Here is the sure fire and proven way to get after exactly your situation. I have done this several times and recently tackled a Marklin layout that had not run in 25 years with multiple powered switches. I have completed this task on numerous ocasions for others. This works the best and is the best solution for time and effort without damage by having to overwork.
Arsenal Needed to Tackle The Job
1). Small but stiff .25 to .50 inch wide artist brush. So you can brush and vaccum up debris after cleaning.
2). Good vacuum cleaner that can suck up the debris and dust.............residual oxidization, pieces parts and dust bunny's..
3). Plastic Safe................"PureTronics brand "extra strength contact cleaner" (avail at any top electronics supply store)
4). A couple three track cleaning sticks from; NZTProducts.com
5). Fiberglass Scratch Brush. A retractable "fiberglass cleaning pen". This is the definitive secret to doing this job without killing yourself or wreaking havoc on your layout/track and ancillary components. It contains a couple hundred bundled very thin strands of glass fiber. This tool is used in PCB production, solder rework etc. for cleaning oxidization, flux and solder off of circuit board pads.
Start by using the fiberglass pen on the rail top, inside left and right rail where your wheel flanges will come into contact vertically with the rails. The track is dull now and as you clean, you see it shins up with the pen. Start at one end and follow the track until you return to the starting point. Only let out 1/16 inch amount of the fiberglass bristles so to keeping it stiff to do the oxidization removal. The real bonus with this indespensible tool is getting down and to the phosphor bronze power pick-up for the Marklin switches. It will clean them shiny copper new. Let out a little more of the bristles here for this application as your reach down to the contacts takes a little bit more attention then the track rails.
You will be leaving some fiberglass particulate from the rubbing and scrubbing. Vacuum it up.
Polish the top of the rails now with the NZT Products track cleaning stick. Cut down to smaller sizes or Break it into smaller workable pieces if you need to. Go over all of the track everywhere.
Now wipe down the rails with a lint free cloth with Puretronics Contact Cleaner.
Maintenance from there on out will simply be the occasional use of the track stick and wiping with a lint free cloth using Isopropyl Alcohol.
An alternative cleaning solution is a product called; DeoxIt
Like the Puretronics contact cleaner, the Deoxit product does the same job and also improves electrical contact. It is a premium and more expensive product, but does the job better than anything else.
Sources for the Pen;
Excelta Corp., HMC Electronics, Widget Supply, Pemro, Micro-Tools, Cumberland Electronics and sellers of jewelry-making supplies like Contenti.
Cool Tools.com; Product Code: BRN-207made by Eurotool, Germany
They run in price from $3.00 to $8.00 and the quality pens come from Germany.
Or simply just go to GOOGLE and type in keywords;
Fiberglass Scratch Brush
Interpret the above suggestion how-to with a "common-sense" approach and you will be happy with the end results. Good luck, have fun and report back how it worked out for you.
From: canon50e <mak@...
To: z_scale <email@example.com
Sent: Sun, Jun 23, 2013 10:45 am
Subject: [Z_Scale] Roughness on the surface of Marklin track rails
I have a small layout that I've kept in storage since 2003. I ran my fingers across the rails and noticed there's some roughness on the surface of the rails, perhaps it can be oxidation? It's not dirt as I've done several passes of the "rubbing alcohol on a t-shirt" method and did that several times. My layout has been covered by a plexiglass case at all times except when I run/change out the locos.
Is there a best/new way to clean and polish these rails?
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