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Ballast (general - for all scales)

Multi Purchase Discount

We understand that Ballast can be quite expensive especially if you have a lot of track to cover! In order to try and assist we have a discount scheme for the purchase of more than one jar. The scheme covers ANY C&L ballast across the 2mm, 4mm and 7mm ranges. The TOTAL number of jars (be that large or small) requested on the same order will count, with discounts applied to the jar price (excluding VAT) as follows:

No. of kits ordered Discount given
2 5%
3 10%
4 15%
5-6 20%
7-9 25%
10 or more 30%


General Ballast (suitable for all scales)

Natural Ballast is noisy, heavy, too even in colour and can cause problems if a piece finds it’s way into a locomotive mechanism. Our ballast is made from a wood material. It is angular and displays a range of subtle colour changes, as does the real thing… It is supplied in PVC ‘Jam Jars’, which prevent spillage and wastage.

The Ash Ballast and Firebox Ash can be mixed in varying degrees to produce differing effects, or with any of our other ballast materials to match the real thing which of course varied considerably from mile to mile.

Running lines were filled with ballast, whereas yards and sidings were usually ballasted using ash.

Poor ballasting can ruin an otherwise good layout, so it is worth taking time to obtain a good result. Our suggestions are just that, but have been proved to work well and look good!

Pour the ballast in and around the track work and level off between the rails with a flat brush - one about the same width as the gauge of the track is ideal. Spread up to the tops of the sleepers. Pieces of card can be used if necessary, to create an edge profile for spreading outside the rail area. Be sure to check that whichever turnout operating mechanism you are using is free and works smoothly.

Once laid, the ballast should be secured in place without delay. Our suggestion is not use diluted PVA! Why? Well it does have disadvantages. For instance, once dry, it can give the ballast an unnatural glossy look and sets like rock!

Instead use a latex glue such as Copydex, diluted with about 4 volumes of water. Note - Your local carpet shop will sell you a 5 litre drum of Latex quite cheaply. It will last forever and is ideal for many gluing operations. Pre wet the ballast by spraying over lightly with water and then dribble the water/latex solution by means of an eyedropper. Clean up if necessary, as soon as the glue is dry. Pick off any remaining blobs or bits of ballast which have got above the sleepers or onto the sides of the rail.

Our ballast is manufactured from crushed and steamed fruit stone - a natural product. The raw material varies in colour from consignment to consignment, so each batch of ballast we make up will vary from the last. We do not think this is a bad thing. Ballast colour on prototype railways varies quite a lot. Patches of new ballast are lighter and you often see variances where only the up or down line has recently been re-ballasted.

Model railways nearly always have the track ballasted to a uniform colour. We think this is wrong, and in any case as already explained different batches may well be of a different shade. It is not practical to keep each batch separate from each other but if you are determined to have ballast of a consistent colour, it can be easily achieved by tipping all of the ballast that you are likely to need out of their jars into one container, and mixing it all together to produce a uniform colour.

A further trick used by some modellers it to purchase the odd jar of ballast designed for a scale smaller than that actually modelled. This gives the opportunity to intersperse the smaller with the larger in places such as yards etc

How much to buy? - Coverage

We have held some fairly crude experiments and come up with the following table. However, please bear in mind that this is only intended as a rough guide. We used the standard 15" width from the end of the sleepers to the outer edge of the ballast. We only ballasted one single line of track. If you intend to ballast double track then more ballast will be required than shown due to the need to infill in the 'six foot' between the tracks.

C&L Track flexitrack was used for this test. The sleepers are thinner than Exactoscale sleepers, where obviously more ballast would be needed.

Scale & Jar Size Actual Rounded
4mm Small Jar 3.75 metres 4 metres
4mm Large Jar 7.5 metres 8 metres
7mm Small Jar 1.4 metres 1.5 metres
7mm Large Jar 2.8 metres 3 metres

The rounded figures are included to enable a quick calculation to be made, but in most case one extra jar at least is likely to be needed, unless only a very short length is to be ballasted.


As well as the recently introduced discount system, we are also looking at ways of selling in larger quantities, for convenience and a saving to the customer

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VAT ID: GB 267812478   Registered company number: 10746899