Kim’s track cleaner

“Hi Al.

Hope your doing well.

I have something for ya. I made up a track cleaner.

The ones for sale here are way to expensive. Works good was easy to make. Need a how to build it I will send in a how to.

Like most of these, takes a bunch of time to clean the track. Now when I went to test it first time, I left the pad way to wide. It started off well, till it got to stuff I had track side. Wam! It started taking out stuff. I ran to it not thinking to run to the power and cut it. It outran me and got itself jammed into the bridge I made and started freaking out. I call it The DESTROYER.

Then I got an idea. Why not put a 12 volt motor on it and run 9 volts to it. Holly crap it sure cleans and super fast as well. Ya I know looks like the motor would sit still and the car spin like a helicopter lol. It did at first. Speed must have been 3500 rpms lol, so I decided better to use a 2.7 volt battery to run the beast – worked better and less scary and no more hair blowing as it spinned.

So build number 3, a smaller motor run on a 9 volt battery. Works really well and does the job super fast. Not only does it clean the top of the rail but all of it. If you like can show the members my builds some may find it interesting some may laugh and some will like them lol.

Its all about showing others what they can come up with if they think about it. The first pic is the scrubber you can add weight to the posts, the second is my upgrade to a 12 volt motor and 2.7 volt power source,the plate was added to beef up the car…the second is a smaller motor and can use 9 volt if ya like power or 2.7 volt with less force.

The pad is a dish cleaning pad.The ones with the motors will clean ya track like new and in seconds.


A big thank to Kim – I thought it was genius. I really am thinking about adding it to the ebay cheat sheet.

Don’t forget, if you have a tip, pic or video you’d like to share, just hit reply to any of the emails I send.

Or perhaps you just want to get going? The Beginners Guide is here.



45 Responses to Kim’s track cleaner

  1. I like this idea ,but i would have liked more information about parts used,as the parts layed out.

    Also i would have liked to have seen a drawing for the connectin to the pad to see how the wires connect up.

    I would like to build this track cleaner,but i`m not clear on what to do.

    I hope that this can be done for like me who are unsure as to what to do.


  2. I too would love to see more detail of the build – it seems like a brilliant idea!
    Thanks Phil

  3. Love it. Is that a motor from a remote controlled car. There’s your next million!!!

  4. I’d appreciate seeing plans/diagrams, etc. for making the track cleaner. This is a fun avenue to explore in this, “the worlds greatest hobby”.
    Looki’ forward toyour additional inf.

  5. Luv my Good and Plenty…..Seriously,this is sort of like scrubbing bubbles concept,the car needs some serious weight though.Just wondering how does motor shaft connect to the pad securely? Thanks Charlie

  6. AMEN “MIKE” That would be a nice gesture.I too am NOT versed very well in electronics. The cleaner looks like it would do a good job. Need to know as how to put it together.

  7. A truely creative application of practical physics; many would appreciate plans. Thank you for your initial post.

  8. l would like to have detail plans on how to build the track cleaner. lm not to clear on how to go about it. so it would be great if u could send the how toos on building it. l thinks its a great idea u have there. thanks Donnie

  9. Brilliant. Powerful, I like it. Battery operated, so no concern about getting power to the cleaner like the track powered ones. How do you keep the pad connected to the motor shaft?

  10. Great idea!!!!!!

    I agree with Mike, please more details.

  11. I think these tips are great & I enjoy reading them….. BUT I wish the submitter would ALWAYS state the scale they are meant for, when appropriate.

    This looks like HO, not sure as I am an N’er.

    Thx in advance…. JB


  13. WELL DONE! i’M GOING TO TRY THIS ONE I made an other type it worked but not so good no motor just drug it around the layout. But this one seems like you have the right idea. THANKS A BUNCH

  14. Sorry JB habit of mine not adding more info.It’s Ho scale.That RC 12 volt motor is plenty of weight to keep the car on the track.If you noticed I forgot to add that plate next to it before I built it.

