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Discussion Starter #1
There is a train show this weekend so I am getting my trailer mounted layout ready to take to the show.

It has been uncovered and exposed to the weather all winter so the brass LGB track is pretty dull and tarnished so I have been cleaning it to assure good conductivity at the show.

While I was cleaning the track it occurred to me that I was not just cleaning it, I was polishing it because I've been making sure that every inch of the surface of the track and of the switches has a bright and shinny brass finish.

Sometimes it is worth the extra effort to make the track really shine (to me anyway).

I also realized that if I was going to run a battery powered train that I would still be out there polishing the track to make it bright and shiny rather than leave it dull and dirty.

Does anyone else think this way?

Jerry
 

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Jerry, I only run track power, so I NEED to clean it once in a while, but I can see your point as prototypes have the rails shiny on top from the wheels of the heavy cars rolling over it.
 

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Yes, Jerry, I also will clean my rail heads when the snow is gone from my tracks. I only ever use track power when guests bring track-powered engines; so, there is no functional need to clean. I just think that the track looks better.

Llyn
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I was surprised when the sun came out - because it made it much harder to see the tarnish on the rails.

Somehow a cloudy sky made the track surface far more visible and a lot easier to see just how effective (or not) my cleaning efforts were.

Since the show will be indoors I suspect that it too will provide good visibility for my track cleaning/polishing.

Meanwhile I did check everything with a loco and sound tender and everything checked out just fine.

Jerry
 

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Since I run battery my track is not powered. The majority of people in our club run battery and if someone doesn't run battery then I could in about 10 minutes hook up power to a small track. Long live battery power (or live steam).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
By comparison there are a bunch of trains parked on sidings on my garage and crawl space layouts. EVERY ONE OF THEM is ready to run at the flip of a switch. Because there are no batteries to charge, no advance planning is needed to think of what I might want to run and charge the batteries the night before. There also are no "battery cars" to swap to the locos I want to run because EVERY SINGLE LOCO is INSTANTLY ready to run EVEN IF IT HAS BEEN SITTING FOR A YEAR OR MORE.

The only "maintenance" I've had to do to energize and run those trains (some of which have not been run for a year or more) has been to replace dead 9 volt and no longer rechargeable 6 volt sound system batteries.

Last spring we rebuilt my outside layout with stainless steel track and nickle plated switches. Last week we had a club meeting and ran track powered trains on it for the first time since it was built. The only maintenance was to connect power to the track (for the first time) and to use a leaf blower to clear the track of leaves, twigs etc. (the same as would have been necessary to run battery powered trains).

One club member arrived early because he wanted to see my Aristo live steam Mikado run. Thankfully I had remembered that, unlike the rest of my trains, the live steam loco had to have its radio control battery charged the night before.

All of the brass track and unplated brass switches on the trailer mounted layout came from my old outside layout. I don't mind cleaning that track once or twice a year.

For the inside brass track I might occasionally run a LGB Track Cleaning Loco if I notice a spot on the layout where trains seem to be having a bit of difficulty with track contact.

Some folks like battery power, some like live steam but I doubt that there are any statistics that could contradict that more large scale trains run on track powered layouts than all other power sources combined.

It's up to each of us to determine which appeals to us individually. Whatever our preference happens to be will probably work out very well for us.

Track power - I love it. If someone offered to convert all of my locos free (including batteries and everything) I would say "Thanks but no thanks." :)

Cheers,

Jerry



Posted By dhamer52 on 04/02/2008 7:17 PM
Since I run battery my track is not powered. The majority of people in our club run battery and if someone doesn't run battery then I could in about 10 minutes hook up power to a small track. Long live battery power (or live steam).
 

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Jerry's right... Clean track makes clean wheels and tracks look so much better. If not taken care of they will in time start to pit and never be able to keep clean.

We have some old track that has bad pits and scraches in them and hard to use them for track power now. Have to clean them everytime we run.
/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif" border=0>
Ever seen pine pitch, bird poop and what ever else ends up on the tracks.

