Track Cleaning Cars - Worth it Or Not?

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Track Cleaning Cars - Worth it Or Not?
Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, April 28, 2017 1:49 AM

Aloha,

 

I have been building my list of "needs" to address during my next trip to the contiguous 48 states.  Having stuff sent to an address there saves me tens of dollars on shipping, so I like to "load up," as it were, and have items shipped to a friend's or relative's house for packing in a suitcase when I return.

Anyway, one supplier has used Arsist0craft track cleaning cabooses on sale.  Are these things, or similar cars, worth the cash?  The triple O is not huge, but hitting the rails with a "greenie weanie" each time we fire it up gets old.  There are other things on the "needs" list - rail clamps, gondolas, possibly that Revolution controller, whatever - that I have to rack and stack against available funds, so your advice is appreciated.

 

Aloha,

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Friday, April 28, 2017 4:45 AM

Eric

Save room in that suitcase for something else! Make your own. A track cleaning car is nothing more than a car with a permenantly atached sanding block under it. 

Cut a chunk of wood slightly wider than a freight car and about 3/4 of the lenght of the distance from the trailing wheels of the lead truck to the leading wheels of the trailing truck. Now round off the leading and trailing edges of the bottom of the block. Drill verticle holes about 3/4 inch from the leading/trailing edges slightly smaller than a 6D nail on the exact centerline of the block, drill press recommended here or just be very carefull. Insert a nail and add a bit of glue to the last bit of the nail. Hold the block with nails to the bottom of freight car and mark for drill holes slightly larger than the nails. Drive 4 carpet tacks half way into the top of the leading edge curve and trim the heads off, do same for trailing edged. Take a piece of green scour pad (trimmed to fit) hook it to the exposed carpet tacks at one end, pull snug and catch the other set of carpet tacks. put the block under the designated car and clean the tracks as the car runs around the layout. 

With some 'assembly line procision' make a total of 6~10 of these blocks, and prep drill the undercarraige of 5~6 cars (box cars, gondolas, pasenger) and you now have an entire train of 'track cleaning cars'. Caution, over time one or two of the blocks will get broken, mostly while in storage. If your track looks really bad just run the full track cleaning train in reverse for a couple laps. When clean just lift the cars off the cleaning pads and enjoy.

You can make your own in about twice the time it took to type this.

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Friday, April 28, 2017 2:01 PM

I've investigated quite a number of track cleaning cars and solutions.

Read this page: https://elmassian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=228&Itemid=262

 

Greg

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Posted by David N on Friday, April 28, 2017 5:02 PM

I would save the space and money for something else.  The only track cleaning car that actually worked for me was the LGB motorized track-cleaning locomotive.  It was $600+ when I bought it, and don't know if it is still available.  The cars that drag an abrasive block underneath can barely maintain an already-clean brass track, and I proved they were doing too much damage to the rail, and making it oxidize even faster.  I now use a completely different method, by hand, and can generally go a month between cleanings.

My stainless track was never a problem, as long as I kept the dirt, leaves and crud off it, it remained conductive.  One thing I did was to remove my LGB ball-bearing wheels, (except where I needed power pickup), and go back to solid-axle metal wheels.  The metal-to-metal slipping does a bit of polishing and keeps the track, and wheels, somewhat cleaner. 

 

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 3:14 AM
Thanks, everyone. Lots to consider, but at least I can consider something else to put in my suitcase!
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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 7:26 PM

Are you visiting the states pretty soon? (Yeah I know Hawaii is a state).

If so, near San Diego?

Greg

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 2:37 AM

Greg,

Yes, but heading to Arizona, with no layovers for a change!  There is a dedicated large scale shop in Tombstone with which I have been in contact, so I am racking and stacking wants and needs.  Setting aside a little extra for an impulse buy, too.  Other than a small antique and toy shop near Lihue on Kauai, their are no model railrad stores out here, so the chance to just brows and oggle is something I am REALLY looking forward to!

 Oh, I am going to try the "Swiffer" you mention on your site.  I don't have the rolling stock to dedicate to Tom's suggested track cleaing train (project Craiglist kill if / when one shows up!). 

Eric

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Posted by ttrigg on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 3:35 AM

PVT Kanaka

I don't have the rolling stock to dedicate to Tom's suggested track cleaing train (project Craiglist kill if / when one shows up!). 

Eric

 
These are not dedicated cars. The scrub pad floats under the car when in use. At the end of cleaning duties, lift the car from the track and the scrub pad stays on the track. The nails pass through the floor of the car but are not attached to the car. The pad is simply drug along under the car as long as needed for cleaning, Remove the pads and continue normal operations.
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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 11:51 AM

Shoot, was just on Kauai late December, stayed in Kapaa for almost 2 weeks. Likely to come back in a year or so.

 

Greg

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 9:41 PM
Tom, thanks for the clarification. I have a string of Hartland minis that would be a cost effective starting point for the experiment.
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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Tuesday, May 09, 2017 9:54 PM

Greg,

 

Next time you are out there, you can check out "Beachrail Lines."  It is about 15 minutes from Lihue, but in the opposite direction from Kapaa.  Also, Kilohana Plantation has some old White Pass & Yukon equipment they run in around to evoke and older era.  It's fun. You can check out the old steam line, too, which only runs on select days.  Here's a link http://kauaitrains.weebly.com/.

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Posted by Curmudgeon on Thursday, May 11, 2017 1:17 PM
What are track cleaning cars? Why would anyone need one?
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Posted by smcgill on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 8:58 AM
To kleenup the cookie crumbs....

Mischief

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Posted by Greg Elmassian on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 4:03 PM

Jeeze, the guy has brass track.

So battery guy jabs, and mentioning SS track (which I have too) help how?

Greg

Visit my site: http://www.elmassian.com - lots of tips on locos, rolling stock and more.

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Posted by PVT Kanaka on Friday, June 23, 2017 11:04 PM

Hi All,

Sorry, my trip to AZ left me behind on this issue.  I used Greg's "Swiffer" tip, and it certainly helped.  To boot, the swiffer "broom thing" is a great handle to maneuver greenie-weenies around the tracks, leaving me on hands and knees for a handful of tough spots. Thanks again for the pointer, Greg!

Other than that, my visit left my wallet more or less in tact.  I got my Bachmann railtruck repaired enough to run again at the shop in Tombstone, but the rest of his rolling stock and locomotives, while beautiful, was out of theme.  The best part probably was simply the opportunity to see multiple manufacturers' goods side by side and to chat with the proprietor with his opinions on the pros and cons of each.

Eric

 

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