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Detailing "Tinplate" Track


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Roadbed for Tinplate Track

Modern O Gauge track, like the Lionel FasTrack on the left, comes with the roadbed attached. Even the addition of wood roadbed to the older style tracks makes a big difference.

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Good track starts with what is underneath it - in any scale. Roadbed for model train track can be made from several materials. Cork strips are one common option, as is styrofoam insulation and a pressed-paper board called Homasote. Some of these products can be purchased in ready-cut or modeler-sized strips at your hobby shop, or you can head to the home supply center and purchase larger sheets and cut your own. The latter is obviously more work, but it can save you quite a bit of money.

Whichever route you go, the roadbed should perform three functions:

  1. Support the track
  2. Reduce noise
  3. Provide a realistic profile for ballast.

Attach the roadbed directly to your train table or benchwork. Secure track to the roadbed with small nails or screws. You can follow these tips for advice on working with cork roadbed and the same principles will apply to other materials.

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