Large Scale Central

Ballast Shaper?

The “Friend of the Candlewood Valley Scenic Railway” has been hard at work reclaiming the railroad and structures from nature. Part of that process has been leveling and ballasting the track. I painstakingly use a straw broom and a paint brush to smooth and shape the ballast. This got me to wondering if anyone has designed a tool specifically for this purpose.

My sweep and brush method gives me a pretty good look, but I’m not able to get the typical profile of a 1:1 rail bed. The stone I use (called Stone Sand here which is basically crusher fines down to dust) will stick together for a while, but probably would not hold a shape for long without some added adhesive.

I’m undecided if I should attempt to shape a large brush or is a stiff sweeper made of PVC board might do. Since we are leaving for a 3 week vacation tomorrow, nothing will happen soon.

Jon, I went with PVC when I made mine
(I sure hope that I fixed the pictures!) :innocent:

I suspect that you might want a slightly different design?

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Jon said: “3 week vacation” and has been reported to the moderator!

I made something very similar years ago and screwed it on to the end of a broom stick. I used it to clear ice and snow the scale plow couldn’t move. I think I know where it is, but probably needs a new PVC part.

I was thinking that the shoulder profile is what I wanted to achieve, but looking at the shots I took of the RR yesterday, there are very few places that could be achieved. And even if I could, without glue, the first heavy rain would knock it down.

I’ll be interested to see what you come up with. (I sure wish I knew where all the ballast goes after the rain knocks it down! :innocent:)

You could “overfill” the area between/around the rail heads and use a drywall sander to bring it down by pushing most of it out to the sides where it will settle.