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Re: Slipping Gradients?

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  • Mark Kasprowicz
    Gerry, Don t apologize - it was a very informative rant. I d always wondered about the difference between Railzip and Wahl oil and had held back from using
    Message 1 of 26 , Mar 3, 2009
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      Gerry,

      Don't apologize - it was a very informative rant. I'd always wondered about the difference
      between Railzip and Wahl oil and had held back from using them - until now.

      On the original point about gradients in relation to curves. I'm not sure of the physics
      involved but gradients and curves go together about as well as oil and water. I would avoid
      mixing the two if at all possible. I did this in my layout and kept the gradients to straight
      sections. Someone once told me that the maximum length of train on your whole layout will
      be governed by the one stretch with the steepest gradient on the sharpest curve. Not exactly
      profound but frustrating when ignored.

      Mark
    • vulturenest1@yahoo.com
      I don t have a lot of direct experience, but I ve been to Steve Amitrano s layout a few times. He uses the AeroLube track cleaner, and I ve heard the
      Message 2 of 26 , Mar 3, 2009
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        I don't have a lot of direct experience, but I've been to Steve Amitrano's layout a few times. He uses the AeroLube track cleaner, and I've heard the difference in his sound unit (I think DCC but maybe PFM?) and the increased clarity/lack of light static between cleaned track and AeroLubed track was astonishing.

        Mike Conder

        Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
      • Jeffrey J. Brundt
        I m curious as to how he applies the Aerolube since ZEP only seems to offer it in an aerosol. That means he d have to decant it. Aerolube is basically a
        Message 3 of 26 , Mar 3, 2009
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          I'm curious as to how he applies the Aerolube since ZEP only seems to offer it in an aerosol. That means he'd have to decant it. Aerolube is basically a calcium based white grease with Teflon added. It seems to be a good lubricant and corrosion inhibitor but I can't see how it improves electrical contact (other than preventing corrosion).

          Jeff

          Visit my web site @
          http://www.geocities.com/jbrundt




          ________________________________
          From: "vulturenest1@..." <vulturenest1@...>
          To: HOn3@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 10:16:34 AM
          Subject: Re: [HOn3] Re: Gradient qustion


          I don't have a lot of direct experience, but I've been to Steve Amitrano's layout a few times. He uses the AeroLube track cleaner, and I've heard the difference in his sound unit (I think DCC but maybe PFM?) and the increased clarity/lack of light static between cleaned track and AeroLubed track was astonishing.

          Mike Conder








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        • Jack Walton
          This article saved me from tearing out my layout. I tried it and I can t say enough good things about it: http://users.frii.com/gbooth/Trains/lps1.htm Jack
          Message 4 of 26 , Mar 3, 2009
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            This article saved me from tearing out my layout. I tried it and I can't say
            enough good things about it:
            http://users.frii.com/gbooth/Trains/lps1.htm


            Jack
            www.nyrs.com






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          • jtcrgs455
            ... tied to the brake hangers. ... on the ... wiped
            Message 5 of 26 , Mar 3, 2009
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              --- In HOn3@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Richardson" <paul@...> wrote:
              > It's actually spread using a Transmission Car, using toothpicks
              tied to the brake hangers.


              > Craig,
              >
              > How is the transmission fluid applied to the rails? Is it a few drops
              on the
              > rails spread around by a loco or is it rubbed on with a rag and then
              wiped
              > off?
              >
              > Paul Richardson, MMR
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed
            • David Barron
              Are those the round or square tooth picks? ... From: jtcrgs455 To: Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 13:07 Subject:
              Message 6 of 26 , Mar 3, 2009
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                Are those the round or square tooth picks?

