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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just put together a quick oval on the floor in the guest room to run an engine. I have about 40 feet of brass Atlas (83), Playart, and IHC track. The engine is real herky jerky and runs good on some sections and not on others. I read up on the problem and it sounds like dirty track. Just wiping the rail with my finger I get a sooty film. I am going to the hobby shop later this week (once the blizzard shuts down) to see if he has any of those track cleaning pads.
 

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The cleaning cars probably work, but it's a lot easier to just use some Scotchbrite on the track, followed with a clean rag to remove any residue. That should do the trick.
I have read not to use sand paper but I use 600 grit on my brass. My trains always run better after a quick lap with the 600.
 

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I made a drag block for mine. A piece of MDF the same width as the (HO scale) boxcar its attached to and about 2" long. Angle cut the front and rear edges and thin enough to "float" over the joints and turnouts. Take another piece of MDG, but smaller (so it will fit inside the boxcar body), drill two holes about an inch apart inthe top MDF and the floor of the car. Drive two nails through the top MDF, the floor and into the bottom MDF, but not so far to go out the bottom. Throw a piece of duct tape over the nail heads on the top so that the weight of the top MDF provides consistant and even pressure on the bottom MDF. You can runthis anywhere in the train, but the closer to the loco the better. Cleans while it rolls and every so often, wipe the block down with a cloth midly dampened with goo gone. Homosote is supposed to work better, but I had the MDF on hand already and so far it has worked quite well.

Edit: I added pics
 

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well I do have a CSX track cleaning car but you must constantly pull it in a train tokeep the rails clean. i just use some isypropol alcohol and rub the track down and vuala it is shiny and spotless in just a few minutes.
 

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I use Masonite pads mounted to nails (or magnets for antique tinplate). They work great in combination with an old Life-Like fluid car...















The Life-Like car is modified with Kadees and sprung trucks for better tracking.

Any abrasive method can do more harm than good so take care which way you go on that.
 

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I have a CMX clean machine HO. and I've used every method out there. My last layout had long runs and all the other methods gummed up and quit in a shot period of time.
Shaygetz's, and cabledawg's methods are the next best thing. And yes it is a lot cheaper of a method than the CMX.
If you only have short runs, rubbing down the track with a good cloth like tee shirt material wet-ed with either rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol is quick and painless. Brass track is especially troublesome and prone to quick oxidation, don't forget to clean the engine wheels too.
 

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Guys,
I have a grand total of about 70' of Bachmann E-Z NS on my 4'X8' layout, all of which is easily accessible. I've been using the BrightBoy jobbie, but not rubbing alcohol afterward. Is the alcohol really required to finish the job?
And, should I use the vacuum to get up any little bits of debris?
Also, what's the best procedure for cleaning the loco wheels?
Thanks,
Bob
 

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Guess I'm a little dense. Let's see if I have this straight.
1) Wet a cloth with alcohol and lay it across the tracks.
2) Put one set of trucks on the cloth
3) Hold onto the loco while running it so the wheels "spin" on the alcohol soaked cloth
4) Repeat with the other set of trucks
Is this the deal?
Thanks,
Bob
 

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Yes sir you nailed it!
Cut out using any abrasive on your track it just compounds the problem, Micro scratches leave more surface to oxidize and spark.
Get a piece of homesite and rub the tracks manually that polishes more than removes and yes cleaning the track with alcohol after any type of cleaning is imperative to removing the fine soot off the rails.
Vacuuming is more of a do it to get rid of dust and debris kind of job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Instead of vacuuming,... what about using a compressor and a fine nozzled gun to blow the crud off? ...nnnn what the deuce is "Homesite"?
 

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Electronics / Electrical contact spray is great, pricey, but great.
Vacuuming and blowing air is fine till you have a lot of scenery or ballast to worry about then it can be disastrous, that's where a good track cleaning car comes in to play!
 
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