Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Outdoor ballast

Frog crossing
A sunny bank holiday has allowed us to finish ballasting the garden railway. I'm not really sure how you are supposed to do this, but we have done exactly the same thing as we'd do with indoor layouts - fine grit is brushed over the LGB track and once we're happy with the position, watered down PVA is poured over it from a little yellow watering can.

The logic behind this is simple - I hate ballasting so the stones need to be stuck down and stay down. Glued in ballast makes keeping the line tidy a lot easier too. Any leaves that fall can be blown away with a garden vacuum cleaner rather than laboriously being picked off. The vac can be used at a distance too which will save trampling around the flower bed. I think it was David Jenkinson who's technique we are pinching. He was of the same opinion, if you want the model to look presentable, loose ballast is a bad idea. He had much more line to worry about too !

I test ballasted a section of track a couple of months ago and it seems have withstood everything nature has thrown at it. I know PVA isn't waterproof, even the builders stuff we bought, but it hasn't washed away either. OK so there is winter to come but I'll find out then how well we fare. Handy hint: Check the price of the PVA when you buy it. 5 litres was only 5p more than 2.5 of the same stuff thanks to a special offer at the builders merchants. Bargain.

In the meantime, trains were run over the last section to get stones just to make sure everything worked OK. A couple of areas needed to be re-levelled by levering up the track a touch and re-gluing it but otherwise all seems fine. The frogs like it too !

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