Ties and tape

I’ve started placing the ties on the layout. This afternoon I washed some colour on them and thought I’d share a couple of photos. Not a huge pile of innovation here but I did change the way I’ve stuck them in place. Previously, I’d glue them in but often found that it can be really easy to lay down too thick a bead of glue which fills the space between the ties making ballasting a little tricky. When I build track over a template, off the layout, I use lengths of double-sided tape to hold the model in place. Each time I’ve tried removing the finished model, I’ve been faced with how tricky it is to remove that tape. I would have never made the obvious connection between these two observations on my own. Then, while reading through a page on Henk Oversloot’s website on finescale track, I read his suggestion to actually use the same double-sided tape I was using already to actually hold track down on his layout. “Eureka!”

I figured it would work but was worried that when I stared flooding liquid onto the track when painting ties and ultimately during ballasting might cause the ties to lift from the tape. I tried a few experiments and so far things are still holding in place. So far, so good. What else have I learned so far? First, the tape I’m using isn’t terribly flexible so stretching it around curves isn’t exactly easy. I’m using a broad radius and can just use shorter lengths of tape. Speaking of laying down the tape I am learning that as tempting as it is to attempt long lengths, so far, I’ve had a few moments where it’s just me with tape tangled around several fingers at once.

So far, I’m very pleased with the idea of using tape to hold down these ties. I’ll keep using it and will update as I learn more about how well it’s working out.

Here’s a link to Henk Oversloot’s page:



  1. Hey Chris, what kind of tape are you using? I used some carpet tape for shingling roofs a decade ago, and it lasted for some years, but has definitely failed now. Of course, perhaps they’ll partly be stuck by the ballast. Rene

    1. Hi Rene. I apologize for not seeing your comment earlier. I’m sorry.

      The tape I’m using is one from 3M marked permanent. I’ve used it before when building turnouts over templates. It was finding a turnout I’d built some time ago that was still quite firmly attached to its template that fueled the idea.

      I’m worried that in time it could let go. That said a lot of the tie is still exposed and I think the lot will be further reinforced by glue during ballasting. It’ll be a fun experiment either way.



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