Discussion in 'FAQs' started by kkj7, Apr 23, 2002.

  1. kkj7

    kkj7 New Member

    Where do you have your model railroad? outside? There are talk about steel tracks that are prone to rust. Rolling stock thats for sale can have some rust underneath. Engines I did buy had some rust (ok, very little) on the railings.
    My car rust, but it is standing outside whole year. :confused:
  2. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    I depends on what the track is made of. I run inside of course. (HO). Steel track will rust, just like any exposed steel.

    There are three types of track available. Steel, nickel/silver and brass.
    Steel is cheap and WILL rust if exposed to moisture. Nickel/Silver will not rust, however is more expensive, and not as higly conductive as steel (but the difference is minimal). Its the same sorta stuff as stainless steel (like the kitchen sink). Brass is the most expensive (cosiderably more), is a good conductor, and does not rust either. Rusting track is dependant on what the track is made out of.

    What type of train/track/guage ar you looking at, and are you looking to run it outside? What type of climate?
  3. kkj7

    kkj7 New Member

    You must be living in a very humid climate. I am living in Scandinavia and no bare metal, iron or whatever is rusting inside my house.
    The humidite must be the reason. Today it is 50% rel. humidity where I am.
  4. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    50% is somewhat low for a lot of areas in North America - I'm thinking of my visits to Toronto and the Houston area specifically (here in Edmonton it's usu. pretty dry). I am somewhat surprised by the rust.
  5. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    It's about 8:45 here in Huntsville, TX, and the humidity is 93%. Tha's pretty typical for a spring morning...and a summer morning. You really feel it in late-July and August when the temps are over 100F and the humidity is in the 90s. And when you're in Houston you have to factor in the "brown Jell-O air" from all the cars and refineries. :)

    Rust is not the only problem: there's mold and mildew. Yuck!

    (I live about 70 miles north of Houston. It's nice here, but Houston is down there...lurking about...stinking up the place!)

  6. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    Steel track will only rust if directly exposed to wet/water/moisture. As part of scenic work on your layout, you will put ballast down on the track. To do this, you need to wet it and use glue (water based). Doing this will cause steel track to rust, pretty well, overnight You can, of course, sand/grind the rust off the top of the tracks, but it will also get into turnouts, making them impossible to use because of the blocked conductivity. I do not know of anyone now, that uses steel track for electrically powered (via the rails) stock. What guage is the locos you have bought? :)
  7. kkj7

    kkj7 New Member

    Considering how it looks in reality, the tracks schould be rusty. Exept on the top (wheel contact area) :)
  8. IMRL393

    IMRL393 Member

    "Nickel Silver" is an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel. It will "rust", that is, oxidize, but is much more resistant to oxidation than iron or steel. The oxidation products are not "rust" colored here, as no iron is present, but do form slowly and will degrade your track conductivity. Hence the need for "Bright Boys" and the discussion of various cleaners and protecting agents (See the Atlas Forum for an in-depth discussion of this topic!).

    "Stainless steel" is an alloy of iron and carbon (steel), with sufficient chromium in the mix to help inhibit oxidation.

    While the effect is simular, they are not the same substances.

    Brass (an alloy of copper and zinc) will oxidize (tarnish) also.
    Most of what I've heard about brass track on other forums is not repeatable on a civilized forum like the Gauge!

    Moisture and/or acidity speed up the oxidation process, as has been pointed out, so a dehumidifier in your train room is a good idea unless you are lucky enough to have low humidity year round.

    If you are outside - good luck!
    And look out for acid rain - especially you Eastern Canadians and NE US folk!

    - George

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