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Which brand of OO or HO track stays clean best.


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  • RMweb Gold

I am asking this question as I am about to lay track in a tunnel under my main station and wish to minimise track cleaning requirements.  It struck me that perhaps different brands of track may use different materials for the rails, and that this in turn may affect their propensity to get dirty, (or stay clean).

 

The tunnel will contain four tracks. Two of these are the main line continuous run so will see most use during an operating session. The third track is the approach road to the sidings and will see frequent use. The fourth track is a branch line that will see less use.  

 

Currently I have a mixture of Peco code 100, Peco code 83, Tillig Elite and Rocoline track but am willing to consider any other brand if it helps with cleaning in the tunnel.

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Personally I think you have covered a few brands & although I have used Fleischmann Profi & the brass model tracks (neither available now), both Rocoline types, Trix, Kato, Piko (the German one) & Hornby they are much of a muchness.

 

Clean wheels & good housekeeping are the keys & different modellers will have their own "pet" methods which work for them.

 

I do sometimes resort to gently using a track rubber but never the Peco one - IMHO it's too abrasive & should have been discontinued decades ago.

 

I use the Roco or Piko** Track Cleaning Wagons with the pressure springs removed so that the pad rests gently on the track.

 

& lastly, I use a sparing application of Track Magic (also good for pickup wipers.)

 

GM do a badge engineered BR version like this one ;

https://euroscalemodels.co.uk/product/gm-oo-track-cleaning-wagon-br-railfreight/

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

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  • RMweb Gold

Thank you both for those helpful replies.  I had been considering laying the Rocoline sectional track in the tunnel.  It is more expensive than Peco but I have this 'gut feeling' that it would be best in the long term.

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I use Peco Nickel Silver in OO, O & G gauges. Just run trains min once a week and no need for track cleaning. Metal wheeled stock helps also.

 

Simple

 

Brit15

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The rail material is more important than the make.

My opinion is nickel silver 1, brass 2, and steel 3. Plated is acceptable, but the plating will wear off in time.

Personally, I only use nickel silver rail (heritage trains excepted). Steel is only acceptable where conductivity is not important.

I only use train set track where sharp radii are essential for space reasons.

 

Plastic wheels belong in the bin. (I usually put IMHO, but in this case I won't!)

 

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As it’s hidden chose material first then brand/aesthetics. I’d use Nickel silver rail and likely choose a Peco product. Peco because I’m familiar with its robust longevity and reliability, and it doesn’t deteriorate in northern temperate climates. 
I’d also use double dropper wires for redundancy, and engineer the top area to be removable for worst case scenario. If there are wide temperature fluctuations ensure that you’ve got good expansion gaps at the joints.

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Ban Traction tyres.  I find tracks kept in darkness stay clean a lot longer than those in direct sunlight.  No preference for steel or Nickle Silver,

Use set track curves if you can,  not 1st or 2nd Radius but the 3rd 4th etc radius, Its available from continental manufacturers in 3ft and more radius. 

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1 hour ago, DavidCBroad said:

Ban Traction tyres.  I find tracks kept in darkness stay clean a lot longer than those in direct sunlight.  No preference for steel or Nickle Silver,

Use set track curves if you can,  not 1st or 2nd Radius but the 3rd 4th etc radius, Its available from continental manufacturers in 3ft and more radius. 

Beg to differ on the traction tyres front.

However, European manufactures use a different material than the UK makers used which gave traction tyres a bad name with UK modellers.

Having said that I usually replace the traction tyred wheelsets from diesel & OHE outline locomotives to increase pickup performance - I do not need to haul 20 coach trains up helix's.

 

I would agree on the sunlight front though - sunlight seems to tarnish the tracks.

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Could you say what material makes good traction tyres? I haven't found one yet. They are great new, but soon deteriorate. Or is this just me?

 

Tunnels should always be accessible. Otherwise guess where the train will stall or derail!

