Track cleaner – Steve’s

Steve’s been in touch with his track cleaner:


One of the most tedious tasks is track cleaning.

I have successfully used a method to accomplish this, no matter how dirty the tracks or loco wheels are. I am not certain if this idea has been shown before so apologies if this is a repeat.


I took an old dc loco where the motor was easily accessed.
A wagon big enough to hold a 9V dry cell battery.
Sticky-backed floor protection pad.
U-Shaped alumimium.
A 9V battery.

By replacing the rear axle on the wagon with a cleaning pad, and supplying 9V directly to the loco motor, the loco drags the cleaning pad around the track under its own power. Methylated spirits is applied to the pad, and the results are amazing.

track cleaner

After removing the loco body, I soldered female jumper connectors directly onto the motor. Take care not to leave the soldering iron there for too long.

Use very short jumpers so that the body can be returned for normal running.

track cleaner

I use a 9V dry cell and a connecting clip. I soldered male jumpers to the battery leads. Heat shrink makes for a handy Insulation material.

track cleaner

You will need a wagon big enough to hold the 9V battery. My Hornby ‘OO’ coal wagon was ideal. Remove the REAR axle from the wagon. The cleaning pad will fit where the axle was located, so that the weight of the wagon and battery push the pad onto the tracks.

rolling stock

Cut a piece of U-shaped alumimium to fit where the axle was located. I then used a piece of sticky-backed floor protector, and attached it to the other side of the aluminum. Drill a small hole about half way along one side large enough to fit a self-tapping screw.


Locate the aluminum onto the bottom of the wagon and use the hole to drill through the floor.

rolling stock

Secure the aluminum and felt to the wagon with the screw.

Paint liberal amounts of methylated spirits onto the pad where the wheels might have been. Couple the wagon to the loco.

When you connect the leads, the loco will move around the track, wiping tracks clean.

I found that 3 times around was enough to run loco stock.


There’s quite a few posts on track cleaning on the blog.

There’s Bob’s track cleaner:

track cleaner

And who can forget Kim’s track cleaner:

track cleaner

And there’s John’s track cleaner too:

track cleaner

And it got me thinking – how often do you clean your tracks? Please leave a comment below and let us all know.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to get going.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

7 Responses to Track cleaner – Steve’s

  1. How much and where can I purchase this stuff packed?

  2. Charles Menges says:

    This shows the total resolve of the model train individual and sharing great tips of information. Right on Steve.

  3. Erick says:

    Pretty neat i got to try it.

  4. Billy bob says:

    Never. Ya think maybe that’s my my trains don’t run or derail all the time

  5. Bob Muhme says:

    I clean my track whenever I want to run the trains. I’m mostly ‘working on railroad’ so when I take a break to run the trains the tracks need cleaning first. AZ train gets dusty in no time at all, MI train is in the garage, so that’s a problem as well!
    Bob with two N scales

  6. Lynn T. says:

    I clean my tracks once a month before running trains. I have yet to find a good solution, I even purchased one of those expensive track cleaning cars but it is very heavy and my locos have a difficult time pulling it. This seems to be the answer to my track cleaning problem. I am going to try it soon. Thanks Steve.

  7. edward zimmerman says:

    I always used a Pink Pearl eraser for places I could reach. I attached one on a stick for reaching places like over passes and tunnels. PPC&CR Railroad
    Pennsylvania-Penn Central & Conn Rail Rail Road

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