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Re: [Model_Railroads_Of_Southern_California] Track Cleaning

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  • Bob Schrempp
    WOW. Personally I would never put any oil on my rails. You say it yourself a number of times in the message. ... residue ... minimize the residue left on the
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 30, 2008
      WOW. Personally I would never put any "oil" on my rails. You say it
      yourself a number of times in the message.

      > and lose their effectiveness, fluids can work but may leave a residue
      > on the track which attracts dirt.

      residue

      > but also keep the clipper oil diluted and minimize the residue left on
      > the track. The water color paper is very absorbiatant but has a

      minimize the residue left on the track

      > never run better since employing this method, the light remaining
      > residue on the track seems to keep the loco wheels from accumulating
      > gunk. Once clean I periodically run a clean water color paper pad

      the light remaining residue on the track



      Residue, residue residue, that is enough of a reason for me to NEVER use
      this on my track.

      I use a brightboy and when it seems to be getting black, I wash it in
      the sink. It comes out clean and looking very much like new.



      > If your layout has sat idle for a long period of time and the gunk
      > residue has hardened you may have to use an abrasive cleaner first,
      > followed by this method.

      I never have "gunk residue has hardened" on my track. I think this is a
      residue left from your cleaning fluid. And or the dry fluid mixed with
      dust.

      I do use isopropyl alcohol to clean engine wheels. I put a small amount
      on a paper towel or better yet a handi wipe. I put the paper towel on
      the tracks and run one set of trucks onto the paper and let the wheels
      spin. I then do the same with the other truck. This works great and
      there is no residue left behind.

      Read the label before you buy the isopropyl alcohol, check the inactive
      ingredients. I have seen some with mineral oil in it.



      Bob Schrempp
      Free-mo SLO






      >
      >
      > During his recent visit, Bob Chaparro observed certain methods I've
      > used on my N scale layout and asked that I share them with the group.
      >
      > Bob didn't mention it in his message but I thought I would start with
      > track cleaning.
      >
      > I'm always on the lookout for better ways to keep track and wheels
      > clean. In the past I primarily used Bright Boys and also experimented
      > with certain cleaning fluids. The problem with Bright Boys and other
      > hard rubber abrasives is that they load up with the black gunk quickly
      > and lose their effectiveness, fluids can work but may leave a residue
      > on the track which attracts dirt.
      >
      > After some experimentation I settled on the following method which
      > seems to work well and keeps loco wheels clean. I have not cleaned
      > some of my locos' wheels for years, particularly the nickel silver
      > ones (Kato).
      >
      > The cleaning fluid formula is:
      > 1 part Wahl Clipper oil-Beauty Supply stores 1 part Isopropyl
      > Alchohol
      > 1 part Ronsonol lighter fluid
      >
      > The mixture creates a suspension and must be shaken well before each
      > use. I keep the mixture in a well sealed glass container and fill a
      > small needle tipped plastic applicator bottle which can be obtained at
      > hobby and craft stores (Tall Mouse). This fluid may also be used to
      > clean loco wheels by applying it to a paper towel and running one set
      > of trucks over it while the other is on the rails for power.
      >
      > The track cleaning is actually done with heavy weight Artist water
      > color paper cut into disposable pads a little smaller than a Bright
      > Boy. I use 180 lb paper for N scale, a heavier paper would probably
      > be needed for HO. I drizzle a small amount of the well shaken cleaner
      > on the water color paper pad, spread it around on the pad with the
      > long needle nose of the applicator bottle and rub it back and forth
      > over the dirty track. When the damp side of the water color pad loads
      > up, flip it over and use the clean side to remove any remaining
      > residue. When a piece gets heavily loaded with the familiar black
      > gunk, toss it out and do the next section with a new piece. As the
      > water color paper is pressed down on the track it deflects slightly
      > cleaning the inside edge of the rail head along the flange path of the
      > loco wheel which should help loco performance. The water color paper
      > is a little pricey but a large sheet or tablet will produce many
      > cleaning pads. I bought a 10 sheet tablet of 9"x12" 180 lb cold press
      > paper at Aaron Bros. which should last at least a couple years.
      >
      > If your layout has sat idle for a long period of time and the gunk
      > residue has hardened you may have to use an abrasive cleaner first,
      > followed by this method.
      >
      > The Wahl Clipper has electrical conductive properties and apparently
      > solvents which act on the gunk. The alcohol and lighter fluid clean
      > but also keep the clipper oil diluted and minimize the residue left on
      > the track. The water color paper is very absorbiatant but has a
      > little tooth to it which augments the cleaning process. My locos have
      > never run better since employing this method, the light remaining
      > residue on the track seems to keep the loco wheels from accumulating
      > gunk. Once clean I periodically run a clean water color paper pad
      > over the track which goes quickly as the pad glides easily over the rails.
      >
      > I'll cover my ground cover scenery method using grout in another post
      > shortly.
      >
      > Ron Sipkovich
      >
      >

