Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm taking this away from the DCC thread because I am sure all are interested, well I know I am and that's good enough.

Lisa tells us she hasn't cleaned either track or wheels for the last three months and doesn't intend to do so for the rest of this year. Come on Lisa, tell us how you achieve this wonderful condition, as it's a task I hate, and seem to have to do it quite regularly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
An ounce of prevention is better than a ton of cure. Rather than constantly removing the dirt, you just have to look for ways to prevent it getting there in the first place. Here's some of my methods;

1.Use only metal tyred wheels, plastic wheels have a tendancy attract dirt to them and then deposit that dirt all over the layout. Dirt on plastic wheels can come from a mould release agent left on the wheels from manufacture, some types of plastic can hold a static charge which attracts dust particles, with age, rough track or rough handling plastic wheels can chip, dirt can then build up in the chipped area, or the wheels itself may start shredding, which can happen anyway through general wear and tear.

2.Don't use traction tyres, for the same reasons as plastic wheels, also the rubber can absorb oils which will cause the rubber to dissolve, all over you track!

3.Use only live frog points, insulated frogs made of plastic will have the same effect as plastic wheels, and make your track dirty.

4.Lay your track carefully, misalligned rail joins are great places for dirt to accumulate. Likewise poor electrical joints can cause carbon deposits to build up on the wheels and rail head.

5.High Frequency rail cleaners will also make your track dirtier, by leaving carbon deposits on the wheel and rail head, they may even pit the rail or wheel surface, the only advantage to these units is that you won't notice the track is dirty till it is completely filthy and unusable.

6.Don't use abrasive track rubbers to clean your track, these will damage the rail head leaving small scratches for dirt to accumulate in. Some chemical cleaners can have similar effects by pitting the rail, in fact I once spent a whole day scrapping the goo off of the rails of an 0 gauge layout after using one of these chemical 'rail cleaners'. If you must clean the track use a piece of hardboard (masonite) rough side down, this will polish the railhead without damaging it, or for a really stuborn deposit a little white spirit on a cotton tip does wonders.

7.If your layout is in a dusty place, try either covering the layout when not in use or using a dustbuster type of vacuum cleaner to vacuum the track when you haven't used the layout for a while.

As long as you follow at least the first four suggestions, the best way to keep your track and wheels clean is to run your trains! Ever see a well used stretch of track on the prototype that wasn't shining? Or an inservice coach with rusty wheel treads? No.
A rolling stone gathers no moss, well the same applies to the wheels of your models.

It works for me!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
487 Posts
LisaP4, is your advice offering a tongue in the cheek?
Each day I run my layout for a few hours, and after each session is over, at least rail head require a wipe over with a clean dry cloth - the deposit left on the cloth resembles that of graphite grease and certainly any deposit on your fingers require lots of soap and scrubbing to remove from the skin of the fingers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
I used to suffer the same as 00 mentioned that is a graphite type film on the rail heads, until I started to use those little track cleaners that hook onto the axles of your rolling stock, you hardly notice that they are there, and yes they do work, well they have for me, think they are marketed by gaugemaster, a very clever and simple idea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
QUOTE (double00 @ 15 Jan 2006, 17:40)
LisaP4, is your advice offering a tongue in the cheek?
Each day I run my layout for a few hours, and after each session is over, at least rail head require a wipe over with a clean dry cloth - the deposit left on the cloth resembles that of graphite grease and certainly any deposit on your fingers require lots of soap and scrubbing to remove from the skin of the fingers.

Definitely not tongue in cheek, just a matter of treating the problem rather than hiding the symptoms. I just wiped my finger along the rail head on my layout and have no sign of grease, so not having the problem i can't say what the cause is.
If I were to hazard a guess I'd say it's probably oil and grease from loco's finding it's way to the track, dust and grime is then sticking to the oily rails. Cleaning any excess grease/oil from your loco's and cleaning the wheels should solve the problem, you shoud only have to do it once. With the mechanisms on our models not a lot of lubrication is required, if you can see the oil then there is too much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
QUOTE it's probably oil and grease from loco's . . .
I'd have to agree, that's where an awful lot of it starts.
Much of the rest is almost certainly minor, but steadily accumulating condensation from the atmosphere, so your climate, both geographic and in the train room may well affect this to a degree also.

Lisa's list covers all the points - it's excellent and, on the basis that every little bit helps, well worth following ALL of it imho. Not that I necessarily do myself, of course!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
487 Posts
LisaP4 - Sorry no offence intended - can you enlighten me as to how often do you run and length of duration that the locomotives traverse over your layout's track?
I must admit in my being more than interested in reducing this chore in cleaning the rails after at least two hours continuous running of the rolling stock. In what I hear and have read, 99% of modellers suffer from this complaint.
I still maintain that the fault lies in the metal used in the rail manufacture and a reaction to the metal when an electricity current is passed through the rail and taken up by another metal found in the form of the rolling stock wheels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
'sOK none taken.

Thats' a bit like asking how long is piece of string! The present layout is just an end to end type as I haven't got round to extending it to a cintinuous run yet, but i generally get an hour or so a few times a week to do some shunting. With a continuous run I often just start a train running in the morning and let it go all day when I get the chance, only stopping to change trains or shunt the yard. Then again before today I haven't run the trains this year due to rebuilding my computer, however the trains are all running as smoothly as the last time I played with them.

On the subject of metals, by all accounts steel wheels and steel rail are the best combination. However as steel rail costs twice as much to post from the UK to Australia, I still use nickel silver rail, and don't get any problems with it aside from the fact it doesn't look as good as steel does.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top