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Thread: Track keeps getting dirty!!

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    Default Track keeps getting dirty!!

    Hi everyone!

    My track seems to keep getting dirty! I've had a couple layouts in the past using the same track and never had this much of an issue.
    Here is my scenario
    Layout in attic - about 65 degrees
    Humidifier running to keep humidity between 40-45%
    Atlas code 55 flex
    Track painted with Kyron camo brown

    I clean the track and a couple weeks later I can quickly fill an alcohol damp rag with plenty of black gunk. Wheels on my cars don't seem bad. I have to also keep cleaning engine wheels since I use sound DCC.

    After painting track I cleaned with a bright boy followed by damp alcohol cloth.

    I've used alcohol in the past with long lasting results.

    The room is not overly dusty or dirty.

    What could be going wrong?

    Thank you!

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    I have a similar problem. My layout is mostly ballasted now and I only have 1 feed for the whole layout and previously my little loco was running great and could creepy through every turnout. I would only need to lightly rub with my bright boy if I've done scenery or painting work around the track.

    But now I'm suddenly having to really clean the track every few days to keep the loco running and it's stalling through many turnouts. That's when I realized: maybe it's not my track, but my train. Sure enough, the train running around so much while the layout is under construction resulted in dirty wheels and even dirty pickups between the trucks and the frame. An entire truck was not picking up power at all, so of course it was running like crap.

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    It's not dirt, it's naturally occurring oxidation caused by micro-arcing between the rails and the locomotive wheels.

    Search for the No-ox topic on this forum for an easy, inexpensive solution.
    Paul Schmidt

    Shasta (2008-2020) -- All good dogs should live forever

    Southern Railway's Slate Fork Branch

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    huge help! I bet it just got worse when I painted track. the article is located here:
    https://www.nscale.net/forums/showth...ight=oxidation

    I will be trying that soon!
    Thank you!

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    Yes, even a little bit of paint residue on the inside of the ball of the rail can play the dickens with keeping wheelsets clean as well.
    Paul Schmidt

    Shasta (2008-2020) -- All good dogs should live forever

    Southern Railway's Slate Fork Branch

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    I agree with Paul on the paint on the inside of the rail. A bright boy will do the top just fine , but you need to clean off the inside of the rail where the wheel flanges touch .

    Steve

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    How have you cleaned off the inside of the rail?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jayareed View Post
    How have you cleaned off the inside of the rail?
    I typically use the "pointy" end of a Bright Boy. And it's the inside of the ball of the rail, not the web nor the base of the rail, that needs cleaning. Usually goes faster than cleaning the top of the rail (the railhead).
    Paul Schmidt

    Shasta (2008-2020) -- All good dogs should live forever

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    Painting rail, bah! I just bring real dirt in from outside and rub it on there. Peat works best.

    Doug
    Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    It's not dirt, it's naturally occurring oxidation caused by micro-arcing between the rails and the locomotive wheels.

    Search for the No-ox topic on this forum for an easy, inexpensive solution.

    Sorry Paul, not trying to butt heads with you, but just another option is to use a graphite stick.
    I know, this topic has been discussed to death over the years. I'm not saying it's better than NO-OX, it's just another option to try.
    Watch this video.



    The only difference is that Graphite is dry and not greasy. IMHO, anything greasy added to the rails will attract more dirt.
    Too much Graphite will cause slippage as well, but it's easier to remove if too much gets added.
    Also be sure to shut off track power BEFORE applying it as graphite will short the system out, if not the stick will become warm to hot.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    Sorry Paul, not trying to butt heads with you, but just another option is to use a graphite stick.
    Oh, not at all, Allen. I No-Ox'd the rails of the Slate Fork years ago, and I use the graphite stick as well. Maybe it's overkill, maybe it's the best of both worlds, but only dust on the rails poses an issue anymore.
    Paul Schmidt

    Shasta (2008-2020) -- All good dogs should live forever

    Southern Railway's Slate Fork Branch

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    I have to agree with Paul,

    No-Ox AND graphite together work miracles.

    I was having trouble with three dead spots on my tracks.
    No-Ox'd them, then waited a few days, wiped down the tracks with an old dry t-shirt, (no lint), and it was quite a bit better.

    Took a graphite stick to the same spots and no more problems.
    All my locos (steam and diesel), will creep through those spots now very smoothly.

    I'm thinking the No-Ox did it's job, and the graphite probably transferred some of itself from the track to the loco wheels as well, so conductivity is improved all around.

    There was one spot on my Bachman EZ track that used slow down my one loco every time.
    I applied a little pressure to widen the track at that spot (just with my fingers), nothing visibly changed, but it worked.
    I'm guessing the track was a tiny bit narrow there.
    Hope this helps someone.

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    Had to clean track and loco wheels every couple of days. Found ( Ideal ) NOALOX at Home Depot for aluminum wire connections. Cleaned track and put a film of NOALOX on track and have not had a problem on layout anywhere sense.

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    Hi Jayareed,

    Have you considered equipping a few boxcars with masonite pads to clean the track and putting one behind your engines?

    I always have one in all my consists...increases drag...but keeps dust and dirt under control on the mainline.
    Happy Modeling

    Bruce

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    Instead of using alcohol to clean your track, why don't you try Mineral Spirits. Here is a great article by Joe Fugate of MRH magazine. Since I've changed over to Mineral Spirits the time between track cleaning has gone from once per month to maybe once every 6 months.

    Here is the discussion forum link:

    https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/37355

    Here is the actual article in MRH magzine:

    https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/m...ex.html?page=9

    Here is how I apply it:

    https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/...aning-easy-way

    Good reading.

    Mark
    M. Gilger - President and Chief Engineer MM&G

    http://mmg-garden-rr.webs.com/

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    Okay, I picked up some CRC Contact Cleaner & Protectant. Couldn't find any WD40 Contact Cleaner anywhere, but the CRC stuff was available online from WalMart.

    First impression: that stuff evaporates FAST! I wrapped a piece of paper towel around my length of 1/2" PVC that I use for track cleaning, gave it a spray, and started in on the track. It picked up black even where I had recently cleaned with CRC Contact Cleaner (not with Protectant). But it evaporated rapidly from the paper towel, so I had to spray quite often. Then I squirted some into my CMX tank car and ran that around the track. Seemed to do well.

    Finally, I had a Fleischmann ICE-T that was behaving balky, so I cleaned the inside of the wheels where the electrical pickups make contact. I sprayed a little on a natural hair spade paint brush, medium stiff, and cleaned wheels. Clean two wheels, wipe brush on a paper towel, spray, clean two more wheels. The ICE-T runs like a champ once again, running a scale 230 k/h easily.

    Now lets see how long this lasts. Prepping for the Rocky Mountain Train Show in Denver, March 7th & 8th.
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    https://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    Now lets see how long this lasts.
    Gordon, have you tried the No-Ox portion of this whole treatment discussion? I'd have to go back into the other thread and see how long ago I applied mine (in coordination with the contact cleaner), but I swear - I go down into the basement every now and again and just run a few laps, locos start from a crawl and run the entire layout without a hitch every single time. Nothing stutters anywhere.

    It seems like cheating.

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    Thanks @pwh70. I haven't tried the NoOx or NoOxId yet, but intend to do so. I go into town tomorrow (20 miles) and will hit Blazer Electric Supply.
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    https://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    Quote Originally Posted by pwh70 View Post
    I go down into the basement every now and again and just run a few laps, locos start from a crawl and run the entire layout without a hitch every single time.
    I've had the same experience. Can't say how nice it is to go down to the layout in the middle of summer and run trains, no half hour track cleaning required.

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