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    • August 14, 2020 12:25 PM EDT
    • Found this video on YouTube. If our school district does distant learning again, this may become a science experiment to do with the kids. Oh heck, we'll do the experiment anyway. Just need to find a container large enough to hold a 6' piece of track. I watched another video where he used Acetone to clean the parts instead of Hydrochloric Acid, think I'll go that way too.

      https://youtu.be/G-PtnwtOR24

       

    • August 12, 2020 5:48 PM EDT
    • Ted, that's beautiful!

      Can you tell us more about the process?

    • August 12, 2020 5:18 PM EDT
    • Here is a picture of my nickeled rail with LGB ties. Looks pretty good.

    • August 11, 2020 11:50 PM EDT
    • Because I’ve been working with a few platers with my antique car restoration hobby I got a whole tube of rail plated for N/C so it cost me nothing. Now the rail was older but like new, bright and shiny so it didn’t need any real prep. I have probably another tube and a half of weathered rail that will require cleaning to plate. My neighbor is a professional polisher and told me he has a technique to clean it fairly quickly.

       i put on my box of ties and the rails look real good.ill get some pictures of it. I realized it was just a little short of a full tube with two pieces being about 4’ or so. Im even curious on taking apart some 1600 series switches and having them plated also. The plater told me it really cost next to nothing for the nickel that’s on them and it’s always the prep polishing that costs. I really need to start drawing out my layout and see just how much rail I’ll need anyway.

      on the comment about battery power, it’s not what my plans are. I want to be more of a spectator than an operator so my intentions are to have an automated system where I can be in my yard and my trains are running, doing their on thing, going their own routes, based on automatic systems. Down the road if it fails, I can go to battery if needed.

    • August 11, 2020 4:46 PM EDT
    • Michael, I just use a swiffer (with a damp towelette or whatever they call it).  I'd be happy to send you a small sample of their rail, if TL doesn't (just call Joanne there, she owns it; or maybe ask Dan Pierce here), and you can see how not easy it is to file the plating off. 

       

       

    • August 11, 2020 3:57 PM EDT
    • Cliff Jennings said:
      Michael Kirrene said:

      Yeah, I was contemplating the TrainLi NpB track, but it ain't cheap. You get the best of both worlds there - great conductivity and looks. Their nickel-plated rail looks more realistic than the brass (on top). So even if you're running battery power and don't care about good conductivity, you have the cosmetic advantage with the nickel-plated brass track. They say their NpB rail rivals stainless.

      https://www.trainli.com/NpB-G-scale-flextrack-lgb-compatible-p-95

      I have the TL track, using rail power (DCC), and I love not having to clean it but a couple times a year. The plating is really tough; but if you want to solder to the brass, it's possible to grind the plating off (in a small spot) to do so. 

      I also love their rail clamps, which have a single stainless (or brass) horizontal j-shaped block on the underside of the track, and two flat head screws opposite the hook of the J. When you tighten down on the screws, they bit in slightly into the rail, making it impossible to slide. And since the screw head faces up (vs horizontally), it's easy to make / break the connections.

       

      Thanks, Cliff. I was wondering about the integrity of the nickel plating (not to be confused with nickel silver) on the TrainLi NpB after it's been cleaned quite a few times. What do you use to clean the rails so you don't accidentally wear through to the brass? Also good to know about their rail clamps - was wondering about those too. And not to get off the subject, but I see that you use Railpro too and assume that you like it. 

       

    • August 11, 2020 3:29 PM EDT
    • Ted, sounds like a fascinating prospect to plate your own rail. I'm brain dead on the topic, but admire the gumption and look forward to see your procedure. 

       

      You might contact Train Li for a piece of Nipl rail to compare against your test results, in regards to flaking, bending, banging, etc. Or PM me, and I'll send you a couple of ~6" scraps. 

    • August 11, 2020 3:23 PM EDT
    • Michael Kirrene said:

      Yeah, I was contemplating the TrainLi NpB track, but it ain't cheap. You get the best of both worlds there - great conductivity and looks. Their nickel-plated rail looks more realistic than the brass (on top). So even if you're running battery power and don't care about good conductivity, you have the cosmetic advantage with the nickel-plated brass track. They say their NpB rail rivals stainless.

      https://www.trainli.com/NpB-G-scale-flextrack-lgb-compatible-p-95

       

      I have the TL track, using rail power (DCC), and I love not having to clean it but a couple times a year. The plating is really tough; but if you want to solder to the brass, it's possible to grind the plating off (in a small spot) to do so. 

       

      I also love their rail clamps, which have a single stainless (or brass) horizontal j-shaped block on the underside of the track, and two flat head screws opposite the hook of the J. When you tighten down on the screws, they bit in slightly into the rail, making it impossible to slide. And since the screw head faces up (vs horizontally), it's easy to make / break the connections.

       

       

    • August 11, 2020 3:14 PM EDT
    • Nickle Silver might rival stainless for looks, conductivity and ease of cleaning, but I am sure glad I had stainless down when the tree trimmers I hired walked all over it early this spring with no damage.

       

       

      @trainman - You're new here, so you get a pass; but there is kind of an unwritten rule that battery guys don't inject "battery is better" in a track power thread and track power guys don't claim "track power is better" in a battery power thread. Keeps everyone friends    And I probably should have said this privately, so I hope you take it as friendly criticism.

