MRA Editors

Picking the Best Model Railroad Roadbed for Your Layout

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Duration:   6  mins

As with all components on a model railroad, the stuff that goes under the tracks is highly important for the functionality and appearance of your layout. From the framework to the subroadbed to the ballast, each component serves an essential purpose toward making a realistic and effective railroad. This is especially true for the model railroad roadbed.

There are a variety of options to choose from for the model railroad roadbed on your layout, and each carries its own pros and cons. When deciding which type of model railroad roadbed to utilize on your specific layout, you should take a few things into consideration to make sure the option you pick will work properly and suit your needs. So in this lesson, we teach you about the various types of model railroad roadbed you can choose for the trackage on your layout, and walk you through the benefits and drawbacks of each.

How to choose the right model railroad roadbed

To help you figure out which kind of model railroad roadbed will work best for the unique needs of your layout, NMRA Master Modeler Gerry Leone introduces the most common materials modelers use to support their trackage. He talks a bit about each material, and explains why certain options might be better suited for your railroad.

You’ll learn about homasote, homabed and Track-Bed foam, and discover what makes these model railroad roadbed materials the standard choices of experts and beginners alike. Gerry shows you how to apply strips of roadbed to your subroadbed, and discusses why he tends to prefer one option over the rest for its sound dampening, durability and manipulability. With these expert tips and more, you’ll be able to choose the right model railroad roadbed material for your layout that will look great and stand the test of time!

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

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3 Responses to “Picking the Best Model Railroad Roadbed for Your Layout”

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  2. John Wallace

    How about the Flexxxbed products by Hobby Innovations. I have used their products with excellent results.

  3. Richard

    What kind of scenic material is good for creating the look of basic flat earth, such as would be found in a rail yard or non-paved area of a town's streets?

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