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Track cleaning cars


 

Track cleaning cars a necessary evil on any model railroad, gotta keep those rails shiny and maintain good electrical contact. John wrote of these specialized cars a few times. Some of his comments were that they counted as 2 cars tonnage wise for making up trains (due to their drag factor) A lot of his consists would have one during normal operating sessions to ensure good operations, He even described how he made one by drilling two holes in the bottom of a box car the gluing a piece of cement board  to two nails and by using the spring from a pen on the nails mounted these on the box car. thus he created a abrasive type cleaner with a type of suspension included! . I have made three of these type cars and they work quite well. One of those has a piece of emery cloth glued to the bare cement board. However they are only one type of cleaner and other type "wet" cars are needed. I was wondering how others have attacked this "dirty" problems on their own rights of way? Below is a wet car kit bash and conversion I have done on my railroad so pack a lunch and ride along for some track cleaning fun...... The ball is now in y'all's court.
--
Russell Desmond


 

Hmmmm why didn't they upload? You'll have to excuse my ineptitude as I'm a new be on this site.


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Interesting, would like to see some nice examples myself...I have not gotten nearly that far yet.     while building Rosalie's I noticed this car sitting right in front...  http://www.gdlines.org/GDLines/GD_Galleries/The_Slides/Set_02/slides/s2_001_kingstorag_may63-orig.html

Randy


Matt Hosford
 

Very nice Russ,  crud beware!
--
Matt Hosford
Wurn & Whythyrd Lines


Jeffrey L Witt
 


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

I have to get a hold of Lou Sassi, he is from my area.    That cleaning car in from of Rosalie's caught me by surprise the other day.  So many little gems in those photos Jeff.  Still enjoy every minute I spend on your site. 
  Track ties are down on the port girders...  track is going down in port..  Cooper electric is being run... supports being readied for the run to Andy's drug store.., Turntable is waiting for a new gear for better sped control and then that goes in as well....  Pushing forward.... 

Randy        


Don Mitchell <donm@...>
 

John's masonite pads were my go-to track cleaners for many decades.  Some years ago I switched to Walthers fine grit pads, part 931-1100.  They're out of stock currently, but my opinion is that they do a better job than masonite.

Don M.


Tom Hokel (Pine Ridge RR)
 

Check out Joe Fugate’s article in Model Railroad Hobbyist (MHR) May 2019 “Keeping your track and wheels clean longer - a look at polar vs non-polar solvents.” This is a scientific look at over two dozen different cleaners … from kerosene to water!

 

I’d go with WD-40 Contact Cleaner or CRC Contact Cleaner and Protectorant. (BTW, I’m trashing my can of CRC QD Electronic Cleaner. Who knew that there was a difference in CRCs?) I also apply this on the switch points of power-routed turnouts by squirting a dab into a small glass paint jab … be careful … and dipping a pipe cleaner into the solution. I used Radio Shack TV Contact Cleaner (basically CRC) back in the 1980s and it worked great.

 

A few years back, MRH ran a short article on wiping rails with graphite sticks. I use General Pencil Co.’s 2B for level track and 4B, which is softer, for track on grades. I has worked great, but after reading Joe’s article, I realized that I was overdoing the graphite. I put the Masonite track cleaning pad (ALA John Allen’s) back on my MOW boxcar to help clean off the excess. BTW, I also sometimes spray CRC on the pad, but I’m sure I doesn’t last long.

 
I also put a drop of Never Stall on axel heads and sometimes on tender truck bolsters. I'm big on Stay-Alive capacitors, too. There is nothing worse than a beautiful locomotive that runs like crap!

I purchased an old Ulrich track cleaning car kit, but thought I’d never build it. Now, I’m wondering if spraying the felt pad with CRC would help.

 

Like Don, I also use the Cratex Abrasive Block for cleaning dirty areas, e.g., after nearby construction. The block, which is more like hard rubber, is very gentle and won’t damage the rail heads. I’d get rid of that Bright Boy.

 

I can’t help but mention Joe’s “MRH Acrylic painting guide .. in a post-Floquil world.” This is must if you are spraying acrylics. For me, it eliminated 95% of the frustration I was having with acrylics! I now have a large 32 oz ketchup bottle marked as “Fugate’s Thinner.”

 

I’m a huge fan of MHR for lots of reasons! I have never read an issue where I didn’t learn something useful.


--
Tom
<PR> PINE RIDGE RR


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 


Going to archive the article, and your info, as I am not at any operational point yet but eventually I will need real answers for operations and this is about as good as it gets.  There is enough info there that I realise there is far more to learn than I would have believed, so will file it and drag it out when this becomes very important information for me to be more familiar with.  Thanks for this. 
  
