Dirty track and YOU

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Gary S., Oct 22, 2007.


Does your dirty track drive you crazy?

Poll closed Nov 21, 2007.
  1. I never have track power pick-up issues

    9 vote(s)
  2. I seldom have track power pick-up issues

    33 vote(s)
  3. I often have track power pick-up issues

    9 vote(s)
  4. My locos sputter and lights flicker to my utter frustration

    7 vote(s)
  1. Tommybza

    Tommybza Member

    I voted ,well I was told to wait a year before i glue my track down ,it has been 9 mo. now and I have taken some good measures to get it the best I can ,for one it trim the curves ''just snip off a smidge'' on some of the out side rail . this seems to help .replacing rail joiners all the way .soldering when needed installing grades ,so yes start all over with some great tips from you guy's.and it has been a fun time for me .then there was the blue box engine I thought was new, missing a gear runs with a mind of her own , now all 3 of my engines seem to run fine ,stilll have all the ballast to do and so on .
  2. Relic

    Relic Member

    I probly shouldn't say anything 'cause I 'll jinx it, but I don't have that much trouble.
    A little history my empire is an around the room,I guess a shelf type,between one and four feet wide in the upstairs of my garage,about 22ft by 16.
    To be honest I don't run the trains as much as I thought I would when I started{about 5 years ago}I found I like building/landscaping.
    I clean the track with a homemade wiper under an old CP box car, sometimes I go over the whole thing with q tips and alcohol or contact cleaner.
    Oh yeah it's HO and I'm modeling CN in the early 60's
  3. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

    Depends on track material...

    Another middle of the road answer because -

    Minitrix track in N Scale - once a year, maybe...

    Various manufactures in HO scale track - Maybe once every three months because of the dust from opening all the windows in the house...

    O and O27 scale track from Lionel - same as with HO above.

    O27 scale Marx track - Only if I actually want something to run (humidity around here is usually 70% or better, even on extremely cold and dry days, plus the track was made sometime in the 1930's...)
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Try your barber or your wife's hairdresser; they might let you have a bottle with a couple of drops left in the bottom or they can tell you where they get it.
    Our Canadian Tire Store carries it in the section with other barber supplies. (A good excuse for you to come up to the Christmas Train Show!)
  5. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I have 2 unfinished layouts in the basement, one 4x8 w/ a mix of steel and nickel silver and that one i have to clean once in a while (2 to 3 weeks) i have a full NS layout that i rarely clean and i run dcc w/ sound and all seems well.
  6. platypus1217

    platypus1217 Member

    This may be a bit out there but I use a round toothpick, which also doubles as my uncoupler. To clean the track I place it down level on the rail and run it along the top. I can also hold it at an angle and and push the tip of it along the top inside edge of the rail to get it extra clean.
  7. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    platypus1217: I've never heard of that before, sound interesting.
  8. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I operated trains for about two hours last night, developing some switching scenarios for my openhouse in November. I haven't cleaned the track in about a month. When I tried to run single locos, I was getting some stalling and flickering lights. With the MUed locos that are wired together (discussed in another thread), I didn't have a single power issue. Double the amount of wheels picking up power = no problems!! This was exactly what I needed for my layout in the dusty old garage.

    The manufacturers should look into this and put tiny connectors in the locos with tiny little MU wires. That would be cool.
  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    My old layout hasn't been cleaned for years. I used to use bright boys with...I think it was wahl oil...and later a little rail zip (which wasn't half as good)...and I found that I had to clean the track several times per year.

    For the past 7-8yrs...the track hasn't had any of the oils...or any cleaning for at least 6yrs...with seldom train traffic (since I don't live there anymore)...and it actually works better than it ever did before.

    The layout is in a finished basement with a concrete floor...it does have a dropped ceiling. It is a DC layout with only 1-2 leads per block...the typical block being around 12' long. A majority of the cars have plastic wheels. There are also three quadraped godzilla like fuzz balls whom occasionally manage to knock over cars...and have previously chewed buildings, eaten trestles, smashed mountains, and occasionally donate fur-balls to the scenery.

    I've been converted to a no-cleaning philosophy. In future layouts...I will be jumpering nearly every 3-4' of track...but I am never going back to cleaning track again. I'm also going to use metal wheels exclusively...for the sound.

    I sort of suspect that many of our cleaning rituals are a carry over from the days of brass track...in which cleaning was a must. I wonder how much of the residue on the track is coming from the bright boys and oils which are intended to clean the track...I suspect a decent part. Oil is great for collecting the dust which falls on the track...and forms a nice glue to spread it onto plastic wheels.

    Attached Files:

  10. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Hey, cute kitties!! When they chew up the trestles, do you think "awww, isn't that sweet?" or do you think ":curse: #$*!#&* CATS!"?

    I'm still hesitant to put oil on the rails, even a tiny drop, but I should do the experiment like others above have suggested.
  11. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I believe it was around the start of seventh grade when the tiger, the one furthest from the camera...received a ride in a G-scale gondola with a wire seat belt...it was punishment for damaging our layout...she upset the car and dragged herself for a good 10' with the gondola still on her lower body before it fell off. We felt pretty sorry once we found a big tuff of fur left in the car. For the 12yrs since then...they just get swatted. We rebuilt the mountains to be stronger and used a different type of wood for the trestle supports...the type which they hadn't eaten.
  12. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Too funny! sign1

    But they really are some cute cats!
  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Thanks. The first one in the picture is super friendly. The second one doesn't like to be touched (or sometimes even looked at)...although she enjoyed watching trains from a stool in the layout room. The third one is normal...they're 3/5s of my parents' cats.

    Here's my two...Chester and Pumpkin (both male...not related)...they both are railfans...they love to watch trains...especially ones with sound...and have only required a little bit of instructions on etiquette...not batting the trains...Pumpkin has good taste in books...

    Attached Files:

  14. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Almost thought I saw Garfield.:mrgreen:
  15. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Great!! Let me know if it helps :)
  16. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Nice Cats!! :) Aren't they cute, When they are asleep??? tooth1tooth1goldtoth1goldtoth1

    Mine are really "bad" the gray one sleeps in the tunnels.. LOL She M O V E S when she hears me turn on the layout!! sign1sign1sign1sign1
  17. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Gasp! :eek: A cat!! In the layout room!!! Ga-a-a-ck! :eek::eek: And it's wearing..... FUR!! :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Forget the clipper oil - get the clippers. ;):-D:-D

    Wayne (rhymes with "there's no way that I'd allow a cat in the same room as my train") :p:-D:-D
  18. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    sign1sign1sign1sign1 welll uh, being that the kitty litter is in the basement - and being that the layout is in the same room.. The kitties have access to the layout :( :(

    It's either that - - or have the litter box in the kitchen or dining room :eek::eek::eek::eek:
  19. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I've always wondered if that is what happened to one of the tunnel portals...the one that was my first plaster casting...:rolleyes: wall1 :p

    I only partially fixed it.

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