Make a Rail Cleaning Car

Just wondering if anyone had a link to a tutorial or guide on building a rail cleaning car.
Running N-guage but the atlas rail cleaner is out of era and way out of
location (I'm running a European layout mid 20's) and want to convert one of my cargo cars to a rail cleaner.
Anyone? Thanks in advance.
Dave
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David Booth wrote:

Hi Dave,
People lump a variety of requirements under "rail cleaner" 1- cleaning months worth of oxidation of unused layout. 2- cleaning "gunk" off tracks. 3- cleaning dust off tracks. 4- maintaining electrical contact on regularly used layout.
#1 is probably best cleaned by an abrasive block cleaner such as the Atlas track cleaner, but the others want something a bit less violent. #3&4 probably just want a piece of hardboard with two nails glued on sliding under a normal wagon with two matching holes in the chassis. #2 is a more tricky one - I run HO and use a three step process: a wagon mounted slider with a cotton/linen cloth cover with methelated spirits (medical spirits US?) run around the entire layout to soften the gunk, a dry cloth after a couple of minutes (giving time for the meths to soften the gunk) to get the rails clean, and then a third wiper wagon with a drop of oil over each rail to inhibit railhead oxidation. The "problem" with this system is that the gunk on the wheels also gets softened and then redeposited on the rails so it appears that running gets worse - answer - clean the wheels, or persist with a regime of spirits/dry/oil wiping.
I haven't tried to build an N scale cloth wiper wagon because I operate HO but I could try to help design one if you want to try it.
Regards, Greg.P. NZ
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Greg,
You used the term "hardboard" in your description of 3 & 4. Not sure what the US equivalent of "hardboard" is, but I've seen references to doing what you did using Masonite. Masonite is a synthetic "wood" (probably made with fine sawdust & glue) that has a smooth side on one side and a rough side on the other. The rough side has a whold bunch of little squares on it... kind of looks like a tightly woven burlap, but it is actually part of the material. It also has a kind of an abrasive, fiberous feel to it. I'm guessing that it is just rough enough to rub gunk off of the rails as it travels around the layout.
It is also available in smooth both sides and different thicknesses. One of the most common uses outside of construction is for backing on clip boards.
dlm
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Dan Merkel wrote:

I'd be fairly certain we're talking about the same thing. Ours is smooth on both sides. The leading and trailing edges need a slight chamfer so it doesn't catch on turnouts etc.
Gunk is something that builds up over time - once you've got it down the hardboard/masonite wiper will stop it reforming. You could sand the board with 100 grit paper to roughen the surface but I don't think anything more is required.
Regards, Greg.P.
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[Snip]

I believe Masonite is a brand name of hardboard.
From a woodworking book: Hardboard is pressed wood. Wood chips are exploded into fibers with high pressure steam. The fibers are refined and pressed into sheets. The lignin in the wood holds the fibers together without additional fillers or adhesives. Tempered hardboard is impregnated with a tempering agent (whatever that means), and baked. Tempering increases strength and abrasion resistance, and reduces moisture absorption. Hardboard is free of resin and oil.
It mostly comes smooth one side with screen impression on the other, or smooth both sides, and there are a few other embossing options. Tempered is generally darker than untempered.
It can be worked with hand or power wood or metal working tools. It can be punched, die cut, laminated and bent in simple curves, but not compound curves. It can be painted, stained, or varnished. It can be screwed, glued, or bolted, but not toenailed.
There you have it. Probably the same stuff, and now you know more than you ever wanted to know about it.
--
Bill Kaiser
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snipped-for-privacy@mtholyoke.edu wrote:

Masonite has become the generic name of the product here in the US. Probably to the dismay of the Masonite Co. marketing dept. Everyone calls it that. It has been available under that name since the 1940's, perhaps even earlier. And the "rail cleaner" block floating under a boxcar has always been made of Masonite rough side down. John Allen used this style of rail cleaner car. It makes fine backdrop material which can be bent smoothly around the corners of the room. If you are buying/scrounging for it, ask for Masonite. Few people in the US would know that "hardboard" is actually Masonite.
David Starr
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David Starr wrote:

