Track cleaning


A dirty track can be a frustrating problem for many modelers, that is why we sell Track cleaners. As dust settles on the rails and oil and other dirt accumulate, electrical conductivity between wheels and rail deteriorates to the point where reliable current supply to the motor and onboard systems is no longer possible. The result is inevitable; jerky running, flashing lights and generally disappointingly poor performance.

Here we explore ten top tips to model railway track cleaning:

Introduction to Track Cleaning Issues

A dirty track can frustrate many modelers. Dust, oil, and dirt reduce electrical conductivity. This leads to poor train performance.

Top Ten Track Cleaning Tips

1. Initial Dirt Assessment

Use a white kitchen towel to test the track. A grey, greasy residue indicates dirt.

2. Choosing the Right Cleaner

Use a soft-textured homasote for tough dirt. It’s effective but gentle on the rails.

3. Tackling Tarnish

Clean tarnish by rubbing a homasote gently on the rail surface. It picks up current from the sides and top.

4. Gentle Cleaning Method

Use a lint-free cloth soaked with isopropyl alcohol. This method avoids damaging the track.

5. Using a Track Cleaners Car

For DCC layouts, consider a track cleaning car. It distributes solvent via a soft pad.

6. Regular Dusting and Vacuuming

Keep your layout clean by vacuuming and dusting regularly.

7. Removing Paint and Glue

Use grade 1200 wet and dry paper to clean paint and glue from rails.

8. Checking and Cleaning Turnouts

Inspect and clean turnout switches. Remove any debris that hinders operation.

9. Applying Rail Head Treatment

After deep cleaning, use treatments like ‘Track Magic’ or ‘Rail-Zip 2’. They improve conductivity and reduce corrosion.

10. Protecting the Layout

Cover the layout to protect it from damage. Use soft covers for light protection or hardcovers for transport.

Importance of Maintenance

Routine maintenance ensures smooth and reliable operation. Track cleaning is a crucial part of this process.

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