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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got ALL the track running and ALL the turnouts working. I'm sure if I put a big steamer on it it will still need a bit of fiddling, but I AM THERE!!!! I can run trains!!!!

So I'm looking at scenery. Some of my track is on the level (foam board over door). Much/most of it is going up, down, elevated etc.

I'm struggling a bit with exactly what I want where, but I'm making some progress on that too. Sorted out when I got a Kato turntable to replace the Bachmann one that I had. It takes up lots of space, but I think I'll love it.

The one end of the train is to be Los Angeles (the Daylight is, I think, the most beautiful train ever made). The other is going to be part of Germany/Poland in WW2. Just cause, well I like those trains too, and in both cases the trains were an important part of the story. That part I'm going to do in blacks/whites/grays and a bit of browns. Dark clouds.

I just realized that I'm going to be in LA in 3 weeks, so I can take the pictures for the background 'in person' rather than trying to download something on the net. I think I'll go near to where the SP yard was and take pics of the mountains/ocean from a nearby elevated location.

So my question is- ballast. The guy at the train store said that the very last thing you do is ballast. I don't think there ever will be a last thing I do- I don't want it done, i 'like building it more. My track is down where I want it. For now. It works. What do you think? Could I ballast it now, then work around it? It looks easy to touchup if I needed to, and I could focus on some of the trackside details once I get all the feeder wires etc hidden away. And the silicone caulking that is under many parts (to fiddle an incline this or that way, just a quarter of an inch or so), It would be nice to see the end of that.

So can I ballast now? Or should I wait. Im not planning on plaster mountains (did that with my son 15 years ago, it was fine but never felt solid to me). Foam carved. So at least it won't be plaster itself getting on the tracks. Something else.

Thoughts?
 

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Ballasting

I've got ALL the track running and ALL the turnouts working. I'm sure if I put a big steamer on it it will still need a bit of fiddling, but I AM THERE!!!! I can run trains!!!!

So I'm looking at scenery. Some of my track is on the level (foam board over door). Much/most of it is going up, down, elevated etc.

I'm struggling a bit with exactly what I want where, but I'm making some progress on that too. Sorted out when I got a Kato turntable to replace the Bachmann one that I had. It takes up lots of space, but I think I'll love it.

The one end of the train is to be Los Angeles (the Daylight is, I think, the most beautiful train ever made). The other is going to be part of Germany/Poland in WW2. Just cause, well I like those trains too, and in both cases the trains were an important part of the story. That part I'm going to do in blacks/whites/grays and a bit of browns. Dark clouds.

I just realized that I'm going to be in LA in 3 weeks, so I can take the pictures for the background 'in person' rather than trying to download something on the net. I think I'll go near to where the SP yard was and take pics of the mountains/ocean from a nearby elevated location.

So my question is- ballast. The guy at the train store said that the very last thing you do is ballast. I don't think there ever will be a last thing I do- I don't want it done, i 'like building it more. My track is down where I want it. For now. It works. What do you think? Could I ballast it now, then work around it? It looks easy to touchup if I needed to, and I could focus on some of the trackside details once I get all the feeder wires etc hidden away. And the silicone caulking that is under many parts (to fiddle an incline this or that way, just a quarter of an inch or so), It would be nice to see the end of that.

So can I ballast now? Or should I wait. Im not planning on plaster mountains (did that with my son 15 years ago, it was fine but never felt solid to me). Foam carved. So at least it won't be plaster itself getting on the tracks. Something else.

Thoughts?

DavidJones;

You can ballast anytime you want. since you have your track down. If you later have to do something messy, you can always cover the track & ballast. Strips of plastic trash bag held down with blue painter's tape would do the trick, or cardboard strips.
All track should be protected, but the most critical track to cover would be the turnouts. You went through so much to get them working, it would be a shame to let some scenery material get inside them and put them out of operation. Another wise precaution, to protect your turnouts, is a Capacitive Discharge Unit (CDU) Both Kato, and Bachmann, turnouts have electromagnetic solenoid type switch machines concealed inside their roadbed. If a button is held down more than a second or two, or if the button itself shorts (both have happened) then the coil will burn out, and your remote control turnout will suddenly become a manual turnout. A CDU, such as the one built-into the Stapleton 751D turnout control, will prevent coil burnout. There are some videos in forum threads on ballasting Kato Unitrack. You might check them out.

Good luck, & Have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have stationary decoders

that all my turnouts are wired to. Do they have the capacitor discharge units built into them? (NCE and Digitrax).
 

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Stationary decoders

that all my turnouts are wired to. Do they have the capacitor discharge units built into them? (NCE and Digitrax).
DavidJones;

The short answer is "I don't know." They may possibly have a CDU or not. The manufacturer's directions, web site, or help line, should be able to answer that question for you. The only hardware that I know of with a built in CDU is the Stapleton 751D control. I only know about that because DonR has mentioned it in some of his posts. That does not mean there aren't more devices though, so I would check with the manufacturers.

Regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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So can I ballast now? Or should I wait. Im not planning on plaster mountains (did that with my son 15 years ago, it was fine but never felt solid to me). Foam carved. So at least it won't be plaster itself getting on the tracks. Something else.

Thoughts?
You can ballast track (or not) any time after it is laid down where you want it, and you've done test runs to make sure there are no defects in your track work. There is no fixed order in which things have to be done, and anyone who says otherwise isn't doing you any favors.

Personally, I regard ballasting track as a necessary evil. I will usually ballast about 10 feet of track, then go work on something that I actually enjoy doing for a while.
 

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You can ballast track (or not) any time after it is laid down where you want it, and you've done test runs to make sure there are no defects in your track work. There is no fixed order in which things have to be done, and anyone who says otherwise isn't doing you any favors.
Unless you are installing catenary...
 

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Unless you are installing catenary...
That still doesn't make it fixed... just means that you have to consider that when deciding what to do next. Just as you wouldn't install track before installing the roadbed, unless you're a glutton for punishment, you would ballast prior to installing the centenary. But you could work on scenery, then ballast, then install structures, then do centenary, then add figures. Or you could do it in just about any order, provided you did the ballast before the catenary (it's not impossible, just really, really hard).
 

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Catenary is traditionally installed last. After ballast, after scenery, after trees, etc. You may not have access to important areas that were not completed before hand if you first install catenary.
 

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Catenary is traditionally installed last. After ballast, after scenery, after trees, etc. You may not have access to important areas that were not completed before hand if you first install catenary.
QED. No one is arguing the wisdom of installing it last, only the absolute necessity of doing so.
 

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:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::appl:
 
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