Track Cleaning

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by steamed, Apr 9, 2003.

  1. steamed

    steamed New Member

    :D I pulled out some old track from my
    brother's basement. The track's color
    almost matches the color of the ties.
    What can I use to clean the track back to
    the way they were?
  2. jwmurrayjr

    jwmurrayjr Member

    You might want to clean just the tops of the rail if the track looks good (weathered and rusted) otherwise.

    The edges of a 2-1/2" X 4" piece of 1/8" masonite make a pretty good cleaner. Similar to the "Bright Boy" but much less expensive and it may do a better job.

    There's a cleaning product called MAAS, I think that some folks use.
  3. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Hi Steamed and welcome:D
    We up here in the North tend to use clipper oil.
    Gets the crud off right good.:D
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Welcome aboard Steamed! There are commercial track cleaners but I've had success with denatured alcohol. Probably want a "Bright boy" abrasive cleaner from the hobby shop if the crud is really thick. You might check to see if its brass or nickel silver track. Brass oxidizes quickly and needs frequent cleaning. You might consider getting nickel silver if it is. Best of luck!
  5. pcentral

    pcentral Member

    Welcome to the Gauge, Steamed. What gauge are you working with? If it is N or HO, I have used denatured alcohol and bright boys with success. If it is another scale, I can help there too. Steve
  6. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    Bright Boys, the grey ones are beginning to lose favour with some as they will put scratches in your rail which collects dirt over time.

    Find out if your rail is brass, and not the more common stuff now used - just blanked out on what they are called. If your rail is brass, don't use them; you will spend the rest of your life cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. Very few people use brass track now.

    The latest fad, and it makes sense, is to use all the stuff out there that is designed to get rid of oxidation on metals, like Brasso, Fitz and Maas, and autosol, etc. Some suggest wiping the track down after with alcohol, others say you don't need to.
  7. steamed

    steamed New Member

    The track is HO scale. Since it was bought 20 years ago, when the budget was
    near zero, I think the track is likely to be Nickel silver rails. I've been using a clean
    cloth and now have a number of streak marks all over it, but I was wondering if
    ther was a faster, more effective way?
  8. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I believe brass was the cheap stuff 20 years ago, if you have brass it will be gold tone when polished, if nickle, it looks silver when polished. Brass tarnishes green to black and nickle get's grey to black tarnish on it. Brass's tarnish is a good insulator, which is why it's undesired. Nickle is less conductive in itself, but the tarnish is conductive, so it works even when tarnished. You can get nickle flextrack for $2 for 3 ft lengths, so saving the brass is a waste of time, except to use as a static display or small test loop. I have brass turnouts on my test loop and have to clean it every time I run a train on it. If you have brass and are going to keep it anyways, heck with cleaning it, get sand paper and sand it clean, it's a lot easier and faster and hopefully, you will eventually wear it out and get rid of it :D :D :D

    Oh ya, Death Like or Model Power, can't remember which, makes a really bad flex track. Looks nickle silver but the tarnish does not conduct, it tarnishes fast, white-grey, it is very hard to flex this flex track and you can ID it by the fact the a magnet grabs it. Good flex track about flexes itself if you hold it out like a fishing rod, ties perpindicular to the ground.

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