Track bed question

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Goldnut

Active Member
Wanting your opinions. I am looking at 2 different track beds. One being cork and the other is scenic woodlands black foam. My layout is going to be a wall layout on a 1x12 pine board shelf. What are the differences in the 2? Im leaning toward the foam because of cost. Thanks in advance. Ken
 

Alcomotive

Grandson of ALCO Bldr
If it's any constellation you will both do fine with the foam. I will point you to the fact that cork is expensive as you know for precut road bed. You can however get cork in rolled sheets at reasonable price as well if you dont mind cutting them into strips etc. I have bought rolled sheets from Hobby Lobby 24x72 for like 17 bucks. Anyhow the foam beds are good too.
 

MHinLA

Well-Known Member
This could save you cost : Freight yard, engine house, spurs, tertiary sidings, and even some bucolic branch or short lines, have track with little to no shouldered road bed..
So, if your RR has this type trackage anywhere, you can have it flat on the sub-roadbed (plywood right of way)..but, still with ballast glued in and around the ties..Then, if there is a main line thru the scene it's a nice prototypical effect having the main line up on shouldered roadbed along its entire line ..When the two types meet face to face in places, there are a few ways to make gradual ramps under the two different track heights as do the 1:1 scalers.. ..Actually you can put an entire yard on one big sheet of cork (as Alcomotive above states) because the tracks will still look like they're unshouldered.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
I used both Foam and cork roadbed on the Cm&N railroad. I like the cork to use the individual strips to aline along the penciled in center-line of the roadbed that helps get the correct curvature. Then the space between the cork strips along good alinement of the track. The cork makes up 85% of the railroad and Foam the balance.

I used cork sheets in yard areas.

Both works good, juts matter of preference.

Greg
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Wanting your opinions. I am looking at 2 different track beds. One being cork and the other is scenic woodlands black foam.
I have used both (plus every other method known to modelrailroadom).

The foam is a better sound insulator especially on a plywood base.

Foam has to be glued down, cork can go with glue or wire nails. If one attempts to nail track down on foam (either initially or for later repair) it is too easy to compress the foam and get dips, humps. and bumps. I saw a layout where the owner used a staple gun to put the foam roadbed down. Looked like a roller coaster.

Since foam is a full width piece, the outside of a curve has to stretch while the inside has to smoosh up a bit. The tighter the curve the worse this effect becomes. As Greg says I like the cork split design because it is so easy to align to the construction center line of where the track will be. It also leaves a nice "line" guide to use when laying the actual track.

ummm,
Depending on brand the cork usually has a higher profile.
Depending on the climate, cork can get old and dry out (crumbly) after 40 years or so.

No matter what I have tried, I always end up going back to cork.
 

Goldnut

Active Member
Thank you for all the help fellas. With all the info here I think I will go with the foam. Sounds like the sound deadening will be better in my application and the cost certainly is in my wheel house. As for the issue on the corners as stated by IH I think I may try to miter pieces so I dont have to bend it.
 

McLeod

Well-Known Member
As a matter of fact, my WS 2x boxes of 24' continuous foam track bed arrived today. It also has a centerline that you can split and separate when applying around curves; one half foam bed at a time. This should help with the crunching up. I have not tried it yet.
It does look like a material that will easily compact if applied with a stapler, so I'll be using foam glue, when it comes the time.
 

Goldnut

Active Member
As a matter of fact, my WS 2x boxes of 24' continuous foam track bed arrived today. It also has a centerline that you can split and separate when applying around curves; one half foam bed at a time. This should help with the crunching up. I have not tried it yet.
It does look like a material that will easily compact if applied with a stapler, so I'll be using foam glue, when it comes the time.
What foam glue are you using and where did you get it? Thanks
 

McLeod

Well-Known Member
What foam glue are you using and where did you get it? Thanks
I have not used anything, yet. When I do lay the bed down, I will be trying the LePage PL300 shown, that is sometimes on sale at the Home Depot.
I also include WS instructions for the curve diagram.
.FoamBed_03-10-2020 (1).JPGFoamBed_03-10-2020 (2).JPGFoamBed_03-10-2020 (3).JPG
I believe the caulk gun stuff might be the cheapest way to go. I'm hoping to glue everything with 1 tube.
I'm new in trains, though. Just letting you know.
 

Patrick

Well-Known Member
The instructions look much the same for cork. You can get those T-Pins (if you choose) much cheaper in the crafts department at Wal-Mart. Mine were 1/3 the price the hobby shops wanted and they are reusable. I did use just plain white (Elmer's) glue to hold my cork to the surface, but I also have 1.5" foam on the table surface. I know it is a bit more difficult on the wood to get the t-pins in.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
As a matter of fact, my WS 2x boxes of 24' continuous foam track bed arrived today. It also has a centerline that you can split and separate when applying around curves; one half foam bed at a time.
That is really cool. I think it was 2012 when I used it last. Sounds like the product is evolving for the better. I will have to try it again for next project.
 

GNMT76

Active Member
If it's any constellation you will both do fine with the foam. I will point you to the fact that cork is expensive as you know for precut road bed. You can however get cork in rolled sheets at reasonable price as well if you dont mind cutting them into strips etc. I have bought rolled sheets from Hobby Lobby 24x72 for like 17 bucks. Anyhow the foam beds are good too.
It's all in the stars, I guess. ;)
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
If one attempts to nail track down on foam (either initially or for later repair) it is too easy to compress the foam and get dips, humps. and bumps. I saw a layout where the owner used a staple gun to put the foam roadbed down. Looked like a roller coaster.
For this reason alone I prefer cork. Though I am considering trying homasote.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
For this reason alone I prefer cork. Though I am considering trying homasote.
With Homasote you only have to use a pair of pliers to put the track nail in. You don't have to pre-drill it or use a hammer. This is why I'll have Homasote below the cork. I'm not going to glue the track on the current layout, except for on the Woodland Scenics foam risers. Not much choice there.
 




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