Stupid Question do you need corkbed on your layouts?


This question is coming from my Mom. Her and I are assembling my Model RR Layout and were having a disagreement about if you need corkbed on your table or not? My Mom says you don't but I say you do. Who is right here?
You don't need cork. You can attach the track to a bare surface if you want.

That said, cork has two benefits:

1. It gives the track a roadbed with the proper side slope to attach ballast to.

2. It reduces the noise of the trains running without it.

In yard areas you really don't need the cork unless you are concerned about reducing the noise.

Absorb the shock of the wheels hitting the track joints? How much do your cars weigh? To be quite honest, I feel that the W/S stuff is a little to 'soft'. I use Homabed for my mainline and standard cork for everything else. What the roadbed is for is to elevate the track above the grade for dainage. Not much of a problem for model trains, but it sure looks nice!

I'm a traditionalist - I use cork.

I also use cork sheets in the yards, because it is easier to keep things all on the same level that way.
First, if you are going to have a semi-permanent or permanent layout, then you should use some form of roadbed for your track. As already pointed out, it will make it look much more real and give your ballasting something to form to.

In my return to MR, I decided to give the WS foam roadbed a try. I am very happy that I did. It is very easy to form any large or small radius that you need and is very easy to lay down. Some use liquid nails, but I prefer laying down a couple of beads of undiluted white or yellow glue...let get tacky...lay the foam on top pinning the curves down, and give it a few hours before laying the track down.

I will say that there probably isn't that much difference in the foam roadbed and the cork other than the ease of installation and personal preference. The argument about which one is best to mute noise is nonsense. Once the roadbed is covered with ballast and glued, both become a hard shell that only softens the sound some and about equally. Most of the sound on a layout is transmitted through the benchwork and hard scenery.
Is the foam "shorter" than cork? I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to use it instead of N scale cork for sidings and spurs...
Jeff: The HO scale WS foam roadbed comes in 2 foot lengths in different quantity packages from 12 to 36 pieces. You can also do as I and buy 24 foot rolls. All you do is cut the foam to the lengths and shapes you want on which ever you have. I am not sure about N gauge, but I don't see that is would be any different than HO. Check the Walthers web site and get an idea.
Ah, ok galt904.
I don't know what the height (thickness) is for N, but the HO is about 3/16ths. Jeff, if your not talking about a large difference, you can sandpaper foam roadbed just like with cork. I have done this many times in areas that have a variance in elevation.
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What I was trying to refer to was the use of N-scale cork roadbed on HO layouts underneath sidings and spurs - they tend to be at a lower elevation than the mainline.

I was wondering if I could get the same effect from the HO foam roadbed if it were shorter than the HO cork.

My LHS stocks both, I'll need to drop in and check.