Best Track Cleaner?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Cannonball, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    My track is getting gunked up with glue and such from building the layout. What are my best options for cleaning it?
  2. I think a bright boy would do the trick. It's like an eraser that your hobby shop should have. I think you can also use a regular eraser as well. Make sure to brush away the crumbs. I also think a rag soaked in alcohol could do the job.

    I've always wondered about blue window washer fluid. I once saw a bottle of some liquid clearn by I think Lifelike or Walthers. It was like $3 for a 4 oz bottle and it looked suspiciously like window washer fluid.
  3. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Hey cannonball, i was in the same boat!!! :) There is a thread out there w/ gobs of cleaning info in it. It even has pictures of the stuff.

    I've found that the lifelike bright boy, and the perfect yellow cleaning eraser things work the best, then a super light thin coat of modelpower track cleaner and run your trains about. You will probably have to clean your wheels after you apply the model power cleaning fluid it has the same basic look smell and feel of wahl oil.

    It's a bit of reading but i've followed all the Gauger's suggestions and i haven't had a lick of trouble w/ my track.
  4. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    Before you do more plaster or glue work around your layout, apply masking tape over the track. Keeps all that junk off of them :mrgreen:
  5. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    This isn't the "usual" track cleaning. If part of what is gunking your track is all the spray adhesive, for the scenery, start with a soft rag, and warm water, to disolve and lift the glue. Next, as non abrasive a cleaning pad ( perfect's track cleaning "eraser" is a good choice). Finally, I prefer Aero-car Hobby Lubricants, ACT-6006 Track & Rail Cleaner. The coating that does remain, is conductive. A few drops on any soft pad track cleaning car, a couple of laps around, and you are good to go!
  6. farish

    farish New Member

    I can only recommend, from my one experience, that you should consider not using anything that will scratch the track. A scratched track attracts dirt and grim buildup. Bright boy scratches the track. I use rubbing alcohol, on a clean cloth, to clean the track. I then coat the track with a extremely light of "NO-OX-ID" that prevent s rust and grim build up on the track. One year of service on the track and no cleaning has been required. Check out or a general search for the product. It works.
  7. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Thanks for the input on this, everyone.
    Sorry for being so long getting back to it.

    Now here's my next question.
    In a little bit, about 1/4 of my track is going to be covered by a mountain.
    What do I do about that when time comes to clean the track?

    Which cleaning cars are the best?
    Are some of them for heavier stuff than others?
  8. pomperaugrr

    pomperaugrr Member

    I would suggest that you not have any track hidden in a way that it will not be accessible for maintenance or re-railing cars. Make the mountain removable or provide sufficient access from underneath. You will need to be able to reach every inch of track at some point or another. I learned this the hard way with my first serious layout. I thought I had anough room to reach the track. I did not have enough room to get my head and shoulders into it, so I could actually see what I was doing. I learned from that major error in planning, as it detracted from my operating experience. The trackwork was great, and I never had a derailment in the inaccessible area in the two years I kept the layout. I grew frustrated with the stalling of trains on dirty tracks in those areas though. Just my opinion.

    Have fun building the layout. You are at a fun stage, with a lot of possibilities ahead of you.

  9. NCchoochoo

    NCchoochoo New Member

    This is probably a first.

    I've tried alcohol and all those expensive "miracle" track fluids.
    The best thing I have found thats works like magic is a product called "butch's bore shine". You can get it al your local gun shop.
    It's great for removing anything from the track and it polishes it really great. The solvent won't damage your plastic or landscape.
  10. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    My friend at work is a gun and knife buff and suggested that stuff. He says it takes off whatever gunk you have on your metal and leaves a nice shine. Will the remaining film conduct electricity well?
  11. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    Believe it or not I use one of only two things. For paint and white glue type things I use a piece of basswood. Generally a 4 inch long 1/4 inch thick piece I rub along the top of each rail.
    For crazy glue or hard like things I use a woman nail file. You know that ones made of stiff paper that have a rough and a fine side? Well I use the fine side for the rail.
    I also use the nail files for my scratch building models as well. They make great sandpaper substitutes :D

    I hope that helps. :)
  12. csxnscale

    csxnscale Member

    I had had 4X8 layout stored in the garage for 3 years.
    Moved it in the house last week.
    Tryed to run a train on it, nothing moves.
    Took a bright boy to clean the track and after that sprayed some CRC 5-56 on a towel ( a little goes long) and wrapped the towel around a piece of wood .
    With this towel I cleaned and slightly "oiled" the track and trains run fine with no hesitations.
    CRC 5-56 is electrical conductif.
    Not a employer of CRC or whatever, just happy costumer.
  13. berraf

    berraf Member

    Mostly I use my thumb-nail to clean track :thumb:
    If that would not work I go for the stick off an eaten icecream.
    A bright boy is also very good...
  14. bill937ca

    bill937ca Member

    Drafting tape has less residue than masking tape.
  15. bill937ca

    bill937ca Member

    That would be emery board. You can usually find it in a dollar store. It is also very useful for soldering prep.
  16. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    bill aha thanks, I forgot since I don't use them other then as mini sandpaper. I suppose using them would help you remember them better ;) LOL just kidding :D
  17. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    Thanks again for all the tips guys.
    Summer activity has more or less brought the layout to a crawl.
    I've got track laid so I can at least run trains however.
    I've still got spots somewhere that are derailing me on about every 3rd pass so more work ahead.
  18. Gary60s

    Gary60s New Member

    track cleaning

    I cant believe that more people haven't tried NO-OX. After a thorough track cleaning 3 YEARS AGO and a very lite coat of NO-OX I have experienced skip free running, and HAVE NOT CLEANED the track since.

    BTW...dont take my word for it. NO-OX was recommended by none other than the famous Linn Wescott 50 years ago.

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