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Discussion Boards => HO => Topic started by: wb2002 on September 19, 2013, 07:18:21 PM



Title: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: wb2002 on September 19, 2013, 07:18:21 PM
Are there any good track cleaning cars and which are they. Are the motorized track cleaning cars good? Please share whatever knowledge you may have.
Thanks


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Doneldon on September 19, 2013, 08:06:11 PM
wb-

I predict that you'll find a broad range of opinions on this question, none of which (including mine) will be definitive or indisputably correct. Nevertheless, I'll toss in an answer.

In my experience the track cleaning cars aren't all that great. Plus, some are abrasive which can actually cause the rails to need another cleaning sooner. I personally have had fairly good luck with both an electrostatic cleaner and a weighted car with a home-built, "floating" piece of Masonite. In every case, however, there is the likelihood that the cleaner won't get everywhere so some hand cleaning will be needed.

If rails are polished and there is an incredibly thin coat of Wahl Clipper Oil on them it shouldn't be necessary to clean rails all of the time. Depending on the cleanliness of your layout room, the rail material (IMHO nickel-silver is best) and how often you run trains, your need for track cleaning can vary greatly. Also, be aware that keeping the wheels on your motive power and rolling stock clean is just about as important as keeping your track clean when it comes to both electrical conductivity and the need for track cleaning.

I'm aware I haven't exactly answered your clearly worded question but it's where I am on the issue.
                                                                                                                                                       -- D


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: jbrock27 on September 19, 2013, 09:35:19 PM
wb, how big is the layout you are looking to clean?

I am with Doc (Doneldon) for the most part.  I think you will get better results cleaning by hand vs a car.  As a kid, I bought a Life Like tank track cleaning car and bottle of Life Like cleaning fluid.  You would pour the fluid in the tank that had a black cap and it would dribble onto a pad at the bottom of the car and you would run it around the track.  Once or twice it derailed and created an HO hazmat situation when the fluid spilled out of the tank.  I still have both the cleaning fluid and the chassis of the car (the tank and everything else that would identify it as any kind of rolling stock is long gone).  It still has the pad (dirty as hell now) and a lot of extra weight I added to it so the pad pushes down on the rails.  For old times sake, once in a while I take it out and swab a little of the cleaning fluid on the bottom of the pad and race it around the layout using a Model Power Canadian National Alco C-430 (zebra stripe) bc that is all the loco is good for, as fast as it will go. 
I get better overall results using the Wahl clipper oil that Doc mentioned.  I use a makeup style Q tip to rub some on the rails.  Not a lot is needed.  That style Q tip does not fray like the one you would use to clean your ears.  I have blessed myself with using brass track (bc this is what I have a lot of) and it does need cleaning from the oxidation.  If I had to start over from scratch I would definitely purchase and use nickel silver track.
All that said, I have plans to use some Masonite a good friend of mine gave to me and make a track cleaning car out of an old TYCO El Capitan 50ft boxcar that has little resale value.  I would like to build it mostly to see how it works.
From what I have seen, you can spend a good penny ($100+) for a tanker style cleaning car.  Not my cup of tea.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: richg on September 19, 2013, 09:56:40 PM
Our club has a couple John Allen type cleaning cars which use the Masonite pad.
Do a Google search for john allen track cleaning car.
Many of the links bring you to another forum is why I will not post the links here.

Rich


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: richg on September 19, 2013, 10:07:46 PM
Don't be lazy when it comes to track cleaning. It will really bite you if you go over to DCC.
A DC loco on a DC powered layout sometimes gets a power interruption but the loco tends to drift over that bad spot.
With DCC, the slighted interruption and the decoder resets. That causes the loco to instantly stop. With a sound loco, it is really noticeable.

Rich


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: the Bach-man on September 19, 2013, 11:12:29 PM
Dear All,
We have a track cleaning car that works very well:
http://shop.bachmanntrains.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=258_324_337_342&products_id=2221
Have fun!
the Bach-man


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: jbrock27 on September 19, 2013, 11:35:44 PM
Thanks Rich; I have been to other places on the net and have see the Masonite track cleaning car.  That is where I got the idea to build one from.
And yes, I have heard that subject mentioned many times here-dirty track = bad for DCC running.  I run DC and have no immediate plans for DCC, but thanks for the reminder.

And thank you Mr. Bach-man!


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Bob_B on September 20, 2013, 01:04:00 AM
Dear All,
We have a track cleaning car that works very well:
http://shop.bachmanntrains.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=258_324_337_342&products_id=2221
Have fun!
the Bach-man

I have one of these and it does work very well. I use it to augment my hand cleaning practices.
Particularly useful in hard to get areas like tunnels.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: CNE Runner on September 20, 2013, 11:48:39 AM
I couldn't agree with RichG's post more...clean track is essential for reliable operation (especially so with DCC). I like to run a Bright Boy pad over all my track - once every 2 or 3 months. Without getting into chemistry and nickle oxide (III); one has to remove this oxide mechanically. Having said that the old Masonite-equipped pad (under a boxcar) works fairly well IF one starts with clean rails. [My Monks Island Railway is too short for this method to be practical.] So, bite the bullet, and realize that you will have to [occasionally] mechanically clean your rails...both rail heads and inside the top of the rail as well.

