Dirty track and cleaning cars

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Cogent, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. Cogent

    Cogent New Member

    As my previous post mentioned, I just pulled all my N-Scale trains out of a 15 year hibernation that was done in less-than-perfect conditions. With the trains was my stash of track and it has been exposed to a lot of dirt and moisture. With that being sstated, the track is very dirty.

    I did find a bottle of Life-Like track cleaner in with my stuff but I'm not sure if it is effective for cleaning my track (which is mostly Atlas type 80 sectional).

    What would be best for cleaning the track?

    Also, has anyone used N-Scale cleaner cars? Not that I need them for my non-existent layout but I am interested in how well they work.
  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Isopropyl Alcohol or Carbontetrachloride used on a cloth. Just make sure your windows are open as both of these can give you a bad head ache. :wave: :D It will clean off the mess on the tracks and you trains will run again. (After you have cleaned the loco's wheels) :thumb:

  3. Cogent

    Cogent New Member

    Oh great, now I have to clean the Loco's wheels. ;-)

    Should I use the same cloth on the wheels?
  4. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Yep! I use old t-shirt material, tack it down taut over a piece of track I mounted on a 1"X 4" board, connect it to a power pack and run the engine over the alcohol soaked cloth. Holding the loco with your hand while the wheels spin on the cloth does a quick thorough job. I've seen articles in which people lay an alcohol soaked paper towel on the tracks for locos to spin wheels on but my attempts at that ended up getting the paper towel bunched up. Tacking down the cloth works well for me.

    Good luck!
  5. Wyomingite

    Wyomingite Member

    Hi steve,

    I do the same as Shamus for track cleaning and clean my wheels like Ralph does and it works great. As far as the Atlas track cleaning car I have heard nothing but good reports on them. Fact is I'm going to order one and will let everyone know just how well they work.

    Ron ;thumb;
  6. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Ralph, you were using the wrong paper towel. The expensive soft kind rolls up in balls like you said. You need the cheapest towels you can buy. I use them Wally's 3 Rolls for a buck and a half kind. They also work well for plaster hardshell. FRED
  7. AIGI

    AIGI Member

    If the rails are really dirty (IE you run plastic wheels on it, or in your case they've been stored for years and built up tarnish), Use MAAS followed by Isopropyl Alcohol to clean the rails good. Clean your wheels, then replace all plastic wheels with metals wheels and you'll be good for at least 6 months of running before you'll have to clean again.
  8. rcwatkins

    rcwatkins Member

    I have never cleaned track so my guess would to do what the veterans are doing. ;)
  9. sammyd

    sammyd Member

    I read somewhere else to use Goo Gone. But I regret using it. It leaves a horrible residue that stays forever even after several applications of alcohol.

    I did buy a cheap track cleaning car by Trainline and have to say it's great. Highly recommended.

    Other than that, make sure you have a good brite boy as well.
  10. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I can't comment from direct experiance, but I seem to remember someone saying that tuner cleaner, used to clean and lube the contacts in the old clunk, clunk type of TV tuners worked really well. Yoou can probably get it either at Radio Schlock or any electronics parts supply store.
  11. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

  12. DeaconF

    DeaconF Member

    track cleaning

    I have used them all (except for shamus') but the latest is the best. It is a little pricey but it is worth it. I have a large layout with all sorts of track 9" atlas cheap stuff, to Peco flextrack, lots of tunnels and lots of turnouts. I bought an Aztec HO car about 2 months ago and have never looked back. It has made my hobby a lot more enjoyalble, it has even made the cheaper rolling stock run better. clean wheels, and clean track made this hobby more enjoyable.
    thanks Frank
  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I use Radio Shacks TV Channel Turner cleaner.Heres the low down..I spray it on and let it dry..Now my track is good for 6 months without another cleaning in between times even when I used plastic freight car wheels.. :thumb:

    WARNING: USE ONLY IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA. I use a standard breeze box fan for air flow ventilation..

    BTW I got this idea from the club that I am a member of we use channel turner cleaner to clean our track..Another item to remember is the more you run your trains the less you need to clean track. :D :thumb:
  14. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    That's really good advice, :thumb: :thumb: I run mine 5 or 6 times a week for that reason. I't like a rolling stone gathers no moss. I also use a masonite homemade cleaner drag every couple of weeks and clean the loco wheels every month or so. FRED
  15. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Track cleaners are a wonderful thing, but occasionally..........you have to clean all the wheels! The stuff that builds up on the rails also builds up on the wheels, and can be re-deposited on the rails rather quickly.
  16. Cactus

    Cactus Member

    I use a Centerline car with Goo Gone. Works fine for me.
  17. Cogent

    Cogent New Member

    I noticed that Tomix (who makes the Atlas cleaning cars) also has a wheel cleaning "thingy". Has anyone ever used it? Are there competing products?

  18. GuyW

    GuyW New Member

    Hi, I'm a total newby....I picked up a used HO for my kids and I to setup, but the engine only runs runs intermittently - is that a sign of dirty track & wheels, or can other things be wrong? Does the engine perhpas need cleaning beyond the wheels? (This has brasS "brushes" rubbing inside the wheels to make one part of the circuit). Where are good sources of info for folks like me?

  19. siderod

    siderod Member

    Oh oh oh!!
    Is that N or HO??

    EDIT: Duhhhh!! read the box. Where did u get that or see it. i want one :thumb: :D
    EDIT 2: Shouldn't the box say "easy cleaning for TRACKS" not "trucks"???

  20. DT1967

    DT1967 New Member


    The short answer to your question is yes.

    Dirty Track and Loco wheels do run intermittenly and cleaning them is a good place to start.

    The simple techniques using elbow grease and paper towels/ old t-shirts are generally a good start.

    Personally I like MAAS metal polish which I get Walmart for about $4. I got more than one tube because I keep hiding it from myself.

    If that doesn't solve your problem then post in the Technical Q&A with a description of the problem but also include as much as you can about the locomotive.

    Oh yeah Welcome to the Gauge.


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