Wheel Gauge and Wheel Cleaning

Metal wheels are required on all rolling stocked placed on the layout.  care should be taken when replacing non-metal wheel to make sure that the insulated wheel is on the same side of the truck for all trucks on a given car to prevent shorts. Wheels should be checked for gauge, using an NMRA gauge. Any wheelsets that are found to be out of gauge should be adjusted (in or out) based on the gauge check results.


Wheels on locomotives and rolling stock should be clean to enable good electrical contact and minimize dirt collected on the rails and wheels. To clean wheels, use a strip of paper towel approximately 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide, dampened with some alcohol.  Place the paper towel over a set of rails and roll the car over the paper towel until there is no more dirt deposited on the paper towel. Locomotives will require applying power to the rails so that the locomotive wheels can turn while being cleaned. While gently holding the locomotive, apply power to the rails and slowly guide the locomotive's trucks across the paper towel. Ensure that one truck remains in contact with the rail and gently allow the truck on the paper towel to move forward and reverse to expedite cleaning the wheels. All paint must be removed from wheels before they are placed on the layout to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris on the track.