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User is suspended until 30/01/2021 11:18:10(UTC) Goofy  
#51 Posted : 05 September 2020 08:51:14(UTC)
Goofy


Joined: 12/08/2006(UTC)
Posts: 8,331
Originally Posted by: applor Go to Quoted Post
As I've stated and Henrik has supported, the most important thing for a clean (functioning) track is low humidity.
I've tried graphite on the studs and Kerosene on the rails, neither really improved the situation. Installed a de-humidifier set to 45% and problem solved.
I spot clean a few pukos maybe once every month or two and sometimes I see rubber tyre marks on the rails which I clean off with isopropyl.

So in short, the best way to clean the track is to not have to clean it at all!


LOL
Wrong!
You must clean your tracks and the wheels on the trains.
Even Märklin recommended it.
The rail and stud contact always oxid when you have power on to the track.
So does even the wheels.
The best way to have good contact between the locomotive and the track is to clean the wheels and the rail.
Even pick up shoe must clean often.
Offline hxmiesa  
#52 Posted : 05 September 2020 13:02:51(UTC)
hxmiesa

Spain   
Joined: 15/12/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3,025
Location: Spain
Originally Posted by: Goofy Go to Quoted Post
Even pick up shoe must clean often.

I don't think that I have cleaned a pickup shoe ever...
But, what I wonder the most about this goofy statement, is... How has Goofy ever had the need to clean anything, if he changes his stuff every year?

Best regards
Henrik Hoexbroe ("The Dane In Spain")
http://hoexbroe.tripod.com
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Offline MalinAC  
#53 Posted : 05 September 2020 13:19:00(UTC)
MalinAC

Ireland   
Joined: 29/05/2014(UTC)
Posts: 834
Location: DONEGAL, CARNDONAGH
Well I have only cleaned the track about 5 times in 6 years and never the centre studs. I never clean loco wheels or wagons. I only have a 4x 8 layout but everything works good every time. I run trains for a few minutes about 4 a week. So who is right--the person who always cleans and everything works or the person who rarely cleans and everything still works. Maybe its because Im Irish living in Ireland and the Irish are the chosen ones BigGrin Cool Love
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Offline hxmiesa  
#54 Posted : 05 September 2020 13:28:32(UTC)
hxmiesa

Spain   
Joined: 15/12/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3,025
Location: Spain
Originally Posted by: MalinAC Go to Quoted Post
Well I have only cleaned the track about 5 times in 6 years and never the centre studs. I never clean loco wheels or wagons. I only have a 4x 8 layout but everything works good every time. I run trains for a few minutes about 4 a week. So who is right--the person who always cleans and everything works or the person who rarely cleans and everything still works. Maybe its because Im Irish living in Ireland and the Irish are the chosen ones BigGrin Cool Love

Well, I'm a Dane, living in Spain, running German trains and talking about it on an English forum. -and I don't have problems either! So I guess that there are more chosen ones than just the Irish.

I have around 250m of rails (mostly K, the rest M), and I have never cleaned all of them. Neither do I run cleaning waggons.
After 13 years, the layout still works really well, even if nothing runs there for many weeks!

As stated many times before; The GUNK that I do have, seems to collect itself on the WHEELS, which I DO have to clean! (albeit rarely, like once a year -and only on some of the rolling stock)

Best regards
Henrik Hoexbroe ("The Dane In Spain")
http://hoexbroe.tripod.com
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Offline DB Fan  
#55 Posted : 05 September 2020 15:10:05(UTC)
DB Fan

United States   
Joined: 01/03/2016(UTC)
Posts: 195
Location: Colorado
Come to Colorado. I live in the western part of Colorado what is very dry and gets at times even lower than 45% humidity and most of the year we are around that number. I have to clean the tracks only every once in a while but as you mentioned static electricity is a some what a problem but there are ways around it.

Robert
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User is suspended until 30/01/2021 11:18:10(UTC) Goofy  
#56 Posted : 06 September 2020 11:40:48(UTC)
Goofy


Joined: 12/08/2006(UTC)
Posts: 8,331
Originally Posted by: hxmiesa Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Goofy Go to Quoted Post
Even pick up shoe must clean often.

