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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
are they worth it? I have a 7ft long tunnel, it`s open in the back but in N scale there ain`t much room. the layout is against the the wall but made to move for obvious reasons but I don`t want to move it unless I have to .these things are pricey.
 

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It depends on what your parameters of ‘worth it’ are. You can spend up to $170 for a track cleaning car. Are they better than the $35 models? That may be a subject to research. If it were me I’d pull the layout away from the wall and do it by hand. But only you know how easy or difficult this is to do.

Another subject to research is using ATF to coat the track after cleaning. (Yes, Automatic Transmission Fluid). Modelers who do this claim that once this is done, your track cleaning days are over. You can search this on here and there are members who have done it. You do want exact details though because they use a particular type of ATF for it.
 

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This one falls into the kinda pricey catagory but it dose a good job
Its not as good as a through hand cleaning but i run on a regular schedule keep the track clean
Rectangle Automotive exterior Fashion accessory Metal Wood

I use mineral spirits as my cleaning fluid
Not shown is a round knureled roller that fits in the hole in the middle of the car and the cleaning roller covers
Im happy with it but YMMV
 

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I bought a ROCO thing years ago, a boxcar with a pad on the bottom that you can put alcohol or GooGone or whatever on , run it and clean it off afterwards. About $7 in 2005. Not bad.

I bought the one with the Knurked roller that came with sections of paper towel that you wrap around the roller and can wet with cleaner. Better. $44 around 2005.

I don't have tunnels any more, and , when I had tunnels, I had anticipated the need to clean the track and made the tops removable.

I more commonly used painting things with fuzzt pads to wet with cleaner of choice and run them along the track, wiping them frequently.
 

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You can make your own track cleaning car.
All you need is a small pad attached under
a car frame. Wet it with alcohol and push
it around the track. I had a heavy defunct loco
truck...I attached a pad and a Kadee coupler.
Loco coupled on and pushed it around the
layout. You don't need a tank for supply
or any hi tech device...Cost 0 $.

Don
 

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I made my own, probably from a Model Railroader article. I cut a piece of Masonite the width of a box car and long enough to fit between the trucks. Flat head screws were counter-sunk and nuts on the other side to keep the 1.5" long screws from falling out of the Masonite. The screws then went into the bottom of the box car. I put a chamfer on the leading edges so it would not catch on points and such. It added drag, but did not need to add weight. It works because it gets two black streaks on it and eventually the Masonite wears and has to be replaced. Oh yeah, this was on HO scale.
 

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I switched from N back to HO. Though the principle DonR suggested transfers over. The trick is that you want the actual cleaning mechanism itself to be weighted, and not the cars weight to apply pressure. This however adds a good deal of weight, so 2-3 locos might be needed.
As far as cost-saving; this method works well (considering cost involved).

Back when I was into N I got a CMX cleaning tank car. These are expensive, but very effective. The tank holds liquid cleaner of choice (i.e. acetone). Never had a problem with it aside from the brassy appearance.
As far as effectiveness; this method works wonderfully (considering you're paying a lot).
 

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ATF is a very useful product. There is a solution called "Ed's Red" that is based on ATF, but also has a few other chemicals in it as well. I believe it's mixed with Acetone, Mineral Spirits and Kerosene. You can google it for the proper pixture. Not sure I'd use it on my tracks, but people in the firearms community have been using it for decades as a general purpose clean/penetrate/lube solution.
 

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Clean with mineral spirits and lightly apply pencil graphite in spots on the track...run your trains to spread it around...see model railroad hobbyist article about best track cleaning techniques for best electric conductivity. No-Ox is good too but it's not a cleaner. Everything else causes micro arcing between wheels and track... result equals dirty low conductivity
 

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I have and use an array of cleaning cars. I have 2 Atlas vacuum/scrubbing cleaning cars (one wet and the other vacuuming), one of the Roco cratex cleaner cars, 2 Aztec roller cars (one with a cratex wheel and the other one with a wet handiwipe). I am of the opinion - the more the merrier. I had a Centreline but I had too many tiffs with it and sold it. I am yet to try a CMX, but at $178 its a little steep for my liking.

