Ballasting 1


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Guide to Ballasting 1 - Ballasting & Track Laying Together.

Before laying the track ensure your baseboards are ready. Fit a suitable underlay, in the example below Peco N Gauge Finescale track is laid upon cork sheet finished in a grey undercoat. The undercoat gives a base colour below the ballast. Mark the centre line of the main track - on the image below left this is the white line visible at the top of the image, and visible bottom right running through. If you are unsure try a test section of track off your layout.

1). Usually starting with the most complex track junction on the layout, assemble the track configuration and place in position. Note the use of a steel rule for straight track. Work on a small manageable area. 

2). Mark the ballast limits, the position of all tie bars as no glue must be present here. Mark and drill the location of any holes e.g. for turnout motor actuators or fixed wires as on N finescale crossings and slips etc. 

3). Carefully cover the required area in PVA glue. Ensure the covering is not too thick as this may cause the ballast finish to be too high between the sleepers. Avoid the tie bar areas.

4). Relocate the track into its original position. Be careful not to get glue on any of the areas marked to keep clear. If you are trying to complete an area that is too large, this is where you will struggle! 

5). Fill in any sleeper gaps and generally ensure the track is as neat as possible. Compare this image with image 4. If using track pins fix down carefully without driving the pin in too far as this will distort the sleeper.

6). Cover the whole area with ballast to the depth of the top of the rail. Gently press down but do not drag the ballast as this may pull the glue. As the glue starts to set check all areas have sufficient ballast coverage. 

7). This close up image shows two left hand turnouts and a crossing covered in ballast. Leave to dry overnight or as direct by the PVA manufacturer.

8). Tip or vacuum the excess ballast away - any surplus can be collected and reused. Check the tie bars function correctly and generally clean the area.



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