How do I bring cork roadbed down to ground level?

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bklynman01

Active Member
I have a section of track that goes into a tunnel where there's some hidden staging. The mainline that heads into the tunnel is on cork roadbed. Here's my idea...

The hidden staging can be built "off-site" and then simply put in place. Since it's hidden, there's no need to worry about aesthetic details so I want to try and remove the cost of cork (to save only a couple bucks, but it adds up). Before I can move forward with that, I'll need a good way to bring the mainline down to the surface in a smooth fashion.

Has anyone done this in the past? How did it go? What tools and method did you use to shave/cut the cork?

Thanks!
 

GeeTee

Active Member
I have a section of track that goes into a tunnel where there's some hidden staging. The mainline that heads into the tunnel is on cork roadbed. Here's my idea...

The hidden staging can be built "off-site" and then simply put in place. Since it's hidden, there's no need to worry about aesthetic details so I want to try and remove the cost of cork (to save only a couple bucks, but it adds up). Before I can move forward with that, I'll need a good way to bring the mainline down to the surface in a smooth fashion.

Has anyone done this in the past? How did it go? What tools and method did you use to shave/cut the cork?

Thanks!
As we were discussing in the other thread , would suggest looking at....

EVA-38

Its a lot cheaper if buy direct and cut your own . 6mm black is $11 a roll 24"X50" . you use a circular knife to cut it. 1.5" wide strips gives around 70ft to the roll which is about 1/3 the cost of cork?

I got mine here www.tntcosplaysupply.com They have it various thicknesses. They sell sheets up to 39 X 78.

I have purchased from these guys twice with no issues.



I would be reluctant to put track directly on to the sub bed , The main benifit of cork or foam is sound deadening . If you decide that you must lay directly on the sub bed I suggest layering poster board /cardboard / gasket cork , over 3 or 4 ft removing a shim layer at a time (1/32 to 1/16 of an inch ) every foot or so .
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
I would save myself a lot of (what I would take to be) unnecessary work and figuring by simply having the cork meet new subroadbed, or roadbed, but at grade. That's what the real rails would do, and it makes sense.

Cork meets plywood: ///////////////[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[.

The idea is to craft your transition, perhaps before or after a diverging turnout, an then cut off the cork at some point. Raise the adjoining plywood on risers to meet grade, and then continue the gradient of the plywood down to a SECOND adjoining point where your module will meet that, again at grade. THAT is where you'll have to do some figuring, but also some adjusting when the time comes to mate it all up. My suggestion would be to have the last couple of supporting risers in each case, the cork supporting structure and the plywood, clamped, not nailed or screwed, so that you can make minor adjustments and then fasten them. You might have to use a sander to round out a bit of a bump if they can't be aligned precisely onto a plane, but that shouldn't deter trains on otherwise good craftsmanship.
 

josephbw

Member
The most cost-effective and easiest thing to do is purchase a bundle of shimming shingles. These are typically used to shim doors and windows during home construction.
I have been using them for over 40 years for my layouts and also our club layout. Put a shingle beside the cork, and where they are the same height, cut it off. Use that piece by butting it up to the end of the cork. Attach the track directly to the shimming shingle and ballast as usual. You will get a perfect transition every time.
Joe
 

Patrick

Well-Known Member
josephbw: I was going to post the same thing. Those shims are about the with of the track and work well, and very inexpensive.
 

skyliner

Member
What scale are we talking about here? N or HO isn't much height to lose, O or larger is certainly more.

I have one area of my layout where I brought the track down to subroadbed level, for an intermodal ramp area. My roadbed is foam, but I think the same idea applies. I tried shaving, slicing, and sanding the foam-- could never get it smooth and angled properly. Tried making a transition out of foam board, wood, same thing. Finally went with something really simple. Built a ramp out of thin paper card (similar to the covers of most calendars, I even cut up an old calendar and part of a Woodland scenics box for part of this).

Cut two strips the length of the transition. Then in-between, I have a series of progressively longer strips, like a staircase. You can decide how steep you want it by how long each "step" is. Glue it all together, weigh it down with a flat edge on top overnight. With track on top, when I run my finger along the grade, it feels like a smooth transition, you can't feel any "steps." Works great.
IMG_3688ed.jpg
 

dave1905

Active Member
Since its hidden trackage, you don't have to worry about looks. Since you are going to built it "off site" and add it, there is going to be a joint. Use it to your advantage. Put a splice plate between the two sections. On the visible section plywood is on the bottom and cork is on top. On the staging section put cork on the bottom and plywood under the track.

