Styrene Strips

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by msh, Jul 11, 2002.

  1. msh

    msh Member

    Hi Again!

    I want to create two concrete-like areas with the rails passing through those areas: 2 RR crossings for roads and the two tracks running into the Engine house, around which I will also have a concrete style foundation.

    My question is, what should I do to protect the inner rails from being buried and keep them free of the plaster or what ever material I choose to simulate the cement? I heard somewhere a styrene strip would work, but I don't know how wide it should be, nor do I know when or if I would need to remove it. THANKS!!
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    I'd say that they should be as wide as the flanges on your trucks, plus some more as a safety factor, and either remove them as soon as the plaster gets firm enough so it doesn't sag , or to coat them with some sort of release agent so that you can remove them after the plaster sets up. Just brainstorming.
  3. msh

    msh Member

    I just realized I wasn't specific on scale - we're talking HO here. I would appreciate an actual measurement, since all I have to use at home is a tape measure which we all know will be far too large. I've seen sizes like .015" and so on.
  4. billk

    billk Active Member

    Until someone gives you a better answer, I'd suggest going to NMRA's web site. They have specs regarding recommended wheel dimensions. Just remember to fudge in the safety factor!
  5. Xaniel

    Xaniel Member

    I think theres a thred somewhere that answers you correctly.. i think.. i'll search it for you.
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    MSH, I recently paved over some track myself. Here is what I did: I used styrene to fill the area between the ties. I started by tracing the rails on white paper, then used this as a pattern to cut the styrene. I cut the styrene so that it was clear of each rail by about 3/16", but did not try to make it perfect. I glued the styrene down and made sure the flangeways were clear. Trim as needed. I then used spackle to fill in the remaining gap. I immediately used a NMRA gauge (the little nubs for checking track gauge) to remove some spackle from the flangeway. I then used an old wheelset to remove more spackle, just by pushing it along the track. I made one more pass using an old junk freight car. By this time there was very little spackle coming up. Wait for the spackle to dry and paint. By using the styrene very little spackle is used, which helps avoid a shrinking problem. Hope this helps.

  7. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Gary, Using that NMRA guage is a great idea. I'll have to remember that.
  8. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Mike,
    If you want to use the styrene strips to create the flangeways, and then remove the strips, maybe you can use two pieces back to back against the rail on either side. When the "concrete" has set up, the outer piece should slide out without any trouble, leaving you a gap to peel back the inner piece if it's adhered to the concrete. Try two pieces 0.030" about 1/4" wide, for an 0.060 flangeway.
    Just brainstorming, I have not done this.
    :D :D
  9. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I did pretty much what Gary did...
    I paved over the tracks with spackling, but didn't go much higher than the tops of the ties.
    Then I cleared flangeways by rolling an old freight car truck along the track while the spackling was still soft.
    Later when I test ran some equipment, I had to knock off a couple of rough spots with a hobby knife.
  10. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    I did a similar thing withmy level crossing. Used plaster/spackle then and old bogie to "mould" the clearance into it. However, I put it on a sharp curve. 6 wheel bogies did not handle it very well (due to the curve), and had to cut a considerable amount of it away.:mad:
  11. msh

    msh Member

    Found an Article

    In my "Set to Scenery" book, which I should have looked at first, there's a specific reference to this practice. I quote, "Small styrene plastic strips preserve the flangeways for the wheels as you spread the plaster for the crossing. One product that works well is .040 by .060 strips from Evergreen Styrene." Then it goes on to say, "Mix the plaster to about the consistency of cake frosting. Work the plaster down into the tracks using a putty knife. Smooth and shape with a wet finger. Finally, pull out the styrene strips and you'll have nice flageways for the wheels."

    Thanks to Rick Selby and one book I've gotten some valuable tips from, as well as "How to build Realistic Model Railroad Scenery" by Dave Frary. That one is awesome! Both published by Kalmbach Books.
  12. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    A little light oil on the "faces" that are going to be in contact with the plaster - doesn't hurt either. My buddy did the same thing with a trolly stop, about 10 years ago. It was really nice. Just make sure you "beat the plaster to death" with the old truck flanges. It will make a good Right of Way - make plenty of passes. Please post pics!! So we can all drool... :) :)

    ~~ Mikey
  13. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Hi msh,

    I have seen RR grade crossings where check rails are used where the roadway crosses the tracks. A couple of lengths of rail spaced from the running rails to the same clearance as the check rails on turnouts would do the trick.

    It's just a thought :)


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