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Sorry but traction tyres are 'muck-spreaders', likewise plastic wheels, I use neither on track or anything oil based, as far as I'm concerned it's banned if ya want good running. For tunnels, and the like, use track that has never been touched by any kind of abrasive - even any kind of pencil-lead, keep it clean, and smooth for excellent running, the slightest scratch on the rail-tops can cause trouble.:sungum:

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I also consider traction tyres and plastic wheels to be muck spreaders that should be restricted to agricultural use and kept as far away from model railway layouts as possible, though I have no experience of European makes and material for traction tyres, and concede that they may be superior in performance.  Use metal wheels on all stock.  As to track, Peco code 100 nickel silver will work as well as any, but as well as a strict hygiene regime for track, stock, and pickups. minimise arcing and it's consequent carbon deposit buildup by ensuring that the track is laid level and as smoothly as possible between adjoining peices.  Keep curvature to the minimum possible and avoid turnouts in the tunnel section, and ensure that any baseboard joins it traverses are level and solid. 

Edited by The Johnster
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  • RMweb Gold

In my own case tunnel tracks have been kept to an unavoidable minimum and with no points in tbe tunnel. The four tracks under the main station will actually be under the street beside the railway. The street will be removable for access to the tunnel.  

 

I have already banned plastic wheels, traction tyres and track rubbers.

 

My fiddle yard/ storage sidings are in the open so no points in the tunnel there.

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5 hours ago, Barclay said:

A rub of graphite on the track, from a very soft pencil, or an artists' graphite stick, will help to keep it clean for ages.

 In which case, I wonder why when I tried it I very soon regretted the decision ...

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49 minutes ago, spikey said:

 In which case, I wonder why when I tried it I very soon regretted the decision ...

Your thread on the subject certainly provoked wildly differing opinions. All I can say is that in my experience it does appear to help.

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2 hours ago, Il Grifone said:

Could you say what material makes good traction tyres? I haven't found one yet. They are great new, but soon deteriorate. Or is this just me?

 

Tunnels should always be accessible. Otherwise guess where the train will stall or derail!

I have no definate idea TBH, but the Roco ones (which I use on all locomotives that have them) seem to be a sort of neoprene.

They do sometimes streatch & come off though.

I don't really like them but the mainland european manufactures ones (except the 70's Fleischmann) are a better quality.

 

Unfortunatly, the UK manufactures "did it on the cheap" (in the same manner the Flesichmann 3-pole ringfield type motor was copied) with the resultant generic hatred.

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1 hour ago, Steamport Southport said:

Why any UK model needs them is baffling.

 

My gen 1 Limby 73 poses no danger to rice puddings... Hornby rapidly added traction tyres to their ex-Lima models after the first releases.

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Lima seemed keen on steel blocks for weighting diesels and electrics. Lead is a bit denser (and more toxic, but we are not going to handle it much), but there is plenty of room for a bigger weight.

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4 hours ago, spikey said:

 In which case, I wonder why when I tried it I very soon regretted the decision ...

So do I, as I have found it very effective in improving pickup and slow running performance in general.  But it is a divisive issue and seems to work better for some people than others for reasons which cannot easily be explained.  It shouldn't work at all, but I have found that it does, and decided that, while it would be nice to know why it works, I'm not that bothered so long as it continues to work.

 

Frequency of use plays a part as well, or at any rate I think it does.  Running on Cwmdimbath is pretty good, but I am sure that this is at least to some extent due to the frequent, nearly daily, use that the layout gets.  An unused layout has a chance for oxidisation and similar reactions between the metal and the ambient air to develop coatings that hinder pickup and attract crud, or so I believe without much in the way of concrete evidence to support the belief...

