Ballasting in Georgetown

It’s been maintenance time on the layout for the past month or so. I decided it was time to do some more scenery, so I set out to do some ballasting in Georgetown on the CN side.

I spread the ballast over the main track and the siding track.

Ballast spread
Ballast spread

Then I sprayed it with a mixture of water and alcohol, to soak it, and dribbled on a mixture of white glue and water.

After a day, I vacuumed it up… and I mean I vacuumed it up as in about 80% of the ballast went up into the vacuum. 🙁

Very disappointing.

I think I did a couple of things wrong:

  • I had too much water and not enough glue in the mixture; and
  • I did not let it dry long enough

So after a suitable mourning period, I laid more ballast down and did the same process, this time with a much greater concentration of white glue.

Glue and ballast
Glue and ballast

I let it dry for about five days when I was away on business, and when I came back, it was hard as a rock and quite dry. A little bit did come up when I vacuumed, but not very much.


I’ve finished ballasting the main and siding in Georgetown on the CN side. To celebrate, I sent Extra 3665 West from Winnipeg to go pick up the five CN ballast cars I had in the siding there, simulating the work train that was in the area. Here’s the video:

There is still a lot to do!

  • Take all the ballast off the tops of the ties
  • Fix up the little bits that I missed
  • Ballast the Manitoba Pool and Irving Oil spurs
  • Add bits of ground foam and grass here and there for weeds
  • Ballast the CP side!

It’s a start.


Further reading:

Spreading Simple Scenery

After visiting the annual NMRA show here in Winnipeg, I was inspired to do some quick simple scenery. Here’s how I did it.

I started with a bare section of painted plywood, and spread diluted white glue over it.

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In the distance you can see sections I had already done.

Once I squeezed the glue onto the plywood, I used my finger to spread it around more or less evenly.

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I mixed two types of grass in my hand and started sprinkling it on. For your information it was Woodland Scenics’ “Fine Turf – Earth”/T42 and “Fine Turf – Burnt Grass” (T44).

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This is what it looked like once I sprinkled the grass on. It’s quite wet.

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Some parts were a little dry, so I spritzed the area with water cut with a bit of alcohol.

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To add a little variety, I mixed up a few types of ground foam.

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I added a few dabs of white glue and stuck the ground foam on. Here’s how it looked, still wet.

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Here’s what it looks like when it is dry. I used my vacuum to clean up the loose bits. My preference is to have scenery that can be vacuumed so I can clean up dust and whatever else falls onto the layout.

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I’m not worried about the edge at this point, since I plan on putting a hardboard fascia on. Once the fascia is on I will fill in the bare bits.