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Pentewan Light Railway

The Pentewan Railway in Cornwall was possibly unique in having three* gauges in its lifetime. Christopher Hawkins built the original rai...

Tuesday 9 May 2023

More Progress

The new board is ready and I'm now laying track. This time I've used dark gray EVA foam as an underlay rather than the hideous yellow stuff of old. Of course being so dark meant I had to use a white crayon to mark the centre lines and sleeper posistions. Previously I pre-stained the cut sleepers but this time I glued them down as bare wood and then painted them - with a dilute mix of black and burnt umber acrylic inks.

Track laying then progressed using my standard method with staple spikes and cosmetic fishplates etc.

I've decided to change my approach to ballast. Previously I used crushed cat litter and chinchilla dust glued down with dilute Copydex, however this has proved to very durable. I'm now trying crushed walnut shells in various grades.

Three grades of crushed walnut shells, grey dye and liquid latex

I wanted the ballast to be a light grey like the crushed cat litter (the PLR used a lot of clay-tip waste) but the dye didn't really work. I then retired an old kitchen mixer and added slightly diluted matt paint (old white primer slightly darkened with some black) whilst it was running. Then turned it out onto a cloth to dry. It has worked rather well.

The first batch (medium grade) is in the bag and the coarse and fine grades are drying

Once the track laying is complete I'm going to refresh any loose ballast on all of the older boards and get it wired up ready for operation.

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