Every so often it’s a good idea to give your model railway or train set track a quick clean to remove grease and dirt that naturally builds up. Here’s a quick, cheap and safe track cleaning tip that’ll get your rails up sparkling and your locos running smoothly.
Whether your railway sits on the floor, table or a baseboard, for your trains to run smoothly you’ll need to occasionally clean the track and remove the dirt. In fact, if you have a train set on the floor or table which is also used for other things it’s even more important to clean it regularly as it’ll attract grime from the carpet and table surface.
While you can buy dedicated track cleaning products, and even special trains to clean your tracks such as this highly recommended Hornby OO gauge train cleaning wagon, for quick regular cleans I use a few of my wife’s cleansing wipes – Ssshh! don’t tell her!
Actually, that’s a conceit
Mrs MRE uses alcohol free variety whereas for this tip you’ll want to get hold of some that contain alcohol. Many of the main brands of makeup remover and cleansing wipes have moved away from using alcohol so you’ll need to check but the big supermarkets still sell some varieties with an alcoholic element. I picked up a pack of 26 wipes for about £4 at the weekend.
(The alcohol content of the wipes is important as this will breakup the grease, oil and other muck on the rails so it can picked up by the wipe).
With the wipes acquired, simply run them over the rails a few times pressing the wipe firmly onto the railhead.
And that’s pretty much it.
Give it a go, you’ll be surprised how much dirt gets picked up.
I wipe my rails down every six weeks and rarely have problems with my trains sticking due to dirty rails.
If you need to give your track a better clean – perhaps after it’s been left for some time or you’ve been ballasting try these 3 budget track cleaning techniques.
This is post is another in my series for my beginners guide on how to build a model railway which covers everything you need to know to get started.
> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy. Affiliate notice: If you plan to buy the products on this page or similiar, please use the links here. These will take you to carefully selected businesses, including Hornby, Rapid Online, Amazon, eBay, Scale Model Scenery and Element Games, through which you can buy products mentioned. These links are made under their affiliate schemes which means that although the price to you does not change I receive a small commission on the orders you place which helps me maintain this site and allows me to create more articles like this. Please see my disclaimer for more information. Thank you for your support, Andy.