  15. Looks like a winner. Would be great to see the build details…..step by step. The manufacturers offerings for track cleaners are too expensive and way overpriced. This would provide lots of fun…..and pride in doing it yourself. Nice job. Please provide details or website/email contact info for the details. Thanks for sharing.

  16. wow didn’t think anyone be interested in this one.For a test I took a track that had some serious buildup over 20 years of crud and dirt and was almost black.One pass and its brand spanking new.As these are test model’s and thought others would like to improve it,as I gave a general idea on how to make them.I will send in a how to soon to Al.I will send in a how to on the pad cleaner.and the smaller motor one.The large 12 volt RC motor scrubber is a beast and if you build this one. I would suggest to drop in line with it a old volume switch from a radio to lower the speed of the motor.At 3500 rpms and running on 9 volts she will eat anything in its path.The smaller motor you can run 2.7 volt battery and have plenty of power to run it at full speed.Warning don’t leave them motor ones in one spot for long periods running.The smaller motor pad is still to large and needs to be made smaller slightly wider than the track.I see I have a job to do and give more info on how.So I will send in more info on how to.

  17. go r/c and never have to clean track or wire it

  18. I would some more information on this track cleaner, also some plans if available.

  19. JB it is Ho scale.This should work with N scale as well.just smaller.Try it and please would love a photo.If anyone here has an idea or even a modification I be joyed to heck to see or hear it.As you learn im also learning as well.My next build may have something to do with adding lights to engines who don’t have them.but see the impressions on the body of the loco to put them.Either they strobe or light up.I have a union pacific and only have cab lights.boring.I want more better lighting.more bling lol. Im going to risk a brand new engine and see if I can improve it.While back I sent in a how to with a Conrail engine and changed out the lights in it.From factory bulbs to leds.going to do the same again but add more lights.what ya think

  20. When can we expect a tutorial for this track cleaner? Can’t wait.

  21. Kim,
    Great idea and I was thinking along the same idea myself. But my idea kept twisting the track cleaner off the track, (pad was too low). So I thought that maybe by using a roller instead of a circular pad, might work better. But the idea had to be put on a back burner due to other more important things to do. But Kim, keep the ideas coming. I am sure that we ALL appreciate ideas from others.

    As for mounting the pad to the motor shaft. Easiest way is to use a tight fitting nylon/plastic gear or pulley that fits onto the shaft. Epoxy the gear or pulley to the CENTER of a stiff piece of metal or thin wood that is circular in shape, just a little bit larger than the track width. After you assemble your track cleaning car, you then slip the cleaning disk onto the motor shaft. Make sure the motor shaft is just long enough to allow the cleaning pad to scuff the tracks clean but not long enough to lift the cleaning car off the tracks.

    So there you have a way to attach the cleaning pad to the motor. I hope that my suggestion is helpful.

    Toni Olivar

  22. good Lord, must be around 850 horsepower 1000 lb. ft. torque I’ll take one for my car … I guess I could use one for a track cleaner too.
    The “Destroyer” awesome.
    Kim, I love your ideas and modifications. I too, would love to see some information or a schematic of your work.

    Thanks for sharing!!!


    PS: Looking forward to your next update …. keep them coming.

  23. great idea…how did you attach the pad to the motor shaft

  24. Nice idea. Good job.

  25. Hi,
    Fantastic Concept, but as like most of the replies, a few individual diagrams would be most appreciated as even though it seems straight forward, there remains a lot of “But How Does” questions in relation to the build. But what a great concept and just what this hobby is about. Thanks Kim.

  26. What a way cool idea. Now THAT gives me an idea as to what to do with that dummy Athearn loco!

  27. I would like the plans and parts list. Looks like something I would like to make.

  28. Toni Olivar thank’s for the info.I agree.Roller sounds good.I do like comments and other ways people think.I love the imput as I learn from others and this is what it is all about.teaching each other.I suppose I could have put more thought into this build.but again it does the job and is off the track after.way it cleans be along while before using it again.I think I will try that roller build.I sent in a how to make these to Al and should be getting them to hear anyones views on improveing a build I do.And if you have an idea don’t hold onto it.share it with others and between all of us can come out with some fantastic stuff.Thanks everyone for injoying my builds.and thankyou for any input to each as well.