You got that backwards, David: Few people in the US would know that "Masonite" is actually hardboard.
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Greg Procter spake thus:

Actually, you're both wrong: most woodworkers would know that they're the same thing. Pick up a copy of /Fine Woodworking/ someday and take a look.
--
I hope that in a few years it [Wikipedia] will be so bloated that it
will simply disintegrate, because I can't stand the thought that this
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wrote:

I guess it depends on what part of the US you're in. I know it as both, but then I'm more likely to be covered with sawdust than oil.
For the record, I'm in the "Lake Michigan" part of the midwest.
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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David Booth schrieb am 09.04.2007 09:01:

Have a look for the "System Joeger". I like it very much as it cleans good enough but does not do any harm to the rails.
http://www.system-joerger.de/shop/index.php?cPath _4&osCsida54a58f9e8b9936b56c712ec2b97de
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mit freundlichen Gruessen Reinhard Peters

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That is basically what I am looking for. I was going to go out and buy a track cleaning loco by Fleischmann but this car is basically what I wanted.
What I was hoping to build is a copy of a really old Fleischmann cargo car my uncle has on his HO layout. It has 2 rotating discs (one for each rail) which can be used wet or dry. I tried the importer here in Australia and they said they don't make that style any more.
Ready made though - hard to beat. Might still make one just for the challenge though.
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David Booth wrote:

Fleischmann still make that wagon (updated) in HO. There probably wouldn't be enough weight in an N scale wagon to make the cleaning disks revolve.

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Greg Procter schrieb am 09.04.2007 22:01: ...

I don't think so. The special about the "System Joeger" is the cleaning pad. It is made of very tough felt. I assume he has a patent pending.
This felt is hard enough to be a good cleaner but it is too soft do any harm to the tracks made of metal. That's the reason why I recommended it. The mechanic to hold the felt pad is nothing special and looks like lots of other cleaning cars.
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mit freundlichen Gruessen Reinhard Peters

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Reinhard Peters wrote:

The difference in mechanicals is that the Fleischmann cleaner wipes/polishes _across_ the rails rather than along the rails at train speed.
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David Booth wrote on 9-4-2007 :

Have you looked at the cleaning pads of Noch (nr. 60158 for N)? http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXMEF6
If you can read German, see also this article: http://www.1zu160.net/test/noch-reinigungszwerge.php (some pictures say more than many words .....)
--
Fred Wening (NL)



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FredW schrieb am 09.04.2007 13:24:

I use them too. They are VERY good.
I have about 25% of all car equipped with them. They do not really clean up dirty tracks as they are too light weight but if they are constantly used they keep clean tracks clean.
Dedicated cleaning sessions happen only after longer times of no operation (e.g. vacation etc.) and therefor heavy dust on the tracks.
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mit freundlichen Gruessen Reinhard Peters

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David,
Have you considered the powered N-gauge unit put out by Tomix? While it is definitely a Japanese pattern car, I wonder if the shell could be removed and replaced with a scratch-built one of the appropriate era for your operation? It is an active powered unit including a small vacuum system, uses a cleaning liquid as well as powered replaceable cleaners (pads and brushes as well, I believe), and I think someone had modified one for DCC operation as well so the unit could be controlled at will (unless I have that confused with a rotary snowplow somebody had done...)
Ed
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I thought about it but I can't think of what sort of powered vehicle would move around the tracks in the 1920/30 era. I suppose I could dress it up as something like a mail car and stick it in a train with a dummy engine at the front .....
Might be a good idea after all ...
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David Booth wrote:

Just to point out that the Tomix track-cleaning car is not self-propelled, so you will need a locomotive of some sort to haul it.
--
Dave Fossett
Saitama, Japan
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David Booth explained :

I looked at this (German) page: http://www.1zu160.net/nspur/gleisreinigung.php and there I found this (US) product http://www.centerline-products.com/info.htm maybe the basis to make you own (mail) car.
It looks like nothing, maybe you could make it look like something. :-)
--
Groeten van WedFr(e) te A.
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