I don't think that I have cleaned a pickup shoe ever...
But, what I wonder the most about this goofy statement, is... How has Goofy ever had the need to clean anything, if he changes his stuff every year?



I do have seen the result why Märklin oxid by of dirt and grease of the tyre and oil on the tracks.
What has to change the stuff to do with the science of track cleaning??? Blink

Edited by moderator 29 September 2020 10:55:15(UTC)  | Reason: Removed offensive statement

Offline Copenhagen  
#57 Posted : 06 September 2020 15:17:10(UTC)
Copenhagen


Joined: 23/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 70
It's my experience, after a couple of years of driving, that the tracks (I use C track) are not the source of the problem whenever a locomotive stops or runs erratically at a certain part of the layout. Unless there is something wrong with the locomotive the problem is always solved by using a graphite stick on the pukos in the area. Before I learned about using graphite (on this forum) I tried cleaning and scrubbing the studs but it didn't help much.

A couple of years ago I visited a club with a large K track layout. At certain points of the track locos would have a tendency to stop. Cleaning the track in the area with a piece of tissue would remove a lot of black dirt but there would still be a tendency for locos to have difficulties in the area. I wonder if the use of graphite on the center studs would have been better because I assume that the rest of the tracks would also be quite dirty without affecting the trains.
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Offline Purellum  
#58 Posted : 06 September 2020 16:35:48(UTC)
Purellum

Denmark   
Joined: 08/11/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3,244
Location: Mullerup, 4200 Slagelse
Cool

Originally Posted by: Goofy Go to Quoted Post
I do have seen the result why Märklin oxid by of dirt and grease of the tyre and oil on the tracks


You keep mixing oxidation with dirt and grease; it's two completely different things.

For e.g. normal iron and steel, oxidation is better known as rust - this is not the problem here BigGrin

For copper, oxidation is called copper-oxide; it's green and not electrical conductive - also not the problem here Blink

For stainless steel and nickel-silver, oxidation is not a problem, since the oxidated layer is electrical conductive........... Cool

Per.

Cool
If you can dream it, you can do it!

I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

In case this is not legally possible:
I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

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Offline drezenpe  
#59 Posted : 07 September 2020 18:45:05(UTC)
drezenpe

United States   
Joined: 07/09/2020(UTC)
Posts: 4
Location: Illinois, Dixon
Hello-
New to MRR and reading this thread jogged my curiosity. Are there specific cleaners that work better for brass rail as opposed to steel or nickel-silver? I am using brass rail track and so I thought I might inquire?

Thanks
Offline Copenhagen  
#60 Posted : 07 September 2020 20:50:42(UTC)
Copenhagen


Joined: 23/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 70
I have no experience with brass tracks but stumbled upon this discussion when googling:
https://www.trainorders....ussion/read.php?3,479930
Offline applor  
#61 Posted : 08 September 2020 07:16:11(UTC)
applor

Australia   
Joined: 21/05/2004(UTC)
Posts: 1,535
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Originally Posted by: hxmiesa Go to Quoted Post

-But I have a question for you; How can you live with only 45% of humidity??
I tried, and below 55% I get more and more static electricity, which is somewhat uncomfortable to live with. (-and very dangerous to fine electronics, like decoders)

My floor is an IKEA lamina "wooden" floor, with all its plastic isolation on top of the concrete cellar floor.
Maybe I should ground my layout, bypassing the IKEA floor and its isolations¿?



I don't seem to have problems with static. I have laminate flooring with rubber mats on top to go easy on the knees etc. when working underneath.
modelling 1954 Germany (era IIIa)
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Offline Ranjit  
#62 Posted : 09 September 2020 05:24:06(UTC)
Ranjit

Malaysia   
Joined: 18/06/2003(UTC)
Posts: 2,945
Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, INDIA
Hi All...

After discussing the "Science of Track Cleaning" for over fifteen (15) months, do we know exactly what it is or are we a little muddled-up ? I would very interested in learning more about cleaning K-Track.

Take care and stay safe.

Cheers,
Ranjit
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need" - Marcus Tullius Cicero
"Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come" - Victor Marie Hugo
"If you can dream it, you can do it" - Walt Disney
Offline hxmiesa  
#63 Posted : 09 September 2020 07:29:30(UTC)
hxmiesa

Spain   
Joined: 15/12/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3,025
Location: Spain
Originally Posted by: Ranjit Go to Quoted Post
After discussing the "Science of Track Cleaning" for over fifteen (15) months, do we know exactly what it is or are we a little muddled-up ?

