D.I.Y. Track Cleaning Car
Here you can see the un-painted LGB cleaning pad
When painted it's hard to see which car has the cleaning block/pad (it's the car with the tractor.)
On the LP&GF RR we use a combination of track and battery power, (still mostly track power).
I have made my own track cleaning cleaning car, it only took a couple of hours to make and works great.
I use 4' min radius curves, and this car will NOT work on 2' radius curves.
What I used was a LGB track cleaning block mounted under a Bachmann gondola that I reworked.
I removed the couplers (I use body mounted Kadee couplers) rotate the truck 180 degrees cut a small slot in the
LGB block to receive the part on the truck where the coupler used to be mounted (this makes the cleaning block
stay in the center of the track on curves). I removed the bottom black plastic of the car the part with the
truss rods attached and cut out the center section enough to clear the length of the cleaning block. Screw and
glue the two ends back on the car, glue 'stops' to keep the cleaning block in the center of the car. In order
not to have to cut into the floor of the gondola I did have to sand a little off the top of the LGB cleaning pad.
The "articulated" track cleaning car, is made in such a way that the cleaning block moves side to side so
as to always remains centered on the rails on straight as well as curve track. The two I made both started life
as a standard "Bachmann" flat car and as a standard "Bachmann" gondola. Although I am slowly converting to battery
power, I will alway maintain track power for friends and any new engines also the track cleaning cars do clean the
grit off the rails so the battery powered engines don't bounce along..
To convert them into track cleaning cars begin by
(1) Removing the center black plastic portion of the under-floor.
(2) Remove inside truss rods and move the remaining truss rods out an extra 1/16 inch or so to allow side to
side movement of cleaning block.
(3) Add (2) aluminum "stops" about 1/16 to 1/8 inch further apart than a regular LGB cleaning block.
(4) Body mount the couplers, I use Kadee's.
This view shows the trucks installed "backwards" with the stock "Bachmann" molded on coupler tang pointing inward and
the aluminum stops notched for the coupler tang.
The blocks/pads "float" (I have found that they work just fine with NO extra weight on the cleaning blocks) and are notched
at each end to receive the old coupler tang this allows the block/pad to be moved side to side by the truck tang thus remain
centered on the track in the curves.
The gondola has the standard LGB cleaning pad (I did have to sand a little off the top of the LGB cleaning pad, in order not
to have to cut into the floor of the gondola,) and for extra heavy cleaning I made a wood block the same size as the LGB block
and glued a piece of Scotch-Brite to it. I also painted both blocks black to further hide them.
Here is the track cleaning gondola the blocks/pads all but disappear on the finished cars, for looks and to help 'hide' the
cleaning block I took two of the truss rods made them as thin as possible and glued them to the underside of the car,
being careful to leave room for the cleaning block to move from side to side in the curves.
Here is the same track cleaning gondola with the scratch built "snap on snow plow" but because it doesn't snow here in
Southern California it is really a leaf, twig, and debris remover....
Side view of the snow plow built using PVC pipe and other plastic shapes, requires no modification to the gondola
in fact it can also fit on the flat car
All that has to be done to "install" the snowplow on any similar Bachmann car is lift up the "coupler" lift bar and
hook it on/around the stake pockets, it just lays on the end beam and hides the coupler, it works great!