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Lux vacuum and rail cleaning wagons

7588 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Richard Johnson
I've never seen them in the flesh and am just curious. Are they a gimmick or do they really work?
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Haven't seen the LUX ones but Dapol have just brought one out for HO OO and it works very well £50 and it comes with 3 sets of attachments, Coarse cleaning (occasional heavy cleaning), polishing disc (general cleaning) and vacuum (how much of your ballast is really stuck? and very useful for finding all those small details that have fallen off).

Works very well and if you don't want to keep changing them over you could always buy two. The only drawback I've found is the pivots are above the inner axle of the bogies and they don't like diamond crossings as there isn't enough weight on the outer axle.
QUOTE (MrBemo @ 5 Mar 2009, 02:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I've never seen them in the flesh and am just curious. Are they a gimmick or do they really work?

No gimmick, they really do work.

hi there ... the dapol track cleaning car was originally made by tomix in japan ... re- badged and sold in uk as a dapol - they prob done a deal with tomix. - i bought a n guage version of it in a model shop in sydney a few years back. the vacuum function works very well! ... its amazing after a few circuits to see just how much fluff is in the "cannister".

when i was at warley show last year and at the scottish model rail show this year, there was a "stall/shop" that visits from germany called JapanModelRailways and supplies these cars under the tomix brand.

they also sell the dcc converter board which just slots in once u take the old one out and allows u to plug in a decoder to vary the cleaning intensity from your handset!.

i havent done my conversion yet but i bought the kit and it looks very straightforward to fit.

this shop also sells a liquid cleaner that can be put into the cleaning cars' onboard dispenser and this then trickles the fluid onto the cleaning discs to give your rails a really excellent clean!. bit like a carpet shampooer with whirling brushes and cleaning liquid!.

i also have the cmx track cleaning tanker which dispenses liquid onto a pad that then sweeps across the rails. used together the results are almost as good as ud get by hand esp on the harder to reach areas of a layout!.

well worth the money id say!. eventually ull need to clean yr rails manually with a track rubber/other method - i dont think there is a replacement as effective as hand cleaning yet, but these do help prolong intervals between manual cleaning.!
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I thought Tomix only made this in N scale and the Dapol one was a licensed design but entirely a Dapol manufactured item?

Anyway, itworks pretty well and dcc is a doddle to install. I can't coment on how it compares to the much more expensive Lux track cleaners but construction wise I can't see anything that would make the Lux significantly better.

I also have a Fleischmann diesel track cleaning loco but that has small rotating pads and is really not very effective at all.

track rubber still the most effective but for tunnels or track with overhead catenary one of the above automatic methods may be needed.
Hi All

I have found that anything abrasive on your rail tops is actually the reason why your track will get dirty. Track rubbers etc are NOT good. Once the rails are in place and painted polish them with brasso and you will only need a quick wipe with lighter fuel for spotless rails. I use a CMX track cleaner to do this.

Final peice of advice, no point cleaning the rails if you dont clean the wheels regularily. That means ALL wheels, loco's coaches, wagons, everything. The rules about abrasives applies here too.


what evidence do you have for the above hypothesis?
QUOTE what evidence do you have for the above hypothesis?

I can't speak for Jim, but my experience is that some older code 100 Peco which I have always cleaned with a Peco rubber seems to need cleaning a lot more often than more recent code 75 which has only been cleaned with a CMX clean machine and liquid. My understanding is that the Peco rubber which is particularly abrasive leaves microscopic scratches which slowly oxidise and since they don't present a flat face which can be cleaned in the next pass, remain oxidised and non-conducting.

So I'm inclined to go along with Jim on this one.

Interesting. When I come to think about it now, Jim seems to be right.

I use, as some people put it, the worlds best ; the Fleischmann and Roco rubbers.
Both leave a residue behind and if you swap your forefinger onto the rail tops after cleaning you can feel those tiny residue particles. If not cleaned with a cloth these critters stick on to the wheels causing poor pickup in the future.

Also interestingly enough, yes I clean them more often then I used to. On a microscopic scale these rubbers tend to leave crevices on the rail tops which actually is an invitation to muck and oxidation, as Silver Nickel rails composition is not as we know it. Richard covered this subject in one thread which I cannot pin point now.
It seems cleaning with IPA or any meth spirits is more sensible to do.

*** If you clean with a coarse abrasive, this will scratch rail and therefore increase the surface area that will oxidise - and the oxides will accumulate in the scratches too.

The black gunge is more than 90+ percent copper oxide which is an insulator par excellence. I already added a readout from a spectrum analyser analysis of that gunge somewhere on MRF I think.

Nickel silver really is a rotten choice for rail material - the Mfrs really need to re-think it, or at least use a grade with far more nickel content and less copper!!

Re track rubbers - Erkut, all the trainset brands are ALL far too coarse. You really need to find the finer grade ones designed for PCB preparation... if you use them at all.

I go along with Jim S W ... use a metal polish and don't abrade the rail - even better, change to steel rail and a more realistic look, far less oxidisation and better pulling power from your loco's too :) :)

Richard & Jim,

You have convinced me.
Now can you please explain what this polish is, I seem to be lost here and how do you apply it.

Jim, you say " polish them with Brasso" ( I gather its a trademark name of polish that I can't find down here). Polishing the rail tops won't it act as insulation?
It will eventually cover the rail with a thin layer film? If you wipe it out then whats the point in polishing it?

Thanks guys

***Brasso is a super fine abrasive in a carrier liquid - it has no "polish" in it, all the shine is because the smoothness of the clean metal reflects light well. There may well be a chemical inhibitor in it too, to delay further oxidisation, but I am not sure.

This use of super fine abrasives to polish ges back many many years, on anything from furniture to armour and decorations and still works well because any smooth surface stays cleaner as it does not encourage added oxides/grab and hold dirt.

Brass, and any metal polish that is similar, is applied wet, dries on the metal as it is rubbed into it firmly then removed totally when rubbing is done... It is a true pain to do but it does work well.

I often do exactly the same sort of thing to loco wheel treads and pickup areas using a really good quality material designed for very high level audio connector use. It makes a BIG difference.

Your part of the world has a fine tradition in working silver, copper, brass, gold etc - find out what they used (the older more traditional craftsmen) to polish their work, and I'd bet the same stuff will work well on your track!

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