G Scale Model Train Forum banner
21 - 23 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
744 Posts
I have had some experience running gauge one electric and live steam trains since 1982 in my garden and using brass track. Our climate in the greater Paris (France) erea is oceanic with regular rainfall which more or less prohibits electric running from late October to March, which is one prime reason for moving to the south of France. After many years of experience, I tended to run either electric or steam and to run steam when rain was announced in the weather reports. Rain tended to wash away the oil deposits sprayed onto the track by early Aster steam locos. (the ones with graphited yarn piston glands and packing) since they now fit teflon ones and O rings the problem is less critical). During good spells of weather, when we had a dry spell for two to three weeks on end (not often) I found that if I stuck to electric traction supplied by the track everything was good for a good week, this even with MTH DCS installed [with large section feeders fed every 4 meters to the track, bonded rails (I hate rail clamps), Bridgewerks power supply, as recomended by Raymon Manley] without a track clean. I cleaned the track with an LGB abrasive track cleaning block.
Whith rainy weather I had to clean the track more often. due to quick oxidation, which could be due to the fact that our house was situated on the path of air traffic landing at Roissy airport.


After over 62 years of model railroading mostly in HO, however there are some established rules about electric pick up which people should understand: Primarily keep the current draw of your engines down, on my older HO pike when I switched from regular open cage traction motors to Portescap, coreless motor drive (most of my motive power was built from kits) the current drop ennabled me, on an indoor layout with nickel silver rail to eliminate track cleaning to a once a year occurence. The quality of the tire on the engines is also critical: Stay away from aluminum tyres (IE Lionel, my Geep is refited with NWSL wheelsets). Also worm gear drive can be a source of problems because an engine won't coast over a dead spot, whereas a direct drive one will. In the case of my very powerful SNCF 2-D-2 9100, which has four maxon motors nose supended through a direct gear train to each independent axle, the engine tended to coast right through my number 8 pointwork, when I reopened the line after winter in the spring and some of the point blades didn't establish contact. Thats a big help.

This of course goes in direct oposition to US garden railways suplyers practice which use extremly high current load motors (My lionel GP9 can draw over 4 amps!) worm gear drive etc. So it won't be much help for most fans reading this. Also direct drive doesn't always respond to expectations I still have in storage two early Märklin six wheel Henshel diesel switchers whose AC motors work so badly on DC that I never use them. [I am keeping them because they would make ideal mechanism for a SNCF Baldwin A1A-A1A 6200 switcher - a lighter less powerful version of the AS-616, we got with the Marshal plan; in which case I would remotor them with coreless motors).
On my pike which was partly ground level, cleaning rails was becoming a pain in the kisser with age, so I am thinking about using battery on my new line in southern france (Ardèche). Or dedicated portions of electric tracks with perhaps a bit of catenary.
I have tried to cover this in detail having some experience with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
LGB brass track? I will rub just the TOP surface of the rail with a good dab of mineral spirits on a sock. This rubs off the plastic residue and electrical residues real easy. Avoid exposing the plastic ties to mineral spirits, it's not great for the plastic. If you don't have mineral spirits or turpentine, but have stubborn plastic residue, then you can get out your dremel, put on a really soft and fine sanding bit, and with a high RPM it can gently buff the rail clean and good. I came up with this dremel idea myself, so if anyone objects feel free to do so since I heard that a sort of similar method with steel wool is bad, but I don't think the dremel method kicks anything up beyond the finest brass or plastic dust.

After I address the rail top surface, i get out the vinegar and a tooth brush and will brush this lightly on all over the rest of the rail and perhaps any dirty spots on the ties as well. A toothbrush with 2 parts vinegar 1 part water really cleans up the black dust from the rail. After the light toothbrush scrub, I come back around with a damp paper towel and remove all the dislodged scuzz from the track, and then maybe even come around the crevices of the track and rail using a damp Q-tip.
 

·
Super Modulator
Joined
·
22,086 Posts
While (single lead) worm drive does not allow coasting, you have never lived until you parked your double lead worm drive (which does allow coasting) on a grade, only to come back and the train has traveled backwards down a 3.4% grade 60 feet!

Without real brakes, trains that can "coast" will have issues with an outdoor layout unless dead flat. Really not for most garden railroads.

Also, I would love to have more efficient motors, but ce la vie... would be prohibitively expensive to replace what we have. So I run a 12 to 20 amp DCC system.

Greg
 
21 - 23 of 23 Posts
Top