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "jtcrgs455" <jtcrgs455@...>
                To: <HOn3@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 13:07
                Subject: [HOn3] Re: Gradient qustion


                > --- In HOn3@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Richardson" <paul@...> wrote:
                >> It's actually spread using a Transmission Car, using toothpicks
                > tied to the brake hangers.
                >
                >
                >> Craig,
                >>
                >> How is the transmission fluid applied to the rails? Is it a few drops
                > on the
                >> rails spread around by a loco or is it rubbed on with a rag and then
                > wiped
                >> off?
                >>
                >> Paul Richardson, MMR
                >>
                >>
                >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed
                >
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------
                >
                > HOn3 list web pages are:
                > http://www.railwayeng.com/hon3/
                > http://groups.yahoo.com/archive/Hon3/
                > http://groups.yahoo.com/files/HOn3/
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • Hart Corbett
                All: The matter of cleaning rails and keeping them that way is an ever-ongoing discussion! For my 650 foot garden railway, I use an LGB track cleaning engine
                Message 7 of 26 , Mar 3, 2009
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                  All:

                  The matter of cleaning rails and keeping them that way is an
                  ever-ongoing discussion!

                  For my 650 foot garden railway, I use an LGB track cleaning engine --
                  with a one of a kind leaf blowing box car of my own design on its front
                  -- that polishes the rails. Two large front wheels (2" or so in
                  diameter, the outer 1/4" or so of which is cratex material, spin in
                  reverse of the direction the diesel looking engine is going. I can
                  clean all track, including stub end sidings, with it from my control
                  station, when the good weather returns in the spring and before any
                  other trains are put on the tracks. The LGB rails are code 332 brass
                  and have a thick layer of oxidation on them in the spring from the
                  rains, etc., that usually happen between November and April/May. The
                  crud flies off in clouds, literally, so such a technique cannot be used
                  indoors.

                  The fineness of the cratex set me to thinking. I contacted the Cratex
                  Company [Google the name], found a local dealer, and bought a small
                  block of very fine (and dense) cratex from him. Cratex is the same
                  material that is used in "Bright Boys", except that Bright Boys are
                  extremely coarse and leave dirt collecting scratches on our indoor
                  rails. They also harden with age (rubber is one of their components),
                  which makes them even worse. The cratex which I bought is very fine
                  and polishes rail -- even my code 55 ones -- and is very dense. It is
                  industrial grade stuff. I received a block of the material which I cut
                  into small blacks roughly the size of Bright Boys. My radial saw blade
                  was "toast" when I was done -- could not be sharpened, only thrown
                  away. These very fine cratex blocks even remove Bright Boy scratches
                  and incidental scratches that result from building all my dual gage
                  turnouts and track laying. At the moment, I use the blocks to clean
                  tracks before running anything.

                  However, I may try the ATF -- Automatic Transmission Fluid -- technique
                  described below when my HO/HOn3 layout becomes complete enough for
                  Operations.

                  A year or so ago, a Letter to the Editor appeared in U.S. NMRA's
                  magazine Scale Rails regarding the ATF technique. It was written by a
                  friend of mine, Ernie Simard. He and I, along with many others, are
                  members of the Sonoma Hi-Ballers -- an Operations round robin group and
                  I often operate on his Western Pacific HO layout. He uses the the ATF
                  technique and the trains run flawlessly. I don't know the steepness of
                  his grades, except that they are there in two different helixes. The
                  railroad occupies a 3-car garage (cars remain permanently outside) with
                  the main level in all three bays at about 40". One bay contains the two
                  helixes, which reach levels that only someone over 6 feet can really
                  see. Most of the rest of us stand on stools to operate that part,
                  which is easy to do. The trains climb those helixes without a stumble
                  or a slip, yet the helixes have the ATF treatment. Ernie also runs
                  Aztec track cleaning cars in his trains, too.

                  Last April, Ernie sent me a copy of an e-mail which he had received
                  about the ATF treatment. This appears as the first text below my
                  signature. He followed that up with a personal e-mail to me about how
                  he applies the ATF. This is the second text below. He has emphasized
                  in conversations that he makes sure the ATF is very thin on the rails
                  as he states in his e-mail.

