Help me decide which trackbed to use

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Edgar, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. Edgar

    Edgar New Member

    I've just joined the Atlas Model Railroad world, having deserted Bachmann and its EZ-track system. I already bought Atlas' 83 code Starter set but I'm undecided on which trackbed to use -- cork or black foam. Honestly, which one you like most? I'm all ears!!!:wave:
  2. abutt

    abutt Member


    I've always used cork (four layouts!). Mounted on 1/2" ceiling tile gives me the quietest and easiest to use. Ballast adheres to it well. Easy to construct turnout bases.

    Good luck,

  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I like cork as well... easy to lay and pin in place. Can be sanded if a little uneven (or to create different heights of roadbed). I stick it down with latex caulking, and it remains in place after pinning for about an hour.

  4. Iron Horse

    Iron Horse Member

    Ok.....I tried the foam and like it pretty well. It is lower than cork for a more realistic appearance. You can also use cork for the mainline and the foam for the sidings. It is really easy to cut and splice together (you can use scissors). It is more flexible than cork and takes corners easier. I think it works better if you glue your track down, or use caulk or something. If you nail your track down, cork is probably better. I usually use walthers goo to hold down either one.
  5. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    I have been using cork for several years. Last year, the present layout, I decided to try the black foam. NEVER AGAIN. I tried to ballast my track and the ballast would not glue to the foam. Where it did stick, it gradually fell off after a month or so. I have never had trouble with ballast on cork. I used white glue which is my choice
  6. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    another cork user :)
  7. emt49

    emt49 Member

    I have used the black foam for two layouts now and like it verry much
  8. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    I am the odd ball, I do not use any.
  9. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Interurban: I see your point about not using roadbed and ballast. It makes a big mess on the city streets that you model and the local pedestrians hate tripping over those ties while crossing street.
  10. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    cork and 50/50 white glue
  11. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

    Jim you are half right sign1

    But half the Layout is country and we go staight to the ply and put in the ballest sign1
    We do not see the use for it with our stuff, also cookie cut plywood gives enough rise .

    Darn sight easier
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Did you use the Woodland scenics foam or the AMI uncurred rubber roadbed?
  13. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Another vote for cork. :thumb: I like my track attached to something somewhat solid and the foam just doesn't give me that degree of "solid" that I am happy with. Of course I am probably one of the few die-hards left that will only attach my track with nails to cork and plywood underneath that. This whole glueing your track to foam stuff is a new concept to me and I'm not sure I'm real comfortable with it yet.
  14. santafewillie

    santafewillie Member

    Cork and nails on top of plywood for me as well. I like that solid feeling. Easier to make re-adjustments later on.
  15. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    I boiught a whole box of the Woodland Scenics foam
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Good to know. I've always used cork, but was wondering about the foam. It might work better to glue the ballast down on the foam with matte medium since that seems to have a bit of flex to it when dry. It may be that the white glue dries stiff, and then cracks when the foam roadbed flexes. I think I'll stick to cork.
  17. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I am going to mess all of you up. I use the foam that is put under walls of houses. It is available at Lowes & Home depot. You can get 50 feet by 6 inches for less than $10. Cut it the way you want I try to keep the ridges down but not a must. I then use sifted crushed stone dust from local quarry for ballast and 75/25 water to Elmer's glue.


    You be the judge. The stone dust was free, they cant weigh a 5 gallon bucket full.

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