Monday 4 June 2018

Benny's LEGO City Update #2 - Train Track & Ballast

G'day, I want to start this post with a bit of a story.

When I was a child my Opa has several HO scale train layouts. My cousin an I would spend hours and hours making up trains and controlling them around. My Opa was a very talented man and would hand make and paint all the scenery, mountain landscapes, roads and he was especially good at waterfalls and rivers. I always loved my own LEGO train sets as a kid and when I started planning a LEGO city I knew that trains would play a very large roll in it. Here's hoping I have inherited some of Opa's talent and can do justice with my own layout.

The longest stretch of track covers the entire length of the table.

Full curve in place to help line up the ballast.

Plate outline of one of the switch tracks.

Switch tracks were the most complicated to get the under details lined up.
This is where 2 switches almost touch.

Unfinished train yard. The colored plates have no significance,
they were just cheap to buy in bulk and made good filler.

Finishing up the train yard... bags of parts and tracks everywhere... organized chaos.

Extra studs for detail will be added to the inside of the curves.

Quite a while ago I was trying out a few designs for the train track look. A popular method is using 1x4 black or brown tiles alternating every other stud, which I think looks amazing. However I decided to go with 2x4 plates in the middle and 1x2 plates on the outside, both in reddish brown, not just to be different but to save me a LOT of money. With so much track on the table it starts to add up fast. The tracks are placed on a double layer of built up grey plates with further layers of smaller detail to be added after the tracks are in. I made some final prototypes before going ahead to be sure I'd be happy with the design.

Straight section prototype.

Curved prototype was very time consuming...

And just some number crunching, this layout is made up of:
  • 433 Straight Tracks
  • 93 Curved Tracks
  • 15 Switch Tracks (8 Right, 7 Left)
  • Over 1500 redish brown 2x4 plates and over 3000 1x2 plates to make up the main sleepers
  • Around 600 light grey modified plates + 1200 cheese slopes for station sleepers
  • Over TEN THOUSAND various grey plates making up the ballast and details
  • So far...
Thanks guys be sure to look at the YouTube Video for a complete dynamic run through of the finished layout. Next up I will be adding in some further details and getting some trains running.


  1. I'm gonna borrow your technique. Need to:
    a) get a lot of parts
    b) have a play with that ballast, especially on the corners

    Now I know your blog is here, will keep an eye on it! Good SEO btw ;)

    1. Yeh you will fly through the parts so fast, also depends how many layers you decide to add. I was tempted to only do 1 level and it still looked good, would have saved a few thousand parts.

      Thanks for looking at the BLOG.