Bachmann Message Board

Discussion Boards => Large => Topic started by: mf5117 on March 07, 2011, 08:09:58 PM

Title: ballest
Post by: mf5117 on March 07, 2011, 08:09:58 PM
Has anyone here ever used pavers for ballest . I was thinking of using 2X8X16 inch grey pavers and using a tile brick saw to cut bevels on the 16" long side and for my curves cutting miters to make the radius . I know its alot of work but have access to a tile/brick saw and what would be the best way to anchor the track down or should I let it float . I bought brass rail joiner clips ,the ones with the screws to hold each rail together ...removing the pea gravel ballest as we get to much rain here and is always a hassel filling and releveling making grade and such .Just asking getting opinions .....

ie: for outdoor garden railroad

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: Joe Satnik on March 08, 2011, 11:38:49 AM
Dear mf5117,

Crusher fines for ballast, not pea gravel.

Hope this helps.


Joe Satnik

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: Mark Oles on March 08, 2011, 03:47:20 PM
I've used stone dust / crusher fines for ballast.  I'd suggest you use the pavers for your switches to keep them very level. 

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: mf5117 on March 08, 2011, 09:04:00 PM
thanks Joe, thanks mark .we do have a rock plant "paver supply" down the road from the house . asphalt plant . I will look at the 1/4 rock limestone .the LOWES had some limestone rock I saw this last weekend when I was there . they had different sizes I will have to look again . I had seen a layout done with the pavers in some pictures at a hobby shop I frequent. thought it looked pretty good . I have about 80 of them I pulled up from a patio . that's why I thought about taking a couple of days and cutting the bevels on them to make them appear to look like road ballest .

Live and learn when I did have the track down on the pea gravel .was really quite rickety . the rolling stock with the wheel sets with springs made it look well ,,,will just say my dad liked it .
thanks again mark f

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: mf5117 on March 08, 2011, 09:05:29 PM
thanks for the link joe I had looked at that site a few weeks ago !!!
regards: mark f

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: rye on March 10, 2011, 05:15:45 PM
i use paver base with a little stoneless cement it holds toghter but if you or the kids walk on it it will break lose main paver base in a 3" trenth should have no cement mix them a mix of base and cement mixed dry and pack into track if its still dry atfer your done put a little spray over it let dry for a day or two good luck,rye

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: mf5117 on March 10, 2011, 07:58:18 PM
thanks for the replies . I'm leaning more towards the pavers ,as I have to bring the track in due to human element IE "sticky fingers" . I'm one , I would put up a sign that says before you steal it knock on the door and if you need $20.00 I'll give it to you free of charge ,no interest . But back to the post . If I do go with pavers I was going to anchor the track about every 4 ft with wall anchors the ones you use a masonry drill bit and the plastic anchors and the nail hole in the tie . Use a #6 pan head screw to hold the track in place . Also for easy removal . And also use the rail clips ,the ones with the screws . And I would be able to keep it out for a few weeks at a time . I feel it will look good when it is done and I can finally run . I had to move from the front to the back yard .As when I was running in the front some people would stop and look ,but there was some that would look alittle to long and not ones you would think be interested in trains .

I will start cutting down the pavers next week and laying track on the weekend . And deciding where to put my trestles and girder bridge . Soaked them in oil waiting for them to dry up alittle bit so I can put the finish on them .

regards mark f  MF5117

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: toadhollow on March 12, 2011, 01:54:48 AM
It does not matter where you live there is always a weather issue of some kind. My tried and true ballast is crusher fines , about a spade deep topped off with #2 chicken grit.  the grit will weather nicely if you give it  some time and it binds together so heavy rain or snow does not wash it away. I've used pavers to gain elevation supported by cinder block, but have never tie the track down as I think the track expansion / contraction thru the seasons could twist things. the track is only as stable as the base . its what you don't see that is really important.

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: santafe on April 02, 2011, 06:09:20 PM
For ballast I use rainbow fish rock that I found in my local Pet World.  It isn't rainbow colors like blue green and purple, but it's about the same color as real ballast.

