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Let the experiments begin! or Track Cleaning, again? Locked

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Let the experiments begin! or Track Cleaning, again?
Posted by NWP SWP on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 11:59 PM

OK I got permission from the club president to begin experimenting with gleaming, I'm going to use some extra flex track for this experiment, I'll be leaving the track out in the layout room and outside as well, I'll be reporting the results here.

Steven

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 1:10 AM

Steven,

I don´t want to rain on your parade, but the pros and cons of gleaming have been discussed at length over the past years, which you would have known, if you had cared to conduct a search for it. I don´t think it will add if you post your own experience, which should be no different from what others have found out.

Furthermore, I´d like to ask you to be a little bit more descriptive in the title of your threads, so people know what it will be about and do not waste their time looking at a thread they are not interested in. After all, this is a forum and not a highschool newspaper, nor is it Facebook or Twitter, where you´d want to make "friends" and collect "likes".

Cheers,

Ulrich (aka Herbert The Tin Man)

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Posted by Trainman440 on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 5:56 AM

Tinplate Toddler

I don´t want to rain on your parade, but the pros and cons of gleaming have been discussed at length over the past years, which you would have known, if you had cared to conduct a search for it. I don´t think it will add if you post your own experience, which should be no different from what others have found out.

Disagreed - Its encouraged for forum members to post their experiences to share with others who care. I think Steven should share his findings!

Tinplate Toddler

Furthermore, I´d like to ask you to be a little bit more descriptive in the title of your threads, so people know what it will be about and do not waste their time looking at a thread they are not interested in. After all, this is a forum and not a highschool newspaper, nor is it Facebook or Twitter, where you´d want to make "friends" and collect "likes".

The title should be changed to something more descriptive of the topic. That I agree with. 

 

Steven - be sure to update us with the results! Big Smile

Charles

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Charles L.

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 9:12 AM

Experiment?

I see there's no description of the protocol.  Except that the track will be left in two places.  Presumably with one sample "gleamed", and another not.

What will you be testing for?  How will you be doing it?  Are there variables you will control for?  

With experiments, these are questions that are answered before the experiment starts, not after.

 

Ed

 

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 10:01 AM

Is this to be a 'pass/fail' type of test?  If so, what criterion will you use?  How do you intend to measure results and at what point in the range of possible values or scores will you deem the results to be indicative of a pass or fail?  Why pick that value?  This has to be explained.

These questions are important because most of us will want to be convinced of the efficacy of the gleaming process COMPARED TO what we are doing currently if not using gleaming.  Which is better to keep doing, or will the gleam be markedly better and worth our while?

To make this clear, I could take eight (8) pieces of flex and lay half of them indoors and half outdoors.  One in each case would get 600 grit paper only, one in each case would be treated with a Bright Boy only, one in each case would be gleamed, and one in each case would be left untreated.

That would be for Brand A's flex track.  And only the batch or run of track in hand...other runs might have slightly, but importantly, different metallurgy.  Would Brand B's metallurgy offer different results over time? If so, how would you learn of it, and how would you account for it?  You'd have to test Brand B's track....and COMPARE it to Brand A's.

As stated earlier, an 'experiment' has to have an answerable question, testable hypothesis, verifiable results, and yield a result with a least a modicum of predictive validity (that's very important).

It's just not as easy as taking two pieces of track, laying one of them outdoors, and then rubbing both of them a certain way in an attempt to establish if your method of rubbing makes either piece better than the other on a performance dimension, or better than other lengths of track for some reason you haven't deduced.  About the best you can determine here is, with Brand A's track, the indoors or outdoors track will respond better to the method used to remove contaminants that might impede electrical contact between metal tires on rolling stock and the rails.

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Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 10:37 AM

Control, is the roughly 1,000 feet of mainline on the club layout.

The goal, is to get a result that is clener than the main, if that is achieved then I will seek to continue the experiment on parts of the layout and have that section be used as an alternate main or shoofly, as if the main is closed.

The process, I am going to start by cleaning the track with alcohol and acetone, then I polish with 400 grit sandpaper, increase grit by 400 all the way up to 4000, then I will take a razor scraper and lightly scrape the track, then I'll use a piece of stainless steel to burnish, then clean again and let sit.

If the results are unsatisfactory I will change the process and try again.

My goal right now is not to determine the best track and best process to clean said track, but if a certain process achieves a cleaner result than what the club is currently doing to "clean track", which usually ends in having to start over again, which has gotten tedious.