      --
      Bob Schrempp
      mailto:bschrempp@...
    • Lancaster James
      I have been using Wahl clipper oil for 30 years. It works great for me. Jim Lancaster
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 1, 2008
        I have been using Wahl clipper oil for 30 years. It works great for me.

        Jim Lancaster


        On Jun 30, 2008, at 5:49 PM, Bob Schrempp wrote:

        > WOW. Personally I would never put any "oil" on my rails. You say it
        > yourself a number of times in the message.
        >
        >> and lose their effectiveness, fluids can work but may leave a residue
        >> on the track which attracts dirt.
        >
        > residue
        >
        >> but also keep the clipper oil diluted and minimize the residue
        >> left on
        >> the track. The water color paper is very absorbiatant but has a
        >
        > minimize the residue left on the track
        >
        >> never run better since employing this method, the light remaining
        >> residue on the track seems to keep the loco wheels from accumulating
        >> gunk. Once clean I periodically run a clean water color paper pad
        >
        > the light remaining residue on the track
        >
        >
        >
        > Residue, residue residue, that is enough of a reason for me to
        > NEVER use
        > this on my track.
        >
        > I use a brightboy and when it seems to be getting black, I wash it in
        > the sink. It comes out clean and looking very much like new.
        >
        >
        >
        >> If your layout has sat idle for a long period of time and the gunk
        >> residue has hardened you may have to use an abrasive cleaner first,
        >> followed by this method.
        >
        > I never have "gunk residue has hardened" on my track. I think this
        > is a
        > residue left from your cleaning fluid. And or the dry fluid mixed with
        > dust.
        >
        > I do use isopropyl alcohol to clean engine wheels. I put a small
        > amount
        > on a paper towel or better yet a handi wipe. I put the paper towel on
        > the tracks and run one set of trucks onto the paper and let the wheels
        > spin. I then do the same with the other truck. This works great and
        > there is no residue left behind.
        >
        > Read the label before you buy the isopropyl alcohol, check the
        > inactive
        > ingredients. I have seen some with mineral oil in it.
        >
        >
        >
        > Bob Schrempp
        > Free-mo SLO
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >>
        >>
        >> During his recent visit, Bob Chaparro observed certain methods I've
        >> used on my N scale layout and asked that I share them with the group.
        >>
        >> Bob didn't mention it in his message but I thought I would start with
        >> track cleaning.
        >>
        >> I'm always on the lookout for better ways to keep track and wheels
        >> clean. In the past I primarily used Bright Boys and also experimented
        >> with certain cleaning fluids. The problem with Bright Boys and other
        >> hard rubber abrasives is that they load up with the black gunk
        >> quickly
        >> and lose their effectiveness, fluids can work but may leave a residue
        >> on the track which attracts dirt.
        >>
        >> After some experimentation I settled on the following method which
        >> seems to work well and keeps loco wheels clean. I have not cleaned
        >> some of my locos' wheels for years, particularly the nickel silver
        >> ones (Kato).
        >>
        >> The cleaning fluid formula is:
        >> 1 part Wahl Clipper oil-Beauty Supply stores 1 part Isopropyl
        >> Alchohol
        >> 1 part Ronsonol lighter fluid
        >>
        >> The mixture creates a suspension and must be shaken well before each
        >> use. I keep the mixture in a well sealed glass container and fill a
        >> small needle tipped plastic applicator bottle which can be
        >> obtained at
        >> hobby and craft stores (Tall Mouse). This fluid may also be used to
        >> clean loco wheels by applying it to a paper towel and running one set
        >> of trucks over it while the other is on the rails for power.
        >>
        >> The track cleaning is actually done with heavy weight Artist water
        >> color paper cut into disposable pads a little smaller than a Bright
        >> Boy. I use 180 lb paper for N scale, a heavier paper would probably
        >> be needed for HO. I drizzle a small amount of the well shaken cleaner
        >> on the water color paper pad, spread it around on the pad with the
        >> long needle nose of the applicator bottle and rub it back and forth
        >> over the dirty track. When the damp side of the water color pad loads
        >> up, flip it over and use the clean side to remove any remaining
        >> residue. When a piece gets heavily loaded with the familiar black
        >> gunk, toss it out and do the next section with a new piece. As the
        >> water color paper is pressed down on the track it deflects slightly
        >> cleaning the inside edge of the rail head along the flange path of
        >> the
        >> loco wheel which should help loco performance. The water color paper
        >> is a little pricey but a large sheet or tablet will produce many
        >> cleaning pads. I bought a 10 sheet tablet of 9"x12" 180 lb cold press
        >> paper at Aaron Bros. which should last at least a couple years.
        >>
        >> If your layout has sat idle for a long period of time and the gunk
        >> residue has hardened you may have to use an abrasive cleaner first,
        >> followed by this method.
        >>
        >> The Wahl Clipper has electrical conductive properties and apparently
        >> solvents which act on the gunk. The alcohol and lighter fluid clean
        >> but also keep the clipper oil diluted and minimize the residue
        >> left on
        >> the track. The water color paper is very absorbiatant but has a
        >> little tooth to it which augments the cleaning process. My locos have
        >> never run better since employing this method, the light remaining
        >> residue on the track seems to keep the loco wheels from accumulating
        >> gunk. Once clean I periodically run a clean water color paper pad
        >> over the track which goes quickly as the pad glides easily over
        >> the rails.
        >>
        >> I'll cover my ground cover scenery method using grout in another post
        >> shortly.
        >>
        >> Ron Sipkovich
        >>
        >>
        >
        > --
        > Bob Schrempp
        > mailto:bschrempp@...
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        > (Yahoo! ID required)
        >
        > mailto:Model_Railroads_Of_Southern_California-
        > fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com
        >
      • DAVID BALSER
        I think Bright Boys scratch the track and leave a dusty residue. I do a regular cleaning every month using this method. I cut up Homasote into small blocks the
        Message 3 of 7 , Jul 13, 2008
          I think Bright Boys scratch the track and leave a dusty residue.

