Use a graphite stick from an artist supply shop instead of powdered
graphite on the rails. I only used powder on locomotives where access
to the contacting surfaces is limited.
I had good success with graphite and still use it on occasion but I now
much prefer No-Ox-Id A. Thoroughly clean the rails before application
and then clean off the rails with Masonite type boards. This seems to
work very well and requires only limited cleaning after (1.5 years into
For locomotives I disassemble the trucks and clean all contacting
surfaces until shiny. I then apply the No-Ox-Id and again clean off
To clean the wheel pockets I chuck a round wood toothpick into a hobby
drill. I dip the end of the toothpick into polishing rouge to help the
process. I use electronics cleaner to remove the rouge when complete.
To clean wiping surfaces I use a fiberglass contact cleaner such as sold
For the wheels themselves I chuck them lightly into my Dewalt drill and
turn them at high speed with a light application of the fiberglass
contact cleaner until shiny. I also use the fiberglass contact cleaner
on the axle ends.
The combination of both track and engine cleaning leads to nearly
completely stall free switching operations in N Scale. HO should only
be much better.