                  Read the texts below and go from there.

                  Best regards, Hart Corbett
                  ________________________________________________

                  First e-mail:

                  "As to the topic of ATF for track cleaner. Let me give you a little
                  background on my experiences. Originally the Four County Society of
                  Model Engineers (FCSME) was located in the second floor of a Civil War
                  era building. Track cleaning was a weekly chore due to the fact that
                  the building was so old, drafty, and was heated with Kerosene in the
                  winter.  One day, a club member brought over a bottle of RailZip. Just
                  a few drops on the rails and "Presto", the track seemed to almost clean
                  itself. One problem, eventually RailZip dries, and the track crud
                  seemed to reappear. Really it didn't just reform. It just
                  re-transferred itself from the rolling stock wheels, back to the rails.
                  More on this topic later. 
                        As we searched for a solution, we tried bright boys, abrasive
                  rail cars, masonite skids, chemicals like alcohol, various track
                  cleaning fluids and such. All had some success, but each also had a
                  drawback. My vocation, being in the automotive service trade, taught me
                  that one of the chemicals with the highest detergent level was
                  automatic transmission fluid. Also, like in model trains, transmissions
                  nowadays have a lot of plastic, light metal, and electrical parts. None
                  of which seemed to really care or be affected by the fluid around
                  them.  So on my own layout, I tried it. A little really seemed to do a
                  great job, but a lot could render a heavy steamer like a Mantua Pacific
                  unable to pull more than 2 cars! Lesson learned! Moderation is key!
                        I posed the idea of ATF to the club, and we agreed to try it. One
                  of the 1st demonstrations involved a train with a flickering headlamp
                  proceeding along , as I placed a drop on each rail ahead of the train.
                  As soon as the engine passed that spot, the headlight stopped
                  flickering and the engine ran smoother. I got a few instant converts
                  with that one! Slowly we developed a method of judging when more ATF
                  needs to be applied and what helps to keep the track clean. Watch the
                  engines, flickering headlamps are usually the 1st clue!
                        Why or How does it work? ATF ( I use Dexron II or III ), or any
                  oil for that matter, forms a barrier to oxygen on the rail. Remember
                  brass rail and tarnish? Well Nickel Silver rail does this too, but the
                  tarnish is conductive to a point, after that, the tarnish slows
                  conductivity (dirt gets trapped in the rough surface of the tarnish). 
                  Plus the oil won't allow dirt and crud to stick to the wheels and the
                  rails. It literally can't do anything but fall off!  Don't however
                  believe this is the cure all and end all of track cleaning. Rails will
                  still need to be wiped down at times, just less often than before.
                  Bright boys will still be needed for trouble spots, just not as often. 
                  Also, as far as rolling stock wheels (mentioned above), about the same
                  time we started using ATF, the FCSME basically outlawed plastic wheels
                  on rolling stock, as a separate group of members had pretty much proved
                  the case for how much cleaner metal wheel sets run vs their plastic
                  counterparts, but that's another argument.
                         In summary, try 2 drops, one on each rail ahead of a train and
                  see how far it goes. Our 60 x 100 modular layout generally only gets
                  that much on each main for each show. As far as the removal of the
                  fluid (if you get too much) we just use a clean towel to get off the
                  excess (or a cloth roller on a track car for tunnels).  Chemical
                  removers may be too harsh for the plastic ties. Eventually, the effects
                  will wear off as traffic breaks it down, but that will take some time.
                         Oh, by the way, it's also the only lube I use on all 75 engines
                  in the fleet! 
                       
