Integral Ballast Track

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Scott M, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. Scott M

    Scott M New Member

    While contemplating my first HO layout, I've decided to go with an integral ballast track, in lieu of Atlas track and seperately applied ballast. My first few attempts at ballasting were not pretty, and I've determined that any pre-formed ballast would take less time to install and certainly look a lot better than anything that I could do.

    I would like to hear your opinions on Bachmann EZ HO track and Kato UniTrack.

    I believe that they are both available in Nickel Silver, I was just wondering what the pros and cons (if any) are of each system.

    I would appreciate any and all input.

    Thanks, Scott
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Pros-You will have a stable, locking track system with a minimum of effort.

    Cons-1. You are limited to the radius the manufacturer provides.
    2. None of the manufacturer's track products will interchange with
    any other manufacturer's product.
    3. You are limited to whatever track sections your manufacturer of choice
  3. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    I don't know about HO, but in N-scale the Unitrak tends to score near enough 10/10 and all other manufacturers about 0/10. Russ' points are valid for both, but if you can put up with those obvious problems then the Unitrak is the way to go for sure.
  4. Conrail

    Conrail Member

    I think you will be sorry in the long run. I had a super hard time doing anything but making a mess while trying to ballast. As a matter of fact my first layout didn't have much ballast at all, just road bed. Now finacially speaking, ballast, roadbed, glue, etc. are going to cost more then the method you want to go but the payoff is beautiful. After a little creative thinking and a few practice runs on some old scrap pieces of Flex track I came up with a method that works so much easier, saves me a ton of ballast, and looks sooooo much better (maybe to good:eek: ) than the previous methods I used to ballast. I wrote a thread on it a few post down this Page called "My Method For Ballasting Neatly" or something like that. I made it even more simple by using a dust buster instead of a shop vac, and an MLR ballast speader instead of that crafty lil gladware bowlamajiggy. This is just my opinion but I just feel like later you are going to want to add something that as stated above just isn't going to interchange or you will want to run some larger locos or rolling stock and you won't be able to because you were stuck with a smaller radius than you need. Then you will either be stuck with what you have and not be satisfied :cry: or you will be pulling it all up to start over and be out money and time all the while saying "what a waste" :curse: . Hey this is just my opinion though. You could be totally pleased with it and if you go that route I hope you are cuz thats what it's all about. :thumb:
  5. petey

    petey Member


    I have used both Kato and Bachmann ballasted track. I am pleased with both. It saved much time. Kato, I believe, has the widest selection of radii, along with a good selection of turnouts in the wider radii. Bachmann is not far behind in selection. There is also Atlas to consider. The ballast is a gray color.:)
  6. 507wayne

    507wayne New Member

    I am also working on my first layout, I started with Atlas code 100. I am switching to Life Like Power Loc. I am tired of all the problems with the Atlas. I want to enjoy my layout not all the frustration. I believe with a little creativity the ballasting part can look good.FYI Life Like makes an adapter to connect Bachmann Atlas and Conventional track. Available thru Hobbylinc or ehobbies.
    Thanks for letting me chime in.
  7. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    Scott, I'm sure that as you go along you will l be unhappy with too much uniformity, it all looks the same (unless that is what you are after). Like conrail states, take some short lengths of track and paractice on small areas, keep good notes as to what you have done, what you do not like and what you do like and go from there. Remember that everyone in this hobby was a beginer once and things didn't always turn out perfect the first time. Alot of this hobby takes patients and redoing things again and again until you are happy with them. Ron..

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