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Cleaning HO track rails


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#1 Dallas Racer

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 12:55 PM

I was reading a model train guys discussion, among other things, on the web. I found these suggestions for cleaning rails. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

 

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#2 Geary Carrier

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 02:42 PM

Eraser and a vacuum cleaner...


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Yes, to be sure, this is it...


#3 Dallas Racer

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 03:33 PM

Geary, MaxTrax literature suggest an erasure. The grand kids and I gave that a try and it didn't work. Maybe we need a courser grit erasure.

 

I've been using a 1971 dollar coin since I've owned the track for no other reason than that's what was handy at the time. It works OK but it's surely not good for the track.

 

An acquaintance has a back yard train track. I took the grand kids to see it. He hadn't used it for at least months. He sprayed WD40 on the rails. Not scrubbed or wiped, just sprayed, and it worked. I couldn't believe it. That method obviously isn't going to be very good for traction on a slot car track. None of the the things I listed would be either. I guess I could spray it on then clean the track.


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#4 glueside

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 04:51 PM

We would use 409 and wipe down immediately, then use WD40 and wipe down.  Would clean the track and then keep the rail from rusting.


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#5 John Streisguth

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 06:26 PM

Use an eraser style HO railroad rail cleaner, then vacuum to get any dust and residue up.  Wipe with a cloth with WD-40 on it. 


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#6 bbr

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 10:29 PM

very fine diamond polishing block


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#7 Alan Dodson

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 11:44 AM

Golfworks.com has a grit embedded rubber block called a Multi Purpose Finishing Block that works really well. It's probably similar to the railroad rail eraser that John mentioned in post #5.


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#8 Dallas Racer

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:04 PM

What kind of tracks were you guys wiping WD40 on? MaxTrax says that WD40 can harm the track.

 

I found a Dremmel very fine grinding disk rubbed by hand works really well. 2 or 3 strokes and it's clean. But I really hate doing that. I'd rather not abrade it if I don't have to.


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#9 Horsepower

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 02:42 AM

How about Mr.Clean magic eraser? 


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#10 Dallas Racer

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 12:38 PM

Someone else suggested Magic Erasure to me as well. I just looked it up. It sounds like it's pretty abrasive.

 

Test a small area with light pressure before use. Not recommended for the following surfaces: high gloss, polished, dark, brushed, satin, faux, bare/polished wood, copper, stainless steel appliances, non-stick coating or vehicle body. Rinse required for surfaces in direct contact with food. Do not use with chlorine bleach or other household cleaners. Do not use on skin or other body parts. Using on skin will likely cause abrasions. Avoid contact with eyes. May cause eye irritation. Keep out of reach of toddlers and pets to avoid accidental ingestion.

 

I researched the Dremel wheel I used. It's a polishing/buffing wheel, not a grinding wheel. Very, very fine grit, so if I have to use an abrasive, it's probably no more harmful than any other abrasive.


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#11 MSwiss

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 01:00 PM

On an erasure, did you buy a Bright Boy, or just a similarly shaped, separate pencil erasure?

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#12 Dallas Racer

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 11:50 PM

I've done a lot of research since posting this. Most info I've found is on model train forums. Cleaning rails is an old subject with them. There are many, "Not another cleaning rials thread!" posts. There are many ways to clean rails mentioned and much debate on what's the best way. Many of them think Bright Boys are too abrasive and scratch the rails up, which gives a place for dirt and dust to accumulate, which they think is a bigger problem than oxidation.

 

The polishing wheels I have are actually a 400-600 grit Cratex wheels. I found a whole box of Cratex stuff that I didn't realize I had. They work. I've already got a bunch of them so I'll just use them. I think they'll be alright.


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#13 Revtor

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Posted 19 February 2020 - 10:19 AM

220 - 4000 grit, here ya go!

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