Large Scale Central


Sean- The big tree is gonna stay. It’s been there since my lot was farmland, many moons ago. I’m just going to work around it. It does offer some nice shade in the summer months. I had to take out a smaller maple, to make room for the fence. The view is from the back of my lot, which actually continues for another 75 feet, or so. We wanted to leave some of it unfenced, to have room for other things. The lots are actually really big on my street (400’ deep), considering that I live in suburbia.

Joe- I’m not real close to St. Stan’s, but I too have some relatives that reside there. Personally, I’m trying to stay out of the place, if ya know what I mean! You know- they built a fence around the place 'cause people were dying to get in.

Nico- Thanks. Fall weather has been better than summer weather, so I’m hoping to get a lot done before winter.


Do you have a track plan that you want us to pick to death? :wink:

Sean McGillicuddy said:

Do you have a track plan that you want us to pick to death? :wink:

I’ll keep you all in suspense, for now…


The track gang showed up this weekend and ripped up all the rails on the Iron Island. I managed to get a shot of the crew on the trestle…

Amazing- I remember how long it took to lay all that track and in 1 weekend… gone. Oh well, one step closer to the new and improved IIRR.


Track has been cleaned, cataloged, and warehoused using the patented “Kevin system of track inventory management.” This highly sophisticated, technically advanced system involves a garden hose, a garage, and a guy with too much time on his hands (and yes, I did sing the famous Styx song while i did this… Too much time on my hands…).

Track is a mixture of Aristo and AML. While cleaning up the track I noticed that some of the AML ties are starting to turn a bit white. It’s only been on the ground for 4 years, but I’m guessing that the UV rays might be starting to effect some of them. AML has a warranty on their ties, but I wonder if I might want to paint them for protection (I’m thinking Krylon Fusion for plastic) before reinstalling next spring. I’m certain that painting would probably void any warranty, but if it meant not having to replace large sections of track in the future, it might be a better alternative. After all, I don’t really want to do this again. Ever. We’ll see…


Kevin , are you sure it’s fading ?

You can get that impression from the surface being slightly degraded by expansion/contraction .

You may be able to see through a powerful magnifying glass , but it is not easy to differentiate .

The surface degradation takes the form of very fine pitting and tends toward the larger part of the mass whereas radiation seems to attack the corners first . If you put a little bit of varnish on a faded spot and it looks like it’s improved , it’s pitting . If it doesn’t make any difference , it’s radiation .

By the way , I only know this because it was properly researched for another reason , and not by me .

Just a thought , and in any case it isn’t worth worrying too much , the track will probably last a few more years .


Mike- I’m pretty sure it’s starting to degrade. I’ve posted a similar thread here ( and Andy has got the same issue.


When I see your pile of track I can’t help but think that must be what a palet of gold looks like in Fort Knox.

dieseldude . said:

Mike- I’m pretty sure it’s starting to degrade. I’ve posted a similar thread here ( and Andy has got the same issue.


Oh dear , that’s a bit ominous , that certainly seems to be collapse of the structure . I am surprised at its happening with 4 year old track .

Part of my previous job involved life tests of military equipment----if you knew how much your and my governments pay to test stuff to destruction you would be appalled----- however , the idea is to stop stuff failing when troops are in danger and so on . (I have a feeling tac was involved in that too) .

Anyway , the trick is to accelerate the environmental effects on equipment , and a lot of the data is passed on to industry where secrecy is not an issue . Where plastics come into this is when plastic is substituted for other more expensive materials----typically , mass produced weapon parts . So rather than having , say , a gun butt fail suddenly through exposure to sunlight , the stuff is tested to destruction and either lifed or discarded and new solutions found . Because the plastic industries are involved in these test results , they can read across to other projects . So it seems that the plastic track manufacturer did not take advantage of the life data . Or perhaps did , so that they got a regular replacement turnover (I am not saying that as a fact , but I do tend to get a bit cynical about some of these “unexpected” failures.)

Having said that , I have no concrete info to help you , but paint may well decelerate the decay----if you can get the automotive plastic spray as used for car bumpers(fenders) that may do the job . The problem there would be finding an appropriate colour .

I am really disappointed to hear of this problem , there really is no excuse for it given the data available .


PS I hate to have to say it but my Peco and LGB track do not suffer from the problem----yet .

Of course , according to some it’s because I have it surrounding my armchair and not laid out .