  29. Tom that beast is a 12 volt monster.But I was into a power happy build and the grunting and stuff with it.But soon as I turned it on and it went helicopter I knew right then oh my to much I down graded to a smaller motor and does the same job.hahaha Tom when ya start that beast.The speed of that pad was moving so fast and when ya hair is blowing back from ya face that’s a lot of torque.worst part of it was running on a half dead 9 volt battery and wasn’t near its full speed or torque.So I suggest a smaller motor.from a hair dryer or high out put toy.If you can stop the motor with your fingers It isn’t strong anough.I sent in updates and how to make each one but the monster.The destroyer is great for a drag cleaner but took many passes and time.the smaller motor one will do it in one pass.the photo’s comeing soon will show how clean the track is after one new.injoy and a how to add bling to north American locomotives.

  30. Anton Bruce you just gave me an idea.ya that would work even better as the locomotive would be way more stable and not wable like a car would.Dual cleaning disks hahahaha see ya got me started. and since I started writeing this reply I already have all the parts to do it.guess I wont be cutting the grass today.

  31. Very creative. I clean my track once a month with a rag and a special cleaner. Use a cloth/sponge on a handle for the tunnels. Has worked great for years. I have a 5×32′ layout and it takes about a 1/2 hour.

  32. What a great idea, anything that means less cleaning and more running trains is going in the right direction.


  34. What a great idea. Would love, like others, to get the plans and parts list to make one for our Club layout. Thanks Kim for such a great idea.

  35. Crikey! I think I’d be afraid of it catching in something like a railjoint or checkrail and whipping itself round, scything down passengers or scenery. Good luck though, sounds exciting!

  36. lol Rod Mackay the first one did.the big one called Fang is just way to much power.running at what 3500rpm’s.So I went to the smaller motor.I have run it over and over and on ez and also vintage.The smaller motor is a high torque so 2.7 volts run’s it at the right speed.should only have to pass once.That stupid looking bracket is gone from the small motor.I drilled the hole out bigger to just push the head of the motor into the bigger hole and is holding tightly.just tack it or glue it in.will change the pads not the motor.It’s crude it works well and is cheap.After looking at comments from many high end motorized cleaners better save the huge amount of cash and make your own.ya first time I fired up Fang hair was blowing back and couldn’t hear a thing.

  37. Carl Eilbeck there is a how to build the safer smaller motor for Ho.also did a mockup for N scale.

  38. excellent. I have always thought whether one could build a track cleaning car, now I know thanks you

  39. Providing the track is not mega dirty and a loco will still work and you’re running a DCC layout, put power pickups on the modified carriage and run the motor through a decoder That way you can control the speed through you’re handset. As I’m still on the track laying stage, this will be a good idea to try as my first attempt at a scratch built carriage.

  40. Loved your description on your trials and errors really made me laugh, Hubby wondered what I was looking at.just a thought could this be attached to a flatbed or carriege so it cleans as the train goes around, you could have one made up just for that purpuse,

  41. Glad you injoyed my trial and error. Sure you can use it like that on a flat bed.

  42. hahahaha Rod that is what happened at first.was scary as heck

  43. Anton Bruce hahaha give it a try Anton.The idea of using a locomotive as a cleaner would be better and there is more weight and way more stable.If your running dcc just use an old Dc train.just use resistors for the motor or it will burn up.please a pic be super

  44. For us forgotten O and O27 people Lionel made a track cleaning self propelled car. Just add an abrasive pad to the underbody cleaning disk. You can pick up a descent one at a train show for $40 or so. It does a good job.


  45. i love the idea in general just i think you should use a grinding disc on each track with a spiral connection at the motor t hats mounted to the car or whatever you use on the tracks would you please run that throw along with your ideas contact me at my email address thank you kim the track cleaner man

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