Steven

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Posted by bogp40 on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 10:48 AM

To get a more accurate test, you should "gleem" a section of the layout that will recieve the same amout of traffic as the rest of the layout that is track cleaned by your current method. I don't care for the polishing (gleeming) method. the polish has waxes or other protective silicone products that will make the rails slippery. It's not like car wax and any buildup, but cleaning with alcohol, or other solvent, I feel just does a better job.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 10:52 AM

1 I will not be using any polishes or such, just elbow grease and alcohol.

2 the club members have never heard of the process and aren't willing to try it on the layout.

Steven

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Posted by Mark B on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 10:56 AM

Why would you need to "experiment" with track that is outside unless the layout itself has outdoor track ?

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Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 10:58 AM

Perhaps outside is unnecessary.

Steven

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Posted by SouthPenn on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 11:05 AM

The gleaming will always clean better. The sandpaper is removing metal which exposes the pristine metal underneath.

The better question is which method last longest on the layout.

South Penn
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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 11:30 AM

The way I understand "gleaming".

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/212742.aspx

Scroll down and read Jeffrey's post.

Mike.

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 11:35 AM

NWP SWP

 

If the results are unsatisfactory I will change the process and try again.

 

 

What is the process you will use to evaluate your results?

 

Ed

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Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 11:42 AM

1 the old run your finger on the rails and see what get picked up

2 a electrical conductivity test

If upon visual inspection the track is cleaner than the mainline then I will try to convince the club to test the process on part of the layout.

Steven

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Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 1:29 PM

I'm having a real hard time trying to understand this so called experment.

Gleeming has been know for many years, and I'm sure, been prefected by now. There are many,many ways to clean track, all been proven to work, or not.

The idea is to promote reliable preformance,thru better wheel to track contact.

By taking a piece of track, and doing ''whatever '' to it,then having it lay around for an unknow amout of time,    proves nothing

A train didn't run on it before,and is not running on it now.

What's the point ????

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Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 2:20 PM

OK let me spell it out.

The club president isn't to keen on new ideas especially trying them on the layout, so I am using a extra piece of track to demonstrate my idea, if it works well enough the process will be applied to part of the club layout, we'll then run trains over it and see how that goes.

I'm also going to be trying cork roadbed as a pad for Masonite cars.

Steven

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 2:29 PM

NWP SWP

1 the old run your finger on the rails and see what get picked up

And this will just be from track laying around for awhile?  Seems to me the same amount of dust would fall on either piece of track.  Almost kind of has to, don't it?  So you should then get the same amount of stuff on your finger for each.

2 a electrical conductivity test

Of what?  Conductivity is measured between two points.  Which two points do you have in mind?

 

Ed

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Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 2:34 PM

Again it's a preliminary test to demonstrate the process, the ultimate goal is to do it on the layout and run trains, its not my personal layout so I can't just do it on layout.

Steven

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Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 3:03 PM

Ok, I've watched from the sidelines long enough......

How dirty is the layout track (i.e. occasional stalls, localized or all over, or)?

Where did the dirt come from (i.e. open room, unsealed floors/ceiling, etc.)?

When was the tracks last cleaned?  How?

While the "best" method could be debated until the bayous drain, the fact is the tracks will have to be cleaned by hand all over the layout to be effective.  So instead of redoing research and looking for "new and different", the club members would likely be better off just working on the process itself - using tried and true methods like alcohol on a rag with an occasional swipe of a fine bright boy.

 And don't forget, all that track cleaning effort is worthless if the loco and rolling stock wheels are not cleaned at the same time.

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 3:08 PM

All over stalls, the contaminant is of unknown origin, the layout room is completely finished, walls, floors ceiling, the entire layout and the locomotives and rolling stock wheels were completely about a month and a half - two months ago.

Steven

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Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 3:23 PM

I assume its a DCC operation........

Is it certain the problem is "dirty track", vs. inadequate wiring/feeders?

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 3:32 PM

The track bus is 10 Guage wire so I don't think it's a wiring issue.

Yes it is DCC.

Steven

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 3:40 PM

I find it very hard to believe that a well established club would let a teenager with no experience even near their tracks or give them advise on track cleaning if they have followed his post on this forum.
 
 
 
Mel
 
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Posted by nealknows on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 3:54 PM

RR_Mel

I find it very hard to believe that a well established club would let a teenager with no experience even near their tracks or give them advise on track cleaning if they have followed his post on this forum.
 
 
 
Mel
 

This is why young people get discouraged from the hobby. Let the young man try to do this, successful or not. Also, not everyone reads the forums. If he fails; lesson learned. If not, he's helping his club. Let's give him suggestions, not berate him for something no one else in his club wants to do.

Let's hear how he makes out..

Neal 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 3:56 PM

If I remember correctly this is the same layout you were cleaning with VOCs until people started to get sick, correct?

.

This layout should not have the operational problems you are describing. Every club layout I have seen that was operated regularly had no such problems. I doubt gleeming will do much of anything to the trackage.

