Ballasting Model Rail Tracks - using the kids sandpit !

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When I first got into model railroading, i was very surprised how quickly I was spending money in this 'hobby'.  So, like everyone else whom is budget minded, I started looking around for alternatives.  I noted that buying commercially available 'ballast' that what I actually got resembled the contents of my children's sandpit.   On closer inspection - yep, that was it for sure !  So - armed with some of my wife's kitchen's utensils, I dug up some of the sand from the sand pit and took it up the shed.  Of course, it was full of leaves and other garden refuse, but I had an answer for that too !  So, here is what you do:

1.  Get yourself - a 30cm square piece of flyscreen (flywire), three old ice cream containers, an old plastic cup and some old newspaper.
2.  Use first ice cream container to scoop up some sand from the sand pit
3.  Hide back in your garage... sit on the floor and put the newspaper down in front of you.
4.  If the sand is wet or damp - simply pour it out on the newspaper and spread it out and allow it to dry out (usually overnight)
5. Grab your other empty ice cream container, your plastic cup and your flywire.
6. Scoop up some sand with the cup and whilst holding the flywire over the empty ice cream container, pour the sand onto the flywire.  Don't pour too much, or it will 'collapse' under the weight !
7. Ok, time for some exercise.... with the sand in the flywire - start sifting, or shaking the flywire around and like magic, the sand filters through to the container underneath and very quickly you are left with some 'refuse'.
8. Put the 'refuse' from the flywire into the third container to keep (you would be amazed at how realistic this looks on the layout as ground cover)

Ok, that is it - in a very short time you'll have some very nice sifted sand - ready to go on the layout.

See my other guides for other super cool ideas !
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