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  • Topic: LGB Track Cleaning Locomotive

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    • October 12, 2002 2:49 PM EDT

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      i have this loco, and honestly feel it is my most important piece of equipment...this loco will get the rail tops of your TRACK POWERED (really any kind of power but no real need for it if it isnt a track powred rail) rails so shiney and clean that you could theoretically shave in the shine!!! the one 'drawback' is that you must keep an occasional eye on it when it is working, as it does have a slight tendancy to 'stall' on switches (so i've heard, i myself have not encoutered that particular discrepancy)...if cleaning VERY dirty track, even if the TCL's speed is set to minimal, you MAY get 'zebra stripes' from the first pass...frankly, other than the apperance, no other cleaning is necessary...however, if the stripes bug you, a second pass (99% of the time) will resolve this...what is highly recommended is that IF you use PWC or PWM, that that feature be switched (if possible) to straight DC power...when used with PWC (aristo type power) the locos warning lights MAY come on, and the loco MAY begin to crawl (no matter what the speed control is set at) but the cleaning wheels themselves (seperate motor from the drive wheels motor) WILL NOT function...straight DC is the way to go with this wonderful machine...regular use of this locomotive (it can double as a switcher easily without the cleanng wheels being engaged) will not only enhance the enjoyment of operating your railroad by actually having a MOW piece of equipment actually WORK, but by enabling your other locos to run without the herky, jerky movement that usually goes hand in hand with dirty track...also, your locomotives wheels stay cleaner longer, inbetween wheel cleanings, again, making operations at even the slowest speed settings, to be an absolute joy to run...the cleaning wheels themselves last a long, long time (based on my use of mine on over 300' of track) and are totally free wheeling when the track cleaner is in 'locomotive only' mode...the average going price is around $400/new, with used units (IF you can find them) averaging approximately $275-$300...a highly recommended MOW piece from this track powered user...:^)
    • January 10, 2006 4:06 PM EST

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      I have been using the LGB track cleaning loco both indoors and out for years. Outdoors, I have LGB DC power and indoors I have a small Aristocraft pulse DC power supply. I run both Aristocraft and LGB engines interchangeably between the two tracks with out any problems. I have yet to have any "inop" functions on either the track cleaning loco, lights, cleaning motor, etc running pulse dc or straight dc, or on any of the steam or diesel engines on my roster. This may have changed with the new "MTS ready" track cleaning loco.
      The LGB track cleaning loco is the best cleaner of track. Although, if let go (over a month or so) till the track becomes dark, the loco will not run, as it only has one set of pick-ups. I purchased a Trackman 2000 cleaner for heavy oxidation and pulled that with the aristoSD45 till the track was clean-enough to run the LGB loco. I don't like the trackman for general cleaning, but it worked okay for heavy oxidation and can be "pussed by hand", if need be. Best bet is to run the LGB a few times around the track once a week, and once every few weeks in the winter, if there is no snow, to maintain the track.
      Recently, I read somewhere if you oil the tracks lightly, you don't have to clean them. I haven't tried this?
      PutnamRR
    • January 13, 2006 9:52 AM EST

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      Gerard
      The oil to use to keep the track from needing abrasive cleaning is normal automatic transmission fluid .
      The secret is to put only a small drop on each rail ,then run a loco back and forth through it to gradually spread it . An oval 15'x8'is easily covered by this small amount .Don't overdo it , splashing it around will cause it to attack paintwork . A little and often is the key . I use PECO track , it 's nickel silver , and takes well to this treatment . My Brass track used in sidings also seems to like it . I do not advocate abrasive cleaning , it's a short step to track getting dirtier , quicker . Some suggest WD40 for this as well , I would advise against it , my experience of it is that it goes a bit "gummy" after a short while in the sun .
      I should also explain that this is my first post , I only joined to answer the query you had , I have been watching the site for a while , and decided to take the plunge with something to offer .
      I recognise several people on the site , some of who will be holding their heads and saying "oh , not him ."
      Don't worry chaps , I shall try to behave .
      Mike M
    • January 13, 2006 7:39 PM EST
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Mike Morgan said:
      Don't worry chaps , I shall try to behave . Mike M
      Why, none of the rest of these vagabonds and misfits do.............;)
      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • June 29, 2006 12:24 AM EDT

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      If you get a lot of zebra striping, true the cleaning wheels with a sharp x-acto knife... this keeps the cleaning wheels from bouncing and striping.

      Regards, Greg
      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • June 30, 2006 8:29 AM EDT
      • Bartlesville, Oklahoma USA
         
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      I got to break - er - drive Ric Golding's around his layout one day. It was quite amazing.
      ____________________________________

      In that awkward stage between preschool and death. 

    • June 30, 2006 12:09 PM EDT
      • Southern Illinois
         
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      It is bouncing hard. I'm going to try the exacto knife trueing.
    • June 30, 2006 3:45 PM EDT
      • Floe Ice, Antarctica
         
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      We took the flanges off, battery powered it, rotated the grinders 90 degrees, and lettered it "Zamboni" on the side.
    • June 30, 2006 9:56 PM EDT

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      Mercy! I just read feigned hostility towards those of us disadvantaged in not using "pre-packaged" electric current!

