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Clean the track as well

Postby grahame » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:01 pm

Along with keeping the wheels clean (using that handy dandy tool we got with our T gauge train set) I have found it really pays to clean the track too. The best thing I have found to date is to get a Kleenex tissue or a piece of loo paper, wet it with rubbing alcohol (isopropanol) and wipe both rails as you go round the track. I am an organic chemist by profession and can assure you that the solvent will not harm the plastic of the rail bed. Warning: do not get this solvent any where near the rolling stock..the graphics on the sides are another story! Never, ever, ever use acetone for this purpose (nail varnish remover). I find my HST runs a lot faster on the same track after I have done this, perhaps a couple of times a week. You will see black grot on the tissue, do not panic..this is primarily a tiny bit of metal..but it will pick up the grease and oil (if any) too.
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Re: Clean the track as well

Postby grahame » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:04 pm

p.s. I have tried the so called "activating oil" but this never seems to do much for me. If you like to use it..reapply after this cleaning process.
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Re: Clean the track as well

Postby martink » Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:48 am

This is the only existing post about track cleaning, so I'd add this comment here rather than starting a new one. I've been doing a lot of track cleaning on Sarum Bridge lately, especially after finishing the ballasting and ground cover.

My basic track cleaning technique has settled down to using a Fleischmann track rubber as the primary tool (just the right width for double track), with an old (and now soft) Peco rubber as a backup for a couple of low-clearance bridges. These are instead of the recommended 2000-grade sandpaper (my call - do this at your own risk).

I then slide a small bar magnet along the track. This picks up all the iron filings that are inevitably generated by both sanding and track rubbers, and which would otherwise get picked up by the locos. Well worth the trouble.

Finally, I do one clean up pass with IPA and then another with CRC 2-26 (instead of Eishindo's magic pencil).
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Re: Clean the track as well

Postby dkightley » Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:44 pm

One thing I have noticed is that if a train starts stuttering due to the track being dirty....and probably the wheels as well....one trick is to get a small piece of material (eg a piece of denim works well!) and soak it in IPA, then rub it along the track just in front of the moving train....which seems to do two things. Firstly the wheels pick up the IPA...and dirt on the wheels is somewhat dislodged....and secondly, the IPA is distributed along the track, dislodging further muck!

This isn't a solution....but it sure helps keep things moving!!

And you get "happy" layout operators! :D :D :D :D :D :D
Doug Kightley
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