It is spring here at my El Paso home in the Chihuahuan Desert. Spring in the desert means windy days and wind kicks up the dust in extraordinary amounts. The HVAC was recently serviced with a good scrubbing of the A/C coils and a new filter installed. Dust gets into everything here, even into closed cupboards. The Wheeling Freight Terminal had a coat of dust accumulation from the last couple of years. With an operating session set for this week, it was time to take action.
We have a vacuum with a long hose and a brush attachment. I used this to scrub away dust from all track and flat layout surfaces. I was glad there is no layout scenery so I could vigorously scrub the surfaces. The layout is sectional so freight cars were rolled off of a couple layout sections to enable a clear cleaning area. It did not take long to realize the scrubbing was overdue. The work went quickly. I concentrated on a foot square area, using the vacuum brush in one direction then scrubbing the same area with the brush moving 90-degrees from the original motion. I snapped a few images to share. Here’s a layout spot where the dust remained. It’s the light area to the right of the pencil.
Before moving the freight cars back onto the newly cleaned sections, a piece of cork was rubbed over the rail heads to remove dirt. I use wine bottle corks that are cut lengthwise into a half cylinder. No fluid was applied, although I have soaked the cork face with 90% Isopropyl alcohol to clean the track a couple of times. Usually the dry cork face is enough to remove the light film that accumulates between monthly sessions. A few corks are kept handy for track cleaning.
Once the rails are clean, the freight cars are rolled back onto the refreshed layout sections and another couple of sections are cleared. The work took less than an hour for my 10×16 layout.
After cleaning the track and moving the freight cars back into position, I applied a drop or two of Aero-Car Conducta Lube & Cleaner to the back of the switch points and to the hinges that connect the point rails with the closure rails. This helps keep an electrical connection in these mechanical connections.
The layout was now much cleaner. I took one more step to combat dust that comes from the air vent. I bought a pack of vent filters and installed these to reduce the dust that comes into the room via the air duct. This shoots right out over the layout, so I hope these filters cut down some of the particles. I’ll check these at the end of May for dust accumulation.
With the layout cleaning and prepping complete, I can focus on the clerk inventory lists for the inbound and outbound freight cars. It’s a simple task of writing down the car type, railroad initials, and car number in the order they sit on the various tracks. I’ll determine the car destinations tomorrow and add them to the inventory so the layout is ready for the op session.
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