Roadbed Question

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by sabretooth47, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. sabretooth47

    sabretooth47 Member

    Just a basic question really...

    Is roadbed absolutely necessary?

    For my first layout (well, one that isn't an oval with spur) I'm using a hollow panel door, 80x32. The pic shows how I plan to lay the track.

    The thing is that I want to get started, like yesterday. I have all the supplies ready to go...Code 80 track, bridges and turnouts...2 throttles and block switches...insulators, track nails, etc, etc...but I have no supply of roadbed as it had mostly slipped my mine. I have a tendency to get "Hobby-Shop-Homer-Syndrome" the second I walk in the doors (you walk in and all of sudden you start drooling and your brain turns to mush as the Homer Simpson voice pops in your head, "mmmmm....traaaaains!").

    My train supply coffers have run dry for the time being and I just don't want to wait any longer to get going, ya know?

    Is running without roadbed detrimental to the trains?

    Keep in mind, too, that this is not a “permanent” layout. I live in a duplex apartment and I happen to have some basement area to set this up. So once I move into a house (in 2-3 years), this will most likely be torn down.

    Your thoughts?

    Color Key for Pic:
    Black = Track (duh!)
    Green = Flat areas
    Gray = Concrete areas (for passenger area and engine maintenance area)
    Brown = Raised areas (grades, hills, cliffs, etc.)
    Blue = Water

    Attached Files:

  2. mcbane666

    mcbane666 Member

    Are you laying down on the door, or a layer of foam first, It you are straight on the door, thats going to act like a big Guitar when the train runs over it, the foam will help with the sound. I would go in this order.

    Road bed, foam, plywood.
    road bed, foam, door
    Foam, door
    road bed, door
    last would be just the door.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Roadbed does 2 things -- appearance and sound. I run my trains on Homasote, so sound isn't a big issue. I should put roadbed in to lift the tracks up, but I didn't.
  4. sabretooth47

    sabretooth47 Member

    Yep, I'm gonna go with laying the track right on the door. I'm not worried about sound, I'm worried about performance.
  5. mcbane666

    mcbane666 Member

    Then I see no problem
  6. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    The roadbed won't have any influence on the performance. But it looks like you plan on doing some nice scenery with grades hills and cliffs, so why not take some little extra time to make a realistic track with a roadbed.

  7. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Maybe it's out of topic here but I don't see any runaround track in the yard.
    Why don't you first submit your layout design in the layout planning subforum. They have some very good layout planners there who will be helpful and come back with some positive criticism.

  8. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Roadbed serves two functions on a model railroad. Cosmetic and noise supression. As mentioned above, you will get quite a bit of noise from the thin door skin. You will also have quite a bit of flexability if you try to put nails in the door skin. I would suggest gluing your track instead of nailing if you choose to go without the roadbed.
  9. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Jim Krause has a point here, gluing the track directly on the door would be better than nailing it.
    I'm building a switching layout, the track is glued directly on 1 piece of kitchen shelf ( leftover from our kitchen improvement ).
    I glued the kato flextrack using DAP Kwik Seal tub & tile adhesive caulk. It is fast, easy and give good results.

    here is a picture.


  10. sabretooth47

    sabretooth47 Member

    I do plan on doing some scenery. But keep in mind, this is more or less a test run layout. Any scenery I do put in will be just to get a feel for doing it. This is not a permanent layout.

    I want to run now, and do the big stuff when I have the room later.
  11. sabretooth47

    sabretooth47 Member

    I agree and I appreciate the help...but again, this is just a test layout. I more or less planned the track with the supplies I have available.

    I already have ideas on how my future "permanent" layout will look, and the track plan will be more train-friendly. I've been toying with the design in the Atlas RTS program. Actually, it's a combination of two Atlas pre-planned layouts (the "Scenic & Relaxed" and I believe the other is called "Susquehanna Valley").

    But, for the time being, I want something that I can just run my trains on. My current "layout" is just a glorified oval with 2 single track grades and no yards. What I'm testing here is "cookie-cutter" grades, two simple yards and 1 passing track.

    I'm also want to hone my block making/operating skills. There are going to be 7 or 8 blocks on this plan. I've even planned the passing track to have 2 blocks so an engine can come up behind the other without hogging the mainline.

    In the meantime, I'll start collecting supplies for the future layout much like I did with this one. My next plan will have roadbed, full scenery and plenty of track. For now I'm content just experimenting.
  12. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Now I see exactly what you have in mind.
    So, to resume if you want something that you can just run your trains on you don't need to install the roadbed.
    And when you'll move into your house 2-3 years from now you won't even have to tear your previous layout down.
    One of Model Railroader editor ( David Popp ) was exactly in the same situation as you are. While living in an apartment he started a layout on a hollow core door and when he moved into his house he just took the layout with him and started a 2nd layout on a hollow core door to be connected with the original one. Some kind of hollow core door modules.
    He wrote a book about the subject: "Building a Model railroad Step by Step ".

  13. mcbane666

    mcbane666 Member

    Also if the sound does become to much, you could drill some holes from the bottom and fill the door with expanding foam.

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