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Quick & Easy Buried Rails & Scratch-Built I Beams | Model Railway Hints, Tips, How To Articles and Reviews at Model Trains Online

Kim’s been back in touch again after a bit of a break with a couple of simple ideas to get the creative juices flowing for the winter. The first is ideal for creating “buried” rails or those set into concrete rather than having exposed sleepers. The second is a quick and easy way to make up I-beams from coffee stirrers. Here’s Kim to tell us how he did it…

Buried / Sunken Rails

For this I used foam board with paper on both side’s. I cut a piece to fit into the base of my maintenance depot and marked out where each rail should be using a piece of OO/HO track. Once happy with the lines I’d marked I took a sharp box cutter (Stanley knife) and sliced through the paper into the foam slightly. Then took a lollipop stick and ran that almost half way though the foam to make deepish grooves to accept the rails. Then carefully line up the rail to the paper at the height you want it on the side of the foam board sheet and push the rail slowly and evenly alone the line. Try not to rip the paper as you push. You want the rail to sit nice and evenly in the foam sheet. Making the groove in the foam board first helps to make it sit more evenly and easier to push into place. As long as the top of the rail sits above the paper just slightly it will work well. Once you slide that rail in to the foam board it will sit very tightly indeed. I sat my board in the sun for a few minute’s so the heat will evenly inflate the Styrofoam and jam the rail’s tight. You can then give the board a nice coat of suitably dirty concrete colour and then give the rails a clean afterwards. Once done, you can then glue a thin sheet of MDF to the underside of the foam board to hold it flat or glue it down to your baseboard directly depending on how high your other track sits.

Artists Foam Board is all you need to create buried rails for your TMD!

Artists Foam Board is all you need to create buried rails for your TMD!

Three pairs of buried rails ready for painting and installing into the depot floor

Three pairs of buried rails ready for painting and installing into the depot floor

A make-shift extension to the existing rails using florists wire... simple but it does the job!

A make-shift extension to the existing rails using florists wire… simple but it does the job!

Scratch-built I Beams Using Coffee Stirrers

This has to be one of the simplest but most effective uses for coffee stirrers besides stirring coffee! Just cut them to the length and width required. Sand it down gently. Then glue them together to form an I shape as you look at the end. Ever so simple! You see two L shaped beam’s I made in the photo below too. Those two plus one more will support the weight of an OO/HO locomotive (I’ve tried), so they’re great for actual structural work on your layout!

Scratch-built I Beams from Coffee Stirrers

Scratch-built I Beams from Coffee Stirrers

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