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Author Topic: cleaning track  (Read 4387 times)
mf5117

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« on: January 01, 2011, 10:43:46 PM »

I bought a Lot of LGB brass G scale track . The brass rails are discolored and not conductive . When the locomotive pickups hit these pieces of track the engine stops . I had enough extra and changed out these sections of track ,and was able to run my trains outside today . The track eraser just doesn't do it .I was thinking of maybe taking a dremmel with a soft wire wheel to bring the luster back .Or we have a fine bead blaster at work and thought of bead blasting them .Or should I just put the conductive oil on them . Its not corrosion just discolored . I do know I need to change out the rail joiners on these piece's as well . just looking for some different suggestions on cleaning and bringing this track back to life ....

regards: mf5117
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mf5117

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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2011, 10:53:28 PM »

I did a search .And saw alot about cleaning cars , oils and abrasives . Just not sure which route to take . And was getting voltage up to those pieces of track .
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Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947


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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2011, 11:10:37 PM »

It may not be the rails , but the joiners and connections.  Try using rail clamps between a known good section and one you are having trouble with. If the clamps eliminate the problem you are good to go. 

My son has had success doing this and he also used 300 grit wet dry sandpaper on the tops and inside edge of the rails.  He also puts a dab of conductive grease on each joint before clamping them. 

Best of luck.
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Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
JerryB

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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2011, 11:13:22 PM »

I would suggest that you do not use anything that puts scratches or other roughness on the track. Scratches from things like sandpaper (no matter how fine) or roughness from sand media blasting can leave microscopic defects in the rails that tend to collect dirt and / or corrode faster, thus exacerbating the problem.

Most of the track powered folks I know use a pole sander with a bright boy pad instead of sandpaper. That should restore the the conductivity. I would also think that your fine bead (not sand) blaster would be okay. Probably best to follow that up with a bright boy pad.

Changing the LGB rail joiners is not easy, and frequently leads to destroying the first tie. Not good. Perhaps try the bead blaster on the inside of the joiners and the outside of the rail where they mate, then reshape the joiner to be tight on the inserted rail.

Another possibility is to remove the LGB slip joiners (they are destroyed by the removal process) and replace them with rail clamps. There are several brands available. My favorite is the Hillman's Rail Clamps, but others report good results with Split Jaw, etc.

And yet another possible solution for a permanent layout is to solder a jumper wire to the outside of the rails, bypassing the joiner electrically. The original joiner is then only used for the mechanical connection.

Hope this helps.

Happy (Good Conductivity) RRing,

Jerry
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Sequoia Pacific RR in 1:20 / 70.6mm
Boonville Light & Power Co. in 1:20 / 45mm
Navarro Engineering & Construction Co. in 1:20 / 32mm
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mf5117

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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2011, 12:11:51 AM »

I see what you mean about the rail joiners on the LGB track sitting here looking at it . I see the dimple and clip on the 1st tie . Is the dimple spot welded or is it punched in . Makes good sense about the power issue , I didn't even think of that . Just didn't want to damage my engine . And changed out the track ,unfortunately there 2 ft pieces and had to put 1 ft in their place . Looking at the inside of the rail joiners ,they do look alittle dirty . Have one more question . The Aristo-Craft track I have has the set screws for the rails and the joiners do they work as good as the rail clamps . I dug them out of the wax on the bottom of the ties and haven't used them yet . As I can't leave my track outside due to conditions and people "Humans" I do when I run on the weekends when the weather is nice but is sure is a hassle sometimes .  Small L semi dogbone 12x20ft ,going to grow this spring got plenty of track starting to make my Trestles now  . Thanks for the advice and help

MF5117
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Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947


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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2011, 11:26:45 AM »

Wow, sorry to hear you have to take up your track so often. 

I used the black 300 or 400 grit emery paper to clean track for over 15 years without any ill effects. then I switched to battery so didn't worry about it anymore.  Many in my club use Drywall sanders with no problems. The bright boy idea sound great too.  Dirt in the joiners must be removed, an when clean it is best to use conductive grease.

I believe your main problem is that you are setting up and taking apart your track so often that the electrical continuity at the track joints is compromised as the joints get looser and looser each time you do it.  I would go with rail clamps after removing the joiners.  TRy to keep clamped sections as long as possible when you take down the track that way you may be able to reduce your workload.

Even the Aristo track will get loose with repeated disassembly.  I wold go with clamps all the way around.

I wish you the best in getting a permanent location.

