Dave’s wheel cleaners

Got this in from Geoff, and thought it worth posting, because there must some good tips out there:

“Hi Alastair,

I wonder if any of your ‘readers’, could advise me how to transport my 3 x 4 model railroad, obviously all the non stuck down pcs will be removed. I am moving from NJ to CA … ?

I have attached a picture of the layout: the layout is not attached to the boxes underneath they are there for temporary support and will not be in the move.

Keep the emails coming by the way …. enjoy reading them



And Dave’s been in touch again.

Whenever anyone mentions track cleaners I’m always reminded of Kim’s post from a few years back. Genius!

“Hi Al,

Just posted this video showing the Cam Truck in use with a running session and views from the track level, and after being requested I also show how valuable and easy to use the wheel cleaners are…



A big thanks to Dave – a regular contributor to the site and to the Beginner’s Guide.

Please do keep ’em coming, folks. That’s all this time. Latest ebay cheat is here.



40 Responses to Dave’s wheel cleaners

  1. Mark Jarvis says:

    HI Geoff

    I move a similar size layout last year, 12mm plywood sides, screwed to the sides of the baseboard, cut above the hight of the scenery, 12mm blocks in the corners scerwed and glued to the plywood, i didnt form a top it went into the removals van with the open top against the side and strapped down, appart from some losse ballast and ground mix all was safe.


  2. Alan roberts says:

    Dave, great cam truck shots. To clean my wheels I just use a suede shoe cleaner. I removed two rows of tufts from the centre, then wired up the two ends to the 12 DC. Pos & neg either side. Put the loco upside down in a home made sponge support and then apply to the wheels Cheap as chips!
    Mind you, some say the wire bristles cause scratches which attracts more dirt, so I use a Q tip with a cleaning fluid mostly.

  3. Richard Sommery-Gade says:

    A question 4 Dave. What do you use 4 taking those movies of going around your setup, movie pics is what I’m talking about ? Can U show me what and how. Absolutely fascinated. Great setup 2 say the least.

  4. Ian Bell says:


    What make/model camera do you use?

    Ian, Australia

  5. Ron Schultz says:

    as to shipping the lay out – I would get 1X12 roof sheeting boards . cut them to make a “box that the layout will fit into . Plywood bottom. then set the lay out down into the wood box . cover it with a plastic sheet add “packing peanuts to fill the box secure a plywood top to it . every thing is now “snug” in the box you could attach handles to the out side to make it easy to handle label fragile and the movers will be able to move the railroad for you . if the 1 X 12 sheeting makes to deep a box just rip it to the proper height for the lay out . use screws and glue for the box corners use screws for the bottom and top .

  6. Julian says:

    Geoff, I moved a similar train set air freight. I use 5ml light ply and cut a base,
    top and sides. I reinforced this with planed 2×1 timber battens on the outside ends and two equally spaces between that allow fingers to get under to lift. Internally I cut 2×2 posts that rested on the scenery in selected places to support the top. These were screwed and glued to the top. I also reinforced the internal edges for the top and side ends to screw into. It survived a 7000km flight and indifferent handlers at each end of its journey. The base was used to protect the folding legs and electrics!! It took just a couple of hours to cut and make, and a couple more to build around the layout. I hope this helps.

  7. Rod Mackay says:

    You want to watch wheel cleaning with physical scraping of some sort. I’ve always used the fibreglass pencil on my stuff but have suffered some failures of the little plastic cardan shafts that carry the drive from the motor to the trucks on my electric locos. They particularly didn’t seem to like the trucks turning sideways or at an angle during cleaning, I guess because this brings the ears at the end of the shaft close to the edge of the recess in the flywheel. I mostly clean with white spirit on a cloth edge now.

  8. Jan Boen says:

    Build a wooden box around your lay-out and make sure the board can’t move.
    Put fragile stickers on it.
    I unpacked a 4×8 layout that was stored for nearly 25 years and it came out just fine and it had been moved several times.


    Geoff, are you interested in selling to someone in NJ?

  10. Norman Backman says:

    Thanks to Dave for a very entertaining video once again. Along with others that have responded, I too would like to know more detail of the “Cam Van”. So could you next time give us all a detailed tour of the ‘Van’ please. Many thanks.
    Norman UK.

  11. Ph says:

    Thanks Dave and Thanks Alastair for bringing it to everyone! I always get a Smile and a Chuckle watching Dave’s Video’s they are beautiful and so entertaining!
    Bless You Both!

  12. Marklin ed. says:


  13. John Deamer says:

    Dave thats just the best one for me yet thanks mate great modeelling

  14. Stan says:

    Hi Al
    Been watching your tips and comments now for about a year and decided its now or never to build my own HO layout. Before I got to far I already decided to expand on it. What am I getting myself into here…Lol
    Would send pictures as I go if I can figure how to. Any suggestions would help.

