Arizona Rock HO ballast coverage question

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As some of you know, I am attempting to model the CNW in Mankato MN. The ballast used by the CNW and Omaha Road is pink in color and hard to duplicate. Anyone from around here would immediately recognize the color of the correct ballast. I have found that Arizona Rock and Mineral has the color that I'm looking for. The ballast is sold in 12 oz. bags for $4.30 with a minimum order of six. The shipping is a flat thirteen dollars and will hold twenty four bags. I'm hoping to guess how much I'm going to need for my layout. Does anyone have any experience with coverage rates for this product? How many feet of track could a person expect to cover? I'm planning on using their HO fine scale size. I don't need exact amounts, just a ball park figure of how far a bag of this stuff will go. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.


Corey, I think a question that is going to come up is how much track (in feet) do you need to ballast?

AR&M ballast is good stuff, and really realistic looking because well, its made from the real stuff lol. I used to buy it at my LHS, but i stopped because it was pretty expensive, but im going to be using it on my future M&ET layout. Im thinking of contacting them to become a dealer of their ballast products, would help me with my layout.


Fleeing from Al
In my experience, it take about one half ounce of ballast to do about six inches of a well-ballasted, main line grade. It would be a lot less for branchlines and spurs. I have never used the Arizona Rock ballast but I would think the same proportions would hold. So, 12 ounces should do about 12 actual feet of main line track. Unless you have a really large layout, ballast is a very small expense overall.
Boy, it's hard to guess how much track I have. For most part it is a 14x10 loop with a long passing siding. My industrial/yard area will be mainly cinders and weeds. I'd figure on 100 feet to be conservative.


Active Member
Corey, for easy guesstimating, count on 1 cup of the stuff covering 7' of typical mainline roadbed and tie depths. I depends on your skill, your patience and attention to detail (grooming it properly), and if the ground adjacent to the roadbed is level or uneven. I don't know what a cup of ballast would weigh (mine is beach sand harvested locally, but Woodland Scenics ballast is walnut shells in some cases....quite light), but if it is quarry sand or beach sand, it must be near 8 oz. per cup



Bridge and Building Dept
Corey, Caboose hobbies in Denver carries Arizona Rock, you might get one package from them for testing before ordering a large amount direct. Caboose usually has 2-4 packs of each style.

Matt Dillow
MD Custom Models


Diesel Detail Freak
I have tons of AZ Rock & Mineral, and Model Mountaincraft. Both make good real rock ballast in CNW Pink Lady. BNSF uses a Buff/Pink Lady color on Cajon. I found that one bag of Buff, has covered about 2' of HO track, on N scale road bed.
Thank you everyone for your replies. Maybe I'll try that Caboose Hobbies to see for myself how far it goes. Since it is rock, I figured that 12 oz. was very little in a bag. I'm guessing I'm right. I'll order some and see. Thanks again. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to