Kim’s track cleaner again…

I keep getting emails on Kim’s track cleaner (you may remember it from way back). Anyhow, here’s Kim’s latest on it:

“Hi Al.

I forgot all about that track cleaner build. I see other’s really want the idea.

It really isn’t recommended to use the large motor to clean with as you can see it is so heavy it is bending the car frame lol.But man does it spin on a 2.4 battery.

So I recommend the smaller motor if you want to make one.The buffing pad is a kitchen scrubber. I recommend not to use the really abrasive pad like I have attached. Softer be better.

Okay cut the pad the same size of the track with a tiny tiny bit wider than the width of the track.

I used a empty crazy or instant glue tip for the post that the motor post will slip snuggly into.

I used a tiny washer on both sides of the pad.Force the washers around the glue tip on both sides as in photo.

Take your car and drill a hole in the middle of the steel plate. Make the hole the same size as the lip on the motor where the shaft comes out.It will fit snug.

Make a bracket or brace to hold the motor on top of the car. Dont glue the pad to the motor as you want to replace the pad when it wears down.

Im not sure what idea in them photo’s people want to build. I have a scrub pad and small motor cleaner and that huge 12 volt monster. That one scares me. The small motor one is easy to make and is powered either 9 volts or 2.4 volts.

The first picture is a simple cleaner.

You see the holes matchup and two screws. When you turn the screws they will put more force with the pad to the track like the expensive cleaners you see with adjustable screws same thing. I don’t like this one much. As I found if your track connections are not even or stick out that cleaner will get hooked on it. So I went

The last picture is a N scale cleaner.

The with paper is to show a car being there and the motor.I had 1 piece of N scale track to show it fits.That is a really small motor from ebay to power it. so if none want to make the motorised I have mixture idea may want.


ho scale 001

ho scale 002

ho scale 003

ho scale 004

“Hi Alastair.

By building a helix you can literally double the running time on your layout.

The real key is to build the helix and then test the operation through at least all four seasons through heat and humidity changes.

Once you are happy with the stability of the operation, covering it up with scenery is a lot of fun and allows transition from one level to another very realistically.

Picture #1 shows the “testing” phase while picture #2 gives you an idea of scenery. This is one of three helix transitions on my layout.

Model Railroading is FUN!



Eagle Mt Ray of Sunlight 5

Big thanks to Mark. Spectacular pics!

I had hoped to publish a great offer on the print out buildings – but I’ve not had time.

So I’ve bought back this silly offer.

Have a look at the buildings below – you can get all three for just $6. I think they look great (but have a look and make your own mind up).

At $2 a buiding, it’s cheaper than the Big Kahuna deal).

So if you want to have a muck about with some scratch building, now’s a great time to have a go. You get all three buildings, for $6, but only until Christmas day.

You can print them out to any scale you want too.

You can see some more pictures of them here. Have a look. He’s done a great job on the detail.

And if you fancy bagging this deal – all 3 for $6 – you can also do that here.

Happy scratch building…



PS If you’re looking for the latest ebay cheat sheet, it’s here.

28 Responses to Kim’s track cleaner again…

  1. Steve Roberts says:

    Nice idea Kim, may try it – thanks
    Great trestle Mark

    Merry Xmas
    Steve R. UK

  2. Bullfrogeh in Ontario says:

    I had always considered a helix would take considerable overall height; but I now see the possibility of coiling it ‘inside’ itself, at least until it needs the ‘exit’ ramp. Many thanks for turning on ‘my’ light ! – Bullfrogeh in Ontario

  3. Michael M says:

    I agree with Steve.Great trestle,well built.

    Michael M. UK

  4. john says:

    hi al I have found another way to clean tracks you may know about it already but here goes use baby wipes to clean track I known that they are damp but if used correctly it works 100% then just give the track a quick wipe with a dry clothe

  5. good idea with the scrubby pad onna car like that
    I just use mine ala ‘mano’ and go over the tracks a coupla good
    the helix is awsome and so is the trestle…
    nice scenery to hide the helix…..
    keep it runnin’

  6. brian eiland says:

    I would like to see photos of your other helixes, as I am in the early planning stages for a 12×17 layout in the carport of a mobile home/trailer.. I’m thinking around the wall with one big island to the interior…..2 layer plan

  7. Darrel L. Wilkerson says:

    Very beautiful Helix . Here’s another way to clean your track. It’s very inexpensive but it works. When you go to Walmart or anyplace that has back to school supplies buy a pack of 2 pink erasers they might be a package of 4 or 6 for a $1.00 or $2.00. Just rub it on the track and it is clean and no residue in left on the track. Very good way to clean track when the eraser is dirty just rub it onto you blue jeans and it comes clean. The Model Railroad club the my sons and I used to belong to had this idea and it really works. An eraser in you tool box for model railroading can last a long time. It is cheaper than that of a bright boy for cleaning track. Keep the info coming on how to do stuff. Darrel

  8. Jeff Keene Sr says:

    Why does it seem that nobody wants to tell me just what program is best for sizing down “scratch buildings”? As I stated, I did one once a long time ago, but I can’t recall what program I used to scale them down to N-Gauge.

    Thanks much.

  9. Tommy says:

    I would like a Helix, but would desire a double twisted helix to alow two trains travelling in opposite directions on the helix at the same time. That would be some interseting wood cutting. Keep ’em coming, I like your stuff..

  10. Tommy says:

    Sorry, interesting wood cutting….

  11. Terry Westcott says:

    What a great looking trestle. I plan on covering 1/2 of my helix with mountain; sort of like “Devil’s Tower” or a southwestern style column with a flat top. I have more helix to build but right now the track works really well. My helix was built so my trains could cross my trestle. Anyway, it looks great.

