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Hi there, I have some steel track that has a little bit of rust and corrosion on it. How do I remove the rust and corrosion? Are there any non abrasive ways of removing rust and corrosion from the rails (eg.. like using a chemical that is made for model railway tracks and that also removes rust and corrosion)? And are there any chemicals that are made for model railway tracks that do this? All help is appreciated thanks :).

John.
 

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I would probably use a Scotch-Brite pad and a little CLP or other light oil. Kerosine would work well too. If the track is pitted from the rust which is quite likely, your wheels will arc as they pass this spot. If the pitting is severe the wheel will lose contact with the rail at this point. THis shouldn't be a problem with modern locomotives with pickups and drive on all wheels, but older equipment with only one powered truck or pickups on only one truck could be problematic.

Unless you have hundreds of feet of this you don't want to waste, I would switch to nickle-silver track.
 

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Welcome to the site John. What kind of "steel" track? O scale tube track?
This works great, just soak them over night and rinse them off.
EVAPORUST, sold all over, save what you use and use it over and over for a while.

 

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Welcome to the site John. What kind of "steel" track? O scale tube track?
This works great, just soak them over night and rinse them off.
EVAPORUST, sold all over, save what you use and use it over and over for a while.

Thanks for replying and welcoming me, I have HO steel track. Also will evaporust damage the sleepers or damage the paintwork on the sleepers in any way?
 

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Thanks for replying and welcoming me, I have HO steel track. Also will evaporust damage the sleepers or damage the paintwork on the sleepers in any way?
Evapo-Rust typically will not effect paint. However, if the rust is under the paint it will lift it off.
In that video they show a partial piece that was submerged half way to show the difference.
If you notice the piece remained blue.
 

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I know it seems like a shame to discard otherwise 'good' track, but I side with those who say it's time to get out the plastic and place an order for more utile track...modern stuff.

If you're hell-bent on using the steel track, even if just until Christmas or some other arbitrary date, you could purchase a liter of CLR or other lime and rust remover and soak your track lengths in a shallow pan, or maybe craft a tube with a cap on one end of ABS/PVC 4" pipe that is 40" deep, and fill it with CLR. It will cost quite a few bucks, but you could let the tracks soak over night that way. A scotchbrite pad would be useful, mebbe.

Using steel wool would leave zillions of micro-fibers of steel wool all over the place, including in and around your spike-head details. Generally, it is only as a last resort that one should use any abrasive materials on our tracks.
 

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Cut a strip of cardboard (or paper towel?), saturate with CLR, lay it on the track (not long enough to dry out and stick...
Bunnings, Coles, Woolworths, Metcash, SPAR (QLD only), Mitre10, Home Timber Hardware and Blackwood's.
I looked it up 😅 never heard of most of 'em..
So, this is just my half-baked idea to wet the railheads without soaking everything else on the layout...
 

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If steel were a high quality track material, it might be worth saving, but the metallurgy has come a long way. Steel is cheap, but as you found, it corrodes easily, and it's not as good a conductor as brass or nickel silver (which, despite the name, has a lot of copper in it).

I would just bite the bullet and replace it.
 

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It's very true! But how much track, how many switches, how much money (!), how much eagerness to rip it all up 🤬,
too many unknowns! Plus shipping to Oz!!! 😆 For the interim, John might just want to keep it running...
 

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I know it seems like a shame to discard otherwise 'good' track, but I side with those who say it's time to get out the plastic and place an order for more utile track...modern stuff.

If you're hell-bent on using the steel track, even if just until Christmas or some other arbitrary date, you could purchase a liter of CLR or other lime and rust remover and soak your track lengths in a shallow pan, or maybe craft a tube with a cap on one end of ABS/PVC 4" pipe that is 40" deep, and fill it with CLR. It will cost quite a few bucks, but you could let the tracks soak over night that way. A scotchbrite pad would be useful, mebbe.

Using steel wool would leave zillions of micro-fibers of steel wool all over the place, including in and around your spike-head details. Generally, it is only as a last resort that one should use any abrasive materials on our tracks.
Steel wool is a definete no-no, I think every train I've bought has had "DO NOT USE STEEL WOOL TO CLEAN TRACKS" written on the instructions....
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I would probably use a Scotch-Brite pad and a little CLP or other light oil. Kerosine would work well too. If the track is pitted from the rust which is quite likely, your wheels will arc as they pass this spot. If the pitting is severe the wheel will lose contact with the rail at this point. THis shouldn't be a problem with modern locomotives with pickups and drive on all wheels, but older equipment with only one powered truck or pickups on only one truck could be problematic.

Unless you have hundreds of feet of this you don't want to waste, I would switch to nickle-silver track.
Thanks for replying, but what does CLP stand for? Also will kerosene damage the sleepers and the paintwork on them?
 

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Break-Free CLP is a gun cleaner/lubricant.
CLR is a chemical solution for effectively removing stains of Calcium, Lime, and Rust. It's available at those outlets I listed and prolly many more.
 

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Welcome to the site John. What kind of "steel" track? O scale tube track?
This works great, just soak them over night and rinse them off.
EVAPORUST, sold all over, save what you use and use it over and over for a while.

 

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Get rid of the steel track. I understand that is what you have. But it will give you headaches forever.
You get the rust off today and next week it will be back. Its really not worth the effort.
 
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