Perfectly smooth joint, very easy to do.

Transition.png
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
A trick that I have used with success is using ballast as, well, ballast.


With the tracking laying as level as possible, I just pour on the ballast, give a few good taps to make sure it's all settled, and then glue like you would normally glue ballast. Granted, I've used this trick in visable sections. If you're going to have a bolt-on section butting up against your roadbedded sctions, and it's not going to be seen, I'd agree with the others and just raise the new section up by the hieght of the roadbed.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Since it's hidden, there's no need to worry about aesthetic details so I want to try and remove the cost of cork.
I slice sideways as best as possible and then sand the cork to appropriate grade and smoothness.

BUT, I will contend that roadbed, specifically cork roadbed, is not aesthetic. It dampens sound. It is easier to mount track onto (and much easier to unmount track from). It smooths out bumps, humps, and gaps in the sub-roadbed.
 

bklynman01

Active Member
The way this thread worked out is why I'm happy to be a part of this community. I may not have responded, but I was reading all of the responses as the emails came in.

Part of my real problem is that I'm working with a small space for this removable section. That doesn't give me much space to play with track height before the turnout that leads to staging.

A lot of really good ideas here, most of which I will be employing at some time or another as this scenario will likely present itself again and again. For now, what I've done is ripped up the track and cork about 8 inches back onto the pink foam and shaved down the pink foam the thickness of the cork. This was needed in two places, and it's quite obvious which one I did first. 😣 The benefit is that the transition will happen in a hidden area so the strange shape of the roadbed won't be too noticeable.

I haven't reattached the track yet, but you can see what I did here:
20200621_152324.jpg

(this is the second side I worked on, not going to embarrass myself by showing the other)
 

MHinLA

Well-Known Member
I wholeheartedly agree with Dave and Ian... I discovered this method on my own. If we use all the logic we can foster in every situation we will usually come up with the best method to solve it. Then we start noticing lots of others have done the same thing. This includes the 1:1 scale railroads..It's no diff; simple logic.. Yes, the shim and or on/off ramp will work. But if you are in HO and using cork, the cork is 3/16" thick. Make your staging or any other non-shouldered-ballasted yard area that much higher to meet the top of the cork.....
 
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bklynman01

Active Member
Dave and D&J
This doesn't really solve the problem of bringing the track down to the removable wood (or in my case MDF). I do recognize it's an easy way to bring the track to a flat surface but it's not adjusting the height of the track which is what I'm trying to do.

HOWEVER, I do appreciate the idea for tracks that lead into a yard area where you still are trying to keep them quiet. I, personally, am not too worried about the sound of wheels on track right now. But in the future on a bigger, higher quality layout, this will certainly be an employable method.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
Interesting how many people have ideas but prolly haven't tried it themselves. Lack of pictures kinda tell the story.
"Here, try this and let me know how it works" sort of approach.

View attachment 114710
I have tried all of them, and with some patience and a modicum of motivation, they all work. I have used a wire brush, sanded, shimmed, used adjustable risers, layered, sistered, but most often just use ballast under flex that lies close to what I need it to do (then glue the ballast and it holds the tracks well at grade)...they all work. Where I'm short on ballast, I'll shove bits of leftover scrapwood, drywall, or whatever under the tracks to minimize the fill I have to use under them. But ballast does a fine job of helping to meet grade at but joints or meets of roadbed and subroadbed.
 

MHinLA

Well-Known Member
bklynman, Wha !? You don't ....."bring the main line down to the surface"..... as stated in your OP. You bring the surface up to the main line, minus the cork.
Post #15 is the perfect illustration of this.. What on earth is still the problem ??
 

MHinLA

Well-Known Member
WAIT ! Does the OPer want an actual grade up or down from the shouldered ballasted track ? Or, does he want there be no lift/fall, to/from it ??
The initial problem is not being described well... The transition from shouldered to non-shouldered, again, is displayed in your own post #15.
Why are you now saying to bend the homa/ply ? You/he mean in order to make an incline after this has been completed ? Is this what the OPer is wanting to do ? Then, yes, bend the homa or ply up/down and add risers, lower risers, or remove risers to whatever % grade you want, up or down from there..
 




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