Ballasting track

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pandsrowe
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Ballasting track

Post by pandsrowe » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:00 pm

20190414_142821-01.jpeg
As part of my track is laid on pavours and has sunk over time I've recently decided to lift the blocks and ballast the track instead, I think it looks more realistic as well with the track sitting in ballast rather than on blocks. I've managed to get some horticultural grit of a suitable size and a few days ago made a start. After studying various posts on here about the merits of SBR I decided to try it just under the sleepers for now to see how it goes. The photo shows a section that was done three days ago and the SBR area has been under cover since. I lifted the cover earlier to inspect it and am encouraged by how firm the track and ballast is, however as can be seen it is quite glossy, that's the dark area under the turnout. Is this something that will disappear in time or am I just being too fussy? As always your thoughts and comments are appreciated.
Phil

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Re: Ballasting track

Post by philipy » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:19 pm

I think it will disappear with time although it may go white when it gets wet in the early stages, but that wil go when it dries and then comwe back when it rains and eventually stop happening. There ahve beena number of threads on tghis subject, Peter butler, Tom, myself, and others, have all posted about it.The reason it looks darker at this stage is that the very fine dust that coats the unglued area has got incorporated into the glue and you are seeing a more accurate colour version of the washed ballast.

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Re: Ballasting track

Post by tom_tom_go » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:27 pm

The gloss finish didn't disappear when I used SBR, however, I was using fish gravel so some of the stones were polished so that could be the reason for the shine.

I was going to try and spray a matt lacquer over the ballast but the railway is lifted now.

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Peter Butler
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Re: Ballasting track

Post by Peter Butler » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:22 pm

Personal experience of using SBR and a variety of ballast materials has given me an insight into what works and what is less likely to.
My own first attempt was to use horticultural grit, which I took a long time to sieve out the larger lumps and only use the smaller. I quite liked the appearance of the grit but it failed in service after a couple of seasons.
My next (and now favoured) attempt was to use a fine, crushed, building material which is probably more to scale than the above. It is only about 1 mm. to dust and looks far better in my opinion.....
IMG_3981.JPG
I also use crushed oyster shell, available from pet shops as bird feeder, which gives a different ground cover texture.
Both of these materials are stuck down with NEAT SBR and protected against rain for a few days.
The important thing is to know your materials and my experience has taught me this.....
SBR works well on fine grained, rough surface, crushed stone and oyster shell..... it does NOT work on large or smooth surface stone eg. aquarium grit etc. Initially it appears to hold but the large or smooth surfaces will not bind together as the SBR needs to
be able to form a skin around them.
After a while weather conditions of wind and rain will eventually remove the skin and the grit will become loose. I know this because it happened to me.
As for the surface sheen, it will disappear after a while and become matt, this is also part of the natural elements removing the 'skin' of the SBR but will leave enough to bind the smaller grit, particularly the coarser grained.
Yesterday I spent some time filling a few gaps in my own ballast, some of which has now been in place for about 5 years. Most is still very firmly attached and shows no signs of giving up yet.
I noticed that where my ballast is bonded to a layer of roofing felt it is very firmly stuck, however, where it is directly onto timber it is more likely to fail due to expansion/contraction of the timber which destroys the bond.
One other alarming feature of SBR is the way it turns blue when wet.... don't worry about this as it will also disappear given time.
IMG_4074.JPG
IMG_4070.JPG
I sincerely hopes this helps and avoids further failures now my experiments are recorded.
The best things in life are free.... so why am I doing this?

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pandsrowe
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Re: Ballasting track

Post by pandsrowe » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:03 am

Thanks to you all for the comments on my gloss issue, I'm laid up for a couple of days at present after a minor medical procedure but I will be returning to ballasting over the weekend.
I know what you mean about the SBR turning blue, when I first applied it I wondered what on earth was going on as it went blue but presumably that was caused by the residual moisture in the fresh horticultural grit. I'm still not sure whether to continue with SBR as my original intention was to use the grit as a means of levelling the track if any further sinking occurred and if I use SBR now I think that would make repacking impossible.
Phil

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Re: Ballasting track

Post by IanC » Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:14 pm

Peter Butler wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:22 pm
Personal experience of using SBR and a variety of ballast materials has given me an insight into what works and what is less likely to.
My own first attempt was to use horticultural grit, which I took a long time to sieve out the larger lumps and only use the smaller. I quite liked the appearance of the grit but it failed in service after a couple of seasons.
My next (and now favoured) attempt was to use a fine, crushed, building material which is probably more to scale than the above. It is only about 1 mm. to dust and looks far better in my opinion.....
I also use crushed oyster shell, available from pet shops as bird feeder, which gives a different ground cover texture.
Both of these materials are stuck down with NEAT SBR and protected against rain for a few days.
The important thing is to know your materials and my experience has taught me this.....
SBR works well on fine grained, rough surface, crushed stone and oyster shell..... it does NOT work on large or smooth surface stone eg. aquarium grit etc. Initially it appears to hold but the large or smooth surfaces will not bind together as the SBR needs to
be able to form a skin around them.
After a while weather conditions of wind and rain will eventually remove the skin and the grit will become loose. I know this because it happened to me.
As for the surface sheen, it will disappear after a while and become matt, this is also part of the natural elements removing the 'skin' of the SBR but will leave enough to bind the smaller grit, particularly the coarser grained.
Yesterday I spent some time filling a few gaps in my own ballast, some of which has now been in place for about 5 years. Most is still very firmly attached and shows no signs of giving up yet.
I noticed that where my ballast is bonded to a layer of roofing felt it is very firmly stuck, however, where it is directly onto timber it is more likely to fail due to expansion/contraction of the timber which destroys the bond.
One other alarming feature of SBR is the way it turns blue when wet.... don't worry about this as it will also disappear given time.
I sincerely hopes this helps and avoids further failures now my experiments are recorded.
Very helpful Peter, Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Ian