     Your mention of capacitors is also right on Tom..  that was a trick I learned years ago from some of the members of a club layout I once belonged to back in the 1970's.    "The Adirondack and Southern" A massive HO layout in Gloversville NY.  I plan to implement the capacitor trick again.   I bet there are many new tricks to be had for good track-wheel-motor-flow needs, since I last ran a train of my own. 
   I just did the math, and it has been 45 years since I last ran an engine on a track other than a few can motor rebuilds in the 90's I did on my roller bearing test track. My god I have to remedy that soon.  

Randy


On Sun, Jun 9, 2019 at 1:27 PM Tom Hokel (Pine Ridge RR) <PR-Line@...> wrote:

Check out Joe Fugate’s article in Model Railroad Hobbyist (MHR) May 2019 “Keeping your track and wheels clean longer - a look at polar vs non-polar solvents.” This is a scientific look at over two dozen different cleaners … from kerosene to water!

 

I’d go with WD-40 Contact Cleaner or CRC Contact Cleaner and Protectorant. (BTW, I’m trashing my can of CRC QD Electronic Cleaner. Who knew that there was a difference in CRCs?) I also apply this on the switch points of power-routed turnouts by squirting a dab into a small glass paint jab … be careful … and dipping a pipe cleaner into the solution. I used Radio Shack TV Contact Cleaner (basically CRC) back in the 1980s and it worked great.

 

A few years back, MRH ran a short article on wiping rails with graphite sticks. I use General Pencil Co.’s 2B for level track and 4B, which is softer, for track on grades. I has worked great, but after reading Joe’s article, I realized that I was overdoing the graphite. I put the Masonite track cleaning pad (ALA John Allen’s) back on my MOW boxcar to help clean off the excess. BTW, I also sometimes spray CRC on the pad, but I’m sure I doesn’t last long.

 
I also put a drop of Never Stall on axel heads and sometimes on tender truck bolsters. I'm big on Stay-Alive capacitors, too. There is nothing worse than a beautiful locomotive that runs like crap!

I purchased an old Ulrich track cleaning car kit, but thought I’d never build it. Now, I’m wondering if spraying the felt pad with CRC would help.

 

Like Don, I also use the Cratex Abrasive Block for cleaning dirty areas, e.g., after nearby construction. The block, which is more like hard rubber, is very gentle and won’t damage the rail heads. I’d get rid of that Bright Boy.

 

I can’t help but mention Joe’s “MRH Acrylic painting guide .. in a post-Floquil world.” This is must if you are spraying acrylics. For me, it eliminated 95% of the frustration I was having with acrylics! I now have a large 32 oz ketchup bottle marked as “Fugate’s Thinner.”

 

I’m a huge fan of MHR for lots of reasons! I have never read an issue where I didn’t learn something useful.


--
Tom
<PR> PINE RIDGE RR


Tom Hokel (Pine Ridge RR)
 

MRH is running capacitor articles in their May and June 2019 issues. Build your own on the cheap, too. Four of five small ones worked great on my 0-4-0T Dockside and GE-70 ton.

--
Tom
<PR> PINE RIDGE RR


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Don,  The club I was in used masonite pads, funny I never gave it much thought back then.  I did some scenery work in my time there but mostly just ran trains....  (I was 14 -15)  I wish so much now, in later life, that I had spent more time under the benchwork and working with the guy's on operational issues. Those guys always seemed like they were a bit grumpy and very serious about the littlest things, so as a kid I did not connect with them well.   I wish I had stayed in the club longer... but for me the hobby was lost to girls and rock and roll...and I've spent the rest of my life making it possible for me to return to the hobby with my own place.  Once I get trains running here, clean track will be an issue for the rest of my life, until just this post from Tom I have not even thought of how I will address it. 

  No wonder those guys seemed grumpy and serious.  Running a scale railroad is not easy and those older guy's (the core of the group 7 older men) built that entire gigantic layout themselves, before most of the group I knew joined.  I learned in later years that the group used to be an O scale group but went to HO after some bickering and I suppose one group outsized the other in numbers and the votes were tallied.    and I suppose now I can see there was a big fight in that clubs past and quite some history before my time....  had to be 2500' of mainline track, the place was huge, and they always had cars on the table in cradles cleaning wheels and oiling them and checking couplers most likely changing those masonite pads...so a kid like me (or any new members) could all have fun just running trains. 

 This time we missed with those who came before are the regrets each generation has I suppose... at least those of us who care about history, the time spent asking the right questions and just listening to the stories.  In many ways it is a big part of the sadness many of us feel about John's passing.   Some of you had the time to spend with him and you were all part of that group, we marvel at you guy's who sat at that table with John and challenged yourselves with the timesaver and ran operations downstairs.  Your knowledge about the hobby and time with one of our heroes is the stuff of legends.   
   
