shamus' ballast article

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Virginian, Mar 2, 2001.

  1. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Hi shamus,
    I checked out your web site...Great! Check your 'in' box for an email...
    I tried to print and save your article on 'clean ballast' for future reference, but for some reason, the only thing to print was the 'menu' I haven't seen that one here; could you post it, or tell me where to find it if already posted, please?
    Thanks [​IMG]
    VGN [​IMG] (no sun today, how sad!!)
  2. George

    George Member

    Virginian, try doing a copy and paste of the text to a word document. For graphics, do a "save as" on the pictures and print them separately. Saves time on cyber Voo-Doo.

    Shamus, it looks simple enough. I bet Michaelangelo made working with a hammer and chisel look easy too! [​IMG] When the time comes, it's worth a shot, as most every other method I've ever tried was a disaster. Must've done something wrong.... [​IMG]

  3. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    Thanks for the suggestion, soon as my wife gets home, I'll ask her to 'translate'your message [​IMG] I understand the meaning of every word, but put 'em together...well, I'm learnin' this computer as I go along too [​IMG]
    VGN [​IMG]
    (I wish there was a "'smilie' scratchin' his head "up there!)
  4. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Track Ballasting and Track Cleaning written by shamus

    For those of you who have had a railroad before and have had to move a piece of track, how many times have you had to replace the length of track because you had ballasted it using PVA. White glue (50% Water and Glue.) Even a JCB would have had a hard job moving it. I have on many occasions in the past and looked around for some other easier way with less hassle should I require to move the track. So I sat and thought about it for awhile, then came up with the idea of using heavy duty wallpaper paste. Would it set hard enough? I thought. The only way, was to try a piece out on a separate piece of track on a small piece of insulation board. - IT WORKED, and dried hard and I could still remove all the track pins afterwards. For those of you interested in using this method, here is the way I mixed up this gooey mess.
    Mix up a little of the wallpaper paste and then add your desired track ballast into the wallpaper paste and mix it all up. The consistency should be that of thick porridge.
    Now the fun (Messy bit) begins. Dig out some ballast with your fingers, and spread it into the tracks keep on spreading the ballast until the tops of the sleepers are visible again. Next, run your fingers down either side of the rails both inside and out to clean off any access ballast. Clean the top of the tracks with a dry cloth. Now use on old toothbrush, running it inside and outside of the rails to clean it up a little. Finally, use a small piece of 600 wet/dry to clean off the tops of the rails so you can run trains later.
    The next morning, after all the ballast is dry, once again run the wet/dry over the tracks and check to see if there is any odd bits of the ballast floating around.
    The next job is to paint the sides of the rails a rusty colour, this gives the appearance of making the tracks smaller than they are, plus the added advantage of good looking track. So there you have it. A well maintained and good looking main line track.
    Now to Cleaning the tracks
    How many times have you said to yourself, "How am I going to get my hands in there to clean the track without removing the buildings. I have many times, and came up with two simple but effective solutions.
    One is to buy a roller, the kind used to roll the seams on wallpaper. They are just over one inch wide, and have a diameter of an inch and a quarter. Buy two pieces of wood about one foot six inches long and an inch and a quarter wide by half inch thick. Using one of the wood lengths, tape it to the wallpaper roller. Now cut up some 6 inch lengths of jiffy cloth and strip them down to just over an inch wide and rap it around the roller. Sew the seams together and apply Isopropyl Alcohol to the cloth. Now roll the roller over the track and see just how much dirt and filth comes off the track onto the roller. The other piece of wood is used in this way. Cut a piece of 6OO grade wet & dry paper into a 6 inch by 1 inch piece, now fold it in half (rough side out) and the in half again. Now rap the piece of wet & dry over the end of the piece of wood and tape the end around the wood with masking tape, so as not to lose the wet & dry when in use. Just grab the wood and start cleaning those awkward tracks you couldn't get at before without removing buildings.

    Have fun
  5. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Explanation for copy/paste
    Find the little button bottom left of your key board with Ctrl on it. [​IMG]

    To copy something hold down Ctrl and press c -
    To paste.

    Hold down Ctrl and press v.

    To captures a photo on screen - right mouse click on picture, a drop down menu will appear, (save picture as) choose a place to store the photo and press return.

    [This message has been edited by shamus (edited 03-03-2001).]
  6. Virginian

    Virginian Member

    thanks my friend. I also had a tutoral from my wife last evening...I now have a nice enlarged print of the photo and the text.
  7. Voice

    Voice Member

    About searching for an article in MR (Oct,1950), I came across a little "tip" about ballast. You have to remember that this is for tinplate track, probably not real good for code 55 on scale ties: "I use sand mixed with flour and enough water to make a paste as a tinplate roadbed. Different color sands will give the effect of cinder or gravel roadbeds."

    Just an interesting idea....

    [This message has been edited by Voice (edited 03-05-2001).]
  8. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    I'd be d@%#^!!! I hate added Ballast. I can never do it right! Why couldn't this article been here last October when I started this project! Never to late to learn. I am going to print!

    Usefull Information! Thanks!

  9. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

    did you use the WATERY PASTE or th POWDERED knnd ???
  10. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    In my article (Above) I used wallpaper paste and flocks mixed together.
  11. George

    George Member

    Remember years ago, they used to put cut sheets of sandpaper underneath the tinplate track for simulated ballast?

    Nice thought, but It always looked like regular sandpaper to me!

  12. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi George,
    I saw one guy at an exhibition, just pour loose ballast over his tracks for the two days he was there. I couldn't believe it.
  13. George

    George Member

    Talk about gritty clams! Can you imagine the size of the compressor he must have to blow the particles out of the mechanism at the end of each session?

    And I bet he shot you a look as if you were the one who was nuts.

  14. George

    George Member


    Actually, I'm impressed that he took the time to use a cloth. Don't tell us that he saved it for the next show!

  15. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    I watched him at the end of the exhibition, he just laid a large cloth on the floor, dismantled the layout, and each module was up-ended.
    What a way to do it.
  16. Biggerhammer

    Biggerhammer Member

    A question for all- I am a beginner, linving in railroad-sparse New Hampshire. My memories of prototype rail are from quite a few years back and I recall the ballast there to be rough (frieght run through suburbs in California, 1980ish). How rough/smooth should the ballast be? I'm not asking how coarse the ground foam should be so much as should I groom the ballast until it is neat, rounded etc or should it be poured, roughly smoothed out so that it doesn't interfere with the train but otherwise is a bit messy-looking?
    Thank you, all, for your advice.

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