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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was chatting with a friend of my father at my mom's memorial service and he mentioned that he cleans dirty track in the dishwasher. He runs AF but thought it would work with Three rail. Besides the obvious need for a complete dry after it finishes, has any one used this method?
 

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Cleaning the track with water will only cause it to rust if not dried immediately and thoroughly. Clean the track with a rag using naptha, available at your local hardware store. Pull out the connecting pins, and use a Scotch Brite pad to remove any rust on the rails, and to clean the connecting pins. Do not use sandpaper, as it will remove the tin coating. After using the Scotch Brite, clean again with naptha to remove all residue.

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was not advocating it at all, I was more than a little curious about it. I can remember here on the forum reading about soaking track in the slow cooker but thought it was just talk. Now after what my dad's friend said I began to wonder. My first thought echo that of Gunrunner, although I have a solution too ensure complete drying. In MHO, most "shortcuts" cost more time in the long run. I will just keep using my green scratch pad.
 

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There seems to be a lot of confusion about cleaning track. There may be oil and grease on the track and there may be corrosion on the track. The method of cleaning the track is different for these two conditions.

If the track is oily or greasy, use isopropyl alcohol on a paper towel or rag to clean the oil and grease off of it. If the track is assembled into a layout, I fold up 2 paper towels into pads, and take a 3rd towel and fold it up into a pad that is longer than the other two so I can attach it to a heavy car with rubber bands and the rubber bands will not contact the rails. Then I put isopropyl alcohol on the pads and put the car behind a good loco and run it around the layout until the pads have cleaned the track. This may require changing the pad that contacts the rails to use more than one surface as the surface in contact with the track may get quite dirty. This works better than using a rag to clean only the track as it will also clean the wheels of the loco and other cars.

If the track is clean of oil and grease, and has corrosion, then the simple way to clean it is to run the train on it until the train has polished a narrow stripe on the top of each rail. I have done this with used track that even had some rust on it, and it took a few hours of running the train to polish the rails. If there is heavy rust, I use the tie on a piece of track as a scraper to scrape off the rust.

If the pins are rusty, you may want to clean them with a wire wheel before assembling them into a layout. However, you don't necessarily need to clean the pins.

What I have done for the last many years is bend the rails where the pins are installed to cause contact pressure to be created. With the pins pointing away from you, bend the left rail to the left and the center rail to the right. Grab the rail where the pin is installed so you don't crush the rail. When you connect two track sections together, the pins will burnish the inside of the rail and also the tip of the pins will be burnished. This is often enough to make a good connection. If the inside of the rail is badly rusted, you may have to clean the inside of the rail with a small rat tail file or a small wire brush.

This is the easy way to clean track and connect it together. Once the rails are bent to splay the pins, it is good forever. If you disassemble the track, you can reassemble it again without any bending of the rails.
 

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Why not simplify matters and get a track cleaner car from North East Trains ? They make a really great track cleaner that really does a great job on dirty track, I've had great results with mine.
 

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Does the track cleaning car remove rust and corrosion? Or just oil and grease?
The car has two cleaning pads. You can put 400 grit sandpaper on the front one and a cleaning pad on the rear one to remove oxidation, oil, grease and grime. You really should not have any corrosion of track if it is kept in a climate-controlled low humidity environment like mine is.
 

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I have bought a lot of used O-31 track that had various amounts of corrosion. I keep my trains in air conditioned space in my home in Florida. I don't have problems with it corroding. It's the used track that needs to be cleaned. You can see from my post that I don't mind cleaning track. What I do is very easy.

BTW, I would not use sandpaper on track. It will remove whatever plating is left.
 

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My turn.

Last year I bought a box of 031 track at my favorite auction for about $30. The box was about 16" cubed. I was able to complete my ceiling project and had a lot left over.

The track was NASTY, but not rusty. Years and years of dirt from a lot of enjoyment.

I sat in my drive with a bucket of Mr. Clean and a brush and went to town.

After rinsing, I used my Binford 2000 leaf blower to dry it all.

I made a big pile and turned it several times until the water stopped running out.

When I was convinced it was clean and dry, it went back into the box, into my airconditioned dehumidified basement.

No problems.
 

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The car has two cleaning pads. You can put 400 grit sandpaper on the front one and a cleaning pad on the rear one to remove oxidation, oil, grease and grime. You really should not have any corrosion of track if it is kept in a climate-controlled low humidity environment like mine is.
:eek: Don't use sandpaper on tubular track! You remove any of the remaining plating and then you'll be cleaning a lot more often! I use Scotchbrite on my Trackman 2000 car on my Fastrack.
 
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