          I do a regular cleaning every month using this method. I cut up
          Homasote into small blocks the size of a Brightboy or larger. I fill a
          small dish with denatured alcohol and immerse the entire block in the
          alcohol. Pull out the block and rub it on the track. Turn the block
          over when one side gets dirty. I follow that rubbing with a few drops
          of "DeoxIT" every 3 feet. DeoxIT is an electric contact and connector
          chemical. The locomotive spreads the chemical around the layout.

          On a regular basis I run my track cleaning train. I have an old diesel
          pulling a tank car cleaner and pushing another car with the rolling
          wheel cleaner. I use the denatured alcohol on both cars.

          My layout is On30 using code 70 rail and this cleaning method keeps the
          wheels rolling and the sound effects crisp.
        • Richard Stern
          I have had HO model railroads in Southern California (many years ago) and since moving to the Midwest in a concrete basement (where I model the ATSF in So.
          Message 4 of 7 , Jul 28, 2008

            I have had HO model railroads in Southern California (many years ago) and since moving to the Midwest in a concrete basement (where I model the ATSF in So. Calif.) that suffers from dust and humidity changes.  I have found the following very effective techniques:

             

            ·        A train made by Lux Modellbau consisting of motorized scrubber and vacuum cars.  The scrubber uses a sort of plastic brillo pad perpendicular to the tracks. They are highly effective, but being European have large flanges and can only be used on code 83 and larger rail (might be able to swap trucks for ones with NMRA wheels, but I haven’t found this necessary yet).  I push the train with double-headed engines.  The vacuum picks up a surprising amount of stuff.  I think something similar is available in N scale. 