.

How old is this layout? What brand track is it?

.

If all the track, rolling stock, and locomotives were cleaned recently, and it is that bad again, you have deeper problems.

.

Good luck.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 3:57 PM

Isn't that the goal of an experiment? To test the outcome of a theory?

The layout is roughly 20 years old, I'm not sure of the track brand but it is nickel silver flex track.

One of the theories is that the new flooring, foam rubber tiles, which was installed after the flood, (the building got about 2 feet of water but the layout survived) are causing the gunk.

 

Steven

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Posted by bogp40 on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 4:11 PM

The contaminated, dirty track could be from member equipment both engines and rolling stock. I belong to a rather large club, www.ssmrc.org . We have set standards to help with keeping the track clean. With 60+ members and thousands of pieces of equipment on a DDC layout, we will from time to time experience poor operation from dirty track. All rolling stock must have metal wheels (could be debatable the plastic vs metal, I feel plastic with static charge attracts more dirt), members will always clean locomotive wheels quite often. We do run track cleaning cars on a regular basis. Before any show or open house do a full cleaning of all mainlines and yards.

This seems to work for us and have very little issue with the dirty track. It is a completely finished building with climate control, if this is part of what keeps the RR running so well.

A bit of track and it does manage to stay rather clean.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 4:38 PM

Two more comments..........

While the track buss is 20 ga, what about the feeders?  Are the 3-5 feet apart or ?

Living just north of Houston for 37 years, I know a lot about "flooding".   With 2 feet of water absorbed into the benchwork and the humidity effect upon the layout, I'm not surprised there are track cleaning problems.

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 5:30 PM

NWP SWP
The process, I am going to start by cleaning the track with alcohol and acetone, then I polish with 400 grit sandpaper, increase grit by 400 all the way up to 4000, then I will take a razor scraper and lightly scrape the track, then I'll use a piece of stainless steel to burnish, then clean again and let sit.

The link to Jeffrey's method only went to a grit of 600.  If you have the patience to go to 4000 grit, well more power to you, but why then scrape it with a razor?

Internet wisdom is that burnishing with stainless steel fills the pores.  Sounds reasonable but how do we know this, short of an electron microscope? 

Given the number of responses so far, I think there is actually a lot of interest in a real experiment. 

An electron microscope is a bit of hyperbole.  It needs something more than a blown up cell phone picture, but a magnified picture of 20 or 40x ought to be achievable with minimal expense.

I would suggest

  1. regular unpolished rail
  2. rail sanded with 600 grit
  3. rail sanded with 600 grit, burnished with a stainless washer.
  4. rail sanded with 2000 grit
  5. rail sanded with 4000 grit

Compare close up pictures.  Presumably the rail is progressively more smooth.  I have an open mind whether burnished or 4000 grit is smoother.

The second part is to run trains. Now we have to prove that there is a relationship between smooth rail and clean rail.  Here we have some who run mixed metal and plastic wheels vs all metal wheels. 

In the ideal world, we would have two clubs.  Both have similar train density, one runs all metal wheels, the other mixed plastic and metal.  Both would have a place where a 3' piece of flex track could be installed.  Each club would run an untreated rail, a mid shiney rail and the smoothest rail, for the same period of time.

The period of time would be an experiment unto itself.  We need to wipe, say 6" of track with an alcohol soaked paper towel and moderate pressure and look for differences. 

Nobody has a section where you can drop in a piece of rail, so the second half of the experiment will probably never happen.  The close up photo half of the experiment is easily doable.

 

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by peahrens on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 6:51 PM

mbinsewi
The way I understand "gleaming". http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/212742.aspx Scroll down and read Jeffrey's post. Mike.

Note that Jeffrey's gleaming summary included polishing (he used Blue Magic, I used Simichrome) and buffing, after burnishing w/stainless steel. 

It could be argued that the gleaming intent is to do the process only once, followed only very infrequently with less rigorous touch up, such as dusting, masonite cars, etc.  I presume that the polishing effect could have an initial, incremental effect that eventually would fade at least partially.  So I suggest that an cool experiment would perhaps include 2 gleaming variations, with and without polishing., and include observation over time if the polished approach came in first, to see how that marginal help would sustain.

An alternative idea, for what it's worth.  Find a club member who has DCC w/sound and used bright boy type periodic cleaning and has a worst section of track.  Have him clean it with the BB and then log how long it takes for a noted amount of trouble to recur.  Then do the gleaming w/o the polishing step and have him compare, operating the same train and the same amount of use.  Then again with gleaming including polishing.  An issue would be other variables that occur, of course.  Ideally, he would repeat the cycle enough times to establish decent averages to have faith in any differences in results.  This experiment could take awhile!

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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