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Re: Ballasting track

Post by pandsrowe » Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:45 pm

20190422_152858-01.jpeg
Well I've bitten the bullet and decided to continue securing the ballast with SBR, not only does it make for a very firm trackbed it will also stop the birds from scattering it in all directions, a problem which is very prevalent in my garden. You can see in the photo the slightly darker sections of the ballast which have been SBRed. I've been applying the SBR with a kitchen baster which I find gives a reasonable amount of control over where and how much is applied, but I'm wondering which methods others on here have tried and how effective they are.
Phil

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Re: Ballasting track

Post by Peter Butler » Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:31 pm

Not being in the least domesticated (although fully house trained) I would never have considered a kitchen baster, but similar in many ways to my own method of using an Evo-Stik Resin wood-glue container (the old type before the fancy non-block (????) top was fitted). I slice a diagonal piece from the spout to assist pouring.
This gives a certain amount of directional control and a fairly regular drip where the SBR is required...... although not foolproof.
As long as the SBR floods the area to be bonded it will do the trick. I try not to be mean with it.
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Re: Ballasting track

Post by FWLR » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:39 am

IanC wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:14 pm
Peter Butler wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:22 pm
Personal experience of using SBR and a variety of ballast materials has given me an insight into what works and what is less likely to.
My own first attempt was to use horticultural grit, which I took a long time to sieve out the larger lumps and only use the smaller. I quite liked the appearance of the grit but it failed in service after a couple of seasons.
My next (and now favoured) attempt was to use a fine, crushed, building material which is probably more to scale than the above. It is only about 1 mm. to dust and looks far better in my opinion.....
I also use crushed oyster shell, available from pet shops as bird feeder, which gives a different ground cover texture.
Both of these materials are stuck down with NEAT SBR and protected against rain for a few days.
The important thing is to know your materials and my experience has taught me this.....
SBR works well on fine grained, rough surface, crushed stone and oyster shell..... it does NOT work on large or smooth surface stone eg. aquarium grit etc. Initially it appears to hold but the large or smooth surfaces will not bind together as the SBR needs to
be able to form a skin around them.
After a while weather conditions of wind and rain will eventually remove the skin and the grit will become loose. I know this because it happened to me.
As for the surface sheen, it will disappear after a while and become matt, this is also part of the natural elements removing the 'skin' of the SBR but will leave enough to bind the smaller grit, particularly the coarser grained.
Yesterday I spent some time filling a few gaps in my own ballast, some of which has now been in place for about 5 years. Most is still very firmly attached and shows no signs of giving up yet.
I noticed that where my ballast is bonded to a layer of roofing felt it is very firmly stuck, however, where it is directly onto timber it is more likely to fail due to expansion/contraction of the timber which destroys the bond.
One other alarming feature of SBR is the way it turns blue when wet.... don't worry about this as it will also disappear given time.
I sincerely hopes this helps and avoids further failures now my experiments are recorded.
Well Peter, it seems like you are the one to goto for advice on the use of SBR. You have been most helpful with all you do regarding Garden Railways. Unlike some :roll: , you do things that work........ :thumbright: :thumbright:
Rod

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🚂🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃

https://gardenrails.org/forum/viewtopic ... 41&t=11364

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Re: Ballasting track

Post by philipy » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:38 pm

pandsrowe wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:45 pm
I've been applying the SBR with a kitchen baster which I find gives a reasonable amount of control over where and how much is applied, but I'm wondering which methods others on here have tried and how effective they are.
Sorry, I seem to have missed this post.
FWIW I've used a large syringe, an eye dropper, and a small spray bottle and I've not been happy with any of them. The syringe is too uncontrollable. The eye dropper works well but takes forever because of the need to refill every few seconds. The spray bottle works well and covers large areas quickly but leaves a film of SBR on the rails and the sleepers which is a pain to remove.

Your idea of the baster sounds good and I've got some ballasting to do in the near future so I'll give that a try, I think.

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Re: Ballasting track

Post by invicta280 » Sat May 04, 2019 2:13 pm

A quick question about the use of SBR. If I were to use it on the track in conjunction with some type of fine ballast or grit how solid does it stick to surrounding surfaces? My track is being laid on breeze/ composition blocks. In the unlikely event of me moving house in the next ten years would I be able to lift the track without too much damage? Thanks in anticipation.

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Re: Ballasting track

Post by tom_tom_go » Sat May 04, 2019 2:21 pm

You can pick the SBR off easily, no issues.

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Re: Ballasting track

Post by invicta280 » Sat May 04, 2019 9:11 pm

Thanks, that's reassuring!

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Re: Ballasting track

Post by FWLR » Mon May 06, 2019 7:58 am

Listen to Peter Butler's advice...You can't really go wrong with it..... :thumbup:
Rod

Life is so easy when I run my trains. :thumbright:

🚂🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃🚃

https://gardenrails.org/forum/viewtopic ... 41&t=11364

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Re: Ballasting track

Post by Peter Butler » Mon May 06, 2019 10:44 am

FWLR wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:58 am
Listen to Peter Butler's advice...You can't really go wrong with it..... :thumbup:
Cheers Rod..... (there's a cheque in the post!)
The best things in life are free.... so why am I doing this?

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