On another Yahoo Group there has been a raging discussion
for over a week on the inability of HO Brass steam locomotives
prototypical length trains, especially passenger trains. I
participated on a limited basis because my personal collection
a similar problem. When the prime antagonist mentioned
used a KTM HO 4-8-4 as the primary example, I commented that
opposite of my experience and referred him to my repowering
guides. Then he casually mentioned he was a "wet rail'
and would never change. I did reply that his 'wetting
agent" reduced measurable friction as much as 50% in my
experience and that
I would expect a similar reduction in a model's pulling
power. Another factor is that he installs "wheelset brakes"
on all his equipment
(all his equipment is wiper lighted). Since then I have
been observing not participating.
However it did certainly bring to light a rather classic
naive assumption that is made when we discuss our repowering
that is Are we all playing with the same deck? I know I am
guilty of this; any guidance I provide is pretty much null and
void if you oil
your track to keep it slick and clean. My experience with
oil has been that it attracts, not repels, dust and dirt.
Another caveat to my
advice is that subsequent installation of electronics can
nullify any advantages gained. If you have electrical current
issues, pulling a
15 car passenger train with lights blazing like lighthouses
on a foggy shore will not be compensated by a more efficient
Basically I am not buying into the 'wet rail' proposal; I
haven't needed it and lubricating the rails should
significantly impact the tractive effort
of our models. Is "Wet Rails" a question we should be
asking at the start of our discussions? Maybe we should have
a "Wet Rails"
discussion within this group? For me this seemed to be a
popular practice when it seemed everyone loved their Athearn
Blue Box diesels
with sintered iron wheels and high current draw motors that
forced frequent cleaning of wheels and tracks. In that
environment 'wet rails'
may have worked for some. But all that is ancient history
for most of us. Back in this era a major model RRing magazine
article stating that flywheels won't work in model steam
locomotives (unlike diesels), because model diesels have worm
and worm gear drives
while model steam locomotives have worm and worm gear
drives. I think my subscription lapsed shortly thereafter.
OK, thoughts on WET RAILS?
Kenneth R. Clark
and chief pot stirrer