I have started construction

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by takev, Aug 16, 2003.

  1. takev

    takev Member

    Hi there,

    I have started construction of my N scale layout.
    I made the module tables and started the basic landscaping using styrofoam.

    What I was wondering, would I just glue the rails right on the styrofoam, or do I need a cork roadbed.

    I guess in reality underneath the track is the balast which makes the track higher. Should I maybe put a layer of balast first, lay the track and then put some extra belast between the ties?

  2. garyn

    garyn Member

    Ballast under the track could make the rails uneven. Put down cork, then the track, then ballast. I'm laying direct onto homasote, and skipping the cork roadbed, then will ballast on top of that. This makes the trackbed profile lower than prototype, but for me it was easier.

  3. takev

    takev Member

    The problem is found that the pre-shaped cork was very expensive (much more then the rails themself) at my local hoby shop.
  4. takev

    takev Member

    I just looked at the AMI roadbed stuff.

    It looks nasty like tar. Can anyone give information about this AMI stuff? How does it look? Any tips? Any problems?

    As the balast lies on the AMI stuff, how wel does it stick. Or should I use the thined glue with balast anyway.

    I heard that cork wasn't really a fun material to work with, how does it compare to the AMI roadbed.
  5. rcwatkins

    rcwatkins Member


    Skip the cork, skip the ballast, get unitrack.
  6. SD70BNSF

    SD70BNSF Member

    How about these two roadbeds?

    How about a comparison of cork roadbed vs, the Woodland Scenics foam roadbeds. They both look like they provide the same roadbed shape, and I imagine once the ballast is layed, they don't look any different. I saw a display in my LHS on cork vs WS, and they tried to sell you on the "quietness" of the WS product.
  7. stary

    stary Member

    I'm using the WS foam roadbed, and I'm very pleased with it. I used cork on my HO layout and had no problems with that, either.
    From what I hear, the AMI roadbed is also very good. After it's laid, you can take it up. It's not always easy, but it CAN be done. Then, after you have it where you want it, simply press it down.

    I don't know how good it holds the ballast, though.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I model in ho where the cork roadbed is 1/4" thick. I think in n scale the roadbed would be 1/8" thick, correct? How about checking out your local auto parts store for a roll of 1/8 inch cork gasket material? You could cut it in strips, and notch it to make curves.
  9. billk

    billk Active Member

    There's gotta be a cheaper source of roadbed available to you somewhere, if your local hobby shop is charging that much! Are there any other hobby shops, maybe not so local, that you could check with? Or maybe an internet dealer in Europe? (I imagine shipping charges from the US would be prohibitive if all you ordered was roadbed.)

    I've used both cork and foam roadbed, and IMHO there's not a lot of difference. After you ballast, you can't see either one, and if you secure the ballast by soaking it is a glue water mix, any sound-deadening that either material could provide is pretty much negated.

    PS - Where does cork come from? For some reason I seem to recall Spain,
  10. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    I used 1/16 cork gasket material from an auto parts store, as mentioned earlier in this thread. Get the pure cork not the rubberized (to expensive). I made patterns for the different radius turns and cut the cork as needed. I glued it down then laid the track immediatly so I could adjust the cork if needed. Put a drop of white glue on your track nail and push it through the cork into the foam. I then put weights on the track untill the glue tried. after that I used a home made hot-wire tool to cut the roadbed contour.
    Some hardware stores sell 1/8 cork by the ft. for tile underlay.
  11. takev

    takev Member

    Wel, I found some cork used for floors and made it into strips, If I make it about a half inch wide I can bent in into the turns I want.

    But it is a lot of work to glue it al on the foam.
    I did find some glue that really holds the foam and cork down, it is actualy a paste designed to glue foam to any porus (I don't know how to spell it, material that lets water through) surface. It sets in about 48 hours.

    BTW, what is cork used for in cars?
  12. mav_uk

    mav_uk Member

    I use cork for mine, it's not the easiest thing I have ever worked with, but then I am also learning as I go along - but it looks okay and wasn't too expensive.

    As for cars: cork is used to make gaskets for the sump / rocker cover etc.

  13. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I have always used cork roadbed and find it very easy to work with. In my neck of the woods I get a box of cork roadbed made by midwest for $25.00 for 25 36" length so consider this reasonably cheap, The N gauge cork is 1/8th inch thick
  14. AMI

    AMI tends to get rave reviews unless you are using flextrack curves, because flextrack tends to want to return to straight You still have to tack it in to AMI
  15. billk

    billk Active Member

    Re: AMI

    From what I heard, this problem depends on the brand of flex track - some are more 'springy' than others.
  16. stary

    stary Member

    yea, I've heard the same thing.
  17. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    I use the rolled cork you can get at some Home improvement stores. It is about $6 for a 1 foot by 4 foot piece, I then cut it about 1/2" wide strips, you can get 24 strips 4' long for $6! That's cheap! I find it is also all the same thickness, no sanding required.
  18. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member


    Here's a tip for home-made cork roadbed:

    To bevel the edges after you cut your strips, take your dremel and put the mini drum sander attachment. Then lay the strip along the edge of a table (preferably NOT your dining room table!) and run the dremel along the edge to get the desired contour. You can do a strip in a matter of seconds!

    By the way, this works wonders for smoothing out the rough edges on that one half of the midwest cork after you split it in half.
  19. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    I used AMI on the layout I am working on now and hate it. It doesn't hold the Atlas flex track where the joints are around curves. The last layout I used cork with no trouble. I am sorry I changed.
  20. scoobyloven

    scoobyloven Member

    have you looked on ebay

    i seen road bed on their from ws for 12.99 a caes i paid 14.99 from my local hobby shop. look on wahthers they have it their also the part number is 785-1462 36 pieces for 17.94 or 785-1475 for a 24' roll for 5.98 i have used it on my layouts and like how it came out, as for the sidings i just cut the road bed thiner and glued the track to the foam and on the new add on where i am buildig a nohelix i am going with on road bed but the thing with foam is if are on a budget you can maeyour on road bed just draw out your track on to the foam and take a knife and start to shave the foam away from the outer edges of the track i done it on my 2nd layout and it came out looking good but that takes time to do

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