Cleaning track for first time.

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Cleaning track for first time.

  • Folks,

    I know there are many debates on best cleaning practices, chemicals etc.

    I really do not want this to be one of those.

    I want to know about "bright boy" type track cleaners that I can use for my initial start up of the railroad. the very first cleaning of the rails.

    I have been building my N scale layout and reached the point I wanted to test what I have done.

    All the track is Peco code 55.

    I am using a NCE power cab to test. This is what i have used on my bench.  Once my buss line and feeders are in I plan to use ESU. I have a number of DCC sound equiped locos that I have tested on my test track which is about 6 feet long. All work well. I took the power cab to the layout and using alligator clips attempted to test the track. The loco sputtered and stalled not even moving inches. Dirty track I thought. I took a "bright bar' I bought from Micro Mark and tried to clean the track in a small section, along with a wipe down of alcohol. . No change. I tried to clean wheels of the loco using the paper towel soaked in alcohol. I could not get it to run to clean wheels. I then tried another loco and had the same result. Then I soldered feeder wires to tried that,  still no luck. I tried moving alligator clips around the layout and had the same result. all my track cannot be that bad i am thinking.

    It is a bit frustrating to me. 

    Am I missing something?

    Could it be the  "Bright Bars" from Micro Mark are not what they claim?

    Something I noticed when using the bright bar, it "shed" a lot.

    I was wondering if it did not really clean the rail at all.

    Would I be better off with Walthers bright boy?

    I see Peco,Wwalther and ME all offer a bright boy cleaner.

    as well there is the "tidy tracks"

    any advice is welcomed.


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  • Perry:

    I think you would get more responses if you reposted this in one of the model railroading forums here.

    I have used Walthers Bright Boys for years in HO with no issues.  I also use track cleaning fluid that I bought from Micro Mark, as well.  The advantage of track cleaning fluid is that it can also be used to clean locomotive wheels.  Apply some to a paper towel, lay it across live rails, and run one truck over the damp paper towel.  If the loco has all wheel pickup, the wheels over the paper towel will spin, and be cleaned.

    Good luck!

    Remember the tin can; the MKT's central Texas branch...
  • I've also used Walthers Bright Boys with no issues. It's been great for my construction and the finishing of it as well.. All my buyers absolutely love the turn out and it creates a nice and smooth finish. 

    If you have any others that worked for you please let me know

    Harold Buyer

  • I'm cleaning Super O track using Vinegar, Apple Vinegar and Unfiltered Vinegar and letting the track soak for 8 hours with the pins pulled.  When It's done soaking I'm using a small brush and brushing the oxidation and rust off then putting a little Baking Soda on the track to neutralize the acid in the Vinegar and brushing it again then soaking the track in warn water.  The Vinegar also removes any paint that might be on the ties.   I'm using an air compressor to dry the track and to make sure the pin holes are dry. The Super O track has a light coating of Zinc on the rails and I didn't want to loose conductivity.  If the pins won't pull out I'm putting some PB Blaster on them and letting them soak so they'll pull out, put the pins in the Vinegar also.  I suppose you could use some WD-40.  I am amazed how well the track is cleaning up using Vinegar and Baking Soda!