Old Tyco HO Scale Set - Advice on Maintenance and Mounting

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thetravhi

New Member
HI, Everyone! Thank you for all the support. I am new to this forum and getting ready to set up my old train from my youth and mount it to plywood that will sit on a table.

I have two questions:

1) Looking at some of my rail below. What is the best way for me to mount this to my plywood board? I probably don't want to use glue, as I may move it around as I figure out my set up. But, are there nails or what should I use?

2) Cleaning of the rails. I noticed this is a huge debate online, but I am wondering what economical solution I can use to clean my rails and train wheels, since they have been in boxes for more than 20 years.

Thank you, everyone!

-Mike :)
 

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cv_acr

Active Member
There are "track nails" which are small, thin nails almost like pins. If you look at your track pieces you'll see three holes drilled in the centre of the ties for tacking it down to the wood surface with those nails.
 

gjohnston

Slow Learner
I used a very thin coat of latex caulk smoothed out very thin with a putty knife to hold my track in place. Did I say very thin? If you need to reposition the track it is not difficult to pry up with your putty knife. That is if you used it sparingly. It is very easy to apply too much. It holds very well and comes in a variety of colors to match your roadbed. I weighted the track with canned goods from the pantry to hold it in place as the caulk dried.
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santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
1) I would go with the track nails that Chris posted about earlier. It doesn't seem like you are ready for anything real permanent yet. Even after 35 years in the hobby, I still built my last layout using nails.
2) It's not really a debate, at least on this friendly forum. There are so many different ways to clean track that they cannot all be easily listed. The old fashioned way and one of the most economical way is to use a pink "school eraser", if there isn't too much crud on the rails. There are also abrasive erasers like the Walther's Bright Boy.
There are various liquids that can be applied with an old tee shirt scrap or a lint-free paper towel. Many just use rubbing alcohol and follow that with a clean dry wipe down. I would not use a cleaner like Goo-Gone as it tends to leave an unpleasant residue (substance not smell).
Don't forget that no amount of cleaning will last if you don't clean all rolling stock wheels at the same time.
Once cleaned, keeping it clean can be a chore depending on the layout room environment. Regular running of trains goes a long way in keeping track clean. In addition to regular running, I installed Woodland Scenics "Dust Monkeys" on all of my cabooses.
 

2Tracks

Ol' School
Hey Mike.....
as I may move it around as I figure out my set up.
Are you talking about moving the track around on the table top as you figure out the track plan?
Are you going to have "ballast" between the track & plywood? If mounting straight to plywood, the glue route would be by far easier option.
Cleaning of the rails. I noticed this is a huge debate
Ha, yes, certainly a lot of discussion on this topic. There are as many ways as are opinions on cleaning track. Here's were you might want to do some research on cleaning the type of track (Brass, NS) that you are going to use. I see you have two different kinds of rail in your pic. Brass & Nickel Silver (NS), they vary in cleaning processes.
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
Make sure that what you have is Nickel Silver and not steel. If its steel I wouldn't use it . You can by piles of nickel silver on ebay for very reasonable prices .

At some point buy yourself a good MRC Tech throttle , train set throttles usually have poor regulation, its hard to get the train to run at a regular speed especially if you have any grades .
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I am new to this forum and getting ready to set up my old train from my youth and mount it to plywood that will sit on a table.

1) Looking at some of my rail below. What is the best way for me to mount this to my plywood board? I probably don't want to use glue, as I may move it around as I figure out my set up. But, are there nails or what should I use?
1/2" wire nails with flat heads not brads with rounded heads. That looks like Atlas track that came with your Tyco set. There are three holes in each piece specifically for nails, but usually other than the first piece I only use one nail per track when I am using that method. When putting in a nail you will need a tool like a counter sink because the nail needs to be put in lower than the rail head to actually touch the tie. The other thing is to not put the nail in too hard/far or the tie will bow and make the track gauge too narrow.
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2) Cleaning of the rails. I noticed this is a huge debate online, but I am wondering what economical solution I can use to clean my rails and train wheels, since they have been in boxes for more than 20 years.
The never ending 30 year debate for which there is no "right" answer. I've tried them all. They all work to some degree or another depending on the circumstance. I suggest 90% rubbing alchohol then a super light wipe with Wahl clipper oil or automobile auto transmission fluid.
 

thetravhi

New Member
1/2" wire nails with flat heads not brads with rounded heads. That looks like Atlas track that came with your Tyco set. There are three holes in each piece specifically for nails, but usually other than the first piece I only use one nail per track when I am using that method. When putting in a nail you will need a tool like a counter sink because the nail needs to be put in lower than the rail head to actually touch the tie. The other thing is to not put the nail in too hard/far or the tie will bow and make the track gauge too narrow.
View attachment 123078

The never ending 30 year debate for which there is no "right" answer. I've tried them all. They all work to some degree or another depending on the circumstance. I suggest 90% rubbing alchohol then a super light wipe with Wahl clipper oil or automobile auto transmission fluid.
Thank you for the suggestions! I will try it.
 




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