This is the part of the layout built on the framing, to provide a surface for the track, scenery, and buildings.
There are two main categories:
- Flat: built using a sheet of some type of wood or other material;
- Open: the track is laid on built-up lengths using risers from the framing.
The likely build here would be 1/2 inch plywood base on top of the benchwork and styrofoam on top of that. I have seen modelers use pink and white styrofoam, the former being more structurally rigid but more expensive than the white. I will review the options at my local stores, and online, to see what works. It may be a good idea to use different types in different areas of the layout depending on what is intended to be placed on top and the possible feline incursions.
The track can also be laid straight on the wood but this can cause sound propagation issues that will definitely need to be addressed in the design of the roadbed between the wood and the track. Staging yards probably do not have this concern.
Open framing provides a way to add grades more easily and to provide a more realistic vertical height presentation. The gaps between the areas hosting rails will need to be filled in with whatever scenery treatments are desired.
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