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 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, to trouble-free ballasting of points is:

  • Paint PVA between the sleepers on the points,
  • Carefully sprinkle ballast – avoiding sensitive areas,
  • Test frequently,
  • 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 but if you have an alternative I’d love to hear it.

>A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.

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