Jan 5, 2020
Any thoughts on this?
The ongoing debate over trying to keep rails clean. How many people remember when Wahl hair clipper oil was the thing to use? The problem I had with Wahl hair clipper oil was the reduced traction on my 2% grades on a previous home layout. The next product to come along was Rail zip which some people claimed was just transmission fluid. I had mixed results with Rail Zip and that is when I decided to go back to the basics. Now I personally prefer using a Cratex track cleaning block to keep my rails clean and the Woodland Scenics Roto Wheel Cleaner with some Isopropyl Alcohol applied to the cleaning pads to clean my locomotive wheels. This method works well for me as I now have a small Hollow Core Door layout. I can understand someone with a large basement sized layout not wanting to clean their rails using a Cratex track cleaning block, that would become very time consuming.
I'm also curious if anyone with a large home layout has used this product, what are the Pro's and Con's of this product?
That's some interesting stuff and I may try it myself. It's available on Amazon.
I am mostly using Aztec track cleaning cars which will keep things going when used regularly. I also have an Atlas motorized track cleaning car which I normally put between two locos when the track is really bad like when the layout has not been run for awhile.
Last November I posted on my blog about some of my track cleaning methods, here is the link if you are interested.
My track is dual line mains all around the layout. I've tried a lot of the 'snake oil' track treatments and cleaners. I have always just gone back to the basics. A soft cotton rag and Isopropyl Alcohol. In the last year or so I have been using my old rubber sanding block dropped into an old sock with Isopropyl Alcohol squirted all over the sock. It cleans both tracks at the same time ! It also works great on my single track that the block wont span more then one track....like in Lucky Penny Yard. All my over track structures are removable. Track cleaning ALL my THERR RV Track takes less the 5 minutes now.
I use a bright boy, an Aztec cleaning car, and three cars fitted with Masonite pads that I built. A Woodland Scenic's cleaning kit with and extension to reach the spurs and sidings with their scrubbing pads and cleaning solutions and plain old rubbing alcohol to wet the pads with as an alternative. The Aztec car has a dry abrasive roller and a wet roller.
Seems to me that not very long ago people were claiming that using metal wheels would keep track clean. Glad I did not incur the cost of converting all my Delrin wheelsets. It would be interesting to find out from those people who have issues with dirty track just what brand of track they are using.
I fell for the Snake Oil pitch back in the Rail Zip days, they hooked me again in the No Ox days. still have those snake oils in my curiosity box.
So I learned my lesson. If I feel that urge to do some deep cleaning these days, a 2 inch square cut from an old cotton T-Shirt, misted moist from a wet water sprayer works just as well and lasts just as long as Rail Zip, and No OX.
I just might get into the game myself...Colloidal Silver, Methanol, and Automatic Transmission Fluid. After years of research a solution has finally been released. "Silver Bearing Snake Snot" has been Scientifically Formulated to clean and protect rail surfaces. Disolves crud from rails and wheel sets, increases conductivity with actual Silver ions bonded to the rail surface, and coats with a propritary oxygen inhibitor for unmatched performance and longevitey.
Well I seem to notice that Peco and Alas flex track appear to get dirty more often. But then again I live in a maritime area that can get humidity levels up around 98% every night and I have rainfall that can compare to Washington State or exceed it.
Strongly recommend googling lynn Westcott no ox id to anyone who is still cleaning their track. I did this a year ago, one of the best things I ever did for enjoying my layout.
I used no ox long time ago when you could fined it. Then Wahl clipper oil and Rail zip. No ox worked the best.
Now I use Isopropyl Alcohol and a paper towel.
For me -- bright boy --- the only liquid -- elbow grease.
I been warned away from abrasive blocks and to use contact cleaners exclusively... An interesting article by Joe Fugate explains it all in great detail.
Regarding Track Magic... I've never used it but we were operating at Warley and they were coming round giving bottles away, when the exhibitors used it and then putting signs on the layouts saying track cleaned with track magic... well it wasn't very long until those layouts started having pick up problems and bad running!
Isn't this what was used in Lynn's article?
Hope so, ordered some the other day and it is suppose to be here today,
Surprised about Peco but not surprised about Atlas as I have heard others say the same thing (about Atlas track)..
Yes, that's the stuff but no need to order an 8 oz. tube. That will last you about 4 generations. You can get a 1 oz. jar for $6.50 with free shipping on evil Bay.
Thanks, but too late, it is in a truck to me as we speak (type). Maybe I'll keep 1 oz. and sell the other 7 oz. and make a $30+ profit on the whole deal .
That is why I switched from a Bright Boy to the Cratex track cleaning blocks. The Bright Boy does seem abrasive, whereas the Cratex cleaning block in my opinion is smoother. The Cratex website states the blocks can be used for cleaning and polishing of metal parts.
There has also been a lot of talk about applying graphite to the rail tops and inside edges of the rails using a graphite pencil, like those found in arts and craft stores.
This is probably one of those debates that will go on as long as we power our models via electricity through the rails.
How long before someone comes out with off the shelf LiPo batteries camouflaged as freight cars where the air hoses are wires going to the engine and you could connect as many cars together as you wanted. You pull them into a charging siding and they recharge overnight.
I saw 'Dead Rail' running on one of the HO layouts in Phoenix but haven't seen anything in N scale. Is anyone doing that?
I was going to suggest that.