      Any battery-powered enthusiast will attest to the disadvantages of having to clean rail.
      That testimony has now occured. I knew TOC was lurking, waiting, and at the ready to comment.
      Now, back to the topic ........

      Question:
      My query is what expense is there in buying the LGB circular cleaning pads for the cleaning loco?
      How often do they need to be changed per a stated layout size?

      Wendell "Clean Rails" Hanks
    • July 1, 2006 7:14 AM EDT
      • Southern Illinois
         
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      Wendell,

      After I have swept the powered loops with a battery powered extra dragging a v brush plow and an angled sweeper. I fire up the LGB track cleaner on the powered loops. After 3 years I have not replaced the abrasive wheels. The bouncing has just started being a real noticeable concern. I'm going to have to try the wheel truing process. I've got an LGB pigtail coming to connect a powered tender to the track cleaner, this will allow me to push through the dead spots from the start. With age of the grandkids, we seem to be spending a lot of time with Thomas the Tank Engine running and as of yet, it is not battery powered.

      Dave,

      You turned the wheels 90 degrees? If that baby stalls you'll be cutting through the rail. ;-) 180 degrees and that would be one giant set up traction wheels. It would be just like putting sand on the rails.
    • July 1, 2006 4:58 PM EDT

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      Ric-

      Thanks for the input.
      I'm impressed with the durability of the cleaning disks.
      I had not asked prior and wondered about the cost/use ratio.

      Secondly, I am also impressed with the lack of a TOC-type response.
      Track power vs. "pre-packaged electricity" for younger users is, I think, easier.
      Wendell
    • July 1, 2006 5:43 PM EDT

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      Wendell , The great thing with TOC is he always means well , he is very enthusiastic about his chosen methods , which is only right really . He is a bit of an old grump at times though , isn't he ? ;<) Mike M
    • July 1, 2006 7:03 PM EDT

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      Mike-

      You did ask --or perhaps your question re: TOC's "grumpyness" (word?) was a cautiously disguised opinion! I think we know the "grump" assessment is all part of the image! Who else self-entitles himself as TOC? My continued wish is that he receive ALL mfg.'s locomotives prior to their being released to us groundlings -- whom in effect, in many instances, are really the beta testers. My discussions with Dave frequently lead to this wish -- especially considering his excellent technical skills are so often used AFTER production and after users start commenting on manufacturing errors.

      In short, considering this circumstance, I can see why anyone a times would be "grumpy!"

      Meanwhile, back to the topic of the track cleaning loco -- and to your suggestion to use transmission fluid as a cleaning fluid on the track.

      My question: Is the track actually cleaner with use of trans fluid or does the fluid "break through" electrically any surface already tarnished (brass track especially) so electrical contact is maintained. All of this even though the brass rail still shows the "tarnish"? I am going to try this idea with the next run after letting certain sections of the track sit for a couple of weeks.

      Good idea.

      Thanks,

      Wendell
    • July 5, 2006 10:19 PM EDT
      • Coldstream, British Columbia, Canada
         
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      Mike Morgan said:
      ......................................... He is a bit of an old grump at times though , isn't he ? ;<) Mike M
      Hmmmmmmmmm?? Is that the pot calling the kettle black???? Hehehehehe On that LGB track cleaning engine. I have seen pictures where the "puppy" stalled in one spot and merrily ground substantial dells in the rails. Some of my European friends would not spend the money for one of those, since they found out that a simple track cleaning car (polishing block under a freight car) will do as good a job as the expensive LGB contraption and it will never grind dells in rail.
      ____________________________________

      Cheers

      HJ
      ---

      Coldstream, BC  Canada


      Inspire­d by the r­eal world

       

      English language hobby website 

      highly RhB centric, but most of it can be applied to other railway projects

    • July 6, 2006 12:40 AM EDT

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      I find it hard to believe the track cleaning loco could grind any "dells" into any rail. I think if it sat on a plastic frog for a long time it could hurt it.

      Do you have links for those pictures, I'd be really curious to see what they look like.

      If you have never seen this loco in person, you are missing something, did quite a number on my brass rail.

      I've got all stainless now, so it sits on a shelf.... anyone need one (not free though!)

