Laid Track - Cleaning

JimmyB

MOTM

JimmyB

Learning; but slowly!
23 Feb 2018
1,203
13
64
Weston-super-Mare
It would seem my track is going to need a good clean, and I am to "tight" to buy the LGB track cleaning loco. I currently have the LGB 50040 - Track Cleaning Block, and the LGB 50050 - Track Cleaning Attachment, both work to varying degrees of success and effort, however after reading various articles I am thinking about liquid cleaning IPA seems popular, but there is Piko 35411 - TRACK CLEANING SET; Piko 37720 - BAHNBAU GRUPPE TRACK CLEANING WAGON SET; and finally the Piko 38501 - US GE-25t DIESEL TRACK CLEANING LOCOMOTIVE, so my questions are:
  1. Piko cleaning fluid is expensive, is it worthwhile, or should I stick with IPA
  2. Has anybody any experience with wagon 37720.
  3. Can set 35411 be fitted to a wagon.
  4. Is loco 38501 purely mechanical or does it use cleaning fluid.
  5. Any other comments on chemical cleaning of the track.
Ta :):):):)
 
Sean.

MOTM

Sean.

Hmmmm
5 Oct 2017
743
35
61
Boston & Cocagne NB (not enough)
I heard you could use
  1. alcohol
  2. Baby wipes
  3. Scotch bright pads on a sanding pole
  4. LGB smoke fluid
 
Sean.

MOTM

Sean.

Hmmmm
5 Oct 2017
743
35
61
Boston & Cocagne NB (not enough)
I used to use the fine 220 grit drywall sanding sheets ,on the pole sander ..:sweating:
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
23,772
47
North West Norfolk
It would seem my track is going to need a good clean, and I am to "tight" to buy the LGB track cleaning loco. I currently have the LGB 50040 - Track Cleaning Block, and the LGB 50050 - Track Cleaning Attachment, both work to varying degrees of success and effort, however after reading various articles I am thinking about liquid cleaning IPA seems popular, but there is Piko 35411 - TRACK CLEANING SET; Piko 37720 - BAHNBAU GRUPPE TRACK CLEANING WAGON SET; and finally the Piko 38501 - US GE-25t DIESEL TRACK CLEANING LOCOMOTIVE, so my questions are:
  1. Piko cleaning fluid is expensive, is it worthwhile, or should I stick with IPA
  2. Has anybody any experience with wagon 37720.
  3. Can set 35411 be fitted to a wagon.
  4. Is loco 38501 purely mechanical or does it use cleaning fluid.
  5. Any other comments on chemical cleaning of the track.
Ta :):):):)
I still use the LGB Mk1 cleaning block.

However, in certain conditions, the track can need a dry wipe after using the block :nod::nod:
 
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PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
22,057
36
Tamworth, Staffs.
Depends what the track is like??

Early morning, when damp, the pole sander (make something similar to save your back!?) with a lint-free cloth wrapped round it, will get the damp, black gunge of the 'manky' (for Dan!) track..

Sean:
IPA = India Pale ALe :)
OR
Isopropyl Alcohol

The latter is better for cleaning the track! ;):nod:

Jimmy:
The Piko track-cleaning loco uses itty-bitty bits of dry-wall sanding sheet on slip-on plastic carriers which fit over the 'pickup-skates'.. - This is a battery-ONLY loco, so they do not pickup.
It relies on the 'springing' of the skates to keep the cleaning pads in contact with the rail. - ie. Sweet Fanny-Adams pressure.

They suggest you run it for 1 1/2 to 2 hours! :giggle::giggle: - A pretty little engine, but a bit of a gimmick outside. IMHO, YMMV, of course. Just my opinion.


I would:
Blow / vac / sweep debris..
Damp cloth on pole. - IPA, Meths., Smoke fluid, Track-cleaner..
Then VERY fine Drywall (supposedly does not clog), or VERY-VERY fine 'Wet-n-Dry'..
The the damp cloth, again.
 
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ntpntpntp

ntpntpntp

Registered
24 Oct 2009
7,198
0
56
UK
LGB Track Cleaning Loco is quite effective, but to be honest an LGB track cleaning block mounted on a pole was always the best solution for my line (trackwork at ground level). Especially if nothing had run for a while.
 
