How Dave sorted his problem

“Best tip ever as far as I am concerned. Use a few drops of hair clipper oil on the wheels of your loco, run it around the layout, the tracks are clean, and the trains should run smoothly for months.

Remember only a few drops, too much and you will get wheel slippage on any grades.


“Dear Al,

One day I was cleaning my engines and thought there had to be a way you could use both hands to work on them. I found a piece of foam about 1.5″ thick and cut a 1.25″ thick trough in it. Now I can turn my engines and cars upside down so I can us a keyboard vacuum and clean them and lubricate them using both hands. It holds everything securely and makes it easier to work on them and I don’t have to worry about them getting scratched up.


Remember the problem Dave had with his track? If not, it’s here.

And here’s his update:

“Hi Al , I did get a problem with those points the following day , so decided to try the Peco points as shown in this video it seems to have cured the problem , as shown the guide rail is shorter , so maybe this is the answer , also a good tip for girder work on Bridge scenics…

We all get problems so it helps with different solutions…



Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.



16 Responses to How Dave sorted his problem

  1. Axel says:

    Missed the first video where you show the problem and first solution. I had a similar problem and after many hours of investigation I discovered that on the Hornby points the plastic base under the frog is raised slightly. As certain locos and stock crossed they would rise/jump enough to derail. Solution I came up with was to file the area down. A bit time consuming so all new points will be peco. Much better quality.
    As always great video and love the layout.


  2. paul Otway says:

    I use peco points too, I also use side motors.

    I used to use Atlas points, but i found the track is live no matter which way the point was set.

    Paul Otway

  3. Chris says:

    I note Brian uses hair clipper oil to clean his tracks. Automatic transmission fluid works as well. Again just use a few drops around the track every couple of months. I was constantly having to clean my tracks as it can get humid here in Nthn NSW & the tracks were becoming tarnished. Since I have tried this method over 12 mths ago it has completely eliminated the dreary task of cleaning tracks & the trains run so much smoother.

  4. Ronald Jones says:

    Peco are local for you in the UK, they are the best, in Australia we generally use Peco because of quality and reliability. R.Jones

  5. Cameron says:

    Dear Dave,

    I had similar problems with the Hornby points and like yourself have switched to Peco. My point motors struggle with the Peco as well. Increasing the voltage for the point motors to 14v 4amps has helped a lot. It is also worth noting that the ‘dead’ section in the frog on the Peco is much shorter than the Hornby. Better running all round with the Peco.

    Cheers from down under.


  6. While I appreciate you have cured the problem, it wasn’t really with the track it is with the faulty wheels on the loco. You never mentioned any of your other locos giving the problem, so it must be the loco and not the track. I can see your explanation in the fact that the guide rail is longer on the Hornby, but I run a mix of Hornby and Peco trackwork and do not experience this problem.

  7. Jan B says:


    We use Peco points at our club and to make them move more smoothly in conjunction with the Fulgurex point motor we simply remove the spring.
    Now instead of jumping left and right as you would expect with the classical pointmotors they now move smoothly from one position to the other.


  8. Frank Bagley says:

    I use peco points and under mount switch machines and found if you remove the spring they move fairly easily

  9. George says:

    I have found that pico switches are slightly tight or under gauge. Use a good quality go no go track gauge to check them like the one from the national model railroad association, this gauge will also check flange ways. I believe the length of the rail has little to do with the problem this rail keeps the wheels going through the frog straight.

  10. Robert Brady says:

    well Dave, peco is the way to go but a tad expensive i think i might nip an 1/4 inch off. i would at this juncture need 2 right and 2 left turnouts $100.US
    she wood kill me,lol.
    Keep filming DAVE!

  11. Peter Farrington says:

    A little helpful advice about Peco Points Dave, When I was planning my layout I searched a lot of manufacturers websites for any info that would help to blow away some of the fog involved with building a DCC controlled lay for the first time, I eventually found a goldmine of help and info on DCC Concepts website, they have datasheets you can download and print-off about anything and everything to make things run smoother.
    One datasheet concerns making Peco points operate just like the real thing, the info is in Modelling Advise #1. Making Peco Better, it shows how to remove the spring mechanism in the point which then allows any slow operating point motor to move the point over slowly without the snap and clunk.
    They operate perfectly with the DCC Concepts Omega point motors which I decided to use.
    Anyway, have a look at the website Dave, the info there will astound you, they cover just about everything.
    Good luck.

  12. monty moy says:

    Hi Dave, re your back to back problem, DCC Concepts that moved from Perth in Western Australia to your area in the north of England have very good brass back to back , and at a very good price too.

    ALL THE VERY BEST Monty Armadale West Australis.

  13. Keith Miller says:

    A lot of useful responses to Dave’s problem & solution. Peter Farrington’s comments are particularly helpful. I don’t know How Dave got his hands on Peco points (turnouts) – I have been waiting since June for some! I noticed that the Peco frog area – the short rails and the triangle bit, are much shorter than Hornby. The length of the check rail reflects this. By coincidence I had a problem with Hornby points a couple of days ago- The flanges on a fairly old truck were being ‘kicked up’ as the wheel rolled over the frog area. Axel (above) mentioned this – I wonder if manufacturing tolerance is to blame – sometimes the plastic is not so deep down. My other Hornby points are OK. BTW – amazing progress, Dave. Maybe you should be renamed Greased Lightning Dave.

  14. David De Bondi says:

    Hi Dave,
    I have found Peco quality to be excellent and have about 6 top mounted Peco point motors on my layout. These have all worked perfectly with a power supply of 15volts AC from a Seep CDU which powers 16 other Seep under track motors simultaneously. All my Peco points have their springs still intact and I have never had a problem.

  15. Robert Potter says:

    Hi Dave
    I know you’ve just changed from a standard DCC controller to the ECO system. Was it difficult and is it worth while?
    Please advise
    Regards Bob

  16. Scott J says:

    My experience with N scale points problems has shown that certain manufacturers have their loco wheel sets set too narrow from the factory, which causes Dave’s described derailment problem. Peco points, for instance, have wider channels for flanges to run through than Atlas points. Make sure all wheel sets are in guage to eliminate such nagging problems. And I agree that Peco points are superior.

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