Now the next fight. What do I use to wet with - Goo-Gone or Isopropyl alcohol 91%. Goo-Gone is very hard to find this side and if you do it's pricey. IPA is cheap - around $8 a litre but I find GG a better solution. The easiest to clean Kato passenger car wheels - just put paper towel on your track, some GG and run it up and down and you'll be amazed how much gunk (yes, it's a word to me) stays behind. I still use it on a rag to rub up and down the tracks and I love the smell too! I think people don't like it because it takes long to evaporate thus sitting on the tracks and cleaning all wheels coming past and transferring this gunk onto the rails. I remember one chap at the club saying it dirties the track but the ding-dong could not figure out where the gunk came from, no matter how hard I tried to explain its from the wheels.

Years ago, around 20+ or so, there was a huge discussion around CRC-226 and how the guys used that. We found it locally and tried it - 2 out of 5 was happy with it. At that time I moved over to Ireland and I found it horrible as it became so sticky I could even rub my finger over the tracks. Cape Town weather is mild Mediterranean climate where Ireland is, well, wet. My mates swore by it and then the fight started.... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have and use an array of cleaning cars. I have 2 Atlas vacuum/scrubbing cleaning cars (one wet and the other vacuuming), one of the Roco cratex cleaner cars, 2 Aztec roller cars (one with a cratex wheel and the other one with a wet handiwipe). I am of the opinion - the more the merrier. I had a Centreline but I had too many tiffs with it and sold it. I am yet to try a CMX, but at $178 its a little steep for my liking.

Now the next fight. What do I use to wet with - Goo-Gone or Isopropyl alcohol 91%. Goo-Gone is very hard to find this side and if you do it's pricey. IPA is cheap - around $8 a litre but I find GG a better solution. The easiest to clean Kato passenger car wheels - just put paper towel on your track, some GG and run it up and down and you'll be amazed how much gunk (yes, it's a word to me) stays behind. I still use it on a rag to rub up and down the tracks and I love the smell too! I think people don't like it because it takes long to evaporate thus sitting on the tracks and cleaning all wheels coming past and transferring this gunk onto the rails. I remember one chap at the club saying it dirties the track but the ding-dong could not figure out where the gunk came from, no matter how hard I tried to explain its from the wheels.

Years ago, around 20+ or so, there was a huge discussion around CRC-226 and how the guys used that. We found it locally and tried it - 2 out of 5 was happy with it. At that time I moved over to Ireland and I found it horrible as it became so sticky I could even rub my finger over the tracks. Cape Town weather is mild Mediterranean climate where Ireland is, well, wet. My mates swore by it and then the fight started.... ;)
Yes, Goo Gone is used for everything in the states .Being retired I have to watch where my money goes. Because of handling track while building they got pretty crummy and had to scotch brite them and even had to solder some rail joints because of that. For now I`ll use GG on a pad with a stick to clean. Wouldn`t it be neat to drive over something that would clean the wheels?
 

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I've heard good things about Naptha. Lighter Fluid, like the brand "Ronsol," is based on Naptha. I've never used it, but I have heard great things about using it on MRR tracks.
 

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Yes, sir! Some places, it is referred to as Ronsonol.

Edit to ad: When I was 16 years old, I had my tonsils and adenoids removed. When I came to in the recovery room... as I was still hazy from the anesthesia, I was barely able to open my eyes, and when the scene finally came into focus...

There was an old mad sitting on the edge of his bed (it was a double room) with the oxygen tube thingy up his nostrils, and he was trying to light up a cigarette. Luckily, a nurse came in and stopped him. This was probably 40-some years ago, when people smoked everywhere.

I remember thinking to myself, it a fire starts, there's no way I'm able to move under my own power... I was too out of it still, but not too far out of it to be scared, lol!
 
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