Saturday, February 2, 2019

How to Build Realistic Reliable Track

As I begin compiling my task lists, both mentally and on paper, to start the process of turning my layout vision into reality, I have been revisiting many of the resources I have collected over the years to be used at some point in the future, which has become now. One resource that I have found to be invaluable is How to Build Realistic Reliable Track from Kalmbach (unfortunately, it appears to no longer be available new; searches on ebay, alibris, and abebooks may be fruitful.) Over a decade ago, I had a plan to use and write about the various track and detailing offerings from Central Valley, Details West, FastTracks, the Proto 87 store at ( as well as Micro Engineering, with an eye towards track that was detailed as finely as possible.

While the Reliable Track volume from Kalmbach does not address some of my own personal goals, it does provide a wealth of great information about putting track to roadbed and getting trains running over it. One article that I found particularly interesting is “Quiet roadbed, better train sounds” by Bob Kingsnorth. It is a great research study on the merits and qualities of various roadbed materials and combinations. It certainly makes one think hard about what to lay your track down upon when the time comes. One missing material, likely due to it not being available at the time the article was written, is Track-Bed from Woodland Scenics. It appears to be a compelling solution and I will write about in future as I get things constructed.

I heartily recommend this issue in the Realistic Series from Kalmbach.

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