Mike I painted my Aristo track with Krylon ruddy brown primer, ultra flat black, a misting of Krylon gray primer and/or a misting of Krylon tan. The ruddy brown is mostly on the rails and tie plates/spike details. The flat back is on the ties and used to town down the ruddy brown, then misting the track with the gray and/or tan gives it a more weathered look. The only ties I have replaced since laying the track in 02, were the ones broken by them hoofed forest rats (deer) and the ham fisted track crews (me).

It appears to me that painting the ties should extend the life of the ties, and finding the proper colour should not be that difficult.

The opinion expressed in the post is strictly that of the author, and is not endorsed by this website. No warranty, expressed or implied is extended by the poster nor this website. Your mileage may vary. Taxes and title are extra.

That’s pretty much the same method that I use, too, with one addition.

To prevent paint buildup on the rail top, I smear a light coat of petroleum jelly along the top of the rail. Once the paint has set up, just wipe the paint and petroleum jelly off. This preserves electrical conductivity, as well as reducing the mess.

Steve- Great idea using petroleum jelly as a paint barrier. I was thinking about using some flexible tubing (like for aquariums), cutting a slit in one side and then slip it on to the rail before painting. That would keep the overspray off of the rails. Of course, I have never done it so I’m not sure it would work or not, but, in theory… hey ya never know.


Gee, keep the paint off of the rail heads. That’s an idea. I just wipe the top of the rail heads with a rag dampened with Goo Gone. If I get to it soon enough, like within maybe 10 to 20 minutes after I paint the tracks, the paint wipes right off with Goo Gone.

David Maynard said:

Gee, keep the paint off of the rail heads. That’s an idea. I just wipe the top of the rail heads with a rag dampened with Goo Gone. If I get to it soon enough, like within maybe 10 to 20 minutes after I paint the tracks, the paint wipes right off with Goo Gone.

The nice thing about the Vaseline Petroleum Jelly is that you can paint the ties and rails, go to lunch, call your girlfriend, play a round of Warcraft, and then go out and still easily wipe the railhead clean.

Steve, ok. I don’t have a girlfriend, and I don’t play Warcraft, but I get your point.

David, could you elaborate a bit on how you keep the rust on the rails and tie plates, and the creosote and mud on the ties while using spray paint? I’m definitely thinking I want to paint mine before putting them down. Is it easier without the rail in?

Randy, I paint the track assembled, sometimes after its installed on the railroad. But for the best effect, I do paint the ties and rails seperatly. That way when the rails move a bit, unpainted sections of rail arent exposed.

I spray the rails, from the sides, with the ruddy brown, its my favorite rust colour. I also paint the tie plates with ruddy brown. Then I spray the flat black, holding the can close to the track, right down the middle and down both sides. I am trying to paint just the ties, but I want a little over-spray on the tie plates to tone down the ruddy brown a bit. I also mist the rails with some of the flat back. The black I spray with a rather quick motion. That way some of the ruddy brown I got on the ties still shows through a bit. Then, using the gray, or tan, whichever I have handy, I spray high over the track, so I get a mist of that color on the track. This ages the flat black so the ties don’t look new. Then, I can go back and mist a bit more of whatever colour I want (ruddy brown, black, gray or tan) to get the effect I want. I try and make each bit look a bit different, more gray, or more black on the ties, so there isn’t uniformity in each section.

On my bridge and trestle, I didn’t use the gray nor the tan. I want those ties to look well maintained.

By using flat colours, the ballast dust will stick a bit to the ties and help blend them in when I ballast. The paint is dry when I ballast, but that fine dust will cling to the surface of the paint a bit.


After reading all the various pros and cons of painting ties, the decision was made to paint the ties. Definitely not one of the more exciting steps in the rebuild. I did a little research and decided to use Krylon Dual paint. It has excellent adhesion to plastic and holds up well to UV light (plus, I found cans with 25% more for free!). As an added UV barrier, I also oversprayed the finish with some Krylon Fusion UV resistant clear (They also make a non UV clear, so make sure you read the label if you try this at home).

Did I mention that I have way too much time on my hands? Oh, and I went with black because the rest of my track is Aristocraft and their ties are also black. Now it all matches!

For those of you who say, “Pics or it didn’t happen.” I offer you this…

WARNING: The image you are about to see is graphic in nature and may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

So, who has too much time on their hands?


Looks like grating!

Whats that you say? “They look great.” Well, thanks, Sean… Ooops, didn’t have my reading glasses on- “They look like grates.”…Oh, thats different … Never mind.