Track Cleaning Cars

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by CN1, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    Do you use one? This is my latest try-out ...

    I just bought the Walthers 40' track cleaning car by Trainline, the one with the rubberish pad.

    Nice looking heavy box car (albeit in CSX colors!:rolleyes: )

    I changed the wheels to all-metal and installed Kadees #5.

    After the first pass the pad was dark, picking up crud. I ran it for about 30 minutes everywhere; Siddings, yards, main & secondary lines. The result? The pad was black with crud. Real dirty.:eek:

    It's amazing because the day before I used Goo-Gone and rubbing alcohol on the tracks.:confused:

    There's no instruction that tells you how do you removed the crud on the pad:confused: I did not want to used liquids (soap, Goo-gone, alcohol..) I used a fine grit sand paper and gently "scrapped" away the dirt. Ii worked and removed about 70% of the crud. Now the pad work just like new:) and it's ready for the next cleaning session.:thumb:
  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Hmmm, I woulda guessed you might use baking soda to clean the track :rolleyes: j/k don't try that at home, you might wreck the layout! :D

    Sounds like a good track cleaner, since it found dirt on a recently cleaned track ;)
  3. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

  4. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    Shamus, WOW!:eek: :eek:

    Great idea. I might just replace the rubber pad by 400 Grit sandpaper.

    Thanks for the tip. I will look at making my own wet-roller cleaning car.:thumb:

    Thanks:thumb: :thumb:
  5. jwmurrayjr

    jwmurrayjr Member


    I'm pretty new at this and I've gotten a lot of advice to stay away from abrasive cleaners like Brite-Boy and emory paper. You know your business I know, do you have any comments on this?

  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Brite Boy is considered to be non abrasive. Abrasives leave small scratches in the top of the rail that will pick up and hold dirt. Some emory cloth would be classified as abrasive in the sense that they are course enough to leave visible scratches in the surface. On the other hand there are emory cloths that are made with grit of 600, 800, or even 1000 parts per inch. These are so fine that they would polish the rail rather than scratch it. The main thing to avoid is anything that leaves visible scratches. If you are in doubt about a product, try it out on a piece of scrap rail, and see how it does.
  7. DeaconF

    DeaconF Member

    I am looking into buying a track cleaning car by Aztec. It is pricy but it looks like a good thang. 2 rollers one to put fluid down and one to dry it off. Has anyone used this product. Also what fluid do you guys use? Someone just told me to use smoke fluid but it would probably be as expensive. anyone make their own? Thanks Frank
  8. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    This is my experience so far:

    I changed to "dry" cleaning because I did not get the result I wanted with liquids.

    I started by using Goo-gone.

    I applied it with a rag on the tracks. It does work but there's a few drawback. First, Goo-gone leaves a residue (oily black type of residue:confused: ) Second, I noticed that I had to clean the tracks more often because of it. Thirdly, To eliminate the residue problem I started wiping everything clean after every applications, but to no avail. There's always some left.:mad:

    A couple months ago I sent my loco for thorough cleaning at my local train store. The train-guy said the wheels were quite dirty and there was some kind of carbon look-alike deposit on the wheels :eek: :confused: I have no ideas where that came from, but I suspect the Goo-gone residue must have something to do with it.

    I then switch to rubbing-alcohol instead. It works OK but it takes longer since it evaporates quickly.

    At this point I'm getting tired of cleaning tracks regularly. It's time consuming and it's not helping much:( I rather run my trains instead...

    On my last visit to the train store I saw the cleaning car by Trainline. I gave it a try (nothing to loose:D ) and it worked:thumb:

    I have been running it from time to time and I'm quite please so far. I'm using DCC and I have not experience any hesitations, stalls or runaways. It's the best $18.00 I ever spent:D :D

    Funny thing is, it's pretty basic and it's been around (the system, not the same car) for a long, long time.

    Hope this help
  9. Raildog

    Raildog Member

    Ah TRACK CLEANING! a subject near and dear to my heart.

    I held the position as head of maintenance at the G-Scale TrainLand Museum in Orlando, Florida. Forty-four hundred sq. ft of layout with over 3000 ft of mainline track. When I took over maintenance, the layout was a shambles. It takes very little neglect when you run 13 trains, 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. To say that I had a track cleaning problem was an understatement!

    The only track cleaning car they had was an Aristocraft. A caboose with a weighted abrasive pad similar to the one mentioned above. It required sanding constantly. It would not make it one revolution around any of the 13 loops without clogging and needing cleaning. This was unacceptable and not a good solution at all.

    I found a roller type cleaner in a drawer. Wondering why it hadn't been used, I emailed the mfr with my dilemma and he replied with instructions. So I bought a bottle of goo-gone... what a mess! Not only did it make the track dirtier, it left that film on which became black within a few hours! Trains were stalling all over the place and we all know that a layout with tunnels encourages stalls with-in. Not an easy comeback from the roller type cleaner.

    I saw an add for the Track-man 2000 and inquired about it's performance and was sent a unit to use free of charge! Now this was great news, because they cost over $200 in G-scale!

    I have never had a problem with this wonderful device. The abrasive pads never load-up and it doesn't pick up every loose item along its path either!




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