Remove concrete from old track

C

curtis

Registered
27 Nov 2018
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Germany
#1
First, moderator, apologies if this in the wrong section but this felt like the best location for this post - please move if required.

I'm looking for some advice. I have a large amount of second-hand track that I acquired when I was younger. It has previously been used on an outdoor layout where the ballast had been mixed with cement (I presume to hold everything in place). Unfortunately, the result is the track has mortar and ballast stuck to the rails and sleepers. I cleaned up the top of the rail so the trains run absolutely fine, however, the look irks me.

Has anyone had any experience of cleaning up old track. My previous approach was mechanical (i.e., elbow grease and an old flat-head screwdriver) but as you can imagine - that was very tedious.

Any help appreciated.

Curtis
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
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#2
A few good wollops with a lump hammer will remove from the Sleepers. Place upside down on a good flat surface and wollop, just not too hard. Flat surface will protect the rail feom being bent and the sleepers will be protected by the rail. Probably worthwhile to have a piece if wood on top of the underneath of the sleepers to wollop on. As for getting out the rest, tedium I am afraid!

This was the process that I had to indulge in when I lifted my line in Luton back in 2000 when I moved, all the Peco G45 had been in Concrete for Ballast.
 
G-force1

G-force1

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#3
Brick acid and a good scrub? Never tried owt like that.
 
a98087

a98087

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#4
Wire brush might help loosen some?

Or place one end on the ground lift the other about and foot and drop, the vibration might help shift some

Or how about a pressure washer?

Dan
 
Paul2727

Paul2727

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5 Jun 2018
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#6
In the past I have removed cement from metal items by giving them a good soak and popping them in a polythene bag the freezer. Being porous the cement absorbed the water which then expanded when it froze, at the same time the metal contracted. Loosened it up a treat, most just fell of under the tap (warm water.)
Not tried it on track, but may be worth testing a short length.
Paul.
 
P

Paul M

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#7
In the past I have removed cement from metal items by giving them a good soak and popping them in a polythene bag the freezer. Being porous the cement absorbed the water which then expanded when it froze, at the same time the metal contracted. Loosened it up a treat, most just fell of under the tap (warm water.)
Not tried it on track, but may be worth testing a short length.
Paul.
Don't get caught doing so though
 
PhilP

PhilP

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5 Jun 2013
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#8
You really need a 'chest freezer' to get the longer lengths of track in though.. :think::nerd::nod::nod:
 
Paul2727

Paul2727

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#9
You really need a 'chest freezer' to get the longer lengths of track in though.. :think::nerd::nod::nod:
Or hope for a real cold snap and put em outside.
'WINTER IS COMING!'
(Sorry... Just rewatched series 1 of Game of thrones.)
 
C

curtis

Registered
27 Nov 2018
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Germany
#10
A few good wollops with a lump hammer will remove from the Sleepers. Place upside down on a good flat surface and wollop, just not too hard. Flat surface will protect the rail feom being bent and the sleepers will be protected by the rail. Probably worthwhile to have a piece if wood on top of the underneath of the sleepers to wollop on. As for getting out the rest, tedium I am afraid!

This was the process that I had to indulge in when I lifted my line in Luton back in 2000 when I moved, all the Peco G45 had been in Concrete for Ballast.
Yeah, I found it came off the sleepers easier enough. It was the rail that was frustrating me. I tried to do it while watching Christmas films etc but it was proving very tedious.


Or how about a pressure washer?
I'm actually going to give this a shot tomorrow - one of the perks of my parents having a farm is that we these things to hand.

In the past I have removed cement from metal items by giving them a good soak and popping them in a polythene bag the freezer. Being porous the cement absorbed the water which then expanded when it froze, at the same time the metal contracted. Loosened it up a treat, most just fell of under the tap (warm water.)
Not tried it on track, but may be worth testing a short length.
Paul.
Paul, this is great idea. I'm giving the pressure watch a try tomorrow. If that is ineffective or damaging then I'll try this.

You really need a 'chest freezer' to get the longer lengths of track in though.. :think::nerd::nod::nod:
We actually have 3 chest freezers, I think I can sneak a load of track into one without anyone minding!
 
C

curtis

Registered
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Germany
#13
Sorry about the late follow up - the pressure/steam washer did a pretty good job. I lose a couple of track ties but I suspect they were already a bit loose. It managed to remove most of the concrete and did a clean up after with the old LGB hand track block.
Anything that still had concrete on I dropped in my parent's deep freeze. A couple of days later another run over with the pressure washer removed it.
I'm rather impressed with the results. Many thanks for everyone's input!
 

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Paul2727

Paul2727

Registered
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#14
Looks like it came up a treat...
Regards,
Paul.