                  Karl Bond"
                  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

                  Second e-mail (from Ernie):

                  "I cleaned the rails with alcohol removing all the oxidation, then
                  apply the ATF with a lint free cloth strongly rubbing it on all rails. 
                  I found that using the few drops method made the coating a bit thick
                  and made the rails slippery up steep grades.  After several months I
                  need only reapply with the cloth.  I liken it to cleaning the rails
                  with ATF rather than coating the rails.  I have also found that Atlas
                  Superflex track does not oxidize as quickly as Shinohara flex.  I
                  assume this has to do with some difference in the combination of metals
                  making up the NS alloy."
                • Mike Bauers
                  I m in a modular traction group that has over 25 modules with many of those only used twice a year in the local big shows. I m usually the set-up and
                  Message 8 of 26 , Mar 3, 2009
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                    I'm in a modular traction group that has over 25 modules with many of
                    those only used twice a year in the local big shows.

                    I'm usually the set-up and fine-tuning chief. We use a fluid very
                    similar to ATF on the track. It's applied by wipes of fluid moistened
                    generic Q-tips for about 4-5 inches every 6-10 feet of track with
                    attention given to also moist Q-tip wiping the points and frogs of
                    track-switches. [One Q-tip dipping is used for most of the layout.]

                    Then we run a powered unit a couple of laps or so and deal with any
                    areas that obviously need additional attention. Beefy paper towels are
                    used for any old-filth removal. Track cleaning blocks are available,
                    but very rarely used by us.

                    Even when the layout is around 20 x 40 feet, it only takes about 10-20
                    minutes from start to finished fine-tunings.

                    Best to ya,
                    Mike Bauers
                    Milwaukee, Wi

                    On Mar 2, 2009, at 9:54 PM, Craig Linn wrote:

                    > Hi Paul,
                    >
                    > I 'think' that he said he puts it on by doing a few drops on his CMK
                    > tank car and runs it around. Every so often he puts more fluid on the
                    > pads and runs around a bit more.
                    >
                    > I will double check with him the next time I see him on how he is
                    > doing it for sure.

                    >
                    >> Craig,
                    >>
                    >> How is the transmission fluid applied to the rails? Is it a few
                    > drops on the
                    >> rails spread around by a loco or is it rubbed on with a rag and then
                    > wiped
                    >> off?
                    >>
                    >> Paul Richardson, MMR
                  • Mike Conder
                    Mea culpa, wrong name.  It s by Aero Locomotive Works, called Conducta-Lube.  Used to be called AeroCar, I think?  It s a thin liquid.  Mike Conder ...
                    Message 9 of 26 , Mar 3, 2009
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                      Mea culpa, wrong name.  It's by Aero Locomotive Works, called Conducta-Lube.  Used to be called AeroCar, I think?  It's a thin liquid.
                       Mike Conder

                      Jeff Brundt wrote:

                      > I'm curious as to how he applies the Aerolube since ZEP only seems to offer it in an aerosol. ... Aerolube is basically a calcium based white grease with Teflon added.

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Rich Strebendt
                      ... The key phrase here is a few drops -- a little of this oil goes a loooong way. If you can feel the oil on the railhead with your finger, you put it on
                      Message 10 of 26 , Mar 4, 2009
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                        --- In HOn3@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Richardson" <paul@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Many modelers use a product called Wahl Clipper Oil to do this. It
                        > is
                        > electrically conductive and a few drops on the railhead and run the
                        > loco
                        > over your track, the loco will distribute the oil.

                        The key phrase here is "a few drops" -- a little of this oil goes a loooong way. If you can feel the oil on the railhead with your finger, you put it on 'way too heavy!

                        > I have resisted this for
                        > many years and recently operated at a railroad where they use it. At
                        > the
                        > beginning of the session the yard I ran had not been operated in
                        > several
                        > months and the loco would barely run. A few drops on the railhead and a few
                        > more on the points of a few turnouts and the yard worked like a charm the
                        > rest of the day. I think I'm going to have to give this a try on the
                        > Purgatory.

