Track Cleaning

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by CN1, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    I have found, so far, that the best way to clean tracks is:

    (a) Elbow grease, and
    (b) Goo Gone

    My trains are running extremly well, thanks to the above. I think that "Goo Gone" is the way to go. I have read many post by people using it, and now I'm a convert!

    Unless, someone has something even better, that is:p :p :

    How about that "car" with a big brass(?) roller in the middle?
    Does it work good too?

  2. Blake

    Blake Member

    Try conductalube by Aero-car. Atlas sells it in little bottles to lubricate your locos axle bearings but Aero-car sells it in large bottles at about the same price as Goo Gone. It doesn't leave any kind of residue behind. The car with the roller in the center is pretty darned mediocre. Tony's trains has a great car for HO. It's expensive but well worth the cost.
  3. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I've had good luck with Goo Gone as well as with the cheaper isopropyl alcohol. I clean loco wheels by running them over an alcohol soaked piece of cloth. I'll apply some alcohol to bad spots on track but mostly clean the rails by running a home made track cleaning car that drags a little piece of masonite over their surface as it rolls around the layout. Its an old idea, one of John Allen's I believe.
  4. Ben H

    Ben H Member

    Go Gone is great for cleaning and cutting heavy dirt. We, however have been noticing on our club layout that the track seems to get dirty quicker after we have used it on one of our pad or roller cleaners. The suggestion is that GoGone leaves a film that quickly collects dust that reacts with the electricity and creates more black goo than it did with alcohol.

    Anyone notice anything like this happening on other layouts.

    GoGone does to my own mind seem far stronger than the problem we are trying to correct.
  5. belg

    belg Member

    Hey Ralph I'm planning on making one of those homemade car and was wondering did you put some extra weight in the car to keep the pressure on the block???
  6. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    So basicaly rubbing alcohol is the answer. Interesting!

    How do you make a "Cleaning car"?
  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Ben, I 've noticed the same thing with Goo Gone. I've used it for a couple years in Tony's track cleaning tank car and while it provides good running immediately afterwards, the time before cleaning is needed again is short. I should add I don't run often. But the rails do build up black gunk which is readily apparent when they are rubbed with a clean cloth. I intend to try 91% alcohol soon.
  8. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    might as well add my two cents.
    i still use brass rail (i know for shame ) it has served me well for years ,and i use wahl clipper oil (tried other brands , don't work as well)and several cars with masonite pads under them have not had any trouble with gunk build up.the only problem i have had is dust on track if haven't run in long time have to push car with pad over track in front of loco.
  9. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Our club uses a home brewed car I call "Mister Twister". It's a standard 40" flat car with a heavy duty motor that rides verticly on its shaft. It spins a masonite pad with a felt disc soaked in isopropal alcohol. You're courting a hernia if you try to pick it up as it's weighted to about 12 oz. It even has its own DCC decoder. We still use a Bright Boy Track Cleaner in tandom.
  10. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I didn't add any weights to put pressure on the masonite block. I worried that doing so might make derailments more likely. right now the block glides nicely over all switches and points. No problem. After a circuit around the layout it picks up the black gook streak every one is talking about. I wipe off the block and run it again until it comes back clean.

    You can make a track cleaning car out of virtually any pice of rolling stock by drilling two holes undeneath it to accomodate nails that are glued to a small piece of masonite that is just a little wider than the track gauge. Use nails with good flat heads. Slip the pointed ends through the car's underbody and let the masonite block float free on top of the track. Hook it up to a locomotive and let the car drag the block over your rails.

    Here's a simple (crude! :)) diagram:

    Attached Files:

  11. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    greeeeeeeeeat thanks.

    just one question: what do you mean by floating freely? i don't want to sound st#@@d, i just want to make sure
  12. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    No such thing as a st#@@d question CN1 :)
    What I mean is that the nails inside the car are just poking up through the holes. They aren't attached to anything inside the car. Were you to pick the car up, the masonite block with the nails would fall out. I suppose one could add a fixture to the tips of the nails inside the car to prevent this but why bother? Any way, the block is able to move up and down to accomodate any irregularities in the track but gravity keeps the block on the rail surface. Wish I could claim it was my idea but I'm following in the foot steps of great modelers gone by. :)
    Regards and happy cleaning!
  13. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    Hey! That's a great[er] idea! Way to go...

    Does the masonite pad can "snag" into turnouts or the like??
  14. billk

    billk Active Member

    I think I've seen some designs where the edges of the pad were rounded off so they wouldn't snag so easily. Also, masonite has a smooth surface on one side and a rough surface on the other - I think the rough surface was on the bottom.
  15. SD70BNSF

    SD70BNSF Member

    Material Question

    Are you folks talking about Masonite, the board generally used for backdrops? or something like a scotch-brite pad, the green pad made of tiny plastic strands all randomly woven together. You know, to clean pots and pans?
  16. billk

    billk Active Member

    Re: Material Question

    Masonite, Chris. I'd be wary of the scotch-brite stuff, might leave little plastic strands where they could get into gears and stuff.
  17. SD70BNSF

    SD70BNSF Member

    I Guess it Works

    I would not have thought that Masonite would be abrasive enough to clean the track. I have used a brite-boy by hand to clean some tracks. (at a local small club/gathering, where the new guy gets to start at the bottom, cleaning track ;-)

    I wonder if its not really that abrasive and you have to run the track cleaning car often over the track to keep the buildup from getting out of hand.
  18. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The modular club that I belong to uses a couple of boxcars with the masonite pads. We will clean the mainlines with bright boys when we first set up, and most guys clean their own sidings if they have them. Then during the weekend that we are running we will use the slider cars to keep the tracks clean.
  19. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The board doesn't have to be too rough to clean track -- I've used a piece of 1x2 when I didn't have anything else handy. :D only problem was that it dirtied up in a hurry.
    I've gone off Goo-Gone except for major cleanups, such as wheels that haven't been cleaned for years. I bought a bottle of clear liquid that's supposed to be good for DCC and that improved things.
    Goo-Gone is good for cleaning up leftover glue from labels and carpet tape, as well as its original target: gum.
  20. Blake

    Blake Member

    Was this clear stuff Aero-car conducta lube / track cleaner? If so, how well does it work?

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