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Railroad Maintenance

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Well, we had a successful opening. We have been up and running for two weeks now and already, I am finding things need maintenance. Engines have to run a lot in the store. It is important that engines be kept lubricated. AC Gilbert recommends lubricating engine after every 4 hours of operation. I use a thin synthetic lubricant, since they do not gum up like the older petroleum based oils do. CB Train Junction keeps a stock of lubricants in the store that are also available on our website.


Lubrication has its downside in that oil gets on the track and coats the wheels. Wheel cleaning, especially for the electrical pickup wheel, should be done every time the engine is lubricated. You can tell when wheels are getting dirty where the train no longer reaches top speed and you see sparks on the wheels as it operates. Cleaning of metal wheels can be done with solvents like Track Magic, but these should not be used on plastic parts. I find plastic wheels can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol in mild concentrations and a cotton swab. the track should also be cleaned to reduce buildup. Track Magic works very well on track.


I have also discovered a couple of pinch points on my layout that have been causing derailments. One of these is the switch light housing on the American Flyer switches located near curves. In these locations, larger locomotives that overhang the leading truck, can catch the edge and derail, or worse, come to a sudden stop. These tend not to be a problem in one direction, but can be a real headache in the reverse direction. Since I had usually operated my trains only in the clockwise direction, I discovered the problem when trying to swithch things up.


I spent the morning tearing out my crossover switches and reinstalling them with a straight section before the curve, to allow the engine bodies to recover to a straight on position before passing the switch. Problem solved.


Trackwork in progress.



Switch relocation complete




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