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: tlnibert on April 27, 2011, 11:07:00 AM
Crusher fines seem to be the best way to ballast. You should know that using screws or nails to hold your track, summer heat will pop the rails from the ties.
I tried treated 2 by 6's and it work fine on the curves. If you use wood on long sections brace the wood on the bottom or it will warp.

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: mf5117 on April 27, 2011, 07:10:33 PM
I found some chicken scratch for $9.00 for 50lb bags . I still have the pavers down , They put a good imprint on the soil that will help me lay either the chicken scratch or fine 's . I tried an experiment with concrete ,made a trowel to form the road bed .I did a 6ft long straight piece . Turned out great until I tried to move it . Let it set for 4 days . It broke into 3 pieces . Good concept would have to do it in place .

 I met a guy that used cat liter and that stuff packed and set well . So I'm finding and seeing so many different ways to go about it . 

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: doug c on April 28, 2011, 12:29:05 AM
"...that used cat liter and that stuff packed and set "    Till the neighbour's loose cats sniff it out ??!

3-6" trench when it bottoms out at the 4layers of newsprint laid down before the entire site was backfilled with alpinemix,  trench backfilled to grade with 7mmgyra  (1/4crush down there)  track laid and then 'ballasted' with #1chicken grit and later with  salvaged  charcoal from the brita water system filters.     track connected with AC stock joiners with a mm of lgb conductive grease on the lip beofre joining.    used split jaws at turnouts only tunrnouts mounted to similiar 'plastic' board as politico signs

track powered  no problems other than  bleepin' lgb switch box,  since track laid 2000 !

doug c

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: tlnibert on April 28, 2011, 08:46:07 AM
Mark, I have a thief problem here. I never lock my doors until a crack head moved next door. I turned her in to the state police and they did nothing. A local g scalier drops by and takes what he wants. brite lights and a camera......
I decided to plant barberry bushes around the house and fix it so you have to go through my house to get to the trains.
Every one says to use weed block, but I've never had much luck with it.

Title: Re: ballest
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on April 28, 2011, 11:54:55 AM
In my area (west of St Louis) they don't seem to know what you want when you ask for crusher fines,  Here they call it screenings.  In areas near steel mills you can get slag sand.  They both pack in like cement.   I am able to get screenings in grey or tan.  I use the tan for roads and the grey for ballast.  Slag sand which is waste from steel making has mixed coloration but is mostly black and it looks great on my friend Rick's RR.

I just let my track float in the ballast, and have not had problems even with the switches. 

No matter what you use you WILL have to do track maintenance and re leveling periodically, just like the big guys do, actually maybe more often than the big guys.  It very much depends on the amount and density of the rainfall you get.   On my son's railroad in Denver he usually re levels and adds ballast no more than twice a year.  Here I have to do three times at least.   

If you are using diesels they are much more tolerant of bad track than Steam engines.   The more driving wheels on your steamer the greater the problem! 

I actually keep my steamers on my indoor layout (no track maintenance needed) for that very reason.

Since I have both types of G Scale layouts, the above comments are based on many many years of actual experience, but is still only my personal opinion.

Cheers & Beers ;D


Title: Re: ballest
Post by: jsmvmd on May 02, 2011, 09:20:07 AM
Dear All,

Bachmann produced a VHS twenty years ago which showed a nice way to trench and use crusher fines for ballast.  Perhaps it is now on DVD ?  Chicken grit is crushed granite, comes in manageable small bags, very sharp and packs quite well.

Best Wishes,


Title: Re: ballest
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on May 02, 2011, 01:42:01 PM
Be careful on getting chicken grit, some of it is crushed oyster shells and this fact is not clearly marked on the bag!!  Guess how I know.

The crushed granite comes in different colors and sizes.   You often can't tell the color from looking at the bag because they are just solid paper,  all I seem to get is a slightly rose color.  I bought a 50 pound bag of medium but felt it was too large.  Had to order a bag of fine, but it does look great on my indoor layout.  It was about 7 bucks for the bag which goes a long way indoors.     Still prefer to use the screenings outdoors and get a whole pickup truck load at the quarry for $20. 

I used the medium chicken grit underneath the screenings and it packed in great.