Masonite Pads for Track Cleaning

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#1
How effective are masonite pads - permanently attached to the underside of a freight car - for cleaning nickel silver track? Too abrasive so as to leave micro "pits" in the rails? I realize they won't clean the inside of the rails, but how about the rail surface itself? And where can they be purchased?

Thanks!
 
#2
They are no where near as good as a bright boy, but they do move the dust off the track and the material is much softer than the rails. I rub a pencil on the bottom of mine to spread some graphite on the rails.

They are very simple to make, just a piece of Masonite, some epoxy, 2 nails or screws, and a little weight on the nail or screw. Just drill a hole through the floor of the car and the metal weight and make it a little oversize by a few thousandths so the pad will move freely vertically.

Joe
 
#3
Joe,

I know how to make them, but is the masonite itself simply a hard masonite board, such as you'd buy at the lumber yard, or a similar material, perhaps softer? Does the graphite help prevent oxidation of the rails or just aid in cleaning them?
 
#4
I bought an eSPee Masonite car and it seems to work okay. I soak its pad in alcohol then run it in my regular consist. My track-cleaning regimen:

• Wipe track with isopropyl alcohol swab from CVS.
• Spray isopropyl alcohol onto Masonite pad and put car in consist.
• Go over track with carpenter's pencil (graphite acts as a conductor).

My track stays pretty conductive for whatever reason. I don't run trains everyday, but when I do I usually run them for several hours of continuous-loop running.
 
#5
There are two types of Masonite: tempered and non-tempered. The tempered variety is smooth on both sides and (usually) dark brown. The non-tempered variety is lighter in color and only smooth on one side. The other side looks like the pulp to make the board was drained on a sheet of window screen. While you can use either type to make cleaning pads, the non-tempered variety is more effective since there is more surface area to contact the rails. The big box stores (at least in my area) only carry the tempered variety, but both local, non-chain lumber stores carry both. And 1 sheet will supply enough pads to last around 88 years so asking for a damaged sheet could get one at a discount.
 
#7
What is eSPee?

I bought an eSPee Masonite car and it seems to work okay. I soak its pad in alcohol then run it in my regular consist. My track-cleaning regimen:

• Wipe track with isopropyl alcohol swab from CVS.
• Spray isopropyl alcohol onto Masonite pad and put car in consist.
• Go over track with carpenter's pencil (graphite acts as a conductor).

My track stays pretty conductive for whatever reason. I don't run trains everyday, but when I do I usually run them for several hours of continuous-loop running.
 
#9
eSPee™ Track Cleaning Products sells a variety of rolling stock in 0-, H0-, and N-scale with the Masonite pad already installed (about $30 for the H0 versions). Here's an H0-scale listing for an Athearn boxcar on their eBay store here (make and model of boxcars vary). They also sell the pad separately with instructions on how to attach the pad to your own rolling stock—the H0 version is here.

Here's the Roundhouse N-scale boxcar with MTL couplers I bought from them for $32.57 (shipping is free!):



I'm very happy with the quality of the product and the Roundhouse Santa Fe boxcar I got looks and runs great! Again, they offer free shipping, plus free return-shipping, if for some reason you're not satisfied with your purchase. So for a few bucks, they do the work for you, and you might get a neat piece of rolling stock which matches your chosen road as well!
 
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