Track Cleaning

Everyone who has a layout knows you need to keep the track clean. Without it, trains stutter and frustrations grow. There are different ways for track cleaning:
– use a “track eraser” like a Bright Boy
– use a chemical track cleaner
– use a cleaning pad on a train car

Normally I use a Bright Boy but it is totally clogged with debris now. I decided to try the third method, a cleaning pad. I went to Fredericton’s only hobby shop, Thomas Hobbies, to see what they had. There was one track cleaning car there, a Trains Canada CN through baggage car.

It has a cleaning pad mounted between the wheels on a spring-loaded pad. The springs help keep the pad pressed against the rails. Here’s a shot of the clean pad before use on my layout:

I coupled it up to one of my diesels and took it for a drive around the layout. I let it run several times around the continuous running loop, on the main line and through sidings. After that, I ran it into some of the staging yard. Here’s the result:

It seems to be picking something up! All in all I would say this first run was a success. I will have to pick up some replacement pads soon, of course. The only negative thing I will say about this particular car is that it is too light. You can’t push it backward through a switch without it derailing. It needs a little more weight to keep it firmly on the rails. Perhaps once the springs wear a bit, it will stay on the rails better.

What do you use to clean your tracks?

Dartmouth Model Railroad Show

On Saturday November 17 I visited the Dartmouth model railroad show with my two youngest kids. I was pretty impressed with the displays – some really nice work there. The usual vendors were there and I walked away with a 3-pack of container cars and a signed copy of Jay Underwood’s new book From Folly to Fortune: The Firing of James Richardson Forman. I look forward to reading it!

I put a bunch of photos in my gallery but here are a few for your enjoyment.

Here’s a Lego train running around the layout. Note the display screen on the wall showing what the steam locomotive is seeing.

Kevin G took video of quite a bit of the show:

The circle is restored

On Saturday I put the Bridge of Death back across the layout room door. I call it the Bridge of Death because any train that should derail on that bridge is in for a long fall to the carpeted floor. I keep meaning to put rails on the bridge (OK, plank) but so far I haven`t.

By putting the BoD in, I now have continuous running on the layout. My kids are fascinated by the trains running around and around without stopping, my baby son especially. My daughter keeps stopping the train and changing the cargo. šŸ™‚

A short train crossing the Bridge of Death

Nashwaaksis Baptist Church Train Contest

On September 9 I had the pleasure of being one of three judges in a train contest at the Nashwaaksis Baptist Church here in Fredericton. Members of the congregation were to make some kind of train and bring it to the church.

All of the entries showed imagination and there were some truly excellent entries. I’ve put photos of the event in my gallery.

I had a great time. Everyone was very friendly and made me and my son Nick feel very welcome. The service was good and the corn boil afterward was excellent. My thanks to the church for inviting me!

Model Train Show in Miramichi this Saturday

No, I haven’t forgotten about this blog. I’m finally starting to uncover my layout now that the basement is finished.

If you’re in the Miramichi area this Saturday (September 22), take in the 4th Annual Model Train Show, sponsored by the Miramichi Crime Stoppers. It’s at the Northumberland Square Mall (in Douglastown) from 10 AM to 4 PM. For more information contract W Blake Johnstone at 773-6859.

I went to the 2006 show and I liked it. It’s one of the smaller shows but still good. Model train photos

Model Railroad Wiring

Railroadman posted a great post about his model railroad wiring recently.

Wiring can be intimidating but it is necessary. The most important thing to do is PLAN AHEAD. Don’t add just enough wires for what you need right now. Plan ahead for what you think you will need. Don’t hang them by the most direct route. Plan the routing and make things neat. Have a wiring diagram. Try to colour-code the wires if possible.

All that being said, I don’t have a wiring diagram for my layout yet. However, I haven’t done any permanent wiring yet either. I have soldered drops from the rails and strung some temporary bus wiring to get trains running, but I have nothing permanent. So far my colour standard is red for one rail and green for the other.

The first thing I need to do is figure out where the blocks should be. šŸ™‚