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Track cleaning wagons - what do you think? Which works?


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57 minutes ago, Pete the Elaner said:

 

I had a Hornby one many years ago but gave it away. I felt that with fine paper, it smudged the dirt along a little. Coarse paper doesn't stay coarse for very long; it grinds into the first few feet of rail until it gets clogged with dirt...then it is back to smudging the dirt along.

I replaced the standard Hornby cleaning pads with thin foam/cleaning pads from (from memory, long time ago) Fleischmann cleaning trucks cut down to fit, worked really well considering the price and a[parent crudity. 

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1 hour ago, Pete the Elaner said:

 

I had a Hornby one many years ago but gave it away. I felt that with fine paper, it smudged the dirt along a little. Coarse paper doesn't stay coarse for very long; it grinds into the first few feet of rail until it gets clogged with dirt...then it is back to smudging the dirt along.

 

I have also considered dropping the height of the conductor rail to the same as the running rails. I know this is wrong but would it look wrong? I guess I would only really know if I would be happy with it if I tried it.

The conductor rail is also a different colour to running rails; it is a shiny grey colour instead of bright silver...but most NS rail is a gold colour rather than silver anyway.

 

Anyway, this is wandering the topic. For the running lines, I am happy with my CMX. Expensive it may be but it does a good job.

 

Another thing which seems to not get the attention it merits is cleaning track under overhead wires.

I had a small depot layout a while back & at a show, many viewers asked me if it was awkward re-railing locos under the wires. I never found this too bad but nobody asked about the awkwardness of cleaning the track, which was much worse, especially around areas where lineside buildings made access even more awkward.

My current layout will eventually be re-built as a 1990 version with OLE. It is in a cutting with buildings, platforms, bridges & tunnels. That is a lot of scenery to get in the way. Cleaning with a block would either involve occasional damage or be so fiddly that I would never bother running the layout, which defeats the object of having one.

A track rubber on a long stick is the simple answer, although I have also one of the roller wagons, one of the Piko wagons and a wagon with a pair of graphite sticks. Between them all it seems to keep stuff moving quite happily. 
 

Andi

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If it is really track cleaning, then to my mind, nothing beats CMX. However, if is debris, dirt, dust on track, nothing beats the Dapol in its Hoovering mode. Its amazing, what it picks up. I have both DC and DCC ones. Other than that, use rough side of a piece of hardboard.

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I've read all the comments on here with interest. I have had a Dapol track cleaner for a long time but it has had little use because I've been too busy with various projects and haven't run the layout much. The track has been manually cleaned but I decided today to run the track cleaner. Without any of the attachments fitted, the motor ran when current was applied. As soon as I fitted the felt head, the motor only ran in fits and starts and then stopped altogether. I've come to the conclusion that it was a waste of money. The old Triang one did a better job.

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Very pleased with my Ten Commandments track cleaner. Even without cleaning fluid it does a great job. Currently running  it with the Dapol cleaner in vacuum mode and you can hear it is cleaning the track because the Dapol vacuum is now having no trouble picking up power which can be a problem with it on even slightly mucky track.

Chris

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  • 1 month later...

50 years ago Peco introduced the ( expensive ) track rubber. Great on Triang steel track but far too coarse for their own track.  I use Lion brand or Garryflex blocks available  in different grades as they are easier to hold, last a lifetime so your next 2 generations will still be using them. They are brill! Use the blue and extra fine grades.

I also have the Dapol which gets into the tunnel, “ underground “ storage and parts that I can no longer get to. The supplied fluid cleans the track but takes at least a week to evaporate and still leaves a residue. DO NOT USE with rubber tyres.  Now how do I know that?  The loco just wheelspins and loses tyres. If you use the abrasive pads supplied they catch the Peco point actuating pins and derail in the most awkward part of my layout.

I have recently invested in 5 axle hung cleaners to clip to the axles of toads and coaches and so far so good . 10 laps collected a black stain on the lily white pads. I also use 40 year old Relco continuously and would not be without  it . I do turn it off when leaning on the track else you get a nice surprise but at least you know it works.

pete

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6 hours ago, Pete smith said:

50 years ago Peco introduced the ( expensive ) track rubber. Great on Triang steel track but far too coarse for their own track. 

 

That is a common held belief but not backed up with any evidence so somebody from this forum (I can't remember who) uploaded a video to youtube:

They viewed the top surface of a brand new rail with a microscope. It was full of tiny scratches in random directions.

They then gave it a good, long scrub with a Peco track cleaning block & again viewed the rail surface with a microscope. It was marginally shinier but the random scratches were still there.

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11 hours ago, Pete the Elaner said:

 

That is a common held belief but not backed up with any evidence so somebody from this forum (I can't remember who) uploaded a video to youtube:

They viewed the top surface of a brand new rail with a microscope. It was full of tiny scratches in random directions.

They then gave it a good, long scrub with a Peco track cleaning block & again viewed the rail surface with a microscope. It was marginally shinier but the random scratches were still there.

Question of force on surface area amongst other things. As the surface gets smoother, it will resist further abrasion leaving the valleys of the scratches untouched.

 

When I came back to the hobby after a 20 year break, I cleaned all the track with a rubber. The colour was really dark to start with and the test loco (Bachmann 56xx) wouldnt run at all. Following this polishing activity, wouldn't call it cleaning as technically the track was oxidised not dirty, the loco ran normally. So track was restored to conductive by that method, now keeping it that way would need other techniques.

 

Not convinced at all for the explanation of arcing but thats for another day.....

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