Monday, March 14, 2016

Graphite for better conductivity?

Since my last post where I mentioned that I planned to use some Graphite to help with dirty tracks, I had some comments about it so I did a further reading and thought I share a bit more about it.

The original thread on N was "Best Track Cleaning liquid" where a poster asked what everyone used to clean track?  One poster, Paul S. mentioned how he uses Graphite.
My first thoughts and questions were about reduced tractive effort or slipping?

He replied:
"None at all, Allen. If someone finds that's occurring, then it's a sure sign they have applied too much. Clean the track once, apply a few swipes of graphite here and there (must be from a graphite stick, not a pencil). Then let the trains distribute the graphite.
This topic has been delved into on the Model Railroad Hobbyist forum and in the MRH e-zine. I was a "slow adopter," having been a staunch No-Ox advocate. No more!

Here are two links of interest:

It's the micro-arcing between the rails and the locomotive wheels that creates most of the black crud we see on nickel-silver rail. The graphite, being a conductor, almost eliminates this problem."

So I found a few sticks on eBay and and have applied a bit on the layout before the next session to see if it helps or not. After reading the actual MRH article and watching the video, I think I'll re-apply some in the manner in which the guy in the video did.

It almost sound too easy and simple, but what do we have to lose?


  1. Thanks for the info and links Allen. I will await your report on the testing.

  2. Thanks for the links, Allen. It certainly looks interesting.

    1. Ron I'm looking forward to seeing how it will do as well. Might be a while before I see how well this works (or doesn't) but I am planning for at least one Ops session before too long.
      No problem on the the links.