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GNRi1959
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Having spent some time modelling in N gauge, I managed to build a nice simply layout for my grandson that allows him to run locos and wagons around a loop with a siding. I was very cautious with my spending as N gauge is no cheaper than OO gauge. I was quite disappointed by the amount of cleaning N gauge requires, perhaps the dirt and grime gathers more in smaller scales but I found myself cleaning the track almost every time I wanted to run locos.

Anyway, I intend to return to some sort of OO gauge modelling when time allows.

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I have worked on and off in N Gauge for over 40 years both exhibition and private layouts and never experienced problems with poor running as a result of dirt an grime once I replaced my Lima locos with Minitrix, Graham Farish and Atlas in the early 1980s.

I switched to American outline in the late 80s because of the superior detailing and running of the Kato and Atlas diesels and the much more realistic and reliable Microtrains knuckle couplers and never really looked back.

Its possible that conditions in the room (temperature or humidity) may be a factor in the amount of dust and grime gathering, I never found a need for frequent track cleaning on exhibition or home layouts including a bedroom with carpets. I originally used a track cleaning rubber but bought a track cleaning car which I would run round the layout once or twice a month when I built a largish N gauge layout in the attic of a house in Dublin.

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All sorts of factors can affect running Tony, but temperature and humidity can cause problems. Living in a centrally heated workshop, Arigna Town never liked cold exhibition halls, while the unsealed concrete floors of the No 5 Covered Slip in Chatham Dockyard were a nightmare at shows there - folk were cleaning rails and wheels several times a day.

 In my experience the other key factor is how many pickups the loco has, with the basic rule being 'as many as possible'. Bo-Bo and Co-Co diesels can be great if picking up on all wheels, whereas short, four wheel locos will always be less well off.

 Those Kato and Atlas American diesels were light years ahead of British outline stuff for years with pick ups on all wheels and no doubt flywheels too. At shows, always enjoy watching American N and HO layouts - not only do the locos run well but the stock does too.

 Anyway, building a layout for the grandson sounds like a fine way to occupy Lockdown!

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Thanks David for your response, the loco's are tender driven and the wheel are so difficult to keep clean also. The difficulty with N gauge, having found out the hard way, is the fact that the size makes it difficult to handle, uncouple, clean and see!

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1 hour ago, GNRi1959 said:

Thanks David for your response, the loco's are tender driven and the wheel are so difficult to keep clean also. The difficulty with N gauge, having found out the hard way, is the fact that the size makes it difficult to handle, uncouple, clean and see!

Tony

What locos are you using?

Steam locos or diesels with pick up on all wheels is the only way you will achieve reliable running in N or any track power system for that matter.

My track cleaning car https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/cmx-products-n-cmxn-clean-machine-track-cleaning-car-brass-includes-pad/ has a tank that I fill with isopropyl alcohol which I would run round the layout once or twice a month. Expensive but worth while on a layout with 10' main line 30 plus locos and over 100 freight cars

 

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John,

To be honest, I have really got model railways out of my system. Although I live in a 1950s house with 11 rooms and a huge attic, I have never had a dedicated railway room. My shed, with its insulated walls, has now become my workspace and where my tools are stored. The one final project I would like to try is a coffee table layout, if I can source a suitable table, otherwise i will make one.

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5 hours ago, Mayner said:

Tony

What locos are you using?

Steam locos or diesels with pick up on all wheels is the only way you will achieve reliable running in N or any track power system for that matter.

My track cleaning car https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/cmx-products-n-cmxn-clean-machine-track-cleaning-car-brass-includes-pad/ has a tank that I fill with isopropyl alcohol which I would run round the layout once or twice a month. Expensive but worth while on a layout with 10' main line 30 plus locos and over 100 freight cars

 

Union Mills 4-4-0 T9 - Union Mills BR 0-6-0 - Graham Parish 2-6-4Tank with a range of goods wagons and cattle wagons.

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