I have used liquid cleaner cars, such as the CMX model, but have found that they tend to be too heavy for my Bachmann GE 45-Ton locomotive to pull (the CMX car weighs 1 pound). What I have found useful is the old IHC Track Cleaning caboose. Since I have a short switching layout (10' x 15") I don't bother filling the enclosed tank - preferring to use a pipette to soak the felt pad. I highly recommend the Aerocar cleaner as the solvent. The 'caboose' can be pushed/pulled by a locomotive or the good old 0-5-0.

OK, so we have cleaned the rails; what else needs attention? I recommend that you consider vacuuming the rail bed with a low suction (electronics) vacuum. Additionally the operation of some sort of dust filter (I use the Sharper Image units) in your train room to lessen dust - which is a major contributor to layout 'gunk'. Do not over oil your locomotives and rolling stock as the excess oil will drip onto the roadbed - causing additional clean up problems.

Take a long look at the environmental conditions your layout has to endure. Is it in a basement? Are the walls and floor sealed? Is there a ceiling? Controlling the layout's environment can go a long way in keeping things clean.

Keeping good electrical contact has been a problem for our hobby since its beginning. Until battery technology is drastically improved we will continue to draw operational energy from the rails (well, except you cantenary guys)...at least in the smaller scales: Z, N, HO, OO. There are ways to lengthen the time between cleanings...but no reliable way to eliminate them.

Regards,
Ray


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: jbrock27 on September 20, 2013, 12:19:23 PM
Thank you Ray.

Can I ask 2 questions please?  a) What method to use to clean the inside of the rails?  b) What is the reason(s) to clean the inside of the rails?

Thank you as always.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: wb2002 on September 20, 2013, 02:12:07 PM
Thanks for all the responses. I am using HO (nickle 100 thingy), DCC,  on 4X8 with a 5X8 plywood attached to a side end. I have plenty of track (more than I should have) with about 35 turnouts. I built this about 1995 and used about 1 year, disconnected the boards and move from Texas to Florida and did not use until I moved back to Texas and decided to get involved again a year ago. Needless to say, the tracks were dirty (I imagined oxidized) quite a bit. I have heard many recommended ways  to clean tracks and decided to use an eraser (non-abrasive type) and lacquer and paint thinner. The setup is in my garage and expose to dust.  After a sever cleaning of the tracks and all rolling stock, I want something to use like a track cleaning car to use perhaps once a week to keep things reasonably clean.

Again, many thanks.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: GG1onFordsDTandI on September 20, 2013, 02:48:10 PM
If you have plastic ties keep the lacquer thinner, other petroleum simple green,etc. away from from it. It may "melt it". I use alcohol and diaper cloth for gunk on the rails. Try dusting, plastic first. Pledge lifts crud on plastic well, remove from the rails with alcohol too. I use fine Scotch-bright lightly on the rails one in a while, then dust it with a paintbrush. It keeps gunk down.   


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Doneldon on September 20, 2013, 04:19:25 PM
We have a track cleaning car that works very well:

B'mann-

I have to acknowledge that I'm unfamiliar with the B'mann track cleaning car. Is it abrasive? Is it recommended for constant use to keep rails in good trim or is it an on-the-layout-off-the-layout kind of thing? What is the material for the piece which slides along the track? Do the sliders need to be replaced? If so, how often? Is the car extra heavy? Have I already asked way too many questions?

Thanx.
                -- D


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Bucksco on September 20, 2013, 04:25:08 PM
http://shop.bachmanntrains.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=258_324_337_342&products_id=2221


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Jerrys HO on September 20, 2013, 06:07:03 PM
Doneldon,

I can answer most of your questions as I own two of them.

1) Yes it can be ran all the time,but why?
2) No it's not abrasive, more like a felt pad (don't know exactly what it's made out of).
3) Don't know what you are referring to on the sliders? It's just a pad sitting on top of the rails.
4) The car ways 3.43oz.

I use two because one I soak with alcohol and the other I put a couple of cars back with a dry pad to wipe clean. The pads go in the dishwasher to be cleaned.(by them selves of course).
There was a post on this a while back that EBT Bob and myself explained.
Yes my rails are clean afterwards. I have not had any issues with dirty track.

Hope this helps.

Jerry


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Doneldon on September 20, 2013, 06:54:19 PM
Jerry-

Thanks for the answers.