Even with 15 YEARS you would not get it right.
I think dirty tracks has been discussed since the very beginning of model railroading. -and probably was one of the earliest topics when this forum was started. BigGrin

Hm. "An ongoing investigation" maybe?

(Or "The Neverending Story")
Best regards
Henrik Hoexbroe ("The Dane In Spain")
http://hoexbroe.tripod.com
Offline Ranjit  
#64 Posted : 09 September 2020 08:02:36(UTC)
Ranjit

Malaysia   
Joined: 18/06/2003(UTC)
Posts: 2,945
Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, INDIA
Hehehe... !! We all have such unique circumstances. Like in the case of INOX and IPA, One man's food, is another man's poison !!

It looks like the bottom line is that there is No Science behind Track Cleaning. We just have to make sure the tracks do not get dirty and dusty. I suppose wiping the tracks with a rag and vacuuming regularly should do the trick.

Cheers,
Ranjit
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need" - Marcus Tullius Cicero
"Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come" - Victor Marie Hugo
"If you can dream it, you can do it" - Walt Disney
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Offline Copenhagen  
#65 Posted : 09 September 2020 10:42:30(UTC)
Copenhagen


Joined: 23/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 70
Originally Posted by: Ranjit Go to Quoted Post
... We just have to make sure the tracks do not get dirty...


Well, some of the answers indicate that dirt on the tracks is not an issue and that a rigorous cleaning schedule is not needed.
Offline Danlake  
#66 Posted : 09 September 2020 12:17:53(UTC)
Danlake

New Zealand   
Joined: 03/08/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,520
From the people who runs more trains than anyone else:

Track Cleaning
Tracks need to be kept clean, regardless of 2- or 3 conducts!

When the tracks are dirty the locomotives can’t get power because dirt on the track acts as insulation be-tween the wheels and the tracks and prevents contact. The 15,715 meters rails in Wunderland are no longer cleaned by hand; there are cleaning trains on each track. These consist of a double traction regime (two locomotives) pulling 2-4 cleaning cars.
The cleaning cars have a plate of felt or cleaning stone (a kind of eraser) between the axle, which rests on the rail and cleans it. These plates are regularly changed or cleaned.

In the wider community I think it’s a minority that states track does not require cleaning for smooth running. And I think there is a common understanding that non abrasive cleaning is better than abrasive cleaning. But apart from that I think we can agree there is many different options that may work differently depending on AC or DCC, humidity in your train room, use of wheel tires, amount of dust and probably also your own personal sensitivity to what smooth running constitutes etc.

Best Regards
Lasse
Digital 11m2 layout / C (M&K) tracks / Era IV / CS3 60226 / Train Controller Gold 9 with 4D sound. Mainly Danish and German Locomotives.
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Offline dickinsonj  
#67 Posted : 10 September 2020 01:56:00(UTC)
dickinsonj

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2008(UTC)
Posts: 1,354
Location: United States
These days I run all C track and I clean it a couple of times a year or my trains have problems. Clean track is like a spouse, in that it is best to avoid the issues in the first place. BigGrin

For years I always used isopropyl alcohol, even after a dealer said it left a residue that would just make it all worse. I thought that he was confused and now I think that he was right!

After I read the article on polarity in various cleaning agents I tried three different low-polar cleaners last year. I see somewhat less gunk on my rails but my tracks still need periodic cleaning. I run a Märklin felt pad cleaning car which needs pad changes at a regular interval but I do clean the whole layout less often after the switch away from alcohol.

No doubt I am also behind in wheel cleaning which can defeat the track cleaning very quickly, so nothing goes on my track without clean wheels this year! Everything is currently packed away and that allows for a good cleaning of both track and rolling stock, which is no fun but means a nice functional layout by Christmas. ThumpUp
Regards,
Jim

I have almost all Märklin and mostly HO, although I do have a small number of Z gauge trains!
I have models from Era I to Era VI, but I try to focus on Eras I & III. Whoops, that one got away from me. Let's just say I focus on cool trains, regardless of the particulars :-)
So many trains and so little time.
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Offline Copenhagen  
#68 Posted : 10 September 2020 10:56:46(UTC)
Copenhagen


Joined: 23/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 70
To dickinsonj: The only residue pure isopropyl alcohol could leave is a diluted layer/thin film of the dirt that was on the track.

