painting rails

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by CAS, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. CAS

    CAS Member

    I will be painting my rails with a rust color, once the track is laid.

    On my mainline track should the rust color be painted lighter, due to more traffic. And the passing, and siding track darker rust color. Or is it the tops of the rails that make the difference for the more traveled tracks? And paint them all the same.

  2. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    You're going to have to clean the tops of the rails after painting. Or else your locos aren't going to move. Heavy trafficed rail tops are shiney anyway. As far as the sides of the rails. Main line rail would be lighter than sidings, as maintence on sidings are practically nil.
    An interesting detail, probably not noticeable, would be have a piece of rail sitting along side the main line, thats the same color as the rest, then paint one section on the mainline lighter...As if a piece of rail had to be replaced.
  3. CAS

    CAS Member

    Thanks eightyeightfan1.

    I knew i have to clean the top of the rails for a good contact for my loco's.

    i might go with 2 shades of rust color for the effect im after.

    Thanks again.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I've never seen a rust colour that matches the sides of rails. They're usually sort of a yellow brown -- maybe ochre or one of the sienna/umber family. Red rust usually only shows after a rain and before the first train comes -- and that's on the bearing surface.
  5. zedob

    zedob Member

    Rail sides are brown and not as red or orange as most people seem to think. Of course that depends a lot on the age, but as a general rule of thumb, go darker brown. Fresh rust is very orangey and will quickly turn darker over a few weeks.

    If you wnat to represent brand new rail, chemically darken it. In fact, there are some chemical converters that will produce a weathered patina that looks good and is durable.
  6. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    I think Micro Engineering produce a rust coating that can be applied to rails,and produces the same finish as their ready-weathered rail
  7. Palmisano

    Palmisano Member

    Rail color and reference photos

    I'm new to this forum So Hi everyone. The best way to find out what color track really is is spend some time walking along real tracks and carefully looking. Take plenty of reference photos and have them nearby when you paint/balast/weather the track. Try to get some elevated angles looking down. Also take your photos on a bright, overcast day with a white sky and no harsh shadows. The bright sun will cause violent color shifts during the day and casts a sheen on everything making it difficult to perceive the true color. I was amazed at the difference in color accuracy when I did it.

    To answer the question though, here in Cincinnati at least, I've found heavily used mainline rail to be a very dark brown. Think more like taking black and mixing a little brown in to it. I think Floquil Roof Brown is very accurate. Sidings tend to be more rusty more like Floquil Rail Brown. Red rust never seems beleivable to me in miniature unless the scale is very large. It's always more brown than red. In general things need to be alot darker, dirtier, and less shiny. Every time I walk around railroad areas I'm always amazed at how filthy everything is. Here is a photo that shows an accurate overall rust color on a heavily used mainline. some areas where darker. This was on the light side.

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