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Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
VirginiaCentral

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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2011, 12:57:20 PM »

MF5117

Use a large drill bit to drill out the dimple on the LGB rail joiner.  The rail will then slip out of the way and jou can remove the rail joiner without destroying the tie.

Or, just leave the joiners on and use over-the-joiner rail clamps available from Hillman or Split-Jaw.

Jerry
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Jerry Kay
Big Sandy & Cumberland Garden Railroad
Virginia Central & New River Railway & Navigation Co.
"I love the smell of coal smoke in the morning!"
mf5117

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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2011, 02:26:00 PM »

I am at lunch as of now at work . I bead blasted one of the 2ft pieces this morning . And it cleaned up quite well . The rail joiners came out clean .No damage to the tie's just lightened up the color alittle . I will purchase some conductive grease "oil" and I feel they will be ok . If I can remember how to upload pictures I will post the before and after and get some more opinions. Will try to do this tonight . Thanks again to everyone for the reply's

regards MF5117
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mf5117

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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2011, 08:58:41 PM »

I hope these pictures help , I bead blasted the clean looking piece this mourning . It was in worse shape than the one in the picture . I plan on doing the rest this weekend so I don't get tagged for doing a government project . I hope I didn't make a mistake but it sure helped this track out



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JerryB

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« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2011, 10:24:02 PM »

Looks like your bead blaster is successful! For future reference, what is the media type & specification?

Be aware that you really only need to clean the 'head' portion of the rail where the wheels make contact. The dark color of the lower part of the rail will actually look like prototype weathering when installed. Even if you blast it, it will quickly darken, so no need to spend the time & effort to make your track look totally 'new.'

Same with the joiners: Only the 'inside' contact points need to be clean. If there is discoloration left on the outside, it will just blend into the scene.

BTW, I saw that someone suggested 'over the joiner' clamps. I would strongly recommend against using them. They still rely on the contact of the original joiner for conductivity. You incur the expense of a clamp without the mechanical reinforcement and contact improvement provided by a clamp that is in direct contact with the rail.

Hope this helps.

Happy RRing,

Jerry
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Sequoia Pacific RR in 1:20 / 70.6mm
Boonville Light & Power Co. in 1:20 / 45mm
Navarro Engineering & Construction Co. in 1:20 / 32mm
NMRA Life Member #3370
Member: Bay Area Electric Railway Association
Member: Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources
glennk28

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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2011, 09:07:40 PM »

For cleaning track I use a drywall sanding pole with medium to fine sanding meah.  For wheels I use a Kadee driver cleaner.  I also find that LGB two-motor locos do a good jub of cleaning the track for the start of an operating session.  Sprits a little WD-40 on the rails--the front set of pickup shoes scrapes the gunk while the second provides the power . 

Glenn Joesten
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mf5117

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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2011, 10:01:43 PM »

The media was a 2400 Glass media . I understand the Prototypical aspect and leaving the bottoms of the rails weathered . But this track needed some attention . I feel as time goes it will weather over time . I do have enough for a permanent layout indoors also and will use it and will take the suggestion of tapping off the bottom of the rails and just doing the top of the rails .... doing the sheet metal trade there is a 609 polish for stainless that removes rust very well . although you have to wear gloves with this stuff then rinse with water . as it brings stainless back to stainless but wonder how it works on brass .... thanks for the suggestions I learned alot here on this topic
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 11:15:33 PM by mf5117 » Logged
JerryB

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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2011, 12:56:43 PM »

Thanks for the information on the media.

I wouldn't worry about 'masking' the lower part of the rails. Just sit or hold the track sections in the bead blast cabinet and blast the top inside of the rail until clean. That should provide a graded look, with the bottom left dark.

Happy RRing,

Jerry
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Sequoia Pacific RR in 1:20 / 70.6mm
Boonville Light & Power Co. in 1:20 / 45mm
Navarro Engineering & Construction Co. in 1:20 / 32mm
NMRA Life Member #3370
Member: Bay Area Electric Railway Association
Member: Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources
G scale CAVEMAN

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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2011, 02:55:28 PM »

hello .. i have Aristocraft track euro style only.... and i have LGB too ......i only clean the very top of each rail and the inside section ....i also use jumper wires between each track by using the track screws that hold on the ties to the rails ....also you can soder jumper wires to the rails to help with keep power to each track... (sorry Embarrassed bachmann but i never use your track for any permanent railroad layout... i only use it for test tacks or display track...) only the large scale bachmann track is really not the best ... all your other scales track ...have always been good ... now there even better... i buy bachmann for the trains ... and i buy train sets for the cars ...because its cheaper that way.... Grin
well bye for now .
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