I googled 'miniatur wunderland gleis reinigen' and it's always fascinating watching and reading about the attraction.
Here it says that they use cleaning trains with felt or cleaning rubber pads and don't do any hand cleaning anymore
https://www.miniatur-wun...lbahn/schienenreinigung/

In this video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FrddN8DpYAU we see different kinds of cleaning actions. It's from December 2019 and may show some outdated procedures. When they use microfiber rags to clean they seem to use a glass cleaner from a spray bottle on the rags. It seems that they still clean the tracks by hand twice a year because at 15:07 and onwards he demonstrates the difference between a section that has just been cleaned by hand and a section which is scheduled for hand cleaning (unless I've misunderstood something).
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Offline applor  
#69 Posted : 11 September 2020 07:05:27(UTC)
applor

Australia   
Joined: 21/05/2004(UTC)
Posts: 1,535
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Originally Posted by: Goofy Go to Quoted Post

You must clean your tracks and the wheels on the trains.
Even Märklin recommended it.
The rail and stud contact always oxid when you have power on to the track.
So does even the wheels.
The best way to have good contact between the locomotive and the track is to clean the wheels and the rail.
Even pick up shoe must clean often.



I am not saying that the wheels or the track don't ever need cleaning. I am saying that at low humidity the track does not need regular cleaning.

The wheels and the rails both accumulate 'dirt' from the rubber tyres and need cleaning on rare occasions.

Oxidation of the centre studs is dramatically reduced in low humidity to the point that occasional running of the trains negates the need to clean them due to the pickup shoe.


Previously I had to clean my entire layout weekly just to keep the trains running when I had no humidity control.

Now that I maintain 45% humidity I no longer need to do regular cleaning, only the occasion spot clean of rails from tyre rubber or a small deadspot with centre studs every couple of months.

When I clean, I use isopropyl for rails and wheels. I use the roco track cleaner for the centre studs (pukos)

I previously tried cleaning rails with Kerosene and used graphite on the studs but without humidity control it made no difference either way.
modelling 1954 Germany (era IIIa)
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Offline phils2um  
#70 Posted : 11 September 2020 11:23:11(UTC)
phils2um

United States   
Joined: 12/01/2016(UTC)
Posts: 35
Location: Michigan, Ann Arbor
Originally Posted by: dickinsonj Go to Quoted Post
No doubt I am also behind in wheel cleaning which can defeat the track cleaning very quickly, so nothing goes on my track without clean wheels this year!


Sounds like a New Years weight loss pledge!

Phil S.
Offline Garoux  
#71 Posted : 12 September 2020 17:36:56(UTC)
Garoux

France   
Joined: 15/07/2020(UTC)
Posts: 30
Location: Occitanie, Canton de Lacapelle-Marival
Originally Posted by: Harryv40 Go to Quoted Post
Hi Everyone,
I wondered how long this subject would be raised again.
.....

I discovered these exchanges and I was interested. Infortunately, I live in France and the products named are not avalaible.
And I think that the words "PRODUIT POUR NETTOYER LES RAILS" would bot be effective in google search.
For many years I used my finger in a dry cloth with a drop of gasoline C for lighters.
I dont trust in cleaning gondola. No sufficient weight!
Luckily there is no tunnel closed on my layout. Indeed!






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Offline 1borna  
#72 Posted : 12 September 2020 20:50:15(UTC)
1borna

Croatia   
Joined: 21/12/2012(UTC)
Posts: 683
Location: Hrvatska
There are big differences between layouts for an audience that drive several hours each day and small private ones that are in use several times a year.
The big ones drive thousands of hours a year until the little ones do it for a lifetime?
I would say, however, that the most important thing is to start with clean wheels on all models and a thoroughly cleaned track, because dirt is easily transferred from one to the other.
Abrasives in small layouts will not do any harm as they are rarely used while in large ones that need constant cleaning it would lead to thinning of the rails.
No cleaning wagon can clean the track as well as your hand, they make sense to maintain the cleanliness once achieved.
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Offline dickinsonj  
#73 Posted : 13 September 2020 00:55:38(UTC)
dickinsonj

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2008(UTC)
Posts: 1,354
Location: United States
Originally Posted by: phils2um Go to Quoted Post
Sounds like a New Years weight loss pledge!

