Saturday, 3 October 2015

Underlay revisited

Until recently I've been dabbling in weathering as a means of getting at least some of the rollingstock up to the standard I want when the layout is up to running trains. With uni just about done for the year and work backing off, I am so looking forward to getting back into actually building the layout. Being at the AMRA exhibition at Liverpool on Saturday was good both in terms of getting some supplies but also for motivation.

A few posts ago I talked about building a set of Fast Tracks points, and while I still think Fast Tracks is an exceptional brand I need to rebuild that turnout from scratch. The point rail and the stock rail just don't join well enough for reliable running. I've ordered a StockAid tool from Gwydir Valley Models (damned if I'm paying $30 for freight from North America with the current dollar) so that should improve the overall quality of the next build.

The cattle-yard siding was intended to come off the goods siding (left of pictured track) and rejoin the main, as per NSWGR prototype. My original plan was to stick to prototype as much as possible to give the feel of a NSWGR theme. While I was placing that curved turnout on the layout and mocking up where the second one would go for the cattle siding/main connection, I found the the overall plan just didn't seem to work at that end.

If I kept the second curved turnout for the cattle siding, the angle of the curve coming off the layout was going to be too tight for the off-stage trackwork. Although the plan in AnyRail was showing it as physically possible, for whatever reason it just wasn't happening in 1:1 scale. I tried instead using a Micro Engineering #6 turnout (below).  

All of the track seems to join , but I'm still not 100% sold on it. The dire shortage of ME Code 70 #6 turnouts in the country at the moment is conducive to further contemplation.

At the other end of the layout I've cut all of the track to the lengths ready to fix in position, but the first section I've glued down on the return loop module hasn't turned out how I would've liked. I've used PVA to fix the track to the rubber underlay and Selley's Kwik Grip to glue the underlay to the baseboard. Although the sound of trains running through the loop is amplified by the loop being in a wardrobe, it is still way too loud. The sound of the wheels alone is going to distort the sound of the DCC-sound equipped locos.

David Baillee's article in the August 2015 edition of the AMRM answered the problem for me. Without ruining the article, in my circumstances the timber baseboard plus dense rubber, plus track glued onto dense rubber equals sound transferred straight from the track to the baseboard, because the rubber isn't soft enough to absorb the sound. To fix this I need to add soft, spongy foam between the track and the baseboard.

I've toyed with the idea of putting the foam straight onto the rubber, but I'm not convinced I will be able to find a glue that will both bond to the rubber and not eat away at the foam. The other concern I have is how high the track will sit off the scenery. Keeping in mind that this is a yard and most of the landscape will be flat, I also don't want the track sitting proud of what would have been flattened land.

The track closest to the camera is the goods siding. About where the CLX is I'm planning on putting a gantry crane on the goods siding, so getting the landform looking like this (Bowen Creek):

Or this (Burrowa): pretty important to me.

My current thinking is to take the track up, tear up the rubber, sand the rubber/wood glue back, lay the foam in it's place and the track on top. All-in-all, about a day's worth of work to change course and get it back to where it is now. Normally I would see this as a waste of about $110 and a few weekends, but I'm ok with it - if we didn't experiment in the hobby we probably wouldn't have things like the amazing realism of static grasses. Every so often something is going to fail. You learn from it, and that's ok.

More photos once there's more progress.

Happy Modelling!


  1. The solution is to isolate the track base from the scenery base [foam]with Track right underlay foam. On Spicer's Creek it was wrapped around the timber track base and the underside filled with seating foam as I have a full ply base on the modules - worked acoustically dead and I have ever created


  2. Thanks Gary. So essentially, it's like putting and extra layer again between the track and the baseboard, e.g. track, trackrite underlay, then trackrite foam under that? I reckon that would absorb more sound. I'm impressed by your achievements on Spicers Creek too - looks really good!