It's LOUD now

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by msh, Jul 29, 2002.

  1. msh

    msh Member

    I've installed the track using the traditional cork roadbed, and running trains didn't seem too loud for me. But after ballasting and removing the nails, the noise seems to have increased dramatically - especially the metal wheels. What's the deal? I've never heard that ballasting the track made the trains run louder than before it was done!
  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I think it is the glue used to bond the ballast which increased the noise. What is the cork roadbed supported on?

  3. msh

    msh Member

    Prior to ballasting it is attached to the subroadbed, AKA the 5/8" plywood, with white glue... in a few places where redesign took place, with track nails. Then the track is nailed to the cork. After ballasting is done, using white glue as SO many have written about, the nails are removed from the track.

    I'm just going to have to deal with the racket, 'cause I'm NOT about to un-do all the work I've done and start all over again.
  4. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    I have heard that white glue can be louder when used to ballast.
    I originally used John's powered glue mixed in with the ballast. But I now use Solomon's Sobo white craft glue thinned our and with a drop of detergent. Why Sobo? Because it remains slightly flexible. This translates into a little less noise.

    I never had a problem with John's, but it is easier for me to get Sobo at a local craft store when I need more.
  5. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Msh, your 5/8" plywood is Acting like a sound board seeing as you have now attached the track/cork together (In effect) sitting on top of the 5/8" plywood. I use on top of my 1/2" board 1/2" insulation board, then the track is set on this.

  6. Vic

    Vic Active Member


    This is always the result when cork roadbed and track is attached directly to the plywood. Once the track is ballasted the hardened glue and ballast will transmit the vibrations of the train to the plywood which acts like a sounding board and amplifies the noise.

    Had there been a layer such as homasote, sheet cork, sheet foam and etc between the plywood and the cork roadbed it would dampen the vibrations.

    I personally wouldn't worry about it. Trains are noisy anyway:D and after a period of time you'll get where you don't pay any attention to it. :D Plus the addtion of ground covers will tend to dampen it out a bit too:D I wouldn't go for any major reconstruction or try to dampen the noise from the underside of the layout....just too much work:D :D
  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I was thinking along the same lines as Shamus, that's why I asked what you used to support the cork. The longer the stretch between risers, the louder the noise will be. More risers will reduce the amount of movement of the subroadbed. I use plywood also, with homosote instead of cork. The homosote deadens sound better. In my staging area I don't put either cork or homosote, and I can hear the difference. I don't mind that because I know the train in the staging area is moving!

  8. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    I agree the problem is with the track/cork being directly on the plywood. I always put a sheet of 1/2" foam board on top of the plywood and that kills the sound.
  9. Chessie

    Chessie Member

    Depending on how large your layout is you might consider attaching some pink wall insulation under the bottom.
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Ballasting seems to remove all the sound deadening qualities of the cork. A friend had just ballasted all his station section but hadn't done the rest and the difference when it hit the station was noticeable. You may have to consider putting a gap in the ballast line or
    put a bit of wax paper on top of the plywood and ballast on top of it and then remove it.
  11. pcentral

    pcentral Member

    Hi All,
    Another thing to consider is the floor of the room. If it is concrete, tile, vinyl, etc. all of these add to the sounds. If you put ddown some carpet this will help absorb the sound. I know this problem well, I have O and S gauge inside. My home layout is built with a 1 by 6 inch pine frame and the tabletop is 2" foam. This is sturdy enough for me to lean on to reach the shelves behind the layout.
  12. RI541

    RI541 Member

    I have the same problem in my service yard where I've ballasted the track, I don't worry about it.

    but you might want to change them metal wheels.
  13. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    I noticed this too, but not to any real great degree. However, the initial parts that I ballasted, when learning/practicing are much noisier, and the loco sounds like it was running over rocks. Well, that's exactly what it was doing. Not enough to disrupt the running of the loco, but it was running over tiny bits of ballast that where poking up just enough to hit the wheels. I use peco code 75 track, which, due to the lower profile of the rail, can be susceptible to wheel flange clearance hassles with ballast. The Australian prototype track is laid, so that the sleepers/ties are buried in the ballast, with the ballast even sometimes covering them. Perhaps I over ballasted the ballast!

    I had to run a fine file/pick along the edge to crack off the bits poking up. It's fine now.:cool:
  14. JeffGerow

    JeffGerow Member

    Please don't change the metal wheels -- they reallydo make the train run better and keep the track cleaner.

    All the responses are getttng the point that the sound is being transmitted through the ballast to the board, which is acting as a speaker. Increasing the mass of the supporting board (homosote, etc.) will decrease the sound generated, better separating the track from the board (WS foam roadbed, AMI roadbed) will help, but in this case with everything built, your best hope is to reinforce the structure of the layout. By adding additional support members under the track, you allow less vibration and therefore less noise to be transmitted.

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