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Model Railway Cork

Build the most convincing model railway track you can with model railway cork. There are lots of different materials to build model railways out of, but most people agree that cork is the best.

Cork is naturally very light and flexible -- and acts as a sound insulator. Meaning it absorbs vibrations more readily than other materials, helping to reduce the sounds generated by your model railway carriages.

Cork is also a 100% natural and durable material. Properly looked after, a cork railway underlay can last for years without showing any signs of damage or wear and tear. It is naturally resistant to water, heat, dirt and oils.

A cork underlay is also the best material available for suitable gravel imitation, along with boulders, rocks -- and other visual pieces to help enhance the scenery. Further helping to create a very realistic model railway set. In addition to this, cork is a great base element for which to build display windows and showcases.

The Benefits of model railway cork

It’s no secret that cork is one of the favourite materials used by model railway enthusiasts to build their railway tracks and scenery. Here’s just a few reasons why cork is so popular:

  • Quieter running -- Cork is a natural acoustic insulator, which can help to deaden the sound of your model railway track and reduce excess noise caused by the train.

  • Helps you to get a better shoulder for the ballast -- if you raise the track with cork, it can improve your model railway ballast. Cork ballasts typically have a length of 45cm.

  • Provides a flat surface for smooth track laying -- this makes the whole process of track laying easier, quicker, less problematic and more fun.

  • Flexible -- Cork is a durable and flexible material. You can buy it in ready-to-lay strips or in larger panels. So that you can lay and cut it yourself as desired, into the shapes you want to.

  • Convenience -- Cork is a very convenient material. We offer cork in many different forms for your purposes, including in the form of a single undercoat.

  • Precision -- Cork underlay edges of the ground can be precisely profiled on both sides to faithfully copy the way that railways are built in real life.

Cork and your model railway set

Because cork is naturally resistant to humidity, dirt, water and oils, it represents the ideal material on which to build your railway set. Not just the track underlay, but many aspects of the scenery too.

If looked after well, you can expect to get decades out of cork. Cork flooring in interior design spaces can last upwards of 40 years. There’s no reason why a model railway set made out of cork couldn’t be expected to last for the same amount of time -- or even longer.

Our model cork comes in a variety of sizes and thickness, helping you find the perfect solution to your needs.

And we also offer a range of extra large cork bark that is great for making detailed rock faces and other scenery. It has a flat back surface and can be cut with a sharp knife, making it easy to model with.


1. What is the best base for a model railway?

Cork has numerous advantages over plywood. For example, it deadens excessive noise from the metal wheels of model trains. It is also readily available and easy to assemble. But it is a matter of opinion. Some people really prefer cork. Others prefer other materials such as plywood. There is no widely accepted ‘best base’. But most people seem to fall on the side of either cork or plywood.

2. What thickness of cork should be used for model railways?

Thicknesses between 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch work very well for model railways. And all of the products listed on our Model Railway Cork page are suitable.

Different widths are often required for different purposes on the model track. Including for different gauges, for farming curves, and more. If you are feeling stuck or confused, contact us for more information.

3. Is a cork underlay needed for a model railway track?

A cord underlay isn’t essential, but it is a very popular material because it is so useful. By cushioning the track and reducing vibrations, a cork underlay is particularly useful for reducing the noise of your model railway set.

Cork also provides a raised bed for your railway track. Which helps to create a shoulder, and depending on the era of your railway track, can help the ballast to look better.

4. How do I install a cork roadbed?

First, you’ll need to establish a centre-line for your track. You can do this by marking a cork sub-roadbed. Check the cork to see if it’s smooth and free of bumps and lumps -- for a smooth base.

Second, you will need to use a silicone sealant (or equivalent) to lay the cork roadbed in place. Then staple the cork roadbed down with track nails to hold it firmly in place as the sealant dries. But don’t drive the track nails all the way through the cork. As you will have to remove the nails once the sealant dries.

Once the cork roadbed is in place, you can continue with laying the track and spreading the ballast. Installing a cork roadbed is relatively easy and does not require a lot of tools or materials.

Equip your model railway track with cork -- the most realistic, cost-effective material there is

With its sustainable, cost-effective, realistic and naturally dirt and water-resistant properties, there’s no reason why everybody shouldn’t at least be thinking about cork for their model railway tracks.

Whether you want to cut the cork yourself or buy ready-to-go variants, we’ve got you covered. Order today for next day delivery.

Got questions about our model railway cork items? Contact us today and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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