cleaning brass track

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by cjfeltner, May 5, 2007.

  1. cjfeltner

    cjfeltner New Member

    i am starting a new layout (first one) i need to know what to use to clean my atlas brass track
  2. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    do you have alot of brass track?
  3. cjfeltner

    cjfeltner New Member

    well enough to start a 4 x 8 layout, well i think anyways,
  4. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    if you are just starting off, brass track is not the best to start with. nickle silver is a better choice.
  5. cjfeltner

    cjfeltner New Member

    im getting it as i find it, got some on ebay, still need to find some better left and right turnouts and switchs.
  6. cjfeltner

    cjfeltner New Member

    may i ask why? im new and more than happy to learn
  7. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    I myself am still learning but brass is alot more trouble sum to keep clean. I think more oxidation or something. Im sure some of the vets here will chim in( I HOPE):-D
  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Brass in an excellent conductor of electricity, but oxidizes readily. Unfortunately, the oxide is a poor conductor of electricity. Nickel-silver conducts electricity well, as does its oxide. You can use brass, but be prepared to clean it often, perhaps everytime that you wish to run a train. This is a nuisance, but do-able on a small layout, like a 4'x8'. On a room-size layout, such as the one I have now, I'd never have time to run trains if I had to clean the track before every operating session. As it is, I clean it only if I have been making scenery, and then, only in that immediate area. Nickel-silver generally costs more than brass, but, in my opinion, is well worth it.

  9. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    Thanks for saving me wayne.:):):)
  10. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Yup, Thanks Wayne :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    I would stay away from brass track were you can because often times you will spend hours and hours cleaning the tracks and who wants to do that when you could be working on the layout or RUNNING TRAINS :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    I would recomend using Atlas Nickel Silver or any other Nickel Silver track

    Just my 2 cents tho :)
  11. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I had a 4X8 layout with HO brass track and can attest that back then I spent a lot of time trying to keep the rails clean enough for smooth running. It was like a second hobby! :) I use nickel silver now and keep it running well with a tiny drop of Wahl clipper oil placed on the rails once every several months. This oil seems to help promote conductivity and I rarely need to do track cleaning save for running a masonite block track cleaning car over them to move dust.

    I've heard that Wahl oil was used back in the brass track days as a good way to help prevent rapid oxidation that interfered with conductivity. If you're going to use the brass track you might try this stuff. At less than three dollars a bottle (that will really last a life time) it is worth it.

    Best wishes!
  12. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Back in the days when all we had was brass track (and a little bit of steel), we learned to deal with it.

    As Doc said, the issue is oxidation with brass. Brass oxidizes easily. On ships, the brass has to be polished daily because it oxidizes so fast in the humid environment. In a drier environment, it's not so bad. Is your train room air conditioned? That will help a lot.

    Almost any of the track cleaners work. I think I used an old Life-Like bottle of track cleaner on my layout with brass track - and this was in Northern Virginia with no air conditioning. Once you clean the track and get the trains running, run the trains a couple of times a week over every section of your track. Running the trains (the more metal wheels and the heavier the cars, the better) keeps the oxide away better than any other method. In N Virginia, I needed to run twice a week. In Kentucky, once a week should do it, especially if you have AC. If you have a mixture of brass and nickel silver rail, I recommend putting the brass track on the main line where it gets used more, and therefore needs less cleaning.

    Another trick the old timers used was a small bottle of No-Ox which was a treatment designed to prevent brass from oxidizing. I never found the stuff to try it. I've heard that Wahl's Clipper Oil works similar magic. Put a drop on each rail and let the wheels spread it around. You don't want an oily film on the rails, that will just cause them to pick up dust and dirt out of the air.

    just my thoughts and experiences
  13. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    i ran through powerloc steel brass and finally ended up w/ nickel silver. It is much easier to maintain than brass, but especially when i was starting out i was attracted to brass because it is cheap :).

    If i had it to do over again i'd skip all the other stuff and go straight for new nickel silver :). I have some quality used stuff but pound for pound nothing beats new track.

    I found a couple hobby shops that offer snap track at .55c a piece new and flex for 2.50 new ( kinda doesn't make sense to buy used unless there is a specific thing you are looking for and cant find at a reasonable price. 22" radius snap track 36" flex track
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think the brass and steel track is great stuff. You can cut it up and use it for flat car and gondola loads. If the cars are too light, it will add weight as well to make them run better. Seriously, you really want to use the nickel silver for your tracks, but if you have a bunch of brass, paint it up and use it for loads, or scenery.
  15. msowsun

    msowsun Member

    Brass track is collectible.

    I put it by the side of the road for "Collection".

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