            ·        Dr. Bonzola’s Genuine Snake Oil.  http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/274-10 I have tried a lot of different track cleaning fluids.  This is the only stuff I’ve found that works without leaving a residue or decreasing traction.  Prior to DCC, I used CTC32 command control, and this was the only thing that made that system practical, as it was very sensitive to pickup problems.  I put a drop every 10’ or so, and at the exit from staging and engine storage locations.  (I have used Wahl oil, and it eventually turns to a non-conductive, slick crud). 

            ·        Recently I’ve used the Miniatronics Electrack car in some switching areas.  I put it behind the switch engine and just let the two run together for a while.  It seems to be effective after 20 minutes or so, and avoids the need to take a bright boy to the rails.  Nice because it works on my code 70 track. 

            ·        For cleaning loco wheels I use a paper towel with denatured alcohol.  Lay the towel over the rails, run an engine onto it and let it spin for a bit.  Then reverse the engine and clean the other truck.  For the “idler” wheels on steam engines, I take it to the work bench and use a fiberglass eraser. 

            ·        After major construction that generates dust in the basement, or when all else fails or is impractical (for example, short industrial stub tracks), the brightboy and elbow grease. 

             

            rs

             

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Model_Railroads_Of_Southern_California@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Model_Railroads_Of_Southern_California@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of sipkron
            Sent:
            Monday, June 30, 2008 1:05 PM
            To: Model_Railroads_Of_Southern_California@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [Model_Railroads_Of_Southern_California] Track Cleaning

             

            During his recent visit, Bob Chaparro observed certain methods I've
            used on my N scale layout and asked that I share them with the group.

            Bob didn't mention it in his message but I thought I would start with
            track cleaning.

            I'm always on the lookout for better ways to keep track and wheels
            clean. In the past I primarily used Bright Boys and also experimented
            with certain cleaning fluids. The problem with Bright Boys and other
            hard rubber abrasives is that they load up with the black gunk quickly
            and lose their effectiveness, fluids can work but may leave a residue
            on the track which attracts dirt.

            After some experimentation I settled on the following method which
            seems to work well and keeps loco wheels clean. I have not cleaned
            some of my locos' wheels for years, particularly the nickel silver
            ones (Kato).

            The cleaning fluid formula is:
            1 part Wahl Clipper oil-Beauty Supply stores 1 part Isopropyl
            Alchohol
            1 part Ronsonol lighter fluid

            The mixture creates a suspension and must be shaken well before each
            use. I keep the mixture in a well sealed glass container and fill a
            small needle tipped plastic applicator bottle which can be obtained at
            hobby and craft stores (Tall Mouse). This fluid may also be used to
            clean loco wheels by applying it to a paper towel and running one set
            of trucks over it while the other is on the rails for power.

            The track cleaning is actually done with heavy weight Artist water
            color paper cut into disposable pads a little smaller than a Bright
            Boy. I use 180 lb paper for N scale, a heavier paper would probably
            be needed for HO. I drizzle a small amount of the well shaken cleaner
            on the water color paper pad, spread it around on the pad with the
            long needle nose of the applicator bottle and rub it back and forth
            over the dirty track. When the damp side of the water color pad loads
            up, flip it over and use the clean side to remove any remaining
            residue. When a piece gets heavily loaded with the familiar black
            gunk, toss it out and do the next section with a new piece. As the
            water color paper is pressed down on the track it deflects slightly
            cleaning the inside edge of the rail head along the flange path of the
            loco wheel which should help loco performance. The water color paper
            is a little pricey but a large sheet or tablet will produce many
            cleaning pads. I bought a 10 sheet tablet of 9"x12" 180 lb cold press
            paper at Aaron Bros. which should last at least a couple years.

