Why would a Locomotive stall repeatedly just after the tracks were thoroughly cleaned?


I have a situation that has perplexed me for quite some time now. I have an Athearn GP40-2 Chessie locomotive that runs flawlessly when the track is somewhat “dirty”. But when I clean the wheels on my Woodland Scenics Wheel Cleaner, and clean my track with mineral spirits in my CMX track cleaning car, the Chessie locomotive will stall probably 10 times going around my layout. Ironically it is never at the same place! I read that mineral spirits is one of the best cleaners because it’s non-polar and does not leave a residue behind that promotes black gunk. So I find myself running the train (Chessie) loco at about 120 MPH around the layout 4 or 5 times, the I can slow it down and it works fine again. Keep in mind that I usually wait an hour or so before running trains after I’ve cleaned them, just to make sure it’s nice and dry. Perplexed in Michigan

Answer ( 1 )


    I’m guessing that mineral spirits does leave a film behind that doesn’t conduct. I’ve been using Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) on my track cleaning pads and can see the change on locomotive speed as the track surface is cleaned. My past experience with mineral spirits on car parts is that it does leave a film behind and I usually cleaned them after with alcohol to get to the base metal surface before I did anything with the parts. The way you describe it, the mineral spirits doesn’t conduct and running the locomotive at high speed allows enough conductivity to break through the surface film. Do you use anything on the wheel cleaner? I use Noch clip-on track cleaners on an older caboose, placed in front the locomotive with several drops of rubbing alcohol for cleaning. The CMX car should be able to do the same. Good Luck, Ray

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