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Fun stuff.

I don't have the luxury of garnering access to a mechanical track cleaning locomotive. But I will explain what I do.

Plastic wheels leave a mysterious residue behind on the brass rail. Mysterious is why they use a polymer which would do that to make the wheels, when inexpensive plastics that don't smear are available. Wiping and rubbing the track with alcohol on a sock was not getting this residue off the rail, so I took a really fine, soft sanding bit on my dremel tool and simply buffed the residue off of the rail. It worked great, was kind of fun to do, but it does take a minute amount of brass in the process and I did not like the prospect of doing this again.

Then I discovered that using mineral spirits on a rag or sock, will easily remove the plastic residue because the mineral spirits eats plastic! But one thing to remember is that this could affect the precious plastic ties under the track, if enough is used for a long period of time. Mineral spirits are fairly cheap to get at your hardware store, and turpentine probably has a similar effect. These paint thinners go after petroleum products like paint or plastic.
 

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Fun stuff.

I don't have the luxury of garnering access to a mechanical track cleaning locomotive. But I will explain what I do.

Plastic wheels leave a mysterious residue behind on the brass rail. Mysterious is why they use a polymer which would do that to make the wheels, when inexpensive plastics that don't smear are available. Wiping and rubbing the track with alcohol on a sock was not getting this residue off the rail, so I took a really fine, soft sanding bit on my dremel tool and simply buffed the residue off of the rail. It worked great, was kind of fun to do, but it does take a minute amount of brass in the process and I did not like the prospect of doing this again.

Then I discovered that using mineral spirits on a rag or sock, will easily remove the plastic residue because the mineral spirits eats plastic! But one thing to remember is that this could affect the precious plastic ties under the track, if enough is used for a long period of time. Mineral spirits are fairly cheap to get at your hardware store, and turpentine probably has a similar effect. These paint thinners go after petroleum products like paint or plastic.
Well about the plastic: I mainly model in ho which I know is not what this forum is meant for but us small scale modelers also have this same wheel residue problem. I myself have not yet experienced it but I have heard of others who have had this same problem. That is an interesting solution though. I’ll try to remember that.
 

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Well about the plastic: I mainly model in ho which I know is not what this forum is meant for but us small scale modelers also have this same wheel residue problem. I myself have not yet experienced it but I have heard of others who have had this same problem. That is an interesting solution though. I’ll try to remember that.
In HO? Funny thing is that just today I was thinking about the fact that HO trains use plastic wheels in most of the rolling stock.
Frankly, it shocks me that such lightweight trains as HO would be leaving a plastic residue on that tiny track. I could see how it might happen if the trains are heavy or something though/
 

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In HO? Funny thing is that just today I was thinking about the fact that HO trains use plastic wheels in most of the rolling stock.
Frankly, it shocks me that such lightweight trains as HO would be leaving a plastic residue on that tiny track. I could see how it might happen if the trains are heavy or something though/
Yep I’ve heard of it happening with HO. Most of our wheels nowadays are actually metal though. We’ve moved away from plastic because of that very reason and metal lowers the center of gravity and is more realistic. Funny thing is though, most of my stock is plastic wheeled as I own mostly old tyco stock but my locomotive are mostly modern.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Fun stuff.

I don't have the luxury of garnering access to a mechanical track cleaning locomotive. But I will explain what I do.

Plastic wheels leave a mysterious residue behind on the brass rail. Mysterious is why they use a polymer which would do that to make the wheels, when inexpensive plastics that don't smear are available. Wiping and rubbing the track with alcohol on a sock was not getting this residue off the rail, so I took a really fine, soft sanding bit on my dremel tool and simply buffed the residue off of the rail. It worked great, was kind of fun to do, but it does take a minute amount of brass in the process and I did not like the prospect of doing this again.

Then I discovered that using mineral spirits on a rag or sock, will easily remove the plastic residue because the mineral spirits eats plastic! But one thing to remember is that this could affect the precious plastic ties under the track, if enough is used for a long period of time. Mineral spirits are fairly cheap to get at your hardware store, and turpentine probably has a similar effect. These paint thinners go after petroleum products like paint or plastic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mine in the original video is not a loco but just a short HLW car with the brush attached and a circus loco cab situated over the battery. It has no power itself but is being "pushed" by the LGB locomotive using magnets--one on the front of the loco and one on the back of the brush car--oriented so that they repel. If you look close at the brush car movement, you'll notice the herky jerky action of the magnets. This was inspired by a Garden Railways article about using strong magnets.
 

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My track is aluminum (Code 250). I clean my track with a drywall sander with a scotch-brite pad instead of sandpaper. For really dirty track with gummy residue, I put a small amount of Dexron III auto transmission fluid on the pad. Incidentally, I got the idea from an HO club in the area. It also works on brass, as I've used it on our modular rr too.
 
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