Track Cleaning

Can anyone recommend a method other than the abrasive block?
At one stage in the near future I will not be able to stretch the necessary
distance and I'm looking for a comfortable alternative. I recall that orbit
produced a coach for N gauge with a pad and liquid - is this still in
existence, and if so, is it any good?
TIA
--
Steve
Reply to
Steve
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I've tried CentreLine cars, they use a roller with a cloth pad soaked with cleaning solution. I found it didn't work very well, as the cloth tended to snag one everything: railjoints, points, level-crossings, and so on. One of those "practical" ideas that isn't. If the Orbit car for N uses a cloth pad, I suspect it will snag on everything, too. I've seen a couple of other commercial track cleaning cars in action, and they all had some quirk.
IOW, the commercial track cleaning cars aren't any better than home-made ones, in my experience. The best solution is to run a track-cleaning car in at least one train every operating session. A simple and effective car can be made by cutting a piece of hardboard to fit under a wagon; use the kind that's smooth one side and rough the other. MDF also works. Drill a couple of holes into the wagon floor, glue a couple of nails onto the hardboard piece, and insert the nails into the holes. The hardboard piece must have its ends bevelled so as not to snag railjoints, etc, and the nails should be a very loose fit in the holes in wagon floor. It will be necessary to add weight to the board, a layer or two of lead sheet glued to it will do nicely. There will be enough friction to slow down your trains a bit, but the board wil keep the rail-rops shining. When it gets too dirty, either discard and replace, or rough up with sandpaper, and use some more.
The above works very well for HO/OO and up, you may have to use some weight in the wagon and some spring arrangement to get the board to bear down onto the rails in N.
Some people have glued a piece of hardboard to a stick at a suitable angle, so as to reach track a little too far away. I don't know how well it actually worked, but the inventors seemed to be satisfied.
HTH
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
I use the Track cleaning pads from Gaugemaster - clip them to the axle of a suitable donor wagon/carriage, then run the train around a few times. Keeps the track reasonably clean, and does not snag on points etc (at least, not in my case) There are N Gauge versions available too.
HTH,
Ian
Reply to
Ian Cornish
Have you thought about a Relco or similar? I know that there is always a big debate on whether or not they etch the dirt into both the wheels and track but we use one on Nictun Borrud and it seems to work well enough.
Elliott
Reply to
Elliott Cowton
"Ian Cornish" wrote
After a couple of hours continuous use on my layout the Gaugemaster pads were remarkably clean, suggesting very minimal impact on the dirt which I could still see in places.
After 35+ years of railway modelling I've still to find anything which betters using a Peco track rubber followed by a quick hoovering of the track. All metal wheels and a strict regime of cleaning wheels and track at the same works best for me.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
There's an good discussion on track and wheel cleaning techniques at:
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Rail-Zip is one of the products mentioned:
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- manufacturer
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- dealer
For cleaning wheels, the same company also makes the Gumbuster, which can be used with Rail-Zip:
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Another is LPS-1 Greaseless Lubricant, which is electrically conductive:
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- better description
For UK sources Google on: Rail-Zip UK or LPS-1 Lubricant UK
Reply to
MartinS
"MartinS" <
Excellent product Martin. I've been using it for years now.
Sadly, my GER doesn't get run a fraction of the time that it use to (I've lost interest in it) so it can be weeks, if not months, before it turns a wheel. Yet when I do decide to run trains, there's very few dirty rail problems. The few that there are, are easily solved by laying a six inch strip of Rail-Zip on each rail on the line leading to the main staging yard and, after a train or two have been run, all the dirty rail problems disappear.
-- Happy New Year to all.
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway
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Reply to
Roger T.
Hmm. Didn't know that one.
Haven't the DCC manufacturers adapted their systems to pump the required HF signal down the wires when its needed?
Elliott
Reply to
Elliott Cowton
....whereas, as a smoker, I would entirely disagree. In fact, the oily gunk is probably the most realistic part of my model railway.
Cheers, Steve
Reply to
Steve W
The standard DCC achieves most of it anyway. Its a high frequency signal at a modest voltage. Thus many of the stiction issues which Relcos reduce (tiny bits of dirt achieving insulation at low DC voltages) are removed.
Further, there are electrical flywheels in the form of capacitors sold for many chips which will ride a loco over an interrupted supply for a short period of time. As a fraction of a second is usually all that's needed, the problem is dealt with.
A Relco is a solution to the wheel and dirt pickup problem in the analogue world. The digital world has different solutions.
- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
"Steve W" wrote
Lol - I used to do 60 a day Steve and only stopped when I saw the nicotine oozing out of the wallpaper.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
In message , Nigel Cliffe writes
IMNSHO, the best solution to the wheel and dirt problem is a couple of flywheels.
Reply to
Jane Sullivan
In message , Roger T. writes
This is directly contrary to our experience running an approx 60ft long OO-Gauge layout where we have been testing rail-Zip. The layout runs a number of rakes simultaneously and non stop [public running] for at least sixteen hours every week and during the last month for some 26 hours minimum weekly - 8 hours at a stretch.
We scrupulously cleaned the whole of the track, with both rail pads [Peco] and cleaning wipes. The whole layout was vacuumed off and each item of rolling stock [we run 35 wagon rakes] was wheel cleaned and serviced. Then Rail zip was applied and every possible inch of track was run to spread it around evenly.
Our results over a five week period led us to the following conclusion. That Rail-Zip considerably reduces regular [before running] track cleaning maintenance, saving us some 21 hours over our five week test period. It also seems to reduce the odd running fault that involved slight 'sticking' of 'some' 0-4-0 locos running intermittently in little used sidings. However the track had become increasingly filthier as time went on even though the whole layout was vacuumed every day. The track felt extremely sticky to the touch prior to a complete re-clean and re-zip carried out on Boxing Day. During the five week period of our test all running locos were regularly serviced and wheel cleaned in rotation as is our custom. General rolling stock was not.
We will continue to use Rail-Zip as it's worth it for the huge savings in time and effort that was previously involved before each running day, but have no illusions about the filth that the stuff seems to attract to the track and wheels. Amazingly the filth seemed to make no difference to the considerably improved operation of the running stock. The line just looked and felt filthy :0)
Cheers.
Reply to
Roy
Why is it 'contrary'? You continue on to explain that it works for you.
(snipped)
Which is exactly the idea, keeps your layout running without cleaning.
Why feel it? Keith
Reply to
Keith
I use rail. zip as well. It seems to me that you must use it VERY spareingly to avoid a build up of crud, then it works as well as described. I also clean the track with track cleaner and cloth / vacume every couple of months. Rob
Reply to
Rob Kemp
Here's a thought that this debate about Relcos has just sparked for me.
We have a reputation for being a friendly bunch at exhibitions and traders will very often bring a loco to demonstrate it on Nictun Borrud or point a punter to us to ask if they can see it run on a proper layout.
At present new locos are sold without chips but more than one pundit has expressed the view that before long the default will be all new locos sold with a basic chip already fitted.
As I understand it, the current generation of chips will allow a loco to auto-sense when it is on a non-dcc track and respond to a DC rather than an AC input. In time this may result in second hand locos appearing which are already chipped as well.
This suggests that it is only a matter of time before someone gives us a loco to run and we fry their chip with our Relco.
Hmm. Think we will have to make a point of asking each requester if their loco is chipped before we do this...
Elliott
Reply to
Elliott Cowton

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