Hornby TrakMats


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One of the most popular ways to get started in the world of model railways is by purchasing a train set. If you have a Hornby train set then included will be a TrakMat - a mat similar to a table cloth with an aerial photograph of a model railway designed to fit on a baseboard of approximately 72" x 48" ( the standard mat size is 1800mm x 1200mm, the MidiMat as supplied in some Thomas the Tank sets measures 1600mm x 1180mm). This is particularly good for youngsters as the mat offers a colourful alternative to a bare timber board with track on it. The concept of the TrakMat is to develop an interest in model railways over time by adding track extension packs to the track supplied in the set to complete the plan shown on the mat. The track extension packs required to complete will depend on the set purchased as they enter the track plan at different levels - this will be shown on the back of the train set. Some older sets may contain earlier TrakMats - please note most TrakMats may contain radius one curves somewhere on the mat (R605) which are not suitable for many modern locomotives and rolling stock. The track extension packs required to complete the plan may now be discontinued and may not match those listed in the Hornby catalogue/website - please check the part numbers required - if the packs are no longer available individual items can be purchased to make up the contents of the packs.

The TrakMat is supplied folded in the train set or it can be purchased as a separate item, again folded in a packet. Fixing this to a board can be a problem as it is difficult to remove all the crease lines. We have published some guidelines below if you wish to fix your own mat or please contact Professional Layout Services if you wish us to supply a baseboard suitable for the Hornby TrakMat or MidiMat, supply a baseboard with the Hornby TrakMat or MidiMat fitted or fix your TrakMat or MidiMat to one of our baseboards. We also offer a full TrakMat and MidiMat service to include fixing the track and controllers delivered ready to run - this can involve the use of your materials (track must be in good condition) or we can supply. 

How to fix the TrakMat to your baseboard

After many years experience we have perfected the following top secret technique that still leaves us arguing - this is without doubt a two person task!

  1. Seal your baseboard with a coat of wallpaper adhesive, paint or varnish to prevent the paste drying too quickly.
  2. Apply a coat of wall paper paste to the board. Once you have covered the board start again with another layer.
  3. Carefully apply the mat as neatly as possible using wall paper finishing brushes. The mat is under 72" in length but stretches wider than 48".
  4. With the mat on the board carefully peel back to the centre line and brush out laying to the edge. Repeat on all four sides being careful not to tear the mat - this usually happens but it is easy to repair.
  5. Leave to dry overnight. Most of the creases will pull out as the mat dries.
  6. If you have been careful you will have a neatly applied mat - one slip and the mat will rip!
  7. When dry tape the edges with 2"/50mm carpet tape as the mat is just under 72" long but overlaps the sides. 
  8. When applying the track do not be concerned that you cannot get the track to match the plan exactly. A distortion occurs in reprographics and also when the mat is stretched during fixing.



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