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Plaster Crumbling on Rails Inside Tunnel

Glenn sent in this question:

“My late father built his railroad over about 20 years and it is sill set up in the garage and me and my 2 boys get to use it. I am trying to learn some technical stuff for when something goes wrong. When we visited last weekend we noticed some tiny flakes of plaster inside the tunnel. It is old and I think the problem will get worse. I can get my hand inside the tunnel thru the secret door thingy. What should I do to stop more plaster falling?”

View the comments below, or post your own comments or suggestions to help Glenn.

7 Responses to Plaster Crumbling on Rails Inside Tunnel

  • Frank Bsays:

    This is a totally bad practice when building a layout with plaster ! NEVER have plaster above tracks, it will always crumble and cause problems !

    I suggest covering the tracks with paper or cloth, then painting or varnishing the plaster inside the tunnel with . . . just about anything that will stick to it and not crumble.

    Alternatively, you could put a thin cardboard lining inside the tunnel to keep the plaster off the track.

    • Ramhog Ho Trainssays:

      I would paint the inside what a gross paint. because lining it with card broad ur cars might hit the liner..

  • Peter Cawthornesays:

    I would suggest using thin card as an inner shell inside the tunnel. I have done this and it solved the problem of the plaster flaking off.

  • Robertsays:


  • David Stokessays:

    If you can access the whole tunnel then paint it with gloss paint (any old house paint will do) Mix up all your left overs and with luck it will end up a dark muddy colour – just ideal.

    As this was your Dad’s layout, and it looks like it’s going on to future generations why not take this opportunity to rip out the old tunnel and build a new one? That way you get hands on modelling experience, no more plaster falling on the tracks and a new look.

    • Sheldon Clarksays:

      I like this one!

  • When I made my O-gauge tunnel I used the “bread and butter” method, namely multiple sheets of 1″ thick styrofoam, instead of plaster, stacked and glued to each other. I glued the bottom layer to a 3 foot square piece of sheet metal to set right on top of the platform. With no luxury of having a permanent space, I wanted a light item easy to move, install and store. I painted the insides a dark color and have never worried about flaking and falling pieces in the inside. I used a Surfoam “plane” to shape the top and sides. Since my theme is winter the white styrofoam was perfect as a base to stick trees in anywhere I chose. It’s been stored in my garage for years and has been fine.

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