I wanted to build some track and just finished placing at order at Fast Tracks for some PC board ties and code 55 rail. I thought this might be the moment when I carve off that 0.015″ and test the code 40 waters but chickened out at the last minute wondering if my meager collection of rollingstock really would be okay on the shallower rail.
With track in mind thoughts turn to the roadbed that the new track would sit on. In the past I’ve used balsa, cork and foamcore board. Of the three I’ll admit that I was never a fan of cork. I find it a little pricey and the fact that I’ve never purchased more than two lengths that were split equally and forget about that ballast edge profile. The balsa I liked but can be expensive. That said, it looks nice. I thought I’d cruise around the internet to see what other modellers have elected to use. Naturally cork roadbed still reins king among modellers.
Among the websites I checked out I looked at Tim Horton’s Dawson Creek Subdivision website. Mr. Horton is a really tremendous modeller and his layout is really one of those hidden N scale gems. He’s trying a balsa subroadbed topped with foam. Check out his tips here. I see more and more modellers are using foam roadbed similar to the product that Woodland Scenics offer. When I worked at the hobby shop we sold the Woodland Scenics foam roadbed but I never met anyone who actually used the stuff. It was a pity as I had some questions about it. Of all the things I was curious about, I wanted to know how well it held up on a layout over time. I like to use a Peco track eraser to polish my rail heads between operating sessions and wondered if that gentle pressure would compress the soft foam roadbed and either damage the track or my carefully applied ballast? Perhaps the act of ballasting the track actually results in the roadbed becoming saturated with glue and consequently becoming rigid.
What do you use under your track? What are you thinking about trying?