By "sliders" I meant the whatevers which slide along on the rails. I didn't know enough about them to call them pads so I used a more general term.

My question about whether to run them all of the time had to do with whether they would work best in general, continuous maintenance or as needed. Each has an advantage, ongoing because (in theory, at least) you never have to worry about track cleaning, and as needed because you don't waste time moving a car from industry to siding to yard just to get all of the tracks covered.
                                                                                                             -- D


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: jbrock27 on September 20, 2013, 08:23:01 PM
It's good to know the Bachmann track cleaning car gets some positive endorsements and costs about half a C-note :)  Something to definitely consider.  Is the pad on it different than pads found on other track cleaning cars?


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: jward on September 20, 2013, 09:01:50 PM
I have one question about the Bachmann track cleaners: can they be backed without derailing. a lot of the other track cleaning cars only work going forward, and derail when you try to back them.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Bob_B on September 21, 2013, 01:14:05 AM
My experience with the track cleaning car.
It has non-abrasive pads and you can buy replacements (2 pieces Item No 16949).
I've only used mine for about an hour of cleaning in total and no signs of wear.
The pad support in itself is weighted and floats so car weight is irrelevant but if you wanted to you can easily add weight to the car (and similar cars sold by Bachmann) by removing the tanker lid and add fishing sinkers. This works very well to help stop derailments and gives more realistic movement.
The way the pad is designed means it will clean in either direction. Great for sidings where you can run up and down a couple of times to clean dead end track.
The only minus in the design IMHO is the pads wear two grooves which means most of the (square) pad area is wasted when it comes time to replace them. A pad that could be rotated would be more cost effective.
BTW I bought my track cleaner at considerably less than RRP. Shop around as always.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: jbrock27 on September 21, 2013, 08:26:59 AM
Thank you.
It is good the pad can be cleaned thru the dishwasher.  So far, my searching does not indicate other manufactures' cleaning cars' pads are resusable.  If anyone can confirm the B'man is unique in this way, that would be great.
And yes Bob , I agree, always wise to comparison shop.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: jward on September 21, 2013, 09:52:01 AM
the cars I am currently using, which do the job pretty well even if I can't back them, are the centerline cars with the rollers wrapped in handi wipes. when the handi wipes get dirty, I just unroll them from the rollers and replace them.

the problem with backing is that the rollers tend to lift the car off the track in reverse.

I will probably get one of the Bachmann cars for use in cleaning yard tracks and sidings.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: RAM on September 21, 2013, 09:23:34 PM
I have no problem backing up the centerline track cleaner.  However I made a body for it and I may have mounted the couplers on the body.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: CNE Runner on September 22, 2013, 11:53:13 AM
JBrock - I am sorry I missed your two questions to my earlier post (I don't regularly follow the Forum anymore...and less so when we are on the road). OK, why clean the inside of the rail heads? A considerable portion of the electrical 'pick up' is through the wheel flanges - which tend to ride against the inside of the rail head. Is this absolutely necessary? No, but since you are cleaning the rails anyway, why not do a 100% job? Frequent running of your trains makes this job less important - due to friction between the wheel flange and the rail.

I use either my Bright Boy cleaning pad or an artist's eraser (white kind) for the cleaning of the inside rail heads. Please keep in mind that I am referring to the inside of the rail head...not the inside of the entire rail. In any event, frequent running of your trains and good environmental conditions will lengthen the interval between major cleanings. Don't forget those sidings; which don't get much traffic as a rule.

Regards,
Ray


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: jbrock27 on September 22, 2013, 12:03:21 PM
Thank you Ray I appreciate your taking the time to get back to me.  No apologies necessary.  Thanks for the tip, I never would have thought to do that.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: wb2002 on September 26, 2013, 09:30:58 PM
Dear All,
We have a track cleaning car that works very well:
http://shop.bachmanntrains.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=258_324_337_342&products_id=2221
Have fun!
the Bach-man

Is this link the only track maintenance vehicle available at Bachmann? I cannot locate any other reference to any other track cleaning vehicles by Bachmann (on the Bachmann site) other than those listed on eBay and other places.

Kind regards,
W Brown


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Bob_B on September 27, 2013, 01:38:45 AM
Dear All,
We have a track cleaning car that works very well:
http://shop.bachmanntrains.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=258_324_337_342&products_id=2221
Have fun!
the Bach-man

Is this link the only track maintenance vehicle available at Bachmann? .......

AFAIK that's it. I'm sure if there were others 'the bach-man' would have listed them.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: ebtbob on September 27, 2013, 10:05:29 AM
Jward,

       I have five of the Bachmann cleaning cars and have zero problems backing them up. 


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: rogertra on September 27, 2013, 05:03:25 PM
Jward,

       I have five of the Bachmann cleaning cars and have zero problems backing them up.  


Bob, why would need five? 