  12. paul Otway says:

    nice trak cleaner, I use a hornby track cleaner

  13. Clyde Easterday says:

    All these ideas are really great I have to give you all credit for that BUT, how about tell me all about t hat track cleaner on a car once again but this time for all of us older guys that are into O guage, you know what that is I guess, that old big track with 3 rails but boy does it go over big with my grand kids This size is just right for them and we all should not forget that as we bring our chrildren into the model RR fun. So now here is a chalenge for you, give me the details for this in detail for O guage track. Where do I get the motor. Don’t just say get it on Ebay but tell me where on Ebay. I am 83 and am rebuilding my layout in my basement for two levels and so much track and switches it has taken me all summer to just get the track lalid and running. This where I want that track motorized cleaner because I have levels of t rack that I cannot get to to clean now by hand. I know this is just one person that is off the beaten path of model RR with the old O guage but boy oh boy, you have not heard anything like grandkids that can feel good about handling this size. We all know the little stuff is hard to handle for little 6 year old kids who want to have fun, fun, fun and I give it to them. Help me and my other friends out here and give us the details of where and how to build this cleaner car. I respectfully remain a die hard O guage model RRoader. Thanks, Clyde

  14. builder Kim says:

    Hi Clyde and grandkids.I wont say I got the motor for the track cleaner from ebay.I didn’t get it there.I ripped it out of an old toy with a motor.It can be any motor as long as it doesn’t stop when you put your finger and alittle pressure.2.5 volts will run it strong.A broken kids toy that crawls or something will do.Tell ya what Clyde.If you can get my email and drop me a message I will give you a step by step build on that track cleaner.If you have grandkids you have all the spare stuff to make one lol.

  15. Jacob Kirk says:

    The helix in today’s blog is amazing. Far beyond my skill level.

    To Clyde and all the “seasoned citizens” out there who run O Gauge, I’m in your camp. The younger kids love the larger, noiser trains. At 76, I started with O Gauge in 2nd grade. Top of the line Lionel freight, Berkshire engine and I still run it. Best Christmas present my parents ever gave me. I’m combining two separate layouts into my 12’ x 14’ platform incorporating both O & HO in separate sections, and a double deck treatment for HO. The O gauge lines have long runs around the outside perimeter of the layout. I love the detail & accuracy of HO, and the power & strength of O gauge. My grandson loves the Large O Gauge trains. When finished, I’ll be able run 4 O gauge lines & 4 HO lines, with an industrial, steel mill theme throughout. I’m from Pgh, so I’m celebrating that great city. I’ll send pics to Al for all to see.

    Love all the great suggestions everyone has for improving our hobby.

    J Kirk (St. Augustine, FLA)

  16. Joe Touchette says:

    What software should e used to scale printable buildings to S scale for use with American Flyer?

  17. Hi all,
    Wonderful idea! You know the legend John Allan,built and ran mulitiple cleaning cars on the G&D,……
    Do what about a small motor 1.5-6 VDC motor?Run off batteries?

  18. Bob Schmidt says:

    If the buildings are in H.O. scale, increase printer to 135%. If they are in OO, then increase the print size to 118%. Go S gauge

  19. Wes Eakin says:

    Hi Clyde and other ‘O’ Gaugers. I use the Lionel track cleaning car with one modification. Instead of the cotton pad spinning beneath the unit, trim a green kitchen scouring pad to fit. Works great with the original Lionel unit. My HO layout uses a piece of Masonite, slightly larger than the frame of an old boxcar. Bevel the bottom edges a bit and cut the sharp corners at a 45 degree angle to traverse switches and re-railers without catching the points. Glue two 10 penny nails to the top and drill two corresponding holes in the base of the boxcar to receive the unit. Place it in your regular consist & RUN TRAINS! Scrape the bottom of the Masonite with the edge of a razor blade to clean. A big THANK YOU Al for all you do for this great hobby! Wes in the Bluegrass State, USA.

  20. Robert Brady says:

    To me a helix doesn’t make any sense . you don’t see them in real life so what’s the point?
    Would I be able to build one?Of course I could but Why? I’m impressed with your skill but why?

  21. Keith Hicks says:

    Living in the UK we don’t see many ‘trestles’ I’m intrigued to know what the red barrels (?) are at intervals around the track/

  22. Nigel Hingston says:

    Hi Robert, with respect Google the Brusio spiral viaduct, found on the World Heritage Bernina railway (Switzerland). Also the double helix at Biaschina is equally impressive as a real life engineering feat getting locomotives up (or down) elevations over a constricted terrain.
    Thanks Al for providing a fantastic site and forum for discussion.

  23. Dwight in Toronto says:

    To Robert Brady … google Canadian Pacific’s spiral tunnel to see the helix concept used in real life. Why are they used? Rather self evident – efficient means of elevation change within a small space.

  24. To Robert Brady;;;
    We have a prototype “helix” that is over 100 years old here in California…
    It is called Tehachapi Loop. True that it is only a single twist but there are others throughout the world as well.
    The big purpose for a helix on a model railroad is if you ar building a layout with more than one level to it. If you need 18 inches or more elevation between levels, a helix is the way to go!
    Hope this gives you a satisfactory answer.
    All the best,

  25. Jim Logue says:

    Awesome job!! Really would love to see the other Helix. Thanks for sharing. Jim L. Now from Fla.

  26. Dave Karper says:

    Keith, the red barrels are filled with water for fire extinguishment.

  27. PAUL Emerson Plovickt says:

    Answer to Keith Hicks question about the red barrels on a trestle. They are barrels filled with water in the event of a fire usually caused by a overheated journal boxes.. Also sparks from steam engines sometimes landed on the old wooden trestles creating fires.

  28. robert forkhamer says:

    American HO

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