  15. Dave Fairfull says:

    Another great video Dave. Thanks for sharing.
    Dave F.

  16. wow Dave always gives us some koool shite to dig!!
    track cam is waaay koool

    keep em runnin fellas
    stjohn in long beach calif

  17. Bedros Anserian says:

    So nice and well done Dave. Thank you.

  18. paul Otway says:

    hi Geoff, It might pay to get some strong card and some bubble wrap .

    The card and the wrap could be used to protect the layout, then get a crate made to put the layout in.

    Paul from Ozzie.

  19. Ed Ireland says:

    I love that I finally got to see what’s along the upper track after that first big turn past the bridge. Beautiful work, worthy of any Hollywood miniature set.

  20. john andrew says:

    why do you let dangerous Dave run around with a camera stuck on the end of a stick
    about carrying the layout in Australia each year we have lazy mans race and it always ends the same carry it yourself.
    build a wooden cover and carefully place plastic air filled packaging inside
    John A

  21. Rob says:

    Hi Al, just read Kim’s “track cleaner” i must have missed this was a laugh but interesting at the same time. Was there a follow up to this where he explained the how to with photos or diagram’s? I would love to see it if possible, thinking of making one Thanks in return, Rob

  22. George Sedlock says:

    Beautiful layout the cam shots were as if I were on an actual train. Inspired by your modeling!

  23. Mike L says:

    new to oo modelling and blown away with daves videos and tips ..keep the tips coming and many thanks

  24. James says:

    Dave, this was the best video of your fantastic layout I’ve yet seen. The layout is very well designed, space well utilised and a wide range of operating options evident.

    Scenic development around the upper level is especially interesting particularly as much of it is only visible via track cam.

    Have you ever published a track plan; I would love to see it.

    Well done and thanks for sharing it with us so often.

  25. Idris Dixon says:

    Once again you’ve excelled yourself with your van cam, great shots running beside another train…your videos really helps me to fulfill my dream of building my own lay-out (i built my first one in ’87 for my son but he showed no interest in it). My dad bought my train set in ’56 and I’m 70 this year I hope i haven’t left it too late keep up the good work Dave and thank you Al for all your emails, Iddy

  26. I have used the Trix HO wheel cleaner with NO adverse effects for over a year now. I don’t need to put any down pressure on the loco and only rum it for about 5 seconds tops. It definitely works and don’t mind paying a little bit extra for something that actually does what it says!
    Norm from York, PA

  27. Allan aspin says:

    Could u ask dangerous dave what software he uses to make his videoes

  28. Dave Farrell says:

    What a fantastic running sequence. Good job you don’t live near me, I would have you coming round to wire my layout.
    Excellent job, very well done.

  29. Rene Vanderneut says:

    Another great video!!!

  30. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great video thanks for showing the wheel cleaner never seen it before.

  31. Paul says:

    I Know this is late but I stock pile the posts and watch them in groups if I get a half hour spare.
    Dave video on this post is really outstanding. The truck cam shots are well judged and exciting and the overall film as put together is a real tour de force of how rail models can be filmed.
    Thoroughly enjoyable
    Thank you.

    Ps where di you get the truck cam and any further technical info on how it works/interfaces?

  32. Brad says:

    SOOO after some time,how do you clean the cleaner?

  33. Robert Brady says:

    Geoff I actually love the way you laid out your town and rail road but I wish it was HO instead of N scale. It would’ve look more realistic in HO.Also it wouldn’t have looked so congested. Just Say’n
    The Critic

  34. Vince Russo says:

    That was just fantastic! The level of detail is impressive indeed. Admittedly I scrolled through the comments rather quickly so perhaps I missed it. However, I was surprised I didn’t seem to see any mention by our friends across the pond about the TARDIS sitting in the display.! Now perhaps those police call boxes are from the era in which the layout is set, but that was the whole point of the TARDIS to blend in. So I’m going with that explanation. Well done!

  35. Anton Bruce says:

    Geoff, you’re moving from New Jersey to California? WHY???

    I live in California, and trust me on this: this place has become N U T S!!!

  36. Jim Kennedy says:

    Can this device be put on wheels and pulled around the track to clean the track as well.

  37. Will in NM says:

    Dave, Another great and informative video. Really nice shots with the cam van! I’d be worried the wire bristles of the wheel cleaner might damage the wheels, but all seems to be well with your locos, so what do I know? Thanks again for sharing your model RR and video expertise. And thanks to Alastair for making it all possible.

  38. Erick says:

    Good look.

  39. Norman Rosen says:

    Does Trix make this track cleaner in N gauge? My only question would be about being careful if the engine has traction tires.

  40. Fred Driver says:

    Dave, I noticed in last few videos you now have 2 big bridges again – did you rebuild the second one?

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