P

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
2,433
19
55
Royston
IPA? Far too good to waste on the Colonies!
 
dunnyrail

MOTM

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,031
42
70
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
LGB Track Cleaning Loco is quite effective, but to be honest an LGB track cleaning block mounted on a pole was always the best solution for my line (trackwork at ground level). Especially if nothing had run for a while.
I concurn with you Nick, nothing but nothing betters a good scrub with the LGB 50040. I know others both agree and disagree with this, but I have been into LGB since 1984 so have a little experience as I expect will others that will both agree and disagree venomently. To be honest I have an LGB Track Cleaning Loco and find that it needs 3-4 passes on really scanky (oh that word again) track. So it is of little use on my line that is long and has lots of sidings. But it does get used on some of the track tyat has difficult but not impossible access.
 
LVT

LVT

Analogue automated LGB Euro on 4 loops
24 Oct 2009
160
0
Near Atlantic City NJ USA
I concurn with you Nick, nothing but nothing betters a good scrub with the LGB 50040. I know others both agree and disagree with this, but I have been into LGB since 1984 so have a little experience as I expect will others that will both agree and disagree venomently. To be honest I have an LGB Track Cleaning Loco and find that it needs 3-4 passes on really scanky (oh that word again) track. So it is of little use on my line that is long and has lots of sidings. But it does get used on some of the track tyat has difficult but not impossible access.
For more than ten years I have not cleaned my track that runs under trees and shrubs with all of their sap and pollen. All track is bonded by soldered jumpers, and any single motored or non-collector-shoed loco etc. gets a jumper-connected trail car with four-wheel electric pickup. However, I do successfully operate some four-wheeled trams and a railtruck on their own. Another exception is the LGB railbus with its floating wheelsets. But there are times, particularly at start-up, when contact needs improvement. From an aerosol spray can of a product called CRC 2-26, I hold the can upside down and spray a mist over the area where there is stopping or stuttering, then get the train (preferably one with a skate-equipped loco) moving and let it do about four laps, and I am fine for hours, although other spots may need a spray. The instant gratification of seeing a train move consistently smoothly across the same area where it had stopped dead minutes before is a great thing. Downsides: CRC 2-26 is not easily found over here and may be non-existent in the UK, it is a cleaner-lubricant and there may be some slipping on grades for about five minutes of running (I see this as wheel cleaning), and it is best used on ballasted rather than baseboarded lines. It claims to be plastic-safe, and I have found no ill-effects on track sleepers, plastic wheels or traction tyres. I used WD 40 for the same purpose long ago, but found it to be more of a lubricant than a cleaner to the extent that it seemed attract dirt very soon after being applied, but can be useful if wiped off immediately.

Wheel conductive quality has been mentioned, and I have had some unbelievably bad experiences with some non-LGB products. And remember that wheels with traction tyres pick up very little current. Having used fine abrasives on rails in the past, I saw the surface scratches that really are magnets for future grime. The rubber types of cleaner seem to be time-proven. but I suggest that they may transfer and collect dirt within themselves and would require some cleaning process.

If the steps I have described had not worked on my brass-railed (some track pieces are forty years old) analogue-controlled 400 foot garden railway, I doubt it would still be there.
 
dunnyrail

MOTM

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,031
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70
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Arthur, there are varying products available in the UK that appear to offer a similar promise. RailZip / Rail Zap being but one. I have heard mixed reviews of them so have never tried them. In truth once my Track has been given a good going over with the LGB 50040 it is clean enough for satisfactiry running till the next time it rains, thereapon the reduced quality of running returns. Needless to say it inevitably always rains the day after I have cleaned my Track. Hence my current continued conversion to Battery Power. Not wishing to raise the bar again on Battery Power I do realise that it will not ne for everyone, but for my near unique needs it is exactly what I need.
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
23,772
47
North West Norfolk
It would seem my track is going to need a good clean, and I am to "tight" to buy the LGB track cleaning loco. I currently have the LGB 50040 - Track Cleaning Block, and the LGB 50050 - Track Cleaning Attachment, both work to varying degrees of success and effort, however after reading various articles I am thinking about liquid cleaning IPA seems popular, but there is Piko 35411 - TRACK CLEANING SET; Piko 37720 - BAHNBAU GRUPPE TRACK CLEANING WAGON SET; and finally the Piko 38501 - US GE-25t DIESEL TRACK CLEANING LOCOMOTIVE, so my questions are:
  1. Piko cleaning fluid is expensive, is it worthwhile, or should I stick with IPA
  2. Has anybody any experience with wagon 37720.
  3. Can set 35411 be fitted to a wagon.
  4. Is loco 38501 purely mechanical or does it use cleaning fluid.
  5. Any other comments on chemical cleaning of the track.
Ta :):):):)
Another thought, Jimmy, suggested to me by Greg Elmassian in another thread, is to add a bit of weight to the tender, as the majority of the electrical pick up points are in the tender - 8 by my reckoning as opposed to 6 on the loco :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
 
