I have been participating in an online group, HOrailroading, on yahoo and have learned some great things on this topic. First of all – the benchwork is the most important part to me right now. Depending on how I build it, the size and shape, is going to dictate where and how I lay track to a point.
One of the guys on the group sent this link, on “Building Model Railroad Benchwork.” It is an excellent primer (or recap) for a rookie like me. I am covering various things in that article that I vaguely remember by Dad doing growing up, but never really concerned myself with the why.
Past the actual wood base, I have been trying to figure out what else I should know before construction starts. We actually had a very interesting discussion this morning via the group on what goes inbetween the track and the plywood. I hadn’t considered this, but realized the importance of considering this pretty quickly. The noise reduction could be important, but the vibration dampening even more so. (I am assuming that over the long term, vibrations could impact track joints, wiring, scenery, etc.)
Two suggestions came in, with a few variations on them as well. The first being corkboard and the second being homasote. (Some types of foam were suggested as well, but the corkboard and homasote rung a bell with me.) Since I will be building with Märklin track, and it already has a bed, heigth could become an issue with something too think. It was also suggested that cork (or foam/homasote) under the mainline and branch lines, but not under yard/siding works just as well. When I start developing the layout I am going to have to look into that. That sounds like it would be a nice cost saving measure with little to no impact in noice/vibration levels. Height being the one issue I haven’t figured out yet.
The discussion is actually still going, but already I have learned some things, and discovered areas that I should keep in mind as I learn more and work on developing my own railroad.