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South Africa

Track Ballasting

While track ballast is not required to actually run your trains, Track ballast is one of the most important visual/scenery aspects of nearly every model railway train layout.

The ballast is the rocks/stones that are used under the tracks to add drainage and flexibility to the rail track. You may even get away with no ballast, if your tracks are covered by weeds, but this tactics probably won’t work on your entire layout.

While Ballast can dramatically improve the visual impact of your layout, so too can a badly constructed ballast scenery make even the most interesting train layout look wrong!

You basically have three possible options when it comes to creating ballast for our model railway:

1. Ballast Scatter

  • Paint the track bed a similar color to your ballast
  • Carefully Scatter the ballast material on the track bed
  • Apply a mix of glue/dishwasher liquid onto the ballast/track bed
  • Alternatively use a ballast spreading tool to improve and simplify the process

2. Ballast Scatter Mat

  • Purchase a ballast mat from your local model train shop and cut it to size and cover the board
  • Ballast scatter mats do not look as realist as homemade scatter as it looks too neat and tidy. Do you notice perfect ballast on your local train line?

3. Ballast Sponge Overlay

  • This stuff is a sponge material that already has ballast particles and is laid under your track. Not as realist as the other options but is very quick to install.
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