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56536Re: Wheel/coupler combinations

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  • David K. Smith
    May 3, 2008
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      Alan--

      It's true that *some* commercial rail cleaning cars can be effective;
      I wasn't going to go into detail as to which ones. The point was that
      many of them aren't, particulary the ones with rollers.

      Actually, what I've found to work best is the old Masonite block
      under the boxcar trick. Cut a rectangle of Masonite to the width of
      the track ties, and a length that fits between the trucks of a
      boxcar. Orient it with the softer, irregular side facing down, and
      expoxy the heads of two small brads to the smooth, hard side. Drill
      two holes in the boxcar underbody to align with the nails. Place the
      nails into the holes under the car, put it on the track, and drag it
      around in a train. It's amazing the gunk these things pick up.

      --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, Alan Cox <alan@...> wrote:
      >
      > > of the thin, slightly oily residue present on the surface of
      Delrin,
      > > small amounts of lubricant released from locomotives, and
      humidity in
      > > the air.
      >
      > The residue from the plastics is the problem (I should have been
      more
      > precise). For the Z layout its ok as I don't have too much track to
      > clean. In N where I have rather more trackwork the plastic wheels
      are
      > simply banned from the layout - and that makes it noticably easier
      to
      > keep clean.
      >
      > > Some modelers claim the gunk contains carbon as a result of
      > > electrical arcing. This is physically impossible as there is no
      > > source of carbon: rails are nickel, and wheels are nickel, brass
      or
      >
      > Relco and Gaugemaster cleaners will certainly put burned pits on the
      > track and wheels. I've no idea what the chemical make up is.
      >
      > > appears this is true. "Nickel-silver" (which contains no silver,
      > > actually) is a mixture of various metals, and the proportions of
      the
      > > different metals can affect electrical conductivity, oxidation
      rates,
      > > and the tendency of the rails to accumulate dirt. Different
      brands of
      > > track will have different metal composition--sometimes you can
      even
      > > see variations in the color. Thus, different brands of track may
      > > perform differently.
      >
      > Nickel silver reacts badly with some atmospheres. One layout I'm
      vaguely
      > involved with is in the loco shed at a heritage railway. The track
      needs
      > regular cleaning as something (probably the sulphur in the coal of
      the
      > large locos it shares the shed with) reacts with it quite well.
      >
      > > best way to clean wheels is by just moistening a paper towel with
      > > alcohol, laying it on some flex track, and rolling cars back and
      > > forth over it. To clean track, we just wipe the rails with a
      block of
      > > soft wood. Solvent cleaners just tend to make a mess, abrasive
      blocks
      > > are overkill and also leave abrasive debris behind, and most
      > > commercial track cleaners built into freight cars are ineffective.
      >
      > The Marklin cleaning wagon (*not* the silly railgrinding railbus) is
      > excellent for stopping dirt build up. Its one Marklin purchase I am
      very
      > very happy with. Once you get real dirt build up it won't help but
      it
      > delays that a long time and its easy to slip into a regular train
      when
      > running.
      >
      > One other useful tool missing from Z is the automatic wheel cleaning
      > tracks such as the Tomix N scale one.
      >
      > Alan
      >
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