Track cleaning options

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illyad2

New Member
I have an extensive HO layout, with a regular train line and an elevated track. In the past I have used an eraser and liquid cleaner to clean my tracks. With the elevated track and sheer volume of track I have, I am wondering if there is a better way to clean the tracks, specifically, is there an engine that I can run on the tracks to clean them? Any information on how to clean my tracks would be welcomed.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
We recently had a thread going on this topic.

 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
The tank can hold quite a bit of track cleaner juice, i.e. alcohol or paint thinner.
Never, ever, ever use Acetone though unless you are planning to tear up all your track.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
To remove a two month accumulation of dust, either clean by hand with a damp rag, turning it often, or push a track cleaning car like the $25 Bachmann or Walthers boxcars with the floating scrub pad between the trucks.

To remove oxidation (nickel silver oxide is semi-conductive, meaning it hardly passes any electrons through it, but it does pass some), mechanical scrubbing is the best. Some use emery cloth, some use up to 600 grit (I do), some rely alcohol and a cloth, some use a clean steel washer, some use Mother's Mag Wheel polish and then finish off with the washer, some use the tried 'n true Bright Boy....take your pick.

I just purchased a CMX tank car cleaner, all brass, last year and I have run it around my track system exactly once. Then, spring came and I went outdoors. I'm just thinking of going in and taking another stab at cleaning the rails because nothing has moved in my train room, in the garage, in six months. I will wipe by hand first to clear most of the dust, and know for a fact that there's dust. I can see it. Then I'll run the CMX with lacquer thinner (which the latest science says is not the best choice, but that's what CMX recommends, so....).

Apparently, the three best fluids are, in order, kerosene (a bottle can be had in the camping section for wick lamps), then WD-40 Contact Cleaner, then CRC contact cleaner. Their common quality is that they are 'non-polar' fluids, while Wahl's Clipper Oil, ATF, and lacquer thinner are further down the list and more polar in nature.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
The host of the video above is misleading in his list of polar and non-polar fluids suitable for track cleaning. He states that CRC Contact Cleaner is highly polar and therefore not suitable. Incorrect. If he goes to the list of fluids published at Model Railroad Hobbyist forums, he'll find that CRC 2-26 is quite polar, but that's a different product. CRC Contact Cleaner and Protectant is non-polar and is an effective coating/cleaner for N/S rails.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
MRH also promoted the use of Track Magic to clean or treat the rails followed by applying a light coating (a really light coat of grapite applied in various sections of the track) of #4B graphite on the sides of the rails to reduce micro-arching when the locomotives run on the treated rails.

Greg
 




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