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maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,343
7
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Garden Railway Specialist (GRS) do a mild abrasive rubber block mounted on a U/J and pole, think heavy duty LGB cleaning block that can stand up to the rigours of doing a whole track without ripping to bits and you doing your back in a d wearing out kneelers. I use an LGB block to do "spot" work around points and crossings. Don't forget the electrical conductivity of your layout is only as good as all track joints will allow. Make sure those are not tarnished, just like your rail heads. I use LGB (and other makes) for cleaning the contamination on wheels and pick ups. Any cleaning device will for care for damp railheads. Max

https://www.grsuk.com/shop/TRACK-CLEANER-HEAD-W-TWO-HEADS-M5193 GRS Track cleaning tool here
 
Last edited:
Bill Barnwell

Bill Barnwell

Registered
30 Sep 2017
486
13
74
Ormond Beach, Fl
Same as Sean, works great and no bending over, Bill
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
23,772
47
North West Norfolk
65 1057

65 1057

Railways @ 1.435 mm/ 1.000 mm/ 750 mm and 45mm
9 May 2018
183
7
55
Berlin
It would seem my track is going to need a good clean, and I am to "tight" to buy the LGB track cleaning loco. I currently have the LGB 50040 - Track Cleaning Block, and the LGB 50050 - Track Cleaning Attachment, both work to varying degrees of success and effort,
I hope I'm not too late.
Just glue 2 Massoth track cleaning blocs under an used household-mop, that's it. No bending anymore, and it works even on pointworks. I'm done with 40 meters of track in less than 10 minutes (incl. slug removal)

113667_b0584f678099253bf518dd0c7b5cbcbf.png
113669_aba7e86f8f824748fb9775305d6a4db3.png
113671_e6d59e7f7c44297190f939fbf9b69c50.png


Andreas
 
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Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
5,915
6
65
Hutt Valley, NZ
Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
5,915
6
65
Hutt Valley, NZ
Curious as to the 'Optimistic' reaction to my post. For over 19 years now, I have been using 'oil' to keep my track clean. It works for me. See my Taita Gorge Railway thread.
 
dunnyrail

MOTM

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,031
42
70
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
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maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,343
7
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
I can see that being a great solution for a ground level line. Somewhat similar tomthe GRS Option and perhaps others.
That solution has a similar "rubbing" area as the GRS option but the blocks on the GRS tool are a lot thicker and as a result more robust and probably longer lived (double sided too) till needing replacement. Been using mine for 15 years on about the same amount of track, 35 metres in my case. Quick once around (ok, 20 mins) at the start of the season and then a little remedial work with a waggon fitted with the LGB "springy leg" 50050 things at the start of each session. For those difficult areas that are always in the shade and loaded with crud from trees and their dwellers - another go with the GRS jobbie when things start to stutter or slow in those areas.

I also have a cheap cork sanding block, covered with heavy duty felt (a large uncut furniture leg carpet protector pad), that is a perfect fit for the GRS tool's head in place of the sanding blocks. The GRS sanding blocks are held in simply by an "interference "fit, so are easy to remove and replace. I use that to clear moisture from the railhead or excess oil deposits from the live steamers, it can be soaked with IPA or Meths.

If that is too much hassle it's probably time to go to battery power.......or live steam ! Personal view - the LGB cleaner loco did not work for me as my line is mostly in full or part shade....back to my point that the enemy of any track cleaning method is a damp railhead, whether it cost £25 or £325. Sold mine after 2 seasons. Oh, and the noise (that's the loco not the swearing), think about the neighbours. Max
 
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