 

So, here I am, trying to explain my belief that graphite on the railheads and frequent use help in the cause of smooth reliable running, without any actual objective proof that this is in fact the case.  For my own part, it doesn't matter as long as my running remains as good as it is, but if these matters are brought into a discussion such as this it is not unreasonable to expect to be asked for rational proof.  I therefore offer my opinion and experience with the proviso that I do not know what I am talking about!

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1 hour ago, Il Grifone said:

Lima seemed keen on steel blocks for weighting diesels and electrics. Lead is a bit denser (and more toxic, but we are not going to handle it much), but there is plenty of room for a bigger weight.

 

As anyone who has dropped one on their foot will attest. :laugh:

 

 

I should have clarified I meant new models as opposed to older models and revamped versions aimed at the "train set" market. The Bachmann MR 1P 0-4-4T for example will easily sail around with six coaches without them.

 

I think it's the fact that Continental model railways are often very large tail chasers with steep gradients as to why they are popular in Europe. Most of us don't really go in for that sort of thing even if we had the space.

 

 

Jason

Edited by Steamport Southport
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20 hours ago, The Johnster said:

.  As to track, Peco code 100 nickel silver will work as well as any, but as well as a strict hygiene regime for track, stock, and pickups. minimise arcing and it's consequent carbon deposit buildup by ensuring that the track is laid level and as smoothly as possible between adjoining peices. 

Arcing can only be caused by losing contact somewhere, if you have at least one point of contact on each side, arcing won't take place, unless across gaps - but if you have electrical gaps, without them being switched, then yes you will encourage arcing.

 

Carbon deposit ought not be a problem as it is a conductor - it's the same material as in pencils and other carbon forms, only a problem if it's mixed with oil, dust, hair and other non conducting particles.

 

Sometimes you see layouts, either in person or in photos, with the track full of kinks, unevenness, vertical and horizontal twists. Yet the owners claim they don't have trouble - which from my experience is a likely story. Maybe it's a question of running them fast enough!

 

I'm been to friends layouts and taken some of my locos, cleaning them immediately before I left home, run them and very soon afterwards, they are running poorly - because the wheels are now filthy!

I soon learnt to check the track BEFORE taking my stuff out of the boxes and having to personally clean the hosts track first! Even a garage layout doesn't take long and well worth the effort.

 

In fact looking at the track again the next time I attended (an annual event in our group), it appeared that it hadn't been cleaned, since last time I did it! Once I'd cleaned the track, my stuff ran fine for the evening.

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14 hours ago, Steamport Southport said:

 

I think it's the fact that European model railways are often very large tail chasers with steep gradients as to why they are popular in Europe.

 Please forgive the correction - "continental" as a term should be banished ! We have Triang (whose "continental" range had nothing from Europe) & those people in Devon with their magazine with the offending word in the title !

Rant ovcer !

 

As you say European layours can be very different indeed where haulage capacity is very important. Most of my larger European locomotives can handle 20 coach trains with ease & without traction tyres (where I have changed wheelsets to enhance pickup).

 

AFAIK Miniature Wunderland leave the traction tyres fitted as supplied & don't appear to have any "muck spreader" issues. Think about "muck spreading" - the much has to be present to be "spread" so maybe the so called issue is not specifically with traction tyres ?

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34 minutes ago, SamThomas said:

 Please forgive the correction - "continental" as a term should be banished ! We have Triang (whose "continental" range had nothing from Europe) & those people in Devon with their magazine with the offending word in the title !

Rant ovcer !

 

 

AFAIK Miniature Wunderland leave the traction tyres fitted as supplied & don't appear to have any "muck spreader" issues. Think about "muck spreading" - the much has to be present to be "spread" so maybe the so called issue is not specifically with traction tyres ?

Changing the name to 'European Modeller' would be wrong too, as it contains articles from all over the world, as modelling subjects.

 

Yes, There must be something in the compound in traction tyres, as certainly some models are worse than others. I think is comes down again to plenty of pickups, which isn't something that Tri-ang and Hornby Railways and Lima etc, were generous with.

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