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C+L underlay and Carr's ballast

Posted by Mikkel , in The Bay, Construction 24 October 2009 · 3,033 views

Track Ballast Bay C+L Carrs Underlay
For what it's worth, here's a quick recap of some of the products I tried out for the underlay and ballast on "The bay".

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C+L foam underlay. I used neoprene foam from C+L Finescale for the underlay. This was of 5mm thickness, although I believe they now also have an 3mm version available. The foam may at first seem rather sensitive: Even a light prod of a finger leaves a noticeable hollow. However, the foam eventually evens out, and in any case becomes much less sensitive once fixed in place. For this I used a gooey, water-based glue, normally applied to carpet underlay. I extended the foam across the entire baseboard, rather than using it only beneath the track. This also allows buildings and structures to be recessed into the foam by cutting appropriate holes, thereby eliminating the problem of unsightly gaps between structures and ground surface. Look at that heavy chipboard - stone age baseboards, but it was what I had lying around at the time.

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Carr's 4mm ash ballast (left) vs 2mm stone ballast (right). In Edwardian times, neat ballast shoulders were rarely seen in bay platform areas on the GWR. Photos of the Newbury bays suggest a light sprinkling of a rather fine ash-like ballast, and sleepers almost level with the surrounding ground. Since most manufacturers seem to insist on over-scale ballast, I experimented with both 2mm stone ballast and ash ballast. The picture above compares Carr's 4mm Ash ballast (left) with 2mm Dark Grey Ballast (right) from the same company. I opted for the finer Ash Ballast, a dark grey matter of non-stone material. This gives a nice representation of the very fine ballast I was after.

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Ballasted track. I applied the ballast to the track through a film cannister, pierced with holes at the bottom to get an even and controllable spread. This was then adjusted with a fine brush and a not-so-fine index finger. I sieved away some of the finer ballast dust beforehand, and then later added it to the top in order to enhance the "fine" look.

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Original and extended sleeper spacing on Peco track. The track is Peco Code 100, left over from an earlier layout. I consider this a compromise, but I stuck to my principle of exploiting the items I already had available. Moreover, with careful ballasting and weathering it is a compromise I can live with. I did experiment with the sleeper spacing, to see if I might create the illusion of scale track gauge. I realize this is a very subjective thing, but for me the extended sleeper spacing gave a slight narrow gauge look with which I wasn't quite happy, so I decided to leave the track as it came.
  • Like x 6

Job's Modelling
Feb 18 2013 09:01

Thanks Mikkel.


Your thread on track helped, making my choice for the track on the arches of my diorama.



Welcome to Farthing!

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This blog chronicles the building of "The Farthing layouts", a series of small OO layouts that portray different sections of a GWR junction station in Edwardian days.


Intro and concept
How to eat an elephant
Design principles
State of play


Gallery (1900-1904)
Four o'clock blues, ca. 1902
What really happened in the Cuban...
The honourable slipper boy (Part 1)
The honourable slipper boy (Part 2)
The honourable slipper boy (Part 3)


Gallery (1904-08)
The trials of Mr Bull
A most implausible arrival
A parcel for Mr Ahern
Blue skies and horse traffic
The Remains of the Day
Motley crew

Edwardian daydreams


Gallery (1914)
All in a day's work, Part 1
All in a day's work, Part 2
All in a day's work, Part 3
All in a day's work, Part 4


Out of period
Undecided sky (1867)
The sleeping giant (1887)
Bunker first (1927)
Fitted fish and piles (1947)


Once Upon a Time in the West
Summer silliness
The unbearable lightness...
Across the years
The Sidelight Job
Painting coach panels

Traverser testing


Low-tech pre-grouping stock

Short trains for short layouts
Short trains with a twist
Hand-me-down coaches
Low-tech coach restoration (1)
Low-tech coach restoration (2)
Low-tech coach restoration (3)
Low-tech coach restoration (4)
Low-tech coach restoration (5)


Sprat & Winkle couplings
3 plank Open in GWR red
Outside Framed 8 Ton Van

In the red: GWR 1900s wagon liveries
In loving memory...
Scratchbuilt one-planker (1)
Scratchbuilt one-planker (2)
MSWJR 3-plank dropside
LSWR 10 ton sliding door van
SDJR Road Van
LSWR stone wagon
Fake news and wagon sheets
Same but different: 1900s wagons


GWR 1854 Saddle Tank (1)
GWR 1854 Saddle Tank (2)
Shiny domes and safety valve covers
Backdating the Oxford Dean Goods (1)


C+L underlay and Carr's ballast
Experiments with C+L track
Comparing track
Messing about with track panels
Laying track on "The depot"


GWR horse-drawn trolley
GWR 5-ton horse-drawn vehicle
Parcels van and coal trolley


Fun with crates
Barrels, baskets, bales
Small crates and tea chests


Porters and Barrows
Andrew Stadden 4mm figures
Backdated Monty's figures
Footplate crew
HO figures for an OO layout
Lesser known whitemetal figures


Constructing the Branch Bay
First bite: "The bay"
Simple structures for "The bay"
Platform trolleys and barrows
Signs, posters and adverts
Six lessons learnt


Constructing the Goods Depot
Second bite: "The depot"
Shunting Puzzle
Sketches of The depot
Soft body, hard shell
Kit-bashed roof structure
Dry Run
Dusting off the cobwebs
Playing with mirrors
Mezzanine floor
Progress on "The depot"
4mm slate roofing
The treachery of images

A roof for "The depot"

A tall bird from Paddington
Cranes for the depot
Shoulders of giants
Flight of the bumblebee


Constructing the Old Yard
Third bite: "The sidings"
Wagon propulsion
Progress on "The sidings"
Rising from slumber
The Biscuit Shed
A shed and a lock-up
Agricultural merchant's warehouse
Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall
Stops, levers, plates, gauge, wall
Lamps and Lamplighters


Constructing the Stables
GWR Park Royal stable block
GWR stables - an overview


Railway modelling and Art
Moving Pictures
Season's greetings


Layout ideas
A flexible layout
Kicking back in Gloucester


Pre-grouping livery clippings
Journey to Didcot
Detail hunting at Didcot
Here's looking at you
The mists of time (and all that)
My friend the operating chair
Ready-to-plonk freight
GWR Modelling website


RMweb Workbench
Flickr photostream

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