I to think, of one guys problem and don't like to put him in the spot like but...... I talk to Jim Carter in Chat and e-mail and really feel for him with his Headgeapples. It sure can messes up the wheel and a good train run. Besides if you hitting one those that just fell and over ripe. WOW /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif" border=0>" border=0>" border=0>

I don't think they make a track cleaning car that will help on that.


Anyway.....To me, track cleaning is part of Railroad maintenance no mater what type of power you run. " border=0>" border=0>
 

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Actually, a track cleaning car with scotchbrite, like the bridge-masters one, will work fine, the scotchbrite is pretty open weave.

Also there are a couple of manuyfacturers that make "wet" systems that will wipe the rails. I also have a custom made one by Aztec with a canvas cleaning roller.

Since I have SS track, I mostly clean dead bugs and ants. One pass with anything does it, or a garden hose!

Regards, Greg
 

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Posted By Greg Elmassian on 04/03/2008 10:49 AM
Actually, a track cleaning car with scotchbrite, like the bridge-masters one, will work fine, the scotchbrite is pretty open weave.

Also there are a couple of manuyfacturers that make "wet" systems that will wipe the rails. I also have a custom made one by Aztec with a canvas cleaning roller.

Since I have SS track, I mostly clean dead bugs and ants. One pass with anything does it, or a garden hose!

Regards, Greg




I started to laf. when you said Ant's... I ran a train (GP-9 with about 15 cars.) and came across Ant's moving on my Brass freeway w/ there eggs. Well... train went about 30 feet and stopped.. There was so much pile up of dead ants on the wheel. that it took 10 min. to clean. and yup... Out with the Scotchbight pads. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif" border=0>" border=0>
 

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Ants are around in full marching order at present and are the principal cause of hesitant running in some places. I always keep a small piece of scotchbrite or similar to hand and a quick rub on the fouled areas soon restores normal running. :D
Shortly, now that flowers have started to bloom they will not travel so far but the pollen and sap will then be in evidence. The same remedy, sometimes using methylated spirit as a solvent, is the order of the day.;)
 

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Posted By Great Western on 04/03/2008 12:27 PM
Ants are around in full marching order at present and are the principal cause of hesitant running in some places. I always keep a small piece of scotchbrite or similar to hand and a quick rub on the fouled areas soon restores normal running. :D" border=0>" border=0>" border=0>
Shortly, now that flowers have started to bloom they will not travel so far but the pollen and sap will then be in evidence. The same remedy, sometimes using methylated spirit as a solvent, is the order of the day.;)" border=0>" border=0>" border=0>

Ants are easy to deal with. We have a railcar that drags a scotchbright pad.


The pad is held in place with these magical, plastic clips (provided free with socks).


And is held to the track with a wooden flat positiond by craft sticks.


I apply a mixture of Simple Green and WD-40 to the pad. This is an almost magical elixer. The Simple Green emulsifies the WD-40 so it does not leave an oily residue. The WD-40 tremendously aids in conductivity, and the ants can't stand the Simple Green and will stay off the track until it is dissipated (for us, the entire daily running session).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I was a sales rep for 3M until I retired so 3M Scotch-Brite pads were the first track cleaners I used (and still do).

My favorite is the 3M 7448. This is more of an industrial product so it may not be as readily available as the consumer Scotch-Brite pads.

Scotch-Brite Ultra Fine Hand Pad Gray

Description: For light cleaning and fine polishing. Cleans aluminum and removes fine burrs on threaded metal parts. Wipes up paint spatter and overspray. Made of tough nylon, won't rust or splinter. 6" x 9".

The 3M 7448 pads work very nicely as a hand track cleaner when wrapped around a short 2" x 4".

Eventually I bought some train stuff that included a LGB 5004 (now 50040) Track Cleaning Block.

The LGB 50040 is now my favorite track cleaner (except for when I run the LGB Track Cleaning Loco). I actually prefer the LGB 50040 to the 3M Scotch-Brite pads. The LGB 50040 blocks are probably cheaper to use because they seem to last forever.

