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Cleaning Glue and other Debris from Railway Tracks

Nigel W posted this question for readers:

“I was gluing my ’00’ Gauge-1:76 Scale railway tracks down on my ‘Woodland Scenics-underlay’ In the mean while, getting glue and other debris on the rails. I would like anyone to advise me on the best way of cleaning the rails!

I was told to use a sharp knife to scrape the glue off, and then use {Isopropy-Alcohol} / also was told to use a sandpaper by someone else. Please can you let me know, what is the best way?”

4 Responses to Cleaning Glue and other Debris from Railway Tracks

  • Frank Bsays:

    A knife will risk making chips and cuts in the rails. Sandpaper will cause grooves and scratches.

    Most glues will not stick firmly to smooth metal, so my method is to use the edge of an old credit card or similar plastic thing for such purposes. A piece of this can be cut or filed to the necessary shape of the rail profile if required.

    For very hardened glue, the appropriate solvents will work, but be careful, as some solvents (e.g. acetone or cellulose thinners) will dissolve some plastics.

    Of course, with a little imaginative painting, the bits of glue and other stuff can be camouflaged as fallen branches or natural debris on the track.

  • Sheldon Clarksays:

    A piece of wood rubbed along each rail should work. Any pieces of ballast, etc., sticking up too far can be removed with the point of a small screwdriver – the kind used on slot-headed screws, not Phillips or Pozzidrive, I would suggest.

  • W Rusty Lanesays:

    You can also use a Scotch Brite pad to clean the rails. It´s not as harsh as sandpaper. I would not use sandpaper or a knife as Frank says above for the reasons given. I´ve used Scotch Brite pads in the past and it has not harmed the rails. To get off the gunk I´d suggest that you use some 91% isopropyl alcohol after the Scotch Brite pad. Put some on a rag and go around the track to remove any loose debris.

  • Billsays:

    I wouldn’t use anything abrasive or that can scratch the rail surface. Nicks and grooves end up filling with insulating crud that creeps across the rail surface and gives you never ending problems with loco’s stalling on the track. I would start with isopropyl alcohol or Goo Gone. If these don’t cut it move onto Lacquer Thinner, Acetone or MEK. Be careful with the last ones. Wear gloves and a good quality aspirator mask and use sparingly so as not to melt any plastic in proximity.

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