Lego Track Ballasting

September 18, 2019

lego

Many posts have been written on ballasting LEGO tracks. They all mention added ballast is “piece intensive”, and the examples I found online use a lot of LEGO pieces.

I still went ahead and I think I’ve found a variant that still looks good, and is (slightly) optimized to reduce the number of bricks. For straight track it consists out a two layers of plates. Curves and switches have 1 layer and need to be propped up with tiles (when attaching to baseplates).

Straight Track

For straight track the ballasting is relatively simple. The following pieces are needed:

  • 10 * 8x2 plates
  • 4 * 2x4 plates (used on the top side)
  • 1 * 2x2 plates

8 of the 8x2s will be visible (those should be the color of your ballast), the remaining 2 can be any color. The 4 2x4’s are also visibile. In the example below I used reddish brown.

Attaching the ballast to the track is extremely simple:

Topside of the straight track with ballast.

Topside of the straight track with ballast.

And bottom:

Underside of the straight track with ballast.

Underside of the straight track with ballast.

Curved Track

For curved track things got some what trickier, because of the, uh, curve. With much inspiration from online designs, I finally settled on a symmetrical design, piece count is not insane (but still a lot - you will have many curves in your setup).

  • 3 * 4x4 plates
  • 3 * 2x4 plates
  • 6 * 2x3 plates
  • 4 * 1x3 plates
  • 4 * 1x4 plates (used on the top side)

All these pieces are visible so they must be of the same color.

From above it looks like this, the 4 1x4s are only attached with 1 stud and hide the remaining gaps, rest of the gaps will need to be obscured with tiles.

Topside of the curved track with ballast.

Topside of the curved track with ballast.

Bottom is more interesting:

Underside of the curved track with ballast.

Underside of the curved track with ballast.

Not shown here (‘cause I haven’t done it yet) is to use tiles to finish the second layer when putting these track elements on a baseplate. Figuring out where to put the tiles is a bit of trail and error depending how the curve needs to be attached to the baseplate.

I’ll detail switches in a future post; I’ve got one attached to a baseplate, but not 100% happy with the ballasting and the number of pieces used.

LEGO  Ballast  Track  Train