The 50040 works even better when used (as recommended) with LGB Smoke/Track Cleaning Fluid.

Along with the 50040 that came in the train deal was a G Clean Track Cleaning Car (apparently now discontinued) which works with a LGB 50040 block. It makes for a very nice track cleaning car.
I even mounted an additional LGB 50040 block on the end of a drywall sanding pole.

A LGB DOT's Caboose now has a huge hole in its frame due to a failed attempt to mount a LGB 50040 block in it. Not all my ideas work out. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif" border=0>

Jerry
 

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A battery loco is handy for dragging the track cleaner around a powered layout;)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Time flies...

Since I started this topic I've tried several track cleaners including buying the Bridge-Masters. I've not used the Bridge-Masters much since I had replaced all of the outside brass track with stainless steel or nickel plated track and turnouts. The G-Clean track cleaner always worked pretty well but could not handle R1 (4' diameter) curves and turnouts so I had decided to buy the Bridge-Masters.

Recently I started using the indoor layouts again after a year or more of disuse and decided to economize by using the Bridge-Masters rather than the LGB Track Cleaning Locos and things started out fine - UNTIL I started cleaning the brass R1 (4' diameter) curves and turnouts.

I quickly found the Bridge-Master track cleaner was derailing again and again (regardless of whether I was pushing or pulling it) until I finally gave up trying to use it.

Cleaning R1 track and turnouts has always been a major challenge. For me the only thing that seems to work best on R1 track and turnouts (including cleaning the track with LGB track magnets on it) keeps turning out to be the LGB Track Cleaning Locos.

I thought I would pass this on for anyone else who might also use a lot of R1 track. Other than on R1 track both the G-Clean and Bridge-Masters worked well enough.

Jerry
 

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OOHHH Looks like I have another little project to do. Thanks for the pic Greg. Yeah and even when I'm just running battery power , I still like the look of the shiny brass rail.
Tommy

Rio Gracie
 

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The unit, which I love, has a very light frame. When the cleaning block hits something, like when crossing a switch, or a track magnet, the frame has a tendency to bounce and can cause derailments. Also, when pushing it, it derails easily.

After adding the weights (note they are on the frame), those problems were greatly minimized.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Weights on the frame might help but the main problem I observed was that the couplers actually try to force the Bridge-Master car (as with the G-Clean car) to derail as it goes through an R1 turnout.

With both the Bridge-Master and the G-Clean car the problem (on 4' diameter turnouts) is that the couplers are too far from the wheels and do not pivot or swing. This, combined with the limited swing of couplers on locomotives or cars pushing or pulling the track cleaners, limits the ability to pull or push the cleaning cars through R1 turnouts - the same problem that comes up with any body mounted couplers. The fact that I experienced such problems with hook and loop couplers on an NW-2 (one of the very best switchers for R1 track and turnouts) suggests to me that even weights would be of limited value - ON CLEANING R1 TURNOUTS AND SIDINGS.

Perhaps someone will correct me and state specifically that they have NO PROBLEMS pushing or pulling the Bridge-Master car through R1 turnouts and sidings from all directions.


It occurred to me to simply pull the Bridge-Master car with a cable tie eliminating the restriction of the swing of the couplers and while that worked, it was soon defeated when I needed to reverse the loco and the car immediately derailed.

This is not about whether the Bridge-Master works - it is about how well it does or does not work being pushed and pulled through R1 turnouts. If it can be pulled but not pushed, that is of little help since my primary interest is in cleaning a layout with multiple sidings where the track cleaning car would HAVE to be both pushed and pulled to get into and out of the sidings including through the R1 turnout feeding the siding. If you pulled the car into the siding you would HAVE to push it out of the siding. If the car could not do this it would be of no value on R1 turnouts and sidings.




Jerry
 

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Hello all,
I just picked up one of the LGB tracking cleaning loco's and that seems to do a very nice job (the little I have tested it so far). Any comments on it?
 
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