Phil S.


And about as much fun Phil BigGrin

Cheers

Regards,
Jim

I have almost all Märklin and mostly HO, although I do have a small number of Z gauge trains!
I have models from Era I to Era VI, but I try to focus on Eras I & III. Whoops, that one got away from me. Let's just say I focus on cool trains, regardless of the particulars :-)
So many trains and so little time.
User is suspended until 30/01/2021 11:18:10(UTC) Goofy  
#74 Posted : 21 September 2020 19:51:59(UTC)
Goofy


Joined: 12/08/2006(UTC)
Posts: 8,331
Originally Posted by: Purellum Go to Quoted Post
Cool

Originally Posted by: Goofy Go to Quoted Post
I do have seen the result why Märklin oxid by of dirt and grease of the tyre and oil on the tracks


You keep mixing oxidation with dirt and grease; it's two completely different things.

For e.g. normal iron and steel, oxidation is better known as rust - this is not the problem here BigGrin

For copper, oxidation is called copper-oxide; it's green and not electrical conductive - also not the problem here Blink

For stainless steel and nickel-silver, oxidation is not a problem, since the oxidated layer is electrical conductive........... Cool

Per.

Cool


You miss the real problem what you add to the tracks...power feeder.
It makes more grease on the rail and stud contacts with the dust, oil and rubber after traction tyre (locomotive).
Oxidation exist support by the power on the rail, because the rail and the stud contact is unprotected or as they says...exposes themselves.

Offline Copenhagen  
#75 Posted : 22 September 2020 01:09:50(UTC)
Copenhagen


Joined: 23/04/2019(UTC)
Posts: 70
How long time do traction tyres last? Are they worn so fast that they account for a good deal of the dirt on the track?
My take is that the dirt on the tracks is mainly microscopic metallic particles mixed with dust and other microscopic particles.
Offline Bigdaddynz  
#76 Posted : 29 September 2020 11:06:52(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 17,428
Location: New Zealand
Some off topic posts have been removed from this thread.
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Offline Minok  
#77 Posted : 30 September 2020 01:12:50(UTC)
Minok

United States   
Joined: 15/10/2006(UTC)
Posts: 2,169
Location: Washington, Pacific Northwest
Do NOT use inox if you run locomotives with rubber traction tires. Inox, to my understanding, leaves a film on the metal to provide its oxidation protection. Running traction tires over those rails will pick up some of the inox onto the rubber tires. Reports are that this will much more rapidly degrade the traction tires.

And remember a key aspect of this: the goal is not to have clean rails. It should not matter if the rail is clean, or if wiping it with a cloth or finger shows a black streak of dirt.
The goal is to maintain good conductivity, so use products that maintain conductivity. I'd prefer a grey conductive rail that requires very infrequent to almost no effort all day over a shiny silver clean rail that is less conductive or that requires very regular cleaning to maintain that shiny silver state.

Attacking the article that presents the various solvents based on polarity and the discussion in the articles about the pros and cons of polarity on maintaining conductivity or attracting dirt, just because its not scientific enough for your taste is pointless. Its not a peer reviewed research paper, but a collection of expert opinions that serves to guide the reader on better cleaner selection. Use it to try a better option and see if it works better for you. That its not scientifically rigorous doesn't make it worthless, it doesn't make it or its conclusions wrong. Your letting the concept of best be the enemy of 'good enough'.
Toys of tin and wood rule!
---
My Layout Thread on marklin-users.net: InterCity 1-3-4
My YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Minok1217/
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Offline Bigdaddynz  
#78 Posted : 30 September 2020 01:19:00(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 17,428
Location: New Zealand
Originally Posted by: Minok Go to Quoted Post
Do NOT use inox if you run locomotives with rubber traction tires.


There's a warning on the Inox can which says that rubber may be affected by using Inox, so yes this is a pertinent warning.

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