Track Cleaning Solution? The NO-OX test
I came across a very provocative promise in the forums at NScale.org. One of the forum posters was making some fantastic claims about track cleaning. The basic claim being that he doesn't have to clean his track, and hasn't in four years, given the application of a type of gel (he pointedly states it is not a grease) to his rails called "NO-OX-ID “A SPECIAL”" .
This is quite a claim, and cleaning the track is probably (for all of us I'm sure) one of the least interesting aspects of this hobby. If it is true that applying this...gel..can indeed reduce the amount of cleaning that is necessary, then I am all for it!
I found a tube of this stuff on eBay. It was very cheap, and the tube is very large! I certainly have enough to last a lifetime!
Of course, track cleaning is also a highly debated topic! I am willing to try anything that does not harm the locomotives, track, take too much work, or harm my health! Of course, one has to be skeptical of a 'grease that is not a grease' and its promise that it can take away the pain of track cleaning, so I've decided to conduct a test.
The test I have set up is really simple. On my layout I have 4 independent loops (well, 5 actually, counting a very small circle for my son to run loco's in conventional mode), I decided to apply NO-OX to the inner loop on my upper level, but no where else. I expect that since all of the track on the layout will be subject to the same environment, conditions, rolling stock, etc... and the track is all about the same age (and primarily all Unitrack) then this will be a pretty fair test of the NO-OX results.
I applied it following the specific instructions that were posted on the forum. Given the risk of applying a 'grease' (yes, yes, not supposed to call it that but, "looks like a duck....etc...") I was absolutely to the letter of those instructions. I think the most important part is do NOT be tempted to apply too much. Fortunately, I didn't. And when I got to the later part of the process (where your wiping off even the small traces you put on) and running locos that, yes, are slipping pitifully, I am glad I did not over do it.
The NO-OX has now been on the layout for about a month. Let's pick early January 2009 as the 'start' date of this little test. So far, I have not had to do any cleaning on any of the track yet, so nothing to report. I will update this post the first time I find that my track is in a state where it requires cleaning and provide some comparisons.