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Track Underlay - another idea

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  • Chris Sheldrake
    Clear DayAnother quick and easy way of forming an underlay for Z gauge is to use thin polystyrene sheet. In the UK we can buy 1/16 - 1/8 sheet : it s
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 1, 2002
      Clear DayAnother quick and easy way of forming an underlay for Z gauge is to
      use thin polystyrene sheet.

      In the UK we can buy 1/16" - 1/8" sheet : it's coloured white and is used to
      put behind wallpaper as part insulation and to help cover up slightly uneven
      walls:
      it's sold for only £2.00 a roll ( $3 ) and you get a huge quantity on a
      roll : 20ft by 20" here .

      I've found it's quick to do, easier to cut and gives far quieter running
      than cork and much cheaper.

      To lay track I simply draw out the layout on the baseboard and then make up
      the track without fixing it down.
      I then slip a sheet of polystyrene under the track and roughly cut it out to
      shape with a very sharp modelling knife.

      If I'm using flexible track I hold the curves by temporarily placing a track
      pin on the outside of the bend to keep the shape.

      I then remove the track and paint the polystyrene the colour of ballast with
      wall emulsion paint (I buy the colour samples from ICI here which have a
      built in brush in the screw top). Laying the track on the polystyrene when
      the paint is still wet will stick it down firmly but I find it better to
      wait an hour or so till it's dry in case you want to move the track at a
      later date.

      After fixing the track down with track pins I then carefully trim the
      polystyrene around the line of the track with a modelling knife. It's a good
      idea to cut at an angle to give a bevelled edge about 3mm from the outside
      edge of the sleepers. If you don't want to go to the time and trouble of
      ballasting it looks a whole lot better than bare track or cork but you can
      ballast in the usual way with scatter materials and diluted pva glue and
      this will completely cover the underlay..

      You can do a huge layout with only one roll and it costs next to nothing.
      And there's the bonus of the trains running much more quieter as well.

      Final tip : Most layouts I've seen have the track laid flat on curves
      whereas a real railway has banking on the curves ( In England it's called
      Superelevation)
      To achieve this is really easy with the polystyrene underlay:

      When you tack down the track leave the pins a little proud, to the top of
      the rail will do.
      When you cut round the track to form the bevelled edge of the polystyrene,
      keep the piece you cut off on the outside of each curve.
      Using sharp scissors, cut the piece you removed from the outside of the
      track and trim it into a 1/8" to 1/4" wide strip
      Raise the polystyrene underlay on the outside of the curves with a modelling
      knife blade and push the thin strip under until the outside is flush with
      your underlay.
      Push the pins home into the track and you will now see that the track adopts
      a banked angle exactly as required. It looks very realistic.

      If you don't want to ballast the track with scatter materials, use the same
      wall paint to finish off the cut edges. Ballasting is still best but this
      is an very effective compromise between ballasting and leaving bare track on
      the baseboard or on unpainted cork.

      Chris Sheldrake





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • ted_lamar@peoplesoft.com
      Have you found any negative effect on reliability with the superelevated curves? (We call them that too) I have experimented with superelevation on my ho
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 4, 2002
        Have you found any negative effect on reliability with the superelevated
        curves? (We call them that too) I have experimented with superelevation
        on my ho trackage, but i have been thinking of it for Z. I mentioned it to
        someone once and they said a was nuts....that noone could tell anyway
        because it's so smal....?? Mainly concerned about performace
        degradation....How does it run? And what are your minimum curve radii??

        T



        "Chris
        Sheldrake" To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
        <chris@classic cc:
        -mg.co.uk> Subject: [z_scale] Track Underlay - another idea

        04/01/2002
        04:13 PM
        Please respond
        to z_scale







        Clear DayAnother quick and easy way of forming an underlay for Z gauge is
        to
        use thin polystyrene sheet.

        In the UK we can buy 1/16" - 1/8" sheet : it's coloured white and is used
        to
        put behind wallpaper as part insulation and to help cover up slightly
        uneven
        walls:
        it's sold for only £2.00 a roll ( $3 ) and you get a huge quantity on a
        roll : 20ft by 20" here .

        I've found it's quick to do, easier to cut and gives far quieter running
        than cork and much cheaper.

        To lay track I simply draw out the layout on the baseboard and then make up
        the track without fixing it down.
        I then slip a sheet of polystyrene under the track and roughly cut it out
        to
        shape with a very sharp modelling knife.

        If I'm using flexible track I hold the curves by temporarily placing a
        track
        pin on the outside of the bend to keep the shape.

        I then remove the track and paint the polystyrene the colour of ballast
        with
        wall emulsion paint (I buy the colour samples from ICI here which have a
        built in brush in the screw top). Laying the track on the polystyrene when
        the paint is still wet will stick it down firmly but I find it better to
        wait an hour or so till it's dry in case you want to move the track at a
        later date.

        After fixing the track down with track pins I then carefully trim the
        polystyrene around the line of the track with a modelling knife. It's a
        good
        idea to cut at an angle to give a bevelled edge about 3mm from the outside
        edge of the sleepers. If you don't want to go to the time and trouble of
        ballasting it looks a whole lot better than bare track or cork but you can
        ballast in the usual way with scatter materials and diluted pva glue and
        this will completely cover the underlay..

        You can do a huge layout with only one roll and it costs next to nothing.
        And there's the bonus of the trains running much more quieter as well.

        Final tip : Most layouts I've seen have the track laid flat on curves
        whereas a real railway has banking on the curves ( In England it's called
        Superelevation)
        To achieve this is really easy with the polystyrene underlay:

        When you tack down the track leave the pins a little proud, to the top of
        the rail will do.
        When you cut round the track to form the bevelled edge of the polystyrene,
        keep the piece you cut off on the outside of each curve.
        Using sharp scissors, cut the piece you removed from the outside of the
        track and trim it into a 1/8" to 1/4" wide strip
        Raise the polystyrene underlay on the outside of the curves with a
        modelling
        knife blade and push the thin strip under until the outside is flush with
        your underlay.
        Push the pins home into the track and you will now see that the track
        adopts
        a banked angle exactly as required. It looks very realistic.

        If you don't want to ballast the track with scatter materials, use the same
        wall paint to finish off the cut edges. Ballasting is still best but this
        is an very effective compromise between ballasting and leaving bare track
        on
        the baseboard or on unpainted cork.

        Chris Sheldrake





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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      • ztrack@aol.com
        Ted, I use super elevation on one sharper curve on my double mainline. I had some problems with passenger cars tracking properly through this section (at the
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 4, 2002
          Ted,

          I use super elevation on one sharper curve on my double mainline. I had some
          problems with passenger cars tracking properly through this section (at the
          end of the curve is a turnout). Super elevating the track completely solved
          the problem. No more problems and all trains run incredible through this
          section. I definitely recommend trying it. I used thin shims to build up the
          outside rail. I kept running trains through the section until all was well. I
          ballasted and that was it. Looking straight on, you do not notice the
          elevation, but looking down the track toward the curve, you will see the
          trains tilt.

          Rob Kluz

          Ztrack Magazine, Ltd.
          6142 Northcliff Blvd.
          Dublin, OH 43016
          Phone/Fax (614) 764-1703
          www.ztrack.com
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