How to clean old track

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by pinkerton, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. pinkerton

    pinkerton New Member

    I just purchased a lot of track and switches off ebay. Some 36 inch. They claimed it was from the 1950 to 1960 era. It has a brass look to it and it will not stick to a magnet. What would be the best way to clean and restore the track? The track is from rough to good shape.

    Thanks for your replies
  2. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    A fellow gauger suggested a mix of lemon juice baking soda and warm water, i'll have to ping her to get the formula right but she's had great success w/ it.

    I've used elbow grease and a yellow eraser like product called "perfect track cleaner". Here is a link to that thread,

    There are a couple of other threads on cleaning track too. If you click the little search button up on your toolbar and type in track cleaning a bunch of them will pop up. There is a great one on how to make a cleaning car cheap!! (i'll hunt for it for you!! :)).
  3. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Right now, if it's really grotty, you want an abrasive block like a Brite-Boy to clean the rail head. A wire brush in a moto-tool can be used to clean the web of the rail if it's really ugly, but it's the rail head you need to worry about for running trains. You don't want to use anything too abrasive, like sandpaper, because you'll score the rail, and just make more places for crud to collect and the rail to oxidize.

    Once you've got it cleaned, the best thing you can do is use a conductivity enchancer like Rail Zip to treat the rail and minimize the rate of oxidation. People have apparently had good results with clipper oil, but I've never tried it myself.

    I hope you didn't pay too much for it; brass track is, well, a pain in the brass. It oxidizes fairly quickly, the oxide doesn't conduct electricity and so it needs constant cleaning.
    Nickle-silver is much better for the simple reason that the oxide is conductive - so even though the rail may be oxidized, your trains will still run on it. It also requires less-frequent cleaning.

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