Track Ballast - Kato Unitrack

8/5/2018

Photo of railroad tracks and ballastA very boring and yet crucial part of a working railroad are the rocks that lay below the tracks. These rocks are called track ballast. The name is borrowed from the rocks that were used to help stabilize ships as they sailed the high seas.

Track ballast serves several functions:

  1. Distributes the weight of trains running over it
  2. Provides water drainage
  3. Prevents the tracks and ties from shifting
  4. Reduces vibrations to surrounding areas from running trains
  5. Keeps vegetation from growing in the tracks
  6. Fights frost upheaval in colder climates

While these functions aren't needed on your model railroad layout, you'll still want to add material that looks like ballast to your tracks so that the look prototypical.

Below are some links to videos demonstrating techniques to add ballast to Kato Unitrack. Adding ballast to your layout tracks requires some patience. The results will help to bring your layout to life!

I hope that you have a "ballast" watching them! ;-)

-Rafe