Author Topic: Track cleaning (constantly)  (Read 2285 times)

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kgreen

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Track cleaning (constantly)
« on: February 23, 2014, 08:55:07 AM »
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I have read your methods, we all have to do it, but why is it i find i have to do it almost every run?

davefoxx

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 09:02:49 AM »
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What type of track do you have and where is your layout located?  I ask, because I have Atlas Code 55 on my layout, which is in my basement.  In the summertime, it's much more humid down there, and I have to clean track almost daily.  In the wintertime, I can go a week or more.  I'm curious to see this coming summer whether the Micro Engineering rail used in the handlaid portions of track on the layout require less cleaning than the Atlas rails.

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kgreen

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 09:11:34 AM »
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Dave my layout is in the den.  Fifty five yr old house with elec baseboard heat. 
atlas code 80 with customline to's.   Problem is when running slower speeds at turnouts.  As long as i keep rails and wheels clean not many problems.  The wheels seem to get dirty more so than track

Jeff AKA St0rm

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 09:12:31 AM »
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Have a look at your rolling stock wheels. They tend to pick up dirt and trans plat it to clean parts of the layout. Most people don't clean rolling stock often enough.

kgreen

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 09:16:48 AM »
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I have never cleaned stock wheels.  Mostly plastic.  How do you clean them.  Roll over alcohol soaked paper towels?






r

Jeff AKA St0rm

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2014, 09:28:22 AM »
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I have never cleaned stock wheels.  Mostly plastic.  How do you clean them.  Roll over alcohol soaked paper towels?


r

Yes but make sure you run them over dry as well. If you look at the wheels you will see clumps of black crud. As the wheels hit gaps in the rail that crud is knocked off and becomes dirt again to be picked up by more wheels. Plastic gets statically charged and draw dirt to them, you can keep them clean but it takes time.

jpec

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2014, 11:06:44 AM »
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A trick Monroe Stewart uses is keeping an extra supply of wheelsets on hand and as they crud up, he puts on clean ones then puts the dirties in an ultrasonic cleaner (one of those cheapie jewelry cleaners will work fine - no sense in a big investment if you're only cleaning wheels) and sets them aside for the next change...

For quick track cleaning, I use the handle from a gasket scraper I got out of the dollar bin at the auto parts store, tossed the blade, picked up some large gun cleaning patches and I dampen those with alcohol and I can clean a lot of track in short order...

Jeff
« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 11:10:19 AM by jpec »
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fifer

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2014, 11:15:27 AM »
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For bulk cleaning of plastic wheel sets try this device over night.

http://www.micromark.com/ultrasonic-cleaner,8024.html

Mike
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.
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LV LOU

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2014, 11:25:02 AM »
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I had Atlas C80 on my last RR,and every one I had before that.Every one,I was CONSTANTLY cleaning the track.The wheels would crud up,and there was always a black film on top.I may add,I ran a lot,there was always a train going.I used to run a train of Centerline cars,it was a losing battle.My new RR is ME.. I almost never clean my track anymore,and cleaning consists of running a single car I built with a sharpening stone on it.I never even cleaned my wheels from the last RR,yet,they're clean now.My RR works so well,I can leave it for two weeks,plop a Bachmann Dockside on it,and it will crawl around all day after one faster lap..No more Atlas 80 for me...

tehachapifan

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2014, 11:49:14 AM »
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I, too, suffered with having to constantly clean track with a bright boy, sometimes even more than once a day, (please, let's not get into the Bright-Boy-scratching-the-rails discussion) and have started many threads in frustration myself. I would only become more frustrated when someone would say something like "I haven't had to clean my track in years". I believe the reason I had so much trouble was that I'm in the Pacific Northwest and my layout is in the garage where I believe the conditions are ripe for rapid oxidation...and I mean RAPID. After someone once again recommended it in one of my threads of frustration, I finally gave the Bar Mills NO-OX-ID stuff a try per the instructions about...I don't know...6 months or so ago and it has seriously changed my (hobby) life. I have not had to clean my track since. Seriously!! I'm not kidding and would not have believed it myself. Hardly a headlight flicker since at it has honestly been months. I don't know how it works but I only had to use trace amounts as per the instructions (I used a gloved finger to apply it...not sure if you want to get it on you or not (use at your own risk)...and a rag to wipe it off). At this rate, I think one jar will probably last me forever.

Holy crap my reply sounds like one of those troll advertisement replies! :trollface: I am seriously not affiliated with the product in any way! I should mention that I have been converting to metal wheelsets too, which I think has also been helping.

« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 11:55:26 AM by tehachapifan »
Russ

Scottl

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2014, 11:53:20 AM »
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I have some no-ox ready to use when I run.  I'm convinced it is worth a try, as oxidation is an issue on all metal. 

For years I have wondered if an active cathode-protection system would be suitable to minimize redox corrosion while the layout is sitting unused.  It works with many other metal structures quite well.

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2014, 12:04:56 PM »
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It may not be all the track.

Not sure what kind of locomotives you're running but any diesel that uses the axle-cup pickup system is prone to contact issues.  The cups quite often come through with a wee-bit of grease in them which tends to get crudded up over time and causes electrical pickup issues. 

I've gotten to the point with my locomotives that when there's a issues with a locomotive stalling I'll clean those axle-cups, and not replace the grease.  Unless you're running the same locomotive for several hours a day I just don't think it's necessary.

The second area of concern are the brass wipers as they engage the brass "ears" that rise from the sides of the trucks.  Those brass wipers can get dirty over time and causes problems.  I usually use a rubber eraser to shine'em back up.

C855B

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2014, 12:14:26 PM »
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... I should mention that I have been converting to metal wheelsets too, which I think has also been helping.

Likely a contributing factor. Metal wheels on metal track is going to burnish both. Yeah, that ol' metal-vs-plastic debate. (Terrible "scientific method", Russ! Make two major changes at or near the same time... which one solved the problem? :D )

FWIW, lately I've been doing some of the second-morning-of-a-train-show prep on the club layout, and am astounded by the amount of black crap I pickup on my sponges as I wipe with contact cleaner alone. It's astounding because we cleaned the track thoroughly before running on the first day. That can't be all oxidation in less than 16 hours of idle time. I draw the conclusion of the possibility that plastic wheels on metal track is scraping plastic off, and it has to go somewhere.

Also, I think the "dirty wheels" observation above has merit. Clean the track forever and ever, amen, only to run trains that redeposit the crud.
...mike

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tehachapifan

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2014, 12:21:12 PM »
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I believe both helped but I'm convinced the NO-OX-ID had the biggest impact. Here's something that's really weird.....I can still run a finger along the track and come up with black gunk like before (maybe not quite as much), but somehow the trains keep running and running day after day. I don't understand it, but I'm not complaining! :D
Russ

Scottl

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Re: Track cleaning (constantly)
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2014, 12:28:08 PM »
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I put some no-ox on a stretch of track in early 2012, near to the last time I ran trains.  We'll see after two years what it does on Atlas c55.