Now there’s a surprise.
I find track cleaning a counter-productive pain and a nuisance, but I don’t think I am alone. How many times have you decided that the track has to be cleaned because you have erratic running and then set about the task trying desperately not to damage the some-what delicate infrastructure which surrounds the track? Were you successful or did it look as though a tornado had followed the path of the track-bed. Was it worth while? Was it even necessary? If you wonder I suggest you go to U-tube and watch “Track cleaning do's and don'ts. How "Not" to clean your track ! And how to do it better!”
I found the site some months ago and was fascinated, the diatribe is delivered by an enthusiastic “aussie” who has very definite ideas about track maintenance and I must say he makes sense and sounds convincing, so much so, that I intend to give it a go. I thoroughly recommend a 15 minute viewing, his delivery is entertaining (terrific), informative and his ideas warrant investigating. I love aussies their so direct and down to earth and can’t stand bullshit; being PC largely seems to have passed them by (Thank God!).
For those with little spare time I will give a synopsis of his thinking;
1. Get rid of track rubbers, they are the devil incarnate. They scratch track and only lead to more and more muck being ingrained into the surface. The residue produced gets spread around the track and into the works of your locos, while providing more and more metal deposits to interfere which the working of points and cross-overs.
2. Isopropyl alcohol: he does not recommend this as the variants he can buy in Australia contain 30% water and throwing that amount of water at a model railway can cause damage. I must admit to having adopted Iso myself, however my choice appears to be 99.9% pure alcohol so presumably it does not contain water. I suggest any labelling be scrutinised to ensure that the 30% doesn’t creep in somewhere.
3. None of the track cleaners usually used seem to promote what is actually required; conductivity. Clean track is good but it doesn’t promote conductivity or some continuing protection against the oxidisation and general muck. What is needed is lubrication which promotes current flow in the track and across rail joiners, point contacts etc., while giving an element of future protection. He has some 40 years of experience in the trade and recommends a product called INOX, which comes in a tin about the size of WD 40 (not the family size) complete with straw and is a food grade lubricant for use in the catering trade in fridges and food preparation machines, which costs only cents from his local super-market. In the UK it seems to be very hard to find (I can find only one stockist) and the price over here is certainly not “cents” it presently seems to be just over a fiver or 10 times the aussie price. I have found similar product in the UK for use on electrical products “Servisol Super 10”, it is not as cheap as Inox, but it is available at 2 tins of 200ml for about £4.
I have not said how to use the stuff. Do Not spray it directly on to your track. Use it sparingly by a quick spurt or two on to a non-fluffy cloth and wipe it over the track tops. I think the coating will be spread by the trains running. To get the best I imagine that the Iso should be used first either with a cloth or track cleaning vehicle and then the Inox spread with a cloth.
Above is a picture for which I could not think of a really good punch line. Any takers? Just to start you off here are some of our rejects.
1. Beware over-enthusiastic weatherers.
2. Care: Heavy weathering may not improve a model.
3. Be cautious when ordering “heavy” weathering from a professional
4. Where did that driver say he had been?
5. I don’t think Harry has quite mastered his new spray gun yet!
6. Ooops ..... Right brush, wrong tin!
7. Where’s that new Irish painter? I repeat, it’s green on top.
(This a rehash of an old and much loved joke)
8. This camouflage is no good that photographer can still see us.
9. Are you sure this is the companies new livery? Yes, I know it matches
the train, but.......
10. Do say they called this livery, Desert Sand? It is closer to Desert S**t!
I haven’t quite lost my sence of humour!
This livery seems to be spreading!