Monday, February 8, 2021

Back to ballasting

Not near as exciting or fun as the loco facility, but a needed process.

I've got all 7 of the turnouts ballasted on the head end of the yard.  I've got another 13 on the opposite end.  At first I wasn't going to ballast the yard as it's just supposed to be used as an open staging yard.  But as things progressed I figured why not make it a part of the layout?  

While the yard is long (16') it doesn't have near as much track as it had previously.  Also, with the work that I put into the engine facility recently, if it didn't get ballasted, it just wouldn't seem finished.  So let the ballasting begin...

Awhile back I seen a product called Ballast Magic by Deluxe.  It's a powdered glue that you can mix with your ballast (and other scenic materials) and you spread it just like you normally would, but instead of using a 50/50 type glue mix to adhere the ballast, you just spread it and spray water on it.  The water activates the powder and when the water dries, the ballast is suppose to be stuck.

Recently a couple of friends bought some who thought they'd give it a go.  Another one said he's sold on it and that's all he plans to use.  So I figured why not?

The instructions say to mix it with your ballast to a 7:1 ratio (ballast:powder).  In my trial that didn't work, so I tried 5:1.  That made it solid, but with a bit pressure I could still get it to crumble.  So what I've done is to mix the powder with the ballast to 5:1 ratio, once dried I come back and soak it with alcohol and then add the typical 50/50 glue mix to make permanent.

Sound like an extra?  Yes, but if it keeps me from having washouts, I can live with that.  Right now I'm doing this only on the turnouts, haven't decided if I'll use it everywhere else or not?   We'll see...



  1. Thanks for the product review Allen. I think I'll stick with the 50/50 white glue and water mix.

    1. Yeah Brad, I'm not 100% sold on it yet. I figured I'd give it a try and see how it works. A buddy is going to give it whirl and see how well it works for coal loads?