How to safely ballast points in 4 simple steps

how to ballast model railway pointsBallasting track is pretty straightforward but points are a whole different game! But it needn’t be that troublesome, here’s a quick video and four-step guide.

The moving parts and springs of points are just crying out to get blocked up and wrecked when ballasting.

The video is from the Everard Junction and as with all his videos clearly shows how to do it with useful background information. Watch the video now.

Essentially, when ballasting normally you sprinkle the ballast onto the track surface, clear the excess and then spray a PVA/water/IPA solution over the top to hold it in place before applying the glue and cleaning up. The ballast tutorial covers this if you’re interested.

Extra: If you’re looking for an easy way to deposit ballast on your track I’ve previously had great success with this Ballast Spreader. It’s available for OO/HO and N gauges and has saved me a lot of time.

But for points, liberally scattering ballast and spraying fluid could lock up the point and block the springs and moving parts.

Instead, the approach he suggests, and I use, for trouble-free ballasting of points is:

  1. Paint PVA between the sleepers on the points,
  2. Carefully sprinkle ballast — avoiding sensitive areas,
  3. Test frequently,
  4. Use a soft brush to remove ballast that lies outside the sleepers.

This works with all the main model railway ballasts, including that from Woodland Scenics, Busch, Javis and even homemade variants.

As said, for ballasting normal track, I use this ballast spreader but this technique on my layout points and I’ve now got flawlessly working ballasted points if you have an alternative I’d love to hear it.

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Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

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