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Offline Manga  
#1 Posted : 12 September 2022 10:30:28(UTC)

Joined: 22/07/2022(UTC)
Posts: 38
Location: New South Wales, Sydney
Hi, I'm new to this hobby.

I'm debating about 0.8mm and 2mm thick cork to dampen the sound of trains running over 3mm plywood in an open frame construction.
Considering it's Z-scale, would 0.8mm be sufficient ?
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Offline Toosmall  
#2 Posted : 12 September 2022 12:23:57(UTC)

Joined: 26/07/2021(UTC)
Posts: 570
Location: Sydney
If you are covering with ballast I would use 2mm as it gives a bit move vertical dimension to play with. A bit of exaggeration on verticals will visually help. I used 3mm Forex (expanded PVC), not the best material for noise reduction, but I personally like it.

Get a piece of each material & knock up a simple test loop. Always good to do test samples.


Same corner as above lower track.

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Offline Zme  
#3 Posted : 13 September 2022 17:17:46(UTC)

United States   
Joined: 02/10/2013(UTC)
Posts: 707
Location: West Texas
Hello, hope all is well.

Heads up, this is yet another story about the mistakes I made on my first Z layout.

I have to agree, the poly board provides a great foundation. I have a plywood table with a large sheet of the poly material on top and then I added the roadbed on top of this. I thought I was being smart when I added a piece of Masonite about roadbed wide, to provide a good smooth surface for this. It did work well to provide a smooth surface for the roadbed, but I have now noticed the rail noise is much stronger wherever I used it. This seems to have created a sounding board for the wheel noise. In the yard, I did not add the Masonite but used a thin cork sheet by itself. When the train goes over this area, it is much more quiet.

From my experience, I don't recommend anything below the track and the roadbed which is like Masonite.

I am not certain, how much difference the thickness of the roadbed would make. A few millimeters more or less, may not make much of a difference on noise. It is perhaps more important to consider the appearance you want for your roadbed. The track which has its own plastic roadbed, seems fairly thick, perhaps to thick for some. This may also create the appearance you desire. Does the thicker cork roadbed look similar to this in terms of thickness?

I think it is more important to consider what material is between the roadbed and the table. The poly board may be available at a local building supply store and comes in various thickness and with different rigidity. The closed cell stuff will hold up well on your platform but might cost a bit more. The more open cell board might be cheaper, less durable, but might be more quiet.

The rail noise may be muffled with the sound features which could be added, by digital operation or sound modules which could be added to a layout. For now, I decided the rail noise adds to the charm of my layout.

Sometimes I think, I need to start over.

Take good care.

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Offline Toosmall  
#4 Posted : 14 September 2022 01:15:57(UTC)

Joined: 26/07/2021(UTC)
Posts: 570
Location: Sydney
If you want a really quite layout you need to decouple the track from the base. What I would do is lay the track on 3mm foam. Then on a plywood profile which had the footprint of all the track around the layout with a jigsaw. Then lay that on 3mm acoustic foam to isolate from the baseboard, use some plywood that is a different thicknesses (a bit thicker, but not exactly double, is reduces resonance having two different thicknesses) to the track profile & brace the base plywood properly. On the underside of the baseboard use some thicker acoustic foam. If you have some larger areas of baseboard you could stick on some butyl. Thick open cell foam will help the most.

3mm adhesive acoustic foam.


I have done a lot of acoustic insulation on my car in the last few years, far more than these two photos show, ceiling now has another layer of 25mm engine bay acoustic insulation. It is amazing how quiet you can get a car, although not as quiet as a Bentley, it is extremely quiet, more so with the all terrain tyres which are noisy. Some of the same noise reduction solutions will cross over to model railways.

I have been thinking of stuffing in some open cell foam in the hollow base sections of my layout to reduce a drumming noise. Another task on the list of things to do!



P.S. To get the spacing between tracks exactly right, cut some spacer templates. Cardboard will do. For radiuses space some blocks around the track, it doesn't need to be in one continuous piece.

Even then a close up photo shows up sub mm track variations, but it is not that much more effort to do your best at the construction stage.

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