    • August 11, 2020 1:11 PM EDT
    • Yeah, I was contemplating the TrainLi NpB track, but it ain't cheap. You get the best of both worlds there - great conductivity and looks. Their nickel-plated rail looks more realistic than the brass (on top). So even if you're running battery power and don't care about good conductivity, you have the cosmetic advantage with the nickel-plated brass track. They say their NpB rail rivals stainless.

      https://www.trainli.com/NpB-G-scale-flextrack-lgb-compatible-p-95

    • August 11, 2020 10:33 AM EDT
    • Seem like a lot of work just to get somewhat better rail connectivity when you can go with a battery system and RC control to power your engines and be done with it. I realize that back in the day things were different and I'm pretty sure that many still run their railroads this way, but thanks to today's technology we can just go out and run trains and not have to deal with rail problems that are recurring and make the hobby not so much fun at times. 

      trainman  

    • August 11, 2020 7:52 AM EDT
    • Trainli sells flex nickel and several switches.

       

    • August 10, 2020 2:41 PM EDT
    • Wow. what great timing.  I had been considering nickel plating the rails on some brass-railed turnouts to be less of a contrast with my aluminum rails.  So, the secret is copper-plate the brass, and then nickel-plate the copper?

    • August 12, 2020 11:04 PM EDT
    • Thanks Eric. I did read your thread a while back but missed Dans comments on the ties UV ability.

    • August 12, 2020 9:53 PM EDT
    • Ted,

       

      I did a "study" on these tracks:

       

      Link:  Topic: Update: Bachmann Track after 6 Months in the Tropical Sun

       

      The ties are holding up OK, but the ties on this forlorn siding are almost completely buried.  Bits and pieces become exposed as the earth shifts around and over them.  You'll note in the referenced thread that Dan P. says they are not UV protected, so the relative durability of the ties in the photo is probably a function of their low actual exposure.

       

      Aloha,

      Eric

    • August 12, 2020 5:28 PM EDT
    • I read on an older thread that the Bachmann tie strips have held up well outside. I was curious if the ties from the metal rail are also UV protected plastic. I understand they have to be trimmed of the vertical end posts and the parallel lines near the tie plates but it’s fairly easy to do. I can get a lot of the track cheap and thought of using the ties for all the other rails I have. So are the ties on the steel track any good outside? Here’s a piece I tested.   

    • August 11, 2020 11:22 PM EDT
    • Cliff Jennings said:

      Holy cow, that's some mighty fine string of switches Neil!

       

      Are you going to pre-fab your track as well?

       

      Thanks Guys,

       

      Yep, that is / was the plan Cliff.  Once I get one up and working ok I'll check what rail parts I can mass produce.

       

      The large number is kinda based on Bruce's comment 'I always needed one more.'  I took a reasonable number, doubled it - then added two for luck.  

       

      Cheers

      Neil

    • August 11, 2020 3:14 PM EDT
    • Holy cow, that's some mighty fine string of switches Neil!

       

      Are you going to pre-fab your track as well?

       

    • August 11, 2020 5:28 AM EDT
    • Yep, that patience thing certainly is involved here. Good to hear that using other than motor oil to soak them in works. Nice looking switch bases Neil.

    • August 10, 2020 10:29 PM EDT
    • Cliff, bending them over went through my mind as well, for about a millisecond.  Same reasons you mention…  Powertool of choice was a 5” grinder with a 1 mm cutoff disc, very handy for this kind of job.  Spot the bilingual measurements?  Really annoys the youngies at work... 

      Bruce Chandler said:

      Neil,

      However (there HAD to be a HOWEVER, didn't there?) you should be VERY concerned with those ties rotting. 

       David Marconi,FOGCH said:


      You could also soak them in walmanizer, deck stain, or waterproofer coatings, but don't paint it on, soak them in it like the oil above.

      I had to read twice, then google Walmanizer – never struck that word before.

      Rick Marty said:

      I'm with Dave on this.

      I soak all my wooden tie switches and bridges with a 50/50 mixture of used motor oil and diesel before install.  Then every couple of years a pull them and drench them down again with a brush then let them dry for a week or so before re-install.  Will last for years this way (for me) as long as the ties are in gravel ballast not dirt.


      Great minds think alike!   Read on..

      The last ones I made are coming up 13 yrs old now, so they make a good reference point.  I used Metalex brand preservative (zinc napthenate) and oil based stain at the time.  The new owner also made some using CCA treated pine (walmanized..   ), and used a few different brands of spikes.  Verrry interesting to compare!  

      All of the pine ties had lots of spikes pop out, both black and stainless steel, so he ended up moving to bending them over like Cliff suggested – lots of work.  The treated NZ cedar had faded completely to grey but held the black steel spikes well – very few popping.  No apparent rot – yet.  You know you've cursed them, don't you Bruce..!

      They were installed in crusher dust / fine gravel for the first 10 ish years, then on a block roadbed with no ballast for the last 3.  So, conditions were completely free draining and (mostly) in full sun.

      Given all that, I went for repeating the Metalex preservative, then an oil stain.  HOWEVER (nice way of saying But!, lol) I soaked them for as long as I reasonably could, either a few hours or overnight.

      Here’s 12 x #5, and 10 x #6, (plus a couple of stuff ups) ready to go..



      We were mid winter at this stage and the turps solvent base took over a month to dry to the touch.  And the workshop stunk..  

      For better or worse, I’ve stockpiled AML track with the ties that rot in the sun.    But at that stage I didn’t know and I was trying to colour match them - ish,  I ended up using 50/50 Charcoal and Redwood oil stains mixed together.  That was just a 5 min brush and soak job.  My patience with this job was running out, and no rail down yet..





      Then wait another three weeks for that lot to dry!  Patience is a virtue, la la la..  Nah! 

      Getting closer to real time now, sneak peak of some rail on the first turnout below.  It wasn’t smooth sailing – most of my 332 spacers had too much tolerance for code 250 rail and there was a lot of rework..  Once I remake them I’ll be better placed for that production line thing..



      Cheers
      Neil

       

      Edit for Tpyos..