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After putting this off for ages and some fairly inconclusive test pannels, I've bitten the bullet and started laying ballast. To ease into the process and learn on the job, so to speak, I've chosen the easyest board first - the one with the single track approach, some of which disappears into a deep cutting and long over-bridge/short tunnel to hide any disasters!

I've used C+L ash for the cess and 2 mm scale light grey for the track. Originally, I intended to use a rubber based carpet adhesive to provide a bit of give in the track-bed, for sound deadening, but that's one clear result from the test pieces. Perhaps I'd kept the adhesive too long, but it just didn't work for me, so diluted PVA has been used. Doing the ballast after track laying allows electrical testing of the track and trial running whilst adjustments and additional connections are easier, but it does result in a rather laborious process for ballasting as the glue has to be carefully brushed into every individual sleeper bay, in short sections, and the ballast sprinkled on whilst the glue is still wet. The section shown was done over 2 days, allowing other domestic activities and drying time between application and vacuuming up the excess for re-use. I bought a small, hand-held vacuum specifically for this!

I'm quite pleased with the results, although taking the board out into the garden today for the photos revealed a number of bald patches, especially on the ballast shoulders, that I hadn't spotted in the house. I'm not sure whether to patch these up with more ballast or just rely on disguising them when the track is finally weathered.


Anyway, here are a few shots of the finished result (taken this afternoon in the back garden), seen with and without the over-bridge structure.


Looking towards the station area, without the bridge:



Looking away from the station area, without the bridge, including the buffer stop at the end of the run-round loop head shunt:



Operating end of the FPL:



Two views with the bridge in place:





Now to the station throat board. I think this will take a bit longer!



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