            If your layout has sat idle for a long period of time and the gunk
            residue has hardened you may have to use an abrasive cleaner first,
            followed by this method.

            The Wahl Clipper has electrical conductive properties and apparently
            solvents which act on the gunk. The alcohol and lighter fluid clean
            but also keep the clipper oil diluted and minimize the residue left on
            the track. The water color paper is very absorbiatant but has a
            little tooth to it which augments the cleaning process. My locos have
            never run better since employing this method, the light remaining
            residue on the track seems to keep the loco wheels from accumulating
            gunk. Once clean I periodically run a clean water color paper pad
            over the track which goes quickly as the pad glides easily over the rails.

            I'll cover my ground cover scenery method using grout in another post
            shortly.

            Ron Sipkovich

          • Richard Vaughan
            Just a quick tip on cleaning a Bright Boy, I use a little brass wire brush (Micromark) and a little windex.  Cleans it to brand new in a minute.   I m sure
            Message 5 of 7 , Jul 28, 2008

              Just a quick tip on cleaning a Bright Boy, I use a little brass wire brush (Micromark) and a little windex.  Cleans it to brand new in a minute.

               

              I'm sure going to look into the cleaner cars Richard mentions.

               

              By the way...I got to visit a couple of layouts in So Cal on the 12th and found the Slim Guage people exceptionally friendly and nice and Alan William was fascinating (as was his layout-he got his first train set the year BEFORE I was born..and I'm so old I teach history from memory!).  The Slim Guage people were so nice that if I lived in So. Cal instead of Nevada, I'd consider switching to Narrow Guage S.

               

               

              Richard Vaughan



              --- On Mon, 7/28/08, Richard Stern <rstern1@...> wrote:

              From: Richard Stern <rstern1@...>
              Subject: RE: [Model_Railroads_Of_Southern_California] Track Cleaning
              To: Model_Railroads_Of_Southern_California@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Monday, July 28, 2008, 5:55 AM

              I have had HO model railroads in Southern California (many years ago) and since moving to the Midwest in a concrete basement (where I model the ATSF in So. Calif.) that suffers from dust and humidity changes.  I have found the following very effective techniques:

               

              ·        A train made by Lux Modellbau consisting of motorized scrubber and vacuum cars.  The scrubber uses a sort of plastic brillo pad perpendicular to the tracks. They are highly effective, but being European have large flanges and can only be used on code 83 and larger rail (might be able to swap trucks for ones with NMRA wheels, but I haven’t found this necessary yet).  I push the train with double-headed engines.  The vacuum picks up a surprising amount of stuff.  I think something similar is available in N scale. 

              ·        Dr. Bonzola’s Genuine Snake Oil.  http://www.walthers .com/exec/ productinfo/ 274-10 I have tried a lot of different track cleaning fluids.  This is the only stuff I’ve found that works without leaving a residue or decreasing traction.  Prior to DCC, I used CTC32 command control, and this was the only thing that made that system practical, as it was very sensitive to pickup problems.  I put a drop every 10’ or so, and at the exit from staging and engine storage locations.  (I have used Wahl oil, and it eventually turns to a non-conductive, slick crud). 

              ·        Recently I’ve used the Miniatronics Electrack car in some switching areas.  I put it behind the switch engine and just let the two run together for a while.  It seems to be effective after 20 minutes or so, and avoids the need to take a bright boy to the rails.  Nice because it works on my code 70 track. 

              ·        For cleaning loco wheels I use a paper towel with denatured alcohol.  Lay the towel over the rails, run an engine onto it and let it spin for a bit.  Then reverse the engine and clean the other truck.  For the “idler” wheels on steam engines, I take it to the work bench and use a fiberglass eraser. 

              ·        After major construction that generates dust in the basement, or when all else fails or is impractical (for example, short industrial stub tracks), the brightboy and elbow grease. 

