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Old 23-04-2018, 08:52 AM   #1
John Disdle
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Default Track cleaning

Just seen this on youtube. It looks simple and seems to give very good results. I wonder if it`s as good as it seems, or are there any long term effects on sleepers...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmOPOcxXPjE
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Old 23-04-2018, 08:36 PM   #2
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Interesting, would need to be convinced though.
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Old 23-04-2018, 09:03 PM   #3
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I’ll stick with IPA, at least if it gets spilt it will evaporate, heavens knows what damage the stuff in the video will do if spilt on a layout, or the floor, or me!
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Old 23-04-2018, 11:10 PM   #4
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If I had a layout up and running at the present time I will give it a try. At the moment I have other projects to complete before I do the layout wiring.
After looking at the film and reading the comments a few say it didnt work for them and a great many said it did work. No one mentioned possible effects to scenery except one person said that it can be used to strip off paint. The one who made the film said to use it sparingly. Just an inch on each rail applied with a cotton bud.
I dont think it is a good idea to try if you have traction tyres on your locos or if you have any gradients on your layout.

[I will say that to try things out, then it is best to try on a small simple test layout with older locos which don't matter so much, and also, it is easier to tell if the idea works on older locos then if one has a new one which runs well to begin with!]

Another similar idea which a modeller I met swears by is to add pencil lead to his track using soft artists pencils. He said that he had done this for a good while and it worked a treat. I will say that this idea has the same disadvantages when it comes to slippery rails, though my gut feeling is that pencil lead will be kinder to traction tyres. It may make them slip, but one won't risk the tyres from being eaten by any chemicals.

A few years ago a track cleaning product was very popular. It was expensive so I didnt get to try it. The product was said to work very well. However one modeller noticed one of his Peco points had issues with the plastic sleepers. (The product didnt damage the plastics used on flexible track). Peco replaced it for the customer but wanted to know what had been used on it and the customer said the product he had used.
I've not noticed the product advertised since. I hope the product was easy to adjust so it can be brought back as a track cleaner. Maybe it has. I'm a bit out of date with the goings on of today's products.

As my track has been handmade using salvaged Peco code 100 rails (Nickel silver) soldered onto strips cut from printed circuit boards used as sleepers, some of this track needed filing down and reshaped etc, especially when it came to building pointwork and the diamond crossing. I found that if I first file the rails to where they need to be, and make sure the top surface is flat (First by filing if it is not), any scratches left by filing are removed by heavy use of a Peco or Hornby track cleaning rubber. Then a final polish up using the rubber quickly but lightly over the surface brings the rails to a nice mirror finish.

To conclude, I will say that cleaning alcohol is a safe cleaner to use from what ive been told. (Is only a few months ago I was given some by my brother as he needed some for his electronic use (He was an electrician by trade) and he found it far cheaper to buy in bulk). I've not tried it on track myself but I will say it seems to do the job well with loco wheels etc. The main thing to remember with the alcohol is it is extremely flammable so take great care in the environment you are using it.

Last edited by Mountain Goat; 23-04-2018 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 24-04-2018, 12:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Goat View Post
I dont think it is a good idea to try if you have traction tyres on your locos or if you have any gradients on your layout.

[I will say that to try things out, then it is best to try on a small simple test layout with older locos which don't matter so much, and also, it is easier to tell if the idea works on older locos then if one has a new one which runs well to begin with!].
Automatic transmission fluid (I think that was what he was using) is formulated not to affect seals,(synthetic rubber? Are the tyres material the same?) those are important to automatic transmissions.

I think pencil lead (imitates graphite, it is really a clay mix) acts as a lubricant yet he says it worked?
If I have a zip which sticks I rub it with a soft pencil lead - say a 2B or similar. The zip aways works a treat after.
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Old 24-04-2018, 08:07 AM   #6
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Not the sort of thing Iíd want indoors. OK if the layout is in a garage or shed I suppose.
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Old 24-04-2018, 11:43 AM   #7
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i'd avoid this like the plague... track rubbers or ipa on a soft cloth...
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Old 24-04-2018, 11:48 AM   #8
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What really concerns me about this method is that although it might work a treat, we always say that if you can see the lubricant on a loco you are using too much, so then you use it on the track and it transfers to the wheels then the inside of the loco. I know you are supposed to wipe it off the track but it would only take a small amount to be missed to end up inside your locos.
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Old 25-04-2018, 08:06 AM   #9
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Thanks for your replies.

I think the IPA rout is safer, even if I have to clean the track more often.
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Old 25-04-2018, 08:17 AM   #10
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John I hardly ever clean my track. The whole lot a few times a year and little bits when needed. The secret is to keep the wheels clean and donít use plastic wheels.
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