Throwback Thursday , ballasting…

Remember the good times? Spending hours brushing ballast into the sleepers, getting the point work clean, repainting, filling the gaps afterwards?

No, me neither! However it is one of those chores that for me is included in the ‘Meh!’ files along with wiring. Today I’ve finished all the track work, it’s all had a good shakedown testing so on with the ballast. I’m using Woodland Scenics and it’s now in place for the fixing.

Normally I use diluted PVA or superglue, but this time I’ve tried a different technique, clear varnish acrylic with the surface tension reduced with detergent. It worked ok and I did a traditional PVA/detergent mix test simultaneously.

Working outside on a warm summer day the PVA cured faster, so I reverted to that method for the ballast across the layout. Peco bufferstops are at the track ends, but will be replaced with GWR or LMS/BR types from Dave Franks, these have already been assembled and will go on once the core scenery structure is in place.

These are some of Daves bufferstops, LNER bottom left, and centre/top BR/LMS. And for you retro health geeks out there, yes they are sitting on a ‘Reebok Step’, (no Jane Fonda’s or Olivia Neutron Bombs were hurt or disturbed taking this image).

I’ve found a good way using the new Peco Bullhead rail track of assembling these kits too. For now though I’m running the layout, as well as brushing the track regularly with a two inch household paintbrush. I do this for a week or so to allow the track and glue etc to bed in, and to dislodge any sections or pieces of loose ballast.

Whilst I’m doing this I’m also working up the scenery structure. This time I’ll be using insulation foam as the underpinnings, and that’s partly because it’ll give greater flexibility and opportunities in placing the trees, of which I’m expecting to build quite a few!

This entry was posted in 2017, Bachmann, blog, Branch Line, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, finescale, Forest of Dean, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, iain rice, Ian Futers, Kalmbach, Layout, life, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Rapido Trains, Scottish Region, shelfie, Southern Region, throwback thursday, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, wagon, Wales, Welsh Marches, Western Region. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Throwback Thursday , ballasting…

  1. sed30 says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog.

  2. Tanllan says:


    An interesting idea of using acrylic varnish for fixing ballast. Other than the longer curing time were there any negative results with the experiment?
    Supplementary questions:
    What brand of varnish did you use
    How much detergent did you add


  3. Maria Flores says:

    Thanks for sharing your idea and creativity in working with tracks. It would be a plus if you can share some of your thoughts on how to build your scenery such as mountain terrains, tunnels, trees and more. It would help a lot of train enthusiast to improve their plain track layouts. Anyways, thank you and keep up the good work!

    • bawdsey says:

      Hi Maria, thank you for your comments. Scenery is something I will cover a bit in the future as the new layout will have some of these features, not necessarily tunnels and mountains, but hills and trees and the design process are likely to feature. Keep up the good work in encouraging the new generations into the grass roots of the hobby!

  4. Pingback: Wordless Wednesday, Not! (Shelfie2 The State of the Nation Pt2) | Albion Yard

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