Is gravel a good material for a road bed?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by mikebalcos, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    I live in the Philippines, and I can't find cork roadbed here. Currently, I am considering to use gravel as a roadbed. What do you think about this idea? Or there is another material I could use?
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Mike, the cork roadbed is used to help reduce track noise and imitate the look of a real mainline railroad by having a sloped shoulder.
    That said, you can cut roadbed out of homosote or even plywood ( if your not worried about the noise ) and slope the shoulder. The "gravel" is used later after the track is layed to imitate the ballast.
    Also, if you are modeling a small branch line railroad or such, you can lay the track right on top of your tabletop since that would not have the well maintained ballasting. Hope this makes sense.:confused:

  3. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Thanks, Loren. Yes, you made a lot of sense. I now have a follow up question. I can buy corkboards here with the same height as those you can buy in your model railroad shops. My problem is how to slope it. Is using plaster to slope it a good idea?
  4. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    You can probably just cut it. If its actual model railroad cork, then it splits down the middle in a sloped fashion. you need to two pieces to help you make curves easier.
  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    It probably cuts easily with a utility knife as long as it is not dried out. You want something about 3/16-1/4 inch thick. (Or about 5mm).

  6. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I bought cork in sheet from a home store and cut in into strips to make the roadbed. Turned on alot cheaper than building the ready-made cork. I angled it with the untility knife like was mentioned earlier. You could possibly cut the cork a little wider and angle it after you've laid it down on the layout. that might give you a slight advatange to make a realitsic slope.
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Everybody,s right. Sorry I forgot to mention that:oops:. It would be best to cut the cork at a angle with a knife and then smooth the edges with sandpaper if needed. I think plaster would leave to rough a finish to be realistic.

  8. KCS

    KCS Member

    Mike, I don't recommended using just any kinda gravel. Some guy's do even sifting dirt for landscape but again, not recommended. The ballast that you buy has undergone a wash process of chemical to clean it and then baked to dry and kill any last living parisites that might be living in it then bagged and shipped. That's just to make a long story short. The parasites can grow and cause discoloration over time or any number of thing's. I saw one layout that it was done with dirt and after a few year's in a different enviorment started growning a white velvet looking mold that was unsightly. Just my $.02 of knowledge.
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You could just cut the cork vertically, and then fill with ballast to make the slope. If you can't get regular model railroad ballast locally where you live, I think you could use dirt or sand if you take a few precautions. First I would sift any material you get to get the size down to "scale." Second, drag a magnet around through the loose ballast material, and discard anything that sticks to the magnet. Repeat that process until you don't get anything sticking to the magnet. Third, chlorine bleach will kill almost anything, so wash your material in chlorine & water. You may want to test it first to make sure the chlorine doesn't bleach out color. Finally, put the ballast material in a pan and put it in the oven and bake it above 300 degrees for an hour or so and then let it cool before using it. If anything lives through that, RUN! You can't kill it!
  10. KCS

    KCS Member

    LMAO @ Russ. That was good! Yea, if anything still lived through that kinda process I'd get the hell outta dodge too!
  11. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    But if that is all you can get - MICROWAVE. One minute on high will kill anything.

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