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In my opinion, any and all the "track cleaning cars" are a wast of time. Our layout is 100% Atlas solid nickel silver, and I use mostly denatured alcohol on a soft cotton rag wrapped tightly around a piece of 1"X2" wood. I also "polish" each turnout with 320 or 400 grit shop cloth. We have DCS, Legacy, and TMCC all operable at once on the layout.  NOTHING beats "elbow grease" for track cleaning, plus the track cleaning car no longer bashes into station platforms and various other scenery items!

I have a "track cleaning car", wanted one for a long time, bought it from a "forum member", opened the box removed the car, everything was there. including instructions.

The first thing I noticed in in instructions was TRACK MUST BE CLEAN before using . (my words, not a quote).

Car is still in the box with instructions

nuf said




At our club, we use two types of cleaning car:

1- Dry "Magnet cleaning car":  This is a home-made cleaning car that is made with magnets simply put under any car.  It is amazing how much fine metal particles this "Magnet cleaning car" collects every time it is used.  The magnets showed below can be found at hardware stores.  They have a perfect size for the O-Gauge (1-7/8" wide).  It works especially well on Atlas tracks because magnets do not stick to Atlas tracks.  

2-  Wet CMX-O-HR – Clean Machine™ O Scale “3 Rail” (High Rail)»:   We use it with Isopropyl Alcohol, 99%. 


The combination of these two cleaning methods (Dry + Wet) have been used successfully for over year at our club.




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Last edited by Daniel Auger

My layout is all Atlas track and switches (nickel-silver rail) and what little I have cleaned it was with 91% iso alcohol and a soft cotton cloth. I also have Legacy and DCS (layout is wired per DCS recommendations) and both work very well. The Atlas track seems to need less cleaning than some of the others, at least here anyway, so I don't clean it often. When I do clean it's usually just a small section of the layout that when it appears dirty. Track cleaning is not one of my favorite things to do. 

Seems like there was a thread here somewhere on a magnet car which I had forgotten about. That sounds like a good idea, I will have to look into copying your ideas on that one. Sounds very useful.

Last edited by rtr12

From an effectiveness standpoint nothing beats cleaning by hand. Like to use a small 4" piece of 2x4 with denatured alcohol and old t-shirt material.

That being said, a cleaning car or similar may be somewhat helpful if you have tunnel sections that are hard to get at. Even with cutouts, I have a couple areas difficult to clean. 


Today, I bought this track cleaning car from my LHS:


It came in a box with a paper in it that said O Gauge Track Cleaning Car, Bridge Masters, and that it was introduced on January 2, 2010.

What impressed me is that the silver top of it is heavy, so the scotch brite-like material on the bottom presses down on the track, and it doesn't require that any liquid be put on the track or scotch brite to clean the track

I coupled it to a switcher and took it for a spin around the two main loops of my layout, and it definitely picked up some dirt because the bottom of the scotch brite material got dirty. I think this car can be useful for cleaning track in tunnels and other hard to reach places.

I also think that its cleaning power is limited, and there are better ways to clean track in easy to reach places.

What are your thoughts about this track cleaning car or similar ones? Arnold


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Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

I use a caboose from

I run it with a regular run of trains on two huge holiday layouts, built by TWTRAINWORX.  The beauty of it is that I can put it on the rails during public operating hours and no one knows its scrubbing away - because it's hidden inside a Lionel caboose.

Nothing beats a hand cleaning, and I use cleans the gunk and improves conductivity and doesn't harm plastic.  Spray it on the rag, not the track.

Last edited by BMT-Express

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