While running our trains is what we want to spend most of our time doing, the reality is that our model railroads need a significant amount of TLC, too.
When it comes to N scale trains and accessories, their smaller size in relation to most other widely available scale models can make them a little trickier to look after. Thankfully, plenty of products are available to help you stay on top of cleaning and maintenance for your N scale train collection.
Let’s look at how you should clean your N scale trains and what else you need to know.
The First Rule of Model Railroad Maintenance: Prevention is Better Than Cure
We all know people who don’t regularly service their car, only to get a massive headache – not to mention repair bill – when something goes wrong.
This scenario will play out with your model trains if you don’t do what you need to, especially when working with smaller scales.
While you might not want to spend too much time doing ongoing train maintenance, your time will cost you less than needing to buy a new locomotive.
Please don’t wait until your railroad isn’t performing how you want it to before taking action. Instead, stay on top of your small cleaning and maintenance jobs to avoid a bigger problem later! Dirty components can also affect how much electricity your locomotives draw. So keeping on top of your maintenance schedule can save you money in more ways than one.
How Often Should I Clean My N Scale Trains, Track, and Accessories?
As often as you need to.
Typically, this will depend on where your model railroad is set up.
For example, if you have your model railroad table in your basement or garage, you’ll probably need to clean your model trains and train track more often than someone who has a railroad table within a glass cabinet in their lounge.
Some railroaders are fortunate enough only to need to clean their train collection two or three times a year. In contrast, others may need to clean their locomotives monthly or even more frequently.
Discover what cleaning and maintenance frequency works for you, and then stick to it!
Getting Started with Cleaning Your N scale Trains
Now we’ve dealt with the formalities, it’s time to get down to work!
Let’s look at some of the best products you can buy here at Model Train Stuff we will guarantee you keep your N scale trains in excellent working order.
Foam Locomotive Cradle
One of the most significant challenges with doing any maintenance work on your railroad is keeping your locomotives secure while you work on them.
This fantastic product from Bowser solves that problem, keeping your N scale trains secure while also protecting the paintwork, decals, or any other detail work that’s on them. It also has a storage compartment for keeping small parts, like couplers, screws, or trucks, which means you can clean your locomotives or do any additional work on them, too.
Speaking of doing additional work, lubricating your train wheels and other moving parts is always a good idea after removing dust and other debris from your locomotives.
With this pack of hobby lubricants, which you can use on HO scale trains and smaller, you get oils for all the moving parts of your locomotives and other rolling stock. These are all non-toxic and are safe on all materials, so you won’t need to worry too much about being too exact when applying it – although you want to make it last!
One of the train maintenance lubricants in this set also acts as a cleaning agent and can reduce your amp draw by 50%!
Roto Wheel Cleaner
This roto wheel cleaner will be handy if you’d rather not clean your locomotive wheels yourself!
You can use it on your locomotives or rolling stock, and it does a quick job without scratching your wheels. You can power it from your train track or a separate transformer, and it works with both DC and DCC control systems.
It won’t take care of the lubrication, but this is an excellent buy at a fantastic price if you want a quick clean for your N scale train.
What About Cleaning My Track?
If you clean your track consistently, keeping your model locomotives and rolling stock in good order becomes much more manageable. Thankfully, there are some exceptional products you can use that will help you keep your N scale track dust free.
- If you like doing things the traditional way, this N gauge track cleaner is the ideal buy. It’s always good to keep an extra set of cleaning heads in your model railroad maintenance toolkit, too!
- Alternatively, and if you have the budget, this track cleaning car is a great buy that you could use every time you run your trains if you wish. It makes cleaning your N scale train track more effortless than ever!
- Finally, if you want your N scale track to be cleaned consistently and subtly, try out these dust monkeys. They hang hidden from your rolling stock axles and keep your track from accumulating dust during regular running.
Don’t Forget the Rest of Your Layout!
Sometimes, the most difficult things to clean are the model buildings and other features we find dotted across our train layout.
You can take care of all that with this excellent dust dabber, which will keep your entire N scale layout looking like you just finished creating it!
Check Out All of Our N Scale Maintenance Products
Check out all our N and multi-scale maintenance products and ensure you have everything you need to keep your railroad running efficiently and on time!