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Roadbed options
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 Posted: Mon Jun 12th, 2017 02:25 pm
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Stan S
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Getting ready to start a new On30 project. I want to hear from folks who may have used something other than 1/2" plywood with Homasote over it.I will be hand-laying all the track/turnouts. I have had good results with the Homabed stuff but I don't need the sloping sides and I don't really like working with it.Any alternatives? 



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 Posted: Mon Jun 12th, 2017 07:16 pm
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jtrain
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You can always go with good ol' cork Stan.  It's cheap, made for every scale imaginable, and you can even cut your own if you buy big sheets of the stuff.

Also, look into foam roadbed, it's softer and (if you ask me) less stable, but it also dampens the sound better than cork.  More expensive than cork, but still cheap if bought in bulk.

Another idea would be to take blue or pink foam in the 1/2" thickness variety and carve that down.  Plus side to that is you can shape it to whatever the situation requires, extra depth, extra shallow, gentle slopes or steep sides. Downside is that it takes a lot of extra work compared to laying cork.

Of the three, cork, or a layer of cork glued to a sub-roadbed of blue or pink foam would be best.  Postwar Lionel and MTH is notorious for being noisy, but On30 is much quieter so I'd treat it to the same standard as HO scale in that regard.

--James




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 Posted: Tue Jun 13th, 2017 01:45 pm
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W C Greene
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I like to use cork on blue foam for handlaid track. You can get a box of Midwest cork sheets and cut your own or get cork at the home center and use that. My little Gila Tram is built on 2" blue foam with the cork sheets cut for my needs. The track is On20, or really HOn3 gauge with hand cut ties and code 55 rail & switches spiked down. The little layout has been hauled to shows and lived at a friend's home for some years and I have not had any problems with the track.
My old Mogollon Railway was outdoors and had basically HO gauge laid on bass ties directly on the blue foam and had minimal problems. For several years this was outdoors with weather from 15 degrees to broiling Texas heat, bird poop and twigs, and just needed an "adjustment" occasionally.
But that's just what I did, there are surely other ways.

Woodie



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 Posted: Tue Jun 13th, 2017 10:05 pm
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Lee B
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I went with cork. ZERO complaints.



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 Posted: Tue Jun 13th, 2017 11:27 pm
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Kitbash0n30
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Hasn't yet been said outright but I'd expect one would want a roadbed which would not be crushed by the force of driving spikes in to ties, and that would define the options for roadbed material.



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 Posted: Wed Jun 14th, 2017 02:35 pm
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W C Greene
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Cork roadbed holds spikes well and won't crush. And after applying glue & water to hold down ballast, the spikes are pretty much "forever".
How about before you decide, do some track with small sections of whatever you are considering and maybe that will help.

Woodie



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 Posted: Thu Jun 15th, 2017 05:03 pm
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Reg H
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Just adding volume to the proceedings.
I use cork.  In On30 I use HO cork roadbed by lay it, basically, upside down.  The sloped edges end up being in the middle.  That way I get the width I need for On30 narrow gauge ties.
I handlay.  Redwood ties (I cut my own) fastened with white glue.  I use contact cement to lay the cork roadbed.  Sub-road bed is 1/2" plywood.  I have tried other materials for the sub road bed, but 1/2" AC plywood works best.
Reg



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 Posted: Thu Jun 15th, 2017 11:55 pm
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Stan S
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OK, thanks for all the good input. For those of you hand-laying in On30, what size ties are you using? I'm surprised to hear that the cork has good spike-holding qualities. Maybe the ties are doing most of that and since they're glued to the cork...I'm interested in trying something other than 1/2" plywood for the sub roadbed.Has anybody used thinner plywood? For those of you who used cork over foam insulation were you able to bend the foam/cork combo easily enough to make grades?If you used the sheet cork, what thickness?



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 Posted: Fri Jun 16th, 2017 12:45 pm
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jtrain
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You don't bend the foam, you carve it.  Big sheets of blue or pink insulation board make a good scenery base and can be carved into any shape you desire.

As for handlaid track on cork, it does seem to hold quite well, and it's been used for thousands of layouts over the decades.  I can't name spikes or ties though, I prefer the speed and ease of flextrack.

Good luck with your railroad!

--James



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James W.

See progress on the Crown Peak Logging Railroad

http://apartmentrailroad.blogspot.com

And:

http://rapidcityrr.blogspot.com

A blog with modeling ideas and prototype information about my favorite regional railroad, the Rapid City Pie
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 Posted: Fri Jun 16th, 2017 02:23 pm
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Stan S
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Right. I just looked at this:

https://shop.mantoncork.com/4-width-x-8-length-x-1-4-thick-Cork-Sheet/?gclid=Cj0KEQjwg47KBRDk7LSu4LTD8eEBEiQAO4O6r_2D1zVMxW1tPbeJ_TIKS6YKLrVUHqNhXfZiK32eldwaAlJV8P8HAQ
The prices are great and they sell 4X8 sheets, way cheaper than Midwest.



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