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Super Modulator
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I did a lot of research and reading on every forum when Art started having the problem.

(hint: read the links presented).

By far the 2 most common problems with anything black on SS rail is hard black plastic deposits from plastic wheels, and a dry powdery dust from arcing on high current locos. (By the way, the plastic from wheels can also build up on the steel wheels of other rolling stock, only to be re-deposited later).

Art found something different, and I also found one other thing, that certain chemicals can cause blackening/deposits on SS.

Regards, Greg
 

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Posted By Greg Elmassian on 01/29/2009 7:51 AM
There are very few people who have had problems.

The two types of "black stuff" reported are very different.

One type is black "dust". It appears this is carbon from arcing between loco pickup wheels and the rail. This is easily wiped off with a finger, and is normally dry and powdery. Normally it is no trouble, does not need removal.

Regards, Greg

Greg,

First let me thank you for all your input on MLS. While I don't reply much (or post) I have gleaned much.

The 'dust' from arching was always a problem on my railroad in Central California. I had to clean the wheels of the locos frequently, and the track as well. Usually on the track just a couple of loops
with a track cleaning car did the trick. There were spots however that required a tad more work, but nothing major. For some reason, here in Arkie, do not have as much problem with it except on
my older units. Upon inspection of the older locos wheels, after the plating wears down, I have more arcing. I do run brass track and that may be more of a problem. No experience with SS.

I figure it's just part of maintenance for the railroad. I run metal wheels on all my rolling stock. Used to clean them from time to time, but haven't in a few years.

Anyhow, that isn't relative to the SS track issue at hand. Just threw it in! lol

Monte
 

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Super Modulator
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Thanks Monte, your experience is exactly what I experience, and in my quest to understand this, by far the most common experience of all the people I have talked to.

It seems that if there are no other pollutants, or just water on the rails, the dust does not cause a problem. It stays dry, and does not really build up, it can be washed or wiped off easily.

Running at night, I see arcing on the wheels of my locos, and several of my friends that have looked at their trains in the dark on SS rails have seen the same.

My theory is that in some climates, the dust is turned into a goo. It could be pollutants, sea air moisture, etc.

Just my theory. Art's experience is that his problems vanished when his loco wheels were stainless, and were worse with worn wheels on locos, especially when the plating wore off.

Regards, Greg
 

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Greg,

What you said about the water washing off the arcing is probably why at times, there wasn't as much of a problem in Calif. I had a sprinkler system on part of the line and it came
on twice a day in the season. This old man forgets about some things until someone reminds me.! lol

Monte
 
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