M here !

  14. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    I learned long ago that if you didn't listen to your would be a very long trip.

    I used a fine ballast but found it difficust to get the ballast to stay in between the ties. I think my mistake was not putting in the detergent...the glue just didn't penetrate enough to make it past the "vacuum test". I figure, whatever won't stay attached when I vacuum everything...will one day get into the most inaccessable part of my engine motors. The sides of the ballast areas are ok...just in between the ties. Tonight...I'll add the detergent and use an eyedropper to get just what I need. I found out the hard way that if you don't watch where you get the glue, the ballast will stick to every foot of inside rail - requiring a total cleaning of all the track.

    "Green Light"
  15. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

    I think you'll find that the "wetting agent" (surfactant) will make all the difference in the world in getting your ballast problem fixed.

    Good luck.... Bob

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