                        Two additional comments: If you use plastic wheels you will find that the track develops a lot of "gunk" for a while after you start to use the clipper oil. This is all the crud from the plastic wheels being dissolved and brought to the surface of the rails, both from the rails and from the wheels passing through the oil. After a while this accumulation tapers off -- it ends almost completely if you replace the plastic wheels with metal ones. Second, once the rails have been purged of oozing crud you will find that you do not need to clean the rails as often, especially if you operate frequently, and if you use only metal wheelsets.

                        Rich Strebendt
                      • Rich Strebendt
                        ... Very true! ... Can t talk to traction tires, but as far as grades, my experience is exactly the opposite. If a VERY SMALL amount of the oil is used and
                        Message 11 of 26 , Mar 4, 2009
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                          --- In HOn3@yahoogroups.com, Gerry Hopkins <gerrymmr@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Guys
                          >
                          >
                          > As Dave Barron has already stated there are two "camps". I agree
                          > will
                          > all he said - the problem is the user and how it is done.

                          Very true!

                          > Wahl Oil is just that - a thin oil. Yes it does dramatically improve
                          > running as long as you do not have grades or traction tyres.

                          Can't talk to traction tires, but as far as grades, my experience is exactly the opposite. If a VERY SMALL amount of the oil is used and spread around on the layout, the oil, as it dries out, leaves a very, very thin film on the track that helps conduction between the wheel and rail, and IMPROVES traction -- sort of like putting a thin traction tire on top of the rails of the whole layout. Initially, when the oil is wet or if you have applied too much of it, the track does become slick. Over time, however, as you operate on it, the oil provides a surface with a pretty good grip and traction improves over the performance of dry rail and wheels.

                          > Transmission Oil is a step up. Yes it is an oil but has better anti
                          > corrosive elements. Same restrictions as above.

                          How well does plastic hold up to the stuff? After using it for a while, do the plastic ties of flex track begin to deteriorate where the rail meets the ties?

                          > WD40, as far as we are concerned, is not worth the trouble - good
                          > for
                          > cleaning but nothing else.

                          That is also my experience.

                          > Rail Zip was/is the best of the "custom" products. People made the
                          > mistake of putting a few drops on the track and then just running
                          > trains. It should be left to dry after the initial application. Back
                          > in
                          > the dim and distant past I used to take a HOn30 exhibition layout
                          > around
                          > the states (Oz). I would clean the track and apply the Rail Zip on
                          > the
                          > Friday night - let it dry over night and then run the little locos
                          > for 3
                          > days without touching the track.

                          My understanding is that the RailZip has to be removed before more is applied, else a layer of gunk builds up that is not helpful to electrical conduction. I have not seen this with Wahl's oil; the new application seems to dissolve the old and replace it.

                          Rich Strebendt
                        • Kjb80401@aol.com
                          I ve heard of the Wahl oil treatment technique for over 50 years, never tried it though. I have used RailZip and thought at the time it worked quite well.
                          Message 12 of 26 , Mar 4, 2009
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                            I've heard of the Wahl oil treatment technique for over 50 years, never
                            tried it though. I have used RailZip and thought at the time it worked quite
                            well. I've also needed to hand clean the wheels on a number of pieces of motive
                            power over the years to get the collected crud off.

                            I've also heard that the oxidation of nickle-silver is conductive.

                            With this in mind, I today use a CMX track cleaner car with one of the
                            solvent type of cleaners they recommend and also the electronic cleaner B-unit
                            being pushed ahead of it. The theory here is, "cleaner is better".

                            Since I haven't seen this facet discussed at any length, I felt the need to
                            interject it.

                            Keevan


                            In a message dated 3/4/2009 9:47:25 A.M. Mountain Standard Time,
                            restrebendt@... writes:

                            If a VERY SMALL amount of the oil is used and spread around on the layout,
                            the oil, as it dries out, leaves a very, very thin film on the track that
                            helps conduction between the wheel and rail, and IMPROVES traction

                            **************Need a job? Find employment help in your area.
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