               

              rs

               

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Model_Railroads_ Of_Southern_ California@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:Model_ Railroads_ Of_Southern_ California@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of sipkron
              Sent:
              Monday, June 30, 2008 1:05 PM
              To: Model_Railroads_ Of_Southern_ California@ yahoogroups. com
              Subject: [Model_Railroads_ Of_Southern_ California] Track Cleaning

               

              During his recent visit, Bob Chaparro observed certain methods I've
              used on my N scale layout and asked that I share them with the group.

              Bob didn't mention it in his message but I thought I would start with
              track cleaning.

              I'm always on the lookout for better ways to keep track and wheels
              clean. In the past I primarily used Bright Boys and also experimented
              with certain cleaning fluids. The problem with Bright Boys and other
              hard rubber abrasives is that they load up with the black gunk quickly
              and lose their effectiveness, fluids can work but may leave a residue
              on the track which attracts dirt.

              After some experimentation I settled on the following method which
              seems to work well and keeps loco wheels clean. I have not cleaned
              some of my locos' wheels for years, particularly the nickel silver
              ones (Kato).

              The cleaning fluid formula is:
              1 part Wahl Clipper oil-Beauty Supply stores 1 part Isopropyl
              Alchohol
              1 part Ronsonol lighter fluid

              The mixture creates a suspension and must be shaken well before each
              use. I keep the mixture in a well sealed glass container and fill a
              small needle tipped plastic applicator bottle which can be obtained at
              hobby and craft stores (Tall Mouse). This fluid may also be used to
              clean loco wheels by applying it to a paper towel and running one set
              of trucks over it while the other is on the rails for power.

              The track cleaning is actually done with heavy weight Artist water
              color paper cut into disposable pads a little smaller than a Bright
              Boy. I use 180 lb paper for N scale, a heavier paper would probably
              be needed for HO. I drizzle a small amount of the well shaken cleaner
              on the water color paper pad, spread it around on the pad with the
              long needle nose of the applicator bottle and rub it back and forth
              over the dirty track. When the damp side of the water color pad loads
              up, flip it over and use the clean side to remove any remaining
              residue. When a piece gets heavily loaded with the familiar black
              gunk, toss it out and do the next section with a new piece. As the
              water color paper is pressed down on the track it deflects slightly
              cleaning the inside edge of the rail head along the flange path of the
              loco wheel which should help loco performance. The water color paper
              is a little pricey but a large sheet or tablet will produce many
              cleaning pads. I bought a 10 sheet tablet of 9"x12" 180 lb cold press
              paper at Aaron Bros. which should last at least a couple years.

              If your layout has sat idle for a long period of time and the gunk
              residue has hardened you may have to use an abrasive cleaner first,
              followed by this method.

              The Wahl Clipper has electrical conductive properties and apparently
              solvents which act on the gunk. The alcohol and lighter fluid clean
              but also keep the clipper oil diluted and minimize the residue left on
              the track. The water color paper is very absorbiatant but has a
              little tooth to it which augments the cleaning process. My locos have
              never run better since employing this method, the light remaining
              residue on the track seems to keep the loco wheels from accumulating
              gunk. Once clean I periodically run a clean water color paper pad
              over the track which goes quickly as the pad glides easily over the rails.

              I'll cover my ground cover scenery method using grout in another post
              shortly.

              Ron Sipkovich


            • Richard Stern
              A quick follow-up on the track cleaning cars. Dapol has announced they will be producing an HO version of the N scale track cleaner/vacuum, to be available
              Message 6 of 7 , Aug 8, 2008
                Message
                A quick follow-up on the track cleaning cars.  Dapol has announced they will be producing an HO version of the N scale track cleaner/vacuum, to be available twoard the end of the year.  Here is a link:  http://www.dapol.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=278&Itemid=66 
                 
                I note that the bottom picture shows a horizontal "scrubber" disk.  I would be somewhat cautious of this.  I was using a car with horizontal rotating scrubber disks, which snagged and took the car and pushing locomotives to the floor.  The loco was a total loss.  This was my incentive for investigating the Lux car, which has a scrubbing "drum" mounted with axis perpendicular to the track center line.  This has adjustable pressure on the rail (and can actually be raised to scrub ovehead catenery).  I can't recall any derailments with this and my track is less than perfect. 
                 
                Rick
                 
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