Don, I'd like to ask about the every day maintenance work, now that we are on the topic.  Did some of you sit around a table and work on cars with John from time to time, or did John do all that maintenance himself?  I know he was a stickler about things so it is very possible that he did not want that job in anyone else's hands but he had a lot of rolling stock to take care of.  I am just curious.  It seems the stories and laughs those guy's used to have sitting around the table and fixing things at my club gave them more fun and interest in the hobby than running the trains.  I kinda wonder how much work he delegated out to others and I realise this was Johns layout it was not a club so it was different in that way.  

Randy


Don Mitchell <donm@...>
 

Randy --

AFAIK, we operators only operated.  It's known that visitors like Jim Finlay did work with John, so there may have been others.

Don M.


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Ahhh, interesting.  John had a very regular system for the running of this railroad.     

Randy    

On Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 9:59 PM Don Mitchell <donm@...> wrote:
Randy --

AFAIK, we operators only operated.  It's known that visitors like Jim Finlay did work with John, so there may have been others.

Don M.


Paul Richardson
 

I saw some cars many years ago where John placed a piece of Masonite with the rough side down then glued 2 roofing nails to the smooth side. The shank of the nails went through 2 holes drilled in the car floor. Dragging the cars in normal operation helps to keep the rails clean.

 

Paul Richardson, MMR


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

I sent a photo in my message Paul...  I think the box car in front of rosalie's is one of them.     

Randy 

On Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 11:32 AM Paul Richardson <purgatory@...> wrote:

I saw some cars many years ago where John placed a piece of Masonite with the rough side down then glued 2 roofing nails to the smooth side. The shank of the nails went through 2 holes drilled in the car floor. Dragging the cars in normal operation helps to keep the rails clean.

 

Paul Richardson, MMR


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 


Russell Courtenay
 

And there it is! A nice clear shot of the track cleaner car! Thanks Randy. 

I did a screen shot of it for those who don’t want to download a multi-megabyte photo but it sure is nice to have these beautiful scans to hunt for details!

image1.jpeg


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Thanks for explaining how they worked.. Hard to believe the roofing nail the floats inside the car would function that well.  Certainly makes it so simple to lift the car if you want to drop the pad anytime...Simple, Brilliant,Cheap.    That's very JA....   

Randy

On Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 1:43 PM Russell Courtenay via Groups.Io <walruswebtech=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
And there it is! A nice clear shot of the track cleaner car! Thanks Randy. 

I did a screen shot of it for those who don’t want to download a multi-megabyte photo but it sure is nice to have these beautiful scans to hunt for details!

image1.jpeg
On Jun 12, 2019, at 10:25 AM, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:


Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...>
 

Russell you will have to email me and explain how you did that..  I desperately need to make enlarged prints for my build... I do not understand how to use those fantastic Images Jeff has loaded but print just the enlarged view...  I can only print the full slide scan.   

Randy


 

John was a single man who had the time to indulge in what interested him.  Through an inheritance and a brother in finance he was able to devote unlimited time and effort to the hobby because his other needs were taken care of.  He had other interests other than model railroading notably photography and art. To me model railroading is the worlds greatest hobby because it encompasses so many others. IE basic carpentry, painting, model making, wiring and electricity, lighting, sounds and recordings, scratch building, color manipulation, 3 dimensional to 2 dimensional modeling, image manipulation in a real time & 3 dimensional sense,  terraform sculpting, texture colorization, and many other creative art forms, It is the combination of all these various  things and his mastery thereof that created the G&D line. John processed a couple other talents notably the time to think about projects and their interaction with each other. The mobility to travel to locations to view how real railroads handled those problems and transitions. The ability to accurately model those scenes he found of interest and to integrate them into the whole. Another thing that was one of JWA's  assets was his time in American history. Although he worked on a relatives line occasionally prewar he was still very much a rank beginner in 1946 when he began the original G&D. This was post war and although the war was over there as yet wasn't a large amount of commercially available railroading equipment on the market and what there was was often crude and needed assembly. Thus John with his artistic eye took to creating what he needed from scratch. This made his railroad unique and there was no other like it. We today choose from a wide catalog of "craftsman" kits, alas but they are but one of many and their uniqueness is limited by it's production run. Even with kit bashing it's DNA can often be decerned by the discriminating and knowledgeable eye. That was not the case with Johns layout as it was original in all regards and thus became in many instances the bar for the modeling of its genre So much a part of that layout was Johns thinking and his often unique and common sense solutions to problems..... hence was his creation of track cleaning cars, wax figures locomotives with antlers etc etc etc ......... "the quicksilver of genius indeed"