Roadbed ?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by mark, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. mark

    mark Member

    I am starting my third attempt at geting a descent layout, but as with the first two I am running into questions about what to put the track on. The wood is down but I dont want to use those tiny nails. I tried styrofoam and am thinking of trying it again. also tried cardboard. Living in Germany I cant go to the hobby store and buy American Products.
    I thought the styrofoam would be the best because it can be made into hills and mountainsides, but it got very hard to work the fine details and for roadbed it seemed i could not get it level. I also want it to hold the track firmly in place. Previously the track started to get gaps and caused problems.
    suggestions please.
    thanks in advance, Mark
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Subroadbed or roadbed? Roadbed is directly under the track and is traditionally cork. However, there are lots of other possibilities, including foam (like Woodland Scenics) and the "other traditional" homasote.

    The subroadbed - usually the "plywood level" is often now styrofoam as you noted. The track can actually be affixed directly to either material with caulking or glue, or by nailing to the plywood.

    I have tried traditional white glue the cork to the plywood, and nail the track to the cork. Didn't like it much, so I am now going to try an adhesive caulking which is supposed to be much faster setting.

    Since you already have the plywood base (as I do...) you might want to read this article that inspired my current approach (you will need Adobe Acrobat to read it):

    Good luck!

  3. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Welcome to the-gauge, Mark! :D :D :D

    What type of products are common (available) there for use as roadbed?

    If you can not get a roadbed product, can you get the foam in a good thickness like 1/4", so you do not have to cut the height?

    After temporarely securing the track to foam with straight pins Shamus uses wallpaper paste mixed with the ballast to ballast and glue the track in one step. I tried the same using white glue mixed with ballast on a diarama and it worked well.
  4. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    Maybe consider Kato Unitrack or equivalent - the roadbed is already built in.
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I worked on a layout where the roadbed was made out of door skins, that is, the 1/8" (3-4mm) thick wood that makes the largest surface of a door. Comes in 2 1/2 x 7 foot sheets.
    To me it seemed to be a bit splintery and rough around the edges, but the price was reasonable. Needs a lot of cutting, but that can often be done with a heavy knife.
  6. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    I use foam for the sub-roadbed, then I glue the cork roadbed to the foam with a product called "Tacky Glue", holding it in place with straight pins. I then glue the track in place, using the same glue, making sure to avoid switchpoints. The Tacky Glue holds the track well yet lets go when necessary to modify the track work. It also resists the water used later to affix the ballast. In the end, there are no pins, tacks or nails holding the track in place.
  7. Topo

    Topo Member

    As Arlaghan has suggested, you can use track with built-in roadbed. In Germany you surely will find easily Fleischmann-Profi track or Roco-Line track.

    The Roco-Line track have a detachable ballast that is very prototypical, and you can hide the switch motors under it. It accepts well to be painted, too. In the minus side, you will need to have well planned your layout, because this prototypical ballast need to be cutted to fit around switches and so.

    The Fleischmann-Profi track is very good looking and easy to use, but no prototypical. I use it on displays and it looks great!
  8. Topo

    Topo Member

    This is the Roco-Line. Notice the ballast cutted to fit in the slips:

    Attached Files:

  9. Topo

    Topo Member

    This is the Fleischmann Profi. It comes in a nice "natural" color:

    Attached Files:

  10. Alan Bickley

    Alan Bickley Member


    What I do is stick the cork down to the baseboard using wood glue, and the fix the track down to the cork with strips of double-sided carpet tape. Easy.
    I looked at using Roco-Line, but it was a bit too expensive for my liking, so I use Peco code 75 track and turnouts.
    BTW, I was at an exhibition at the weekend and saw a layout with a northern California setting that had the same track as I use. I spoke to one of the operators who said that though it was not exactly the same as American outline track, he knew of several stateside modellers who couldn't get enough of the stuff. So, does anyone else here use it?
  11. Lightbender

    Lightbender Member

    Hello Mark,

    Are you using styrofoam (the white stuff that breaks into little balls) or do you have extruded construction foam (usually pink or blue, rigid, cuts easily doesn't crumble) The latter is used widely, the former is rejected widely

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