Track cleaning

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Re: Track cleaning

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:00 pm

AFAIK the rail section used by Hornby, Peco, Bachmann et. al. is not polished after being drawn. It is certain to have longitudinal scratches at some level, an initial smoothing with some type of abrasive, working through the range of polishing materials until finally buffing with a cloth will leave a surface more resistant to clinging dirt. How far back down that range it is necessary to go when cleaning, just depends on how dirty it has been allowed to become. In this cycle of cleaning one of the worst culprits for difficult to move muck is the so called electronic track cleaner, Relco etc. They don't clean the track they burn through the muck to maintain contact, eventually it has to be scraped away, as it starts to hold the wheel tread away from the rail head.
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Re: Track cleaning

Postby Bigmet » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:33 pm

Tom@Crewe wrote:
Bigmet wrote:I have a hardboard drag in continuous service, a trick I learned from the Pendon model railway layout. I just look at the base of the drag, and once it is completely black ( a week) clean it off with a wire brush. About once every four months, glue on a new piece of hardboard. So cheap, I have enough hardboard salvaged from the back of old fitted furniture ripped out of the house we live in, to last several more model railway lifetimes.

Have you any pictures of how you mount and drag the hardboard?

Not having a digital camera makes this difficult.

But it is so simple a description should suffice. It is a block of lead, roughly 3x3x8 cm with a drawbar going right through it, and the 3x8 cm hardboard piece is tacked on with a little Evostick. You have to experiment to find the right amount to hold it on while allowing it to be easily ripped off and replaced. Only a thin smear on a finger print size patch is enough. Two heavy centre motor chassis, one each side as the drag mules (the pick ups are wired together to keep them both running 'whatever').

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Re: Track cleaning

Postby b308 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:49 pm

Deleted post...

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Re: Track cleaning

Postby D605Eagle » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:26 am

Bufferstop wrote: In this cycle of cleaning one of the worst culprits for difficult to move muck is the so called electronic track cleaner, Relco etc. They don't clean the track they burn through the muck to maintain contact, eventually it has to be scraped away, as it starts to hold the wheel tread away from the rail head.

When I had some of them I found that they burned the dirt onto the pickup wheels that was really difficult to clean off. Also I found that I got an electrical static attraction on the rails as they were always dusty. As soon as I threw the blasted things away things improved no end.

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Re: Track cleaning

Postby alex3410 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:48 pm

IPA for general cleaning and track rubbers for anything it won't shift.

I run IPA though my CMX track cleaning wagon which takes a fair bit of the hassle out of it.

I ran a loop the other weekend for the first time in months (layouts in the shed), about 1/4 of the track needed a light going over with the track rubber to get the loco pulling the CMX around. Once this made it round a few times it cleaned the rest of the track up nicely.

if i was to run regularly & had the CMX running around on maintenance runs i doubt i would need the rubber at all

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Re: Track cleaning

Postby End2end » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:05 am

I've just found this on the bay for track cleaning. ... SwZKBZGAn0
Anyone used one of these before or have any comments about them?
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Re: Track cleaning

Postby alex3410 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:28 am

if it deposits 'super conductive' material when you use it, surely that means the 'stick' is conductive and you cant then use it when the track rails are live as it would short them out?

You could still use it with the rails tuned off / dead but I find it handy having a loco running around (well attempting to if you track cleaning for a reason :lol: ) so that you can find the dead spots that need cleaning.

I also don't like the idea of it leaving anything behind - even if it is super conductive

I would be interested to hear if anyone gets on with them however as its always interesting to hear new ways of doing things.

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Re: Track cleaning

Postby Kindling » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:45 pm

To me, this has the appearance of a graphite stick. I would be very happy to be corrected.

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Re: Track cleaning

Postby rosenblad » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:16 pm

If it is a graphite stick I can assure you that it works very well! I wouldn't really call it a cleaner, but it certainly does improve power pick-up!
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Re: Track cleaning

Postby retiredoperator » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:38 am

Hi Modellers. I may have said this before? But when I first heard of IPA, my first thought was of Alcohol ( India Pale Ale ) then someone corrected me, it is excellent for track cleaning, but I use it in the Lanarkshire Model Supplies Track Cleaner . Which is more suitable to run with my 0-6-0 Locos on a Shunting Puzzle . Use it sparingly though otherwise the J Cloth type material will disintegrate ? Happy modelling Kev

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Re: Track cleaning

Postby shelfielddave » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:56 am

Re electronic cleaners
I have used the old 'Relco' boxes - I feel they are a waste of money for modern applications because they are not good with the older feed back controllers (consult guagemaster for advise).
For DCC, relcos are a definite no - they will screw up your chips and controllers in no time.
The article shown I have no knowledge of - but beware and research, check and check again.
For mechanical cleaning, I use the Peco track rubber and then go over with a lady's make up remover pad soaked in IPA then with vacuum cleaner to suck all the dust and crud.
I find Rail Magic is great, but I find it does lubricate the rails and thus reduce haulage capacity (eg Hornby 8F down from 50 4 wheelers to about 40 (yes, I do like long coal trains snaking round my layout!!)
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Re: Track cleaning

Postby Eastern » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:31 pm

After several, several months of neglect , I ran some trains on East Cheltwell. I did need to so some scrubbing with a Peco eraser which cleaned up the rails, but left some residue. Long ago, I had a an old Hornby Track cleaning Wagon which used methylated spirits, but alas I havit no longer - I have been looking at the CMX Track Cleaning wagon and was wondering if anyone has had experience of them? Details here or anything similar?
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Re: Track cleaning

Postby Peterm » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:39 pm

Great bit of kit. I've had one for quite a few years. If needed, I clean the really bad muck off first and then push it round with a hefty twin bogie drive diesel with clean wheels. I push it so the loco isn't picking up muck on it's nice clean wheels.

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Re: Track cleaning

Postby allan » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:48 am

Maybe it's time for a change of terminology: eliminate "clean", and insert "polished". If the track is polished, and the wheels on all of your rolling stock are polished, then electrical conductivity will be at its best, and that's what it's all about... Then, the only source of dirt is the environment, and because the conductive surfaces are polished, they are not difficult to clean. A wipe with a cloth dampened with metho at the start of a running session to remove dust is all that is needed to restore the shine.

There is little to be gained by polishing the track head, then running a train with any grubby (ie unpolished) wheels on it. And it is pretty pointless polishing the track if you don't polish the wheels, too. I know that that is tautology, but it seems that saying things just once is a little ineffective!

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Re: Track cleaning

Postby Flashbang » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:03 am

Never use any abrasives to clean Nickel Silver rail! It will immediately introduce ultra fine surface scratches on the rail, even when used along the rail. These scratches then collect microscopic sized pieces of 'crud' from air borne dust, lubrication oil, carbon etc, and worse any plastic wheels spread it! The 'crud' transfers to the metal wheel rims and eventually leads to overall loss of of electrical contact and data loss on DCC layouts leading to even more cleaning needed.
Hence, rail cleaning on any modern NS railed track should be restricted to the rough side of a piece of Hardboard or use a soft lint free cloth dampened with 99.9% pure Isopropyl Alcohol (Known as IPA) or Meths. A track cleaning car can be used too with IPA or Meths as the solvent. Use the IPA or Meths to clean all wheel rims and any inside faces of pick up wheels whee wipers rub to make contact.
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