Tarnished track

Airbuspilot

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I am helping a friend with his large LGB garden railway, the track hasn’t been used for around 9 months and is badly tarnished. We have run his track cleaner but it stalls repeatedly so I guess mechanical cleaning on hands and knees is the inevitable solution. I use meths on my own N gauge track but this is removing dirt rather than corrosion. We obviously need to check rail joiners etc but assuming we get back to a running railway is there anything that we can do to delay if not stop further corrosion? I have seen comments on other threads talking about WD-40 and 3 in 1?
Robin
 

PhilP

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You probably need to clean the tyre treads, skates, and the rear faces of the wheels on the track-cleaning loco? - They generate a lot of muck, and by definition, are dealing with problems with poor power pickup.

I would also check continuity, but you must do this with a load on the track!

PhilP
 

Paul M

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Try meths on a green scouring pad from the kitchen.
 

jimmielx

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The LGB track cleaning block will shift almost anything in my experience. A totally essential item for a track powered railway. Also inexpensive and lasts (nearly) forever. When I buy old track I use only the block to clean the railhead. If you must try a chemical then brasso would shine it up, but I’d want to wipe it down well after the brasso. I think there’s also methods involving Coca Cola. But honestly, the LGB block will sort it out and really isn’t arduous to use. The track cleaning machine is good but only if the track isn’t too dirty already.
 

jimmielx

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Ditto on the continuity and rail joints etc once the railhead is clean.
 

jimmielx

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Here’s the block. Sold all over the place.
 

JimmyB

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Loco steam fluid, i.e. put in electrically driven locos to simulate smoke, but a very cheap solution is uPVC cleaner from Screwfix (others are available ;)) and the like. Not that I bother these days being on batteries.
 

dunnyrail

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As James says there really is no substitute with LGB Brass track other than the LGB cleaning block.regular cleaning with one is the only way though there are those on here that run trains a great deal round and round a circuit that do not need to do so much cleaning. Here I nelieve the skates have a cleaning effect. Oh and also plastic wheels on stock do not help to keep track clean, conversion to all metal wheels is very desirable.
 

Airbuspilot

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Gentlemen

This is a very good site, the few times I have asked questions I usually have answers within minutes.

The track cleaning train may well have dirty pickups, I will have a look next time thanks for that.

We do have an LGB track cleaning block but i thought with the amount of track to clean it wouldn't last very long, I will give it a go. I will try Meths first followed up with the block.

The track has a mixture of fish plates and screw connectors, the fish plates will eventually be replaced, there is good connectivity (under load) so far.

Thanks every one.

Robin
 

PhilP

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You can adapt a Dry Wall sander pole, to take the cleaning pad, or make up a wood block, wrapped in a Scotch-Bite pad..

Dry Wall = plasterboard/gyproc
Scotch-Bite = a make of abrasive fine!) cleaning pads

Not sure of names and brands where you are..

PhilP
 

David1226

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In my experience, the LGB track cleaner is one of the finest you can get, the only problem is that if you have a lot of curved track it could send you clean round the bend.

David
 

jimmielx

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Don’t worry about the longevity of the track cleaning block. I bought mine around 2013 and replaced the pad this year.
 

dunnyrail

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Gentlemen

This is a very good site, the few times I have asked questions I usually have answers within minutes.

The track cleaning train may well have dirty pickups, I will have a look next time thanks for that.

We do have an LGB track cleaning block but i thought with the amount of track to clean it wouldn't last very long, I will give it a go. I will try Meths first followed up with the block.

The track has a mixture of fish plates and screw connectors, the fish plates will eventually be replaced, there is good connectivity (under load) so far.

Thanks every one.

Robin
Blocks do last a long time, my original one was bought circa 1984-5 amd changed the pad for a Massoth replacement in around 2012.
 

Rhinochugger

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We do have an LGB track cleaning block but i thought with the amount of track to clean it wouldn't last very long, I will give it a go. I will try Meths first followed up with the block.



Robin
I've had a Mk1 cleaning block for years - it's all I've ever used.

Railway No 1 had about 80 ft of track, No 2 has about 300 ft and takes about an hour.

The extent of apparent discolouration isn't the real problem - pigeon guano and other stuff takes the time to remove.

Clean the running surface of the track first, and then test for continuity - there's quite a lot of stuff on here about that, but with LGB fishplates, a small amount of copper grease is essential. This will mean breaking the track joint, cleaning the track ends (with white vinegar, Coco-cola or other very mild acid) then applying the grease before re-connecting the track.
 

maxi-model

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While the LGB track cleaning block is very effective I only use it for "spot" cleaning, its abrasive pad's substrate is really not tough enough for heavy use. It can get torn up by catching on track joints and check rails. I use the Garden Railway Specialist track cleaner mentioned elsewhere. You could make your own one up by folding up some ally sheet to hold a pair of Garryflex blue, or similar, abrasive blocks. then attach it to a UJ on the end of a broom handle. Sorted ! I also use one of LGB's track cleaning attachments lgb track cleaning attachment - Google Search fitted into a wagon that is dropped occasionally into a consist for "in session" cleaning. Always clean your track when it is dry, otherwise you will just be pushing around a film of dirt that will attach itself to wheels and pick ups. Same reason LGB's nice track cleaning loco doesn't always work.

You really need to pay attention to any electrical connection between the rails and to the track. Bright and clean rail ends and connectors. Use a form of graphite paste or similar, applied to these parts, to inhibit the ingress of water and dirt that will encourage tarnishing of the brass and diminish its effectiveness to transmit the current between track components. Switch to track clamps rather than joiners to further assist in avoiding poor electrical connections. They also help stabilize and secure track formations, minimizing risks of derailments from poor track alignment. If they are of the direct to rail type (most common now) they will also allow you to lift out separate sections of track for maintenance and alterations. Max
 

Greg Elmassian

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I was interested that the track cleaning loco did not do the trick... often people try to run it too fast and the track is not clean enough to pick up the power the loco needs.

Heavily oxidized track needs it to move very slow, but when I ran mine on DC, it drew more current than my MRC6200 (which was supposedly 60 VA) could put out, and it could not spin the cleaning wheels fast enough either.

With heavily oxidized track, the cleaner must be set to move very slow such that the rail is pretty much perfect the first pass. I have seen many in use, and most people are too impatient to run it slow enough to clean the rails enough for it to move on it's own.

I gave up on track cleaning and went stainless steel and never looked back.

Greg
 

phils2um

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I've got the LGB hand cleaning block I use for occasional spot cleaning when necessary. I use a Massoth replacement pad that I have glued to a drywall sanding pole for my once or twice a year complete going over. I've never had any trouble getting the rails clean with the LGB (Massoth) cleaning pads.
 

Zerogee

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Slightly off-topic as most of the discussion has been about keeping track clean after it is laid.... but if you want to clean old and tarnished second-hand track BEFORE you lay it, I've used Kilroc Gel very successfully. It's a thick gel that you brush on exactly where you want it (with an integral brush in the jar lid), leave for a few minutes and then rinse off with plenty of water - it's quite aggressive, so you need to be careful with handling it, but it gets great results for cleaning the ends of old track ready to fit railclamps. You can find it online or in DIY stores (I've got it from my local Wickes).
For cleaning the railhead on both laid and unlaid track, I agree that there is little that beats the good old LGB cleaning block!

Jon.
 

Greg Elmassian

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I've used one of the acid-based cleaners on a rag and just wipe the railhead. I find the liquid saturates the rag and is more controllable than the gel.

Clearly this does not address the electrical connection between track sections.

Greg