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?