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Discussion Starter #1
I added a small extension to a plywood layout to allow a reversing loop. The extension is open frame with 1/2 foam for a base. When the train leaves the plywood (and cork roadbed) and passes on the the foam, the train is noisy. My next section will be a long straight, double main type shelf.

So, Is 1-1/2" foam going to be just as noisy?
(I already have the 1/2" in sufficient quantity)

I tried adding silicone caulk to the bottom of the 1/2" foam in an attempt to lesson the objectionable noise.

I have not ballasted yet, and my experience shows ballasting increases noise.
 

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I have not ballasted yet, and my experience shows ballasting increases noise.

a rigid ballast [like white glue] will resonate and usually increase noise ... a semi rigid adhesive [like dap caulking] will reduce the noise level ..
it depends on how you hold the ballast down
 

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Stiff insulation foam is not quiet, it's actually quite resonant, though a coat of latex paint will help. I highly recommend putting down cork over the foam if you aren't doing so already.
 

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The most quiet happens when there are dual densities of materials. So, foam and cork, rubber and plywood...that kind of thing.

The running noises we hear on layouts mostly comes from track noise being transmitted directly to the plywood base, or even the extruded foam base. This happens when ballast spills down the sides and makes contact directly with the plywood, at which we saturate it with dilute glue so that, when hardened, it won't change shape. That hardened glue is what does it.

I have found the following to be surprisingly quite:

Strips of left-over drywall. Amazing.

The decks of cantilevered bridges. Amazing.

Cork roadbed affixed in place with a layer of rubberized caulking (DAP Alex Plus works very well).

Even plywood, if using DAP to keep it in place, is surprisingly quiet. It's just that darned glued ballast...!
 

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Thicker foam will be slightly quieter, but if that noise bothers you, then it won't be quiet enough.

A couple of ideas to reduce noise:
1) joists or other supports under the foamboard help reduce vibration.
2) A sheet of rubber or cork laminated to the bottom of the foam helps. Two thin pieces of foam with a layer of cork or rubber between them also works very well.
3) Using foam (rubber) or cork roadbed,, and latex caulk to adhere both the roadbed and the track.
4) Using a semi flexible adhesive for the ballast. I prefer artists matte medium.
 

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You could also try drywall. If you have vertical easements, try 1/4" drywall. you could use thicker stuff on flat areas like 1/2" and laminate 2 1/4" strips on vertical stuff. Or you could try milled Homasote roadbed from Cascade Rail Supply. Both should be painted! The drywall is cheap to try and might do the trick. Use caulk to glue everything down.
 

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I have 1/4” plywood on top of my benchwork then 1” polystyrene foam then cork roadbed and all I can hear is my engines and cars. It doesn’t resonate on me that I can notice but 40 cars behind an engine is noisy even if you do it on concrete. I built my layout super heavy but it’s really sturdy. My blue goose used to be super loud but now it’s substantially quieter since I layed down foam and road bed and my 2-10-4 I can’t hear the “Bachmann buzz” over the wheels on the track
 

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this news depresses me as I just put down a board of pink foam and it never occurred to me it could be louder than what it replaced which was basically 1/2" plywood with felt on it.
 

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I have 1/2" multi-ply that is firmly attached to the benchwork below, about 6K-7K staples securing it. That is to keep it from vibrating on the cross-members and making noise. On top of the multi-ply is 1/2" of Homasote, that's secured with hundreds of 1" drywall screws. My roadbed is 1/4" foam, and the track is Gargraves. I'm thinking this will be a lot quieter than the Fastrack I've used previously.
 

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Trains make noise.

The big ones sure do (I looked back and watched and listened to 'em from the cab for 32 years).

Even the little ones make some noise, regardless of what they're running on.

If you want quiet, run a trolleycar... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ripped up some track and put cork under it.
Next section is 1/4 or less plywood glued and nailed to frame, then two layers of 1/2" foam and cork all with latex caulk.

Track next year :rolleyes:
 
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