rail maintenance

NPRR284 Mar 14, 2020

  1. NPRR284

    NPRR284 TrainBoard Member

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    Anyone else make their own rail maintenance cars using epoxy, roofing nails and masonite. I cut a square out on the bottom of the car and epoxy a small weight to the masonite. When they get dirty I just hit them light with sandpaper. I usually run 2 of these together with freight. I like to use the 50' cars with the metal bottom for track maintenance. As you can see in the pic they work great. I paint the side of the masonite black and it can't be seen as well. Cool stuff!!!!
    IMG_4310.JPG IMG_4314.JPG
     
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  2. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have a small fleet of them using the metal body of the Bachmann old time flatcar and I run them behind a three loco lashup and my Aztec track cleaner.
     
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  3. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Supporter

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    I’ve always wanted to make one out of ye olde Dutch Cleanser box car... always figured n scale was too small for the physics to work but I’ll have to try to make one now.
     
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  4. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I made my pads by by drilling holes in the Masonite so that track nail heads would go through. On the top of the Masonite pad I glued a piece of styrene and drilled a smaller diameter hole so just the body of the nail would go through and not the head of the nail. Then I acc'd the nails in place. The rough side of the Masonite is down against the track. I used two nails per pad in line with each other. The pads were cut from 1/8 inch thick Masonite.

    I found that the best car to use has an all metal under frame for weight to keep the car on track. The holes in the car are sized so there is play in all directions. and the size of the pad should not exceed the width of the car to keep from snagging things. I also found through running of the cars that the front and rear edges needed to be beveled to stop snagging on things and made for a much easier slide along the tracks. I initially used old Rapido coupler springs but found that a thin layer of Tungsten putty on the top of the pads worked better without the springs.

    You may be able to see the front and rear bevels here and the thin layer of Tungsten putty.

    The 34 foot Bachmann cars were chosen for the metal under frame and weight and additional weight was added to the cars. The Bachmann cars were modified to take MT trucks.

    Again I run the cars in pairs with an Aztec track cleaning car with an abrasive roller.
     
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  5. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Roco release a 40 foot box car with a cleaning pad under it as well many moons ago that is similar to what John and the OP'er are making above. I have a couple and really like them. They still turn up a train shows now and then but as John and the OP'er described, it's easy enough to make your own. Paint the sides of the pads a flat or grimy black and they hardly even show. Makes for an easy ongoing cleaning car.
     
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  6. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I probably should have added the reason I am using the 34 foot flat is because of my layout curves. They run as low as 6 inch and 7 inch to the max of 8.5 inches. The model of Aztec car I used is based off of a 36 foot boxcar.
     
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  7. NPRR284

    NPRR284 TrainBoard Member

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    I have 1 maintenance block i added 1200 grain sandpaper to the bottom of and I will run that a couple laps maybe once a year. The added weight on the masonite helps with track cleaning.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2020
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  8. dualgauge

    dualgauge TrainBoard Member

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    I like to run a Centerline roller car with track cleaner on pad. Two slider cars behind the roller car. Slider cars have plastic frames with extra weight glued inside car.
     
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  9. NPRR284

    NPRR284 TrainBoard Member

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    I like the roller car idea. Might just try and make one. I have 3 or 4 of the slider cars already. Each car ends up different with the hole spacing which isn't critical anyway. I make 2 or 3 masonite blocks for each car and color code them so I can keep em rolling lol. I change them out every couple hours and hit the dirty ones with 320 grit once or twice.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    I thought switching to metal wheelsets was supposed to be the cure all for dirty track. What happened?
     
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  11. Boilerman

    Boilerman TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have run both metal and plastic wheels on my layout and do not see any difference between the metal and the MT plastic wheels, but each has their opinion.
    I think the environment that the layout is in plays an important part in the dirt that builds up on the track and wheels.
     
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  12. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    I dug out my old rubber sanding block a few years ago. I put 1800 grit wet/dry sandpaper on it...used for auto body repair.

    [​IMG]

    I dont SAND the track...I simply slide it down the rails to break up any crud. It will do both my parallel main lines at the same time ! I then drop the sanding block into an old cotton sock. I then soak the sock covered bottom of the block with 70% Isopropyl alcohol and slide it down the rails again to clean up the loose crud and finish cleaning the rails.

    What used to take 30+ minutes to clean track....now takes less then 5 minutes !! (y)(y)

    ** I only have to do this about every 2 months and my layout is in a somewhat dirty environment **
     
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  13. woodone

    woodone TrainBoard Member

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    If you keep that up and pretty soon you will have code 40 rail.
     
  14. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nah, I dont believe 1800 grit wet/dry is much more abrasive then a Brighboy track cleaner that everyone else uses. JMHO

    Plus...like I said...I am NOT sanding the rails...just sliding the block down the rails. Much like a boxcar with a piece of weighted masonite attached to the bottom. ;)
     
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  15. NPRR284

    NPRR284 TrainBoard Member

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    I run all metal wheels on my cars. Before making the maintenance cars, I had to physically clean the track every few hours to get the diesels to run smooth. The maintenance cars "obviously" took care of that problem now that I run 1 or 2 with every freight load (head banging emoji). Haven't had to wipe the track down for months now.(y):cool:
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
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  16. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    I replaced the roller in my Centerline model #2 track cleaning car with a piece of bright boy.

    Track Cleaning Train.jpg

    For a little extra cleaning, I just add the roller on top of the bright boy. Running this car in a train has kept the rails polished very nicely.
     
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  17. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

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    hummm cool new ways to clean , well new to me any ways
     
  18. NPRR284

    NPRR284 TrainBoard Member

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    never heard of that one.
     
  19. Carl Sowell

    Carl Sowell TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice stuff guys. I am 79 and have been "playing" with trains since I was 5 years old, seems like yesterday. Yes, I have purchased a few cleaners and track polishers in my N scale days and can run a polisher in any type of train consist I can put together. However, I did not have one for double stack trains. I do now, a true DIY!..........................................

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And finally the working part. Quite simple as I removed the part from a Rocco car and transplanted it here. Works well as a polisher and during shows it sure helps the"clean" run time last longer.........

    [​IMG]

    I don't remember who made the well car but it is plastic with a small weight in the bottom. When I cut that out and placed the Rocco pad in, I added quite a bit of lead. Fairly heavy and makes great contact with rails.

    BTW, I have a couple of cars that I added the masonite pad to and they too work well. About the only two cars that beat this car are my alky tanker and the vac car.

    As always have fun and let your imaginations loose,
    Carl
     
  20. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Who makes that Aero Wedge?
     
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