Is your track that dirty?  :)


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Jerrys HO on September 27, 2013, 06:35:30 PM
Quote
Bob, why would need five? 

Why not, they are nice looking and work. I've seen a video of Bob's layout and one would take forever to clean. If Bob uses them like I do with one wet clean and one dry clean following behind I would say your a car short Bob. ;D
Glad to see your still there Bob haven't heard a peep out of you lately.
I am going to try and post an email I receive regularly that has a homemade track cleaning car that is pretty cool  and I think it would probably work well with the Masonite pads richg was talking about. Here goes....

http://modelrailwaylayoutsplans.com/kims-track-cleaner/

Jerry


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: jbrock27 on September 27, 2013, 07:47:10 PM
Did John Allen change his name to "Kim" or "Al"  ???  
Not sure if this was what Rich was talking about when he mentioned John Allen's Masonite car after I had mentioned building one, but he would be the one to ask what website he was referring to.

Here is the website I was referencing when I mentioned plans to build one of these cars.  This looks a lot more straightforward than building Kim's track cleaning car.

http://www.willegal.net/railroad/rr-tc.htm

I suggest this be saved to Favorites.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: ebtbob on October 06, 2013, 07:14:15 PM
Sorry I have been away for this site for a while.   To Roger,  why five cars - I put one on each of my mainline trains so that I am constantly cleaning at least the mainlines.  Also,  when I run just track cleaning trains I usually have two of the cars on each train.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Mryan on January 10, 2014, 05:09:38 PM
Great Topic guys.

Since i am fairly new to the train hobby. I just purchased my first cleaning car. It is a light box car with the replaceable pad on the bottom. It sits under the carwith springs so it ca move with the track. What I am noticing is that my engine has trouble pulling it. Even just the engine and tender with the cleaning car. The engine seems to spin out and is having a lot of trouble pulling this cleaning car at all.

Do you think my Engine is just not powerfull enough? I have been looking at buying a new engine to test. Before i spent more money I though I would ask.

Mark


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Doneldon on January 10, 2014, 08:04:57 PM
Mark-

Some of the track cleaning cars are pretty heavy. Combine that with the friction of something sliding, rather than metal wheels rolling on metal track, and it's not surprising that some locos have trouble hauling track cleaners around. So, technically, your loco isn't powerful enough to pull the cleaner. That presents you with a golden opportunity to whine about the situation until your wife suggests that you really should bite the bullet and just get a sufficiently powerful one. Then, while she's feeling compassionate and is reeling from how much better you feel now that she's told you to buy a new loco, point out that it seems a shame to run a new and powerful loco on such a small layout. Then you can bootstrap the new loco permission into an acknowledgement that you should really have a larger and more elaborate set-up.

Or, you can try to make your existing loco better able to pull the cleaner: You can add weight to your loco, either temporarily or permanently. You can use a substance called Bullfrog Snot (I'm not making this up) to increase your loco's traction. You can replace the traction tires on your loco if it had some but they have worn out or off.
                                                                                                                                                                       -- D




Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: jbrock27 on January 10, 2014, 09:34:52 PM
Mark, what make/model locomotive is giving you the trouble?


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Mryan on January 10, 2014, 10:37:57 PM
Lol nice reply D. I like your thought process. Funny I have already started that process.

Jbrock I am running a 2-6-0 steam locomotive and tender from the Bachmann HO 00711 Liberty Bell Special Starter Set.

I was looking at the Canadian National #4722 - GP38-2 it's a Diesel Loco.

Mark


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: jward on January 11, 2014, 11:52:37 AM
you may want to look at the centerline track cleaning cars. they use rollers covers with ez wipes rather than sliding pads, so they have a lot less rolling resistance. plus, you car run the car with wet or dry rollers. with the roller soaked in track cleaning fluid or alcohol, it will dissolve much of the dirt on the rails. when the wipe gets dirty, change it to a dry one and pick up the residue from the wet roller.

I have both types of track cleaners, an I don't use the one with sliding pads much anymore.

as for the cn gp38-2, it should have more pulling power than the 2-6-0, and would be a good runner.


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: BIG BEAR on January 13, 2014, 11:19:01 PM
WB2002,

    I have another option. Try:  http://www.mnpinc.com/Home.htm    I have one of these in On30 it uses a Bachmann Boxcar to hold the mechanics. I do not use or recommend the sandpaper as I feel it will leave unwanted metal shavings and micro grooves in my tracks that will just make it dirty faster.

Enjoy,
 Barry


Title: Re: Track Cleaning Car
Post by: Mryan on January 16, 2014, 09:28:20 PM
I did end up picking up the Canadian National #4722 - GP38-2 it's a Diesel Loco. Wow it does have a lot more pulling power and I can clean my track while improving my 2-6-0 to see if can get that one pulling better.

I will have a look at all the other cleaning options thanks for all the posts.

Mark