      Regards, Greg
      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • July 6, 2006 6:11 AM EDT

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      Hans ,
      You will notice that neither the pot , nor the kettle ,ever write with malice in mind . It's quite often a case of pointing out the obvious without upsetting someone . So , yes , both old grumps in that respect .
      And of course , being a professional , Dave is better at grumping than most . Long may he continue .
      Mike
    • July 6, 2006 6:33 AM EDT

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      Wendell ,
      I asked a few users of auto transmission fluid whether they thought the track stayed cleaner as in a kitchen sink advert , or cleaner in conducting electric .
      They all agreed they would keep using it , the cleanliness was not noted to be a tv commercial type clean , but certainly a lot less black ,brown or whatever the pre oil colour . Some used more of it than a couple of drops
      I understand that the bloke who thought it up had used WD40 and found problems , but had also noted the auto trans spillage in his car engine bay took off paint and never dried--it was easy to wipe off .WD 40 is never supposed to dry , but does out in the sunshine ,going gummy in the process .
      We used WD 40 on slip rings carrying various currents , and the difference it made to down time of radar scanners
      was quite useful . An emergency squirt of the stuff could actually mean the difference between a slightly late sortie
      and an ababdoned sortie . The slip rings were always enclosed .Not exposed to sunlight .
      I put WD40 on my car door gaiters , and inside the door the stuff stays fluid ,;where the overspill runs down the sill and out into sunlight it goes sticky .
      So it may be that the cleanliness comes into it , giving better metal to metal mating ,or the presence of the fliud breaks down surface resistance . If you go by the experience of a lot of people who use oils to give a good earth in car electrics , you will come down on the side of resistance breakdown without cleaning .
      So the quick answer is --I don't know ,but it works .
      Mike
    • July 7, 2006 5:25 PM EDT
      • Coldstream, British Columbia, Canada
         
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      Greg Elmassian said:
      I find it hard to believe the track cleaning loco could grind any "dells" into any rail. I think if it sat on a plastic frog for a long time it could hurt it. Do you have links for those pictures, I'd be really curious to see what they look like. If you have never seen this loco in person, you are missing something, did quite a number on my brass rail. I've got all stainless now, so it sits on a shelf.... anyone need one (not free though!) Regards, Greg
      Hi Greg, If I would keep every link to every mishap of every product used in Large Scale railroading, I'd have to start a regular database on a separate computer. As is: no, I don't remember, but I believe the picture was on MLS some years ago. BTW THAT brass is softer than many people expect. Just how soft it is can be observed at shows when a certain mfg insists on sending big engines around 600mm radius curves. There will be a nice trace of brass shavings in those curves, much to the entertainment of the competition. ;) :) I've seen the engine in action, it is a drastic solution to a problem which is annoying.
      ____________________________________

      Cheers

      HJ
      ---

      Coldstream, BC  Canada


      Inspire­d by the r­eal world

       

      English language hobby website 

      highly RhB centric, but most of it can be applied to other railway projects

    • July 7, 2006 5:27 PM EDT
      • Coldstream, British Columbia, Canada
         
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      Greg Elmassian said:
      I find it hard to believe the track cleaning loco could grind any "dells" into any rail. I think if it sat on a plastic frog for a long time it could hurt it. Do you have links for those pictures, I'd be really curious to see what they look like. If you have never seen this loco in person, you are missing something, did quite a number on my brass rail. I've got all stainless now, so it sits on a shelf.... anyone need one (not free though!) Regards, Greg
      Hi Greg, If I would keep every link to every mishap of every product used in Large Scale railroading, I'd have to start a regular database on a separate computer. As is: no, I don't remember, but I believe the picture was on MLS some years ago. BTW THAT brass is softer than many people expect. Just how soft it is can be observed at shows when a certain mfg insists on sending big engines around 600mm radius curves. There will be a nice trace of brass shavings in those curves, much to the entertainment of the competition. ;) :) I've seen the engine in action, it is a drastic solution to a problem which is annoying.
      ____________________________________

      Cheers

      HJ
      ---

      Coldstream, BC  Canada


      Inspire­d by the r­eal world

       

      English language hobby website 

      highly RhB centric, but most of it can be applied to other railway projects

    • July 11, 2006 1:24 AM EDT

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      Mike-

      Got back on this thread and thank you for the transmission fluid data. I will try this remedy. As to the "cleaning" aspect, I share your conclusion the conductivity enhancement is the singular feature. Now, as to why there is or is not a traction reduction, I will find out with the 3% looong grade we have.

      Your contributions continue to be good reading! Thanks!


      Here is a BIG aside!

      As to TOC, ah, er, gasp, the man is obviously in need of a new submarine project. As to his current focus per the battery emphasis: Dave has championed a methodology makes a great deal of sense -- for those who have sole use of their railroad. Family use (read kids) is easier with the DC-Power-to-The-Rails System. My guess is "Packaged electricity" is likely to be the "default" position among our growing (aging) senior hobbiests. I seriously doubt there is a significiant young population entering the garden railroading hobby. I have yet to read ANYTHING as to the effect of the "World's Greatest Hobby campaign recruiting any sizeable (and?) young people into the hobby. The effect of the non-recruitment is (my guess) is there will be a continual search for "new products" to report in Garden Railroads' magazine as they have extolled this is one of the singular features most read. With customers likely no longer in the introduction stage, and most likely having all the trains they can shelve, what is left? Better yet, WHO is le? How many readers are absolutely NEW to the hobby? Are they customers?

      Ah, yes, I have bridged off the topic. Here's to those inventive minds that continue to contribute to this site!

      Keep writing.
      Wendell
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