Ballasting and it was good


After a lot, even for me, of fretting I’ve started ballasting the track on my layout. I wasn’t getting anything done while I worried about a couple of simple things:

I still haven’t settled on a prototype of time period

Throughout this build I’ve nurtured a few themes and have kept them in mind while working. Given the shape of the benchwork and choice of scale and gauge, many of the decisions regarding track locations and the style of operations I want to feature were almost pre-determined. However as I move toward scenics it’s a little more important to know where on Earth this thing is supposed to be set and during which time period so I can decide if that ballast is dirt and cinders or fresh crushed rock.

I’ve been wanting to use something finer than Woodland Scenics and real rock

I’ve always used Woodland Scenics “fine” grade ballast. It’s readily available and familiar. During my no-layout-at-home hiatus I’d read a lot about ballast based on actual crushed rock such as that from Arizona Rock and Mineral or Highball. Unfortunately, I can’t find a supply of either close to the Island and, as expected, sending a couple of bags through the mail is just going to cost more in postage than I feel like I want to spend right now.

Wait a minute…

I’m doing a lot of surfing the web and fretting instead of working on the layout and getting something done. So, last weekend I picked up a jar of Woodland Scenics fine ballast, their generic grey blend, and set to work. After a few evenings, I’ve got ballast glued in along about half of the line and I think it looks pretty alright. I’m getting something done and that feels terrific. Since this layout was supposed to be all about having something to occupy myself with while I settle on what I’d ultimately like to work on, I think this is a great step in the right direction.

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4 comments

    1. Thanks. Indeed, sometimes the best way to do something is just doing it. I’m comfortable in re-doing parts of this and just need to keep reminding myself of that, in case anything ever went wrong.

    1. Thanks, Steve.

      These are great milestones. First getting enough benchwork in place to lay track. Then, laying track. Ballasting. It does feel good. I’ll look forward to updates on your own line.

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