CMX Track Cleaning Car

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#1
What's been your experience and level of satisfaction with the CMX brass track cleaning car? What solvents have you used and which one seems to work best? The manufacturer suggests lacquer thinner.

Comments on the effectiveness of the weight of this car (about a pound) - and the point(s) of application of the weight on the rails - also appreciated. That is, is the weight largely applied on the trucks or on the cleaning pads?

Thank you.
 

Lynnb

Active Member
#2
I have had one for over 10 years, I pull it with two diesels. It works great. I use two diesels so if one diesel hits a real bad spot and looses connection then the second diesel keeps things moving until the non contacting diesel reconnects. Generally once I've made it around a couple times there is no more issues. Make sure you get an extra roll of padding.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#4
I can also vouch for the CMX track cleaning car. I have one for my HO layout (now defunct) and it worked very well.

Don't quote me but the majority of the weight is absorbed by the cleaning pad and what makes the car so effective.

As for what to use, that is up to you but I used 91% alcohol and got good results. Using what CMX recommends would probably give better or perhaps quicker results. As Lynn said, twice around the layout and all was good.

While Lynn uses 2 engines, I only ever used one. The only "complaint" (if you want to call it that) is the physical weight of the car and the sort of locomotive power needed to push or pull it. I always "pushed" the car so it cleaned the track before the engine.

In short, regardless of the price, I would highly recommend these track cleaning cars. I also agree with Lynn, buy additional pads for it.
 

Sirfoldalot

Plucked Tailfeathers
Staff member
#6
Good Lord! That is an obscene amount of money!
Build your own ... Better yet ... find one of the Ulrich cleaning cars from 40 years ago and improve somewhat on the pad that it uses.
I had one and it did a fairly decent job.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
#7
I got a CMX car in 2013, figured it would be a worthwhile investment to make track cleaning less of a drudgery. I only use it when my layout has been inactive for several months, where corrosion and dust have had time to accumulate on the track. I use 3 locos to push it over the main line, and push it by hand thru yard tracks and spurs.

My biggest challenge is figuring out the most efficient solvent drip rate - enough to keep the pad moist without over-soaking it.
 
#8
Ken,

The CMX is a powered unit, is it not?

I got a CMX car in 2013, figured it would be a worthwhile investment to make track cleaning less of a drudgery. I only use it when my layout has been inactive for several months, where corrosion and dust have had time to accumulate on the track. I use 3 locos to push it over the main line, and push it by hand thru yard tracks and spurs.

My biggest challenge is figuring out the most efficient solvent drip rate - enough to keep the pad moist without over-soaking it.
 
#10
Scott,

On closer inspection, I believe you're right! I understand the benefit of a pound of weight with this car, but absent a motor I have to wonder why it's made of expensive brass instead of being equipped with weights on, in or under the chassis and thus costing a lot less. I hear the do-it-yourselfer knocking at the door! :cool:

The unit I just looked at online did not appear to be self-propelled, as you mentioned.
Scott

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#14
The car maybe expensive (a matter of relativity) but it will, or should, last a lifetime. It becomes (or should become) a one time purchase. Considering how important it is to maintain our track work for proper running of trains, I think the price, along with its ability to use a variety of cleaning agents, is well worth the money.
 

NP2626

Active Member
#16
I have wondered why these things are so stupid high priced! The best price I found was from StevesDepot @ $144.95, which is even better than M.B. Klien's ModelTrainStuff. Brass is not all that expensive and my guess is it needs to be some type of metal to stand up to the solvents and/or cleaners used. The price of brass does not justify the high price. My guess would be the small quantities manufactured and the somewhat complicated method of controlling the amount of cleaner/solvent used, when in use, is why the cost is so high. I use home made track cleaning cars with Masonite sliders to clean the track. My layout sits idle from April to October, in October when I want to start running again, I have these four track cleaners hooked together and run around making many passes over the layout, cleaning the main line. This leaves the rail-heads very shinny and conductive. I clean my locomotive wheels with Goop. This method of track and wheel cleaning has worked very well for me, it is cheap and so reliable, that I wonder why others invest so much money in track cleaning! It is a choice, if you have the extra loose change to spend, buy one. I simply don't have that kind of loose change!
 
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D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
#17
The CMX is one of many, effective track cleaning devices. Dust monkeys are the cheapest and you can install many of them on one train. They can be cleaned by just wiping them off with some paint thinner or alcohol.
I would caution all about the notion of using MEK or Acetone as a track cleaner. That stuff will soften the engineer plastic that most trucks and ties are made of. Apply a little to much to part of your track and you will have track that gets out of gauge.
IF you are skeptical of the warnings, test it on a scrap piece of track. Let it set for a few minutes then check how soft the plastic gets, then check the gauge with the NMRA track gauge.
 

NP2626

Active Member
#18
Having thought about how much money some of you will spend on track cleaning, I've decided to show how easily I build mine. I will place the thread in the General Discussion Forum. The thread will start after I get the Athearn Blue Box Southern Pacific Box Car I just bought off Ebay, sometime the end of next week, probably around Friday November 30th, 2017. If interested, tag along!
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#19
Not arguing with anyone but have to smile over some things. Seems the main (only) issue some have with the CMX is the price, $150 (in round figures) but we don't complain about an engine costing $400 or a set of rolling stock costing $150 and so on?

I can only only conclude that people either place less importance on track cleaning and therefore believe they shouldn't be paying a given price OR, because options (regardless of effectiveness) are available for much less money. I'm wondering, if that is the case, people would pay much less for engines if much cheaper options were available, regardless of the quality or effectiveness of that much cheaper model?
 

NP2626

Active Member
#20
Tony, My way with simple John Allen type track cleaning cars have worked extremely well for me. Even if I thought that a CMX car was the ultimate in high tech. track cleaning and could afford to pay $144.95 for one, if my way is so much cheaper and works well, why would I buy a CMX?

Your question: "I'm wondering, if that is the case, people would pay much less for engines if much cheaper options were available, regardless of the quality or effectiveness of that much cheaper model The reality is that cheaper option really no longer exists. I have attempted to find cheaper, buying used steam locomotives on Ebay, re-conditioning them, where I can and I change motors, install DCC Sound decoders in them and use them. For some reason for me, spending two hundred plus or even more for a locomotive is easy enough to rationalize if I have the money. $144.95 to clean my track, not so much!
 



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