Kim’s track cleaner

Kim’s been in touch with his track cleaner.

Just have a look at the comments on this one!

“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.

And have a look at the comments below. Kim’s cleaner really struck a chord.

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.

That’s all this time my friends.



62 Responses to Kim’s track cleaner

  1. mike says:

    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. Phil says:

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

  3. Jim says:

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

  4. Dick says:

    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. Charlie says:

    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. MIKE,Seattle WA says:

    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. Chuck says:

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

  8. Donnie says:

    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. Rob M says:

    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. Roland, in Nashville says:

    Great idea!!!!!!

    I agree with Mike, please more details.

  11. JB says:

    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

  12. bruce says:


  13. bruce says:

    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. builder Kim says:

    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. Tom says:

    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. builder Kim says:

    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. chasv says:

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

  18. skip says:

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

  19. builder Kim says:

    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. leon says:

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

  21. Toni Olivar says:

    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. Tom says:

    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. Andy says:

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

  24. Bedros A Anserian says:

    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. Anton Bruce says:

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

  27. Tim Geist says:

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

  28. builder Kim says:

    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. builder Kim says:

    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. builder Kim says:

    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. Don says:

    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. Ralph Berry says:

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

  33. THOMAS says:


  34. Carl Eilbeck says:

    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. Rod Mackay says:

    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. builder Kim says:

    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. builder Kim says:

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

  38. john slade says:

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

  39. Andy says:

    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. litacats says:

    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. builder Kim says:

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

  42. builder Kim says:

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

  43. builder Kim says:

    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. Steve says:

    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

  46. Warren Ferguson says:

    Great idea! Your description and the comments had me in stitches. Send more, please!

  47. Robert Brady says:

    definitely gives us retirees something to do .Doesn’t seem too hard. Can add an on/off switch with steel wheels can be operated electrically through tracks like last car light / FRED
    Good job Sir

  48. Franco428 says:

    Although I like you ideas for cleaning track, you gave me a great idea of building a horizontal scrubber built-in to a boxcar. I pulled out some of my grandson’s Lego gears to be able to use a high speed motor that is geared down to a reasonable speed.

    Great torque and the gears can be on the outside of the boxcar, with a gear on the end of the horizontal scrubbing bar. the use of the green ‘scrubbie’ pads is perfect for the job. my only problem is going over switches.

    If I make the scrub motor remote control, I can make sure that I have the scrub bar rotating in the correct direction when going over switches. We don’t want to yank anything up towards the bar.

    Thanks for the head-start on a horizontal track cleaner. When I get the prototype done, I’ll send Al a write-up and pictures. Maybe someone else will beat me to the finished product and share their version with us.

    Thanks again!

  49. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Hello All,. Hello Kim, great Idea, looks like everyone is jumping on this on. Testing for the best way to get the best way to contact the track and make it nice and clean. Like to see the winner on this idea. I have my way of cleaning the track also, but I would have to test it also. Lol just may be, I might just do that. Sorry, I have been under the weather lately. I haven’t even started to make room yet. But I just might to try to build that track cleaner that has been in my mind. Good luck. Untill the next time, Stephen here out of St.Petersburg Fl

  50. RD Reske says:

    The O/027 Lionel 3927 Track Cleaning Car was motorized, but not self-propelled! It needed a locomotive to pull it. It was originally available 1956-1960. After 50 some years, mine needs replacement of the foam cleaning pad. Your scouring pad idea will be ideal, maybe attached with caulking (for easier removal and replacement)?

  51. John Seale says:

    great work…thanks for posting…

  52. David Young says:

    About a month or 6 weeks ago someone sent an article about tool that would work to roll up toothpaste. He was using it to make corrugated metal roofing from coke cans. I save all your posts but I can’t find it.
    Thank you
    Dave Young

  53. Jon J Chokan says:

    Great idea, however I too would like to know how the pad is attached to the motor.
    Maybe the pad has a small set screw in a bushing. If so could we find out who makes the pad?
    Enjoy all articles sent. Some are very interesting.
    P & J Railroad & Co.
    Jon Jon J Chokan

  54. steven joyce says:

    Pretty cool. Im going to need one of these things in the future

  55. Excellent! I did almost the same thing with a Lionel Track Cleaning Car by removing the original pad and mount making a new mount and replaced the pad with a scrubby pad that I cut to fit and now have about 10 of them, Hats off to Kim.

  56. Steve Ruple says:

    Awesome idea, I would like to see some plans on how to build it also. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea.

  57. George Moffatt says:

    Great idea. But someone suggested a scouring pad. Sorry, bad idea. If the pad scratches the track, dirt might accumulate in the scratches. Stick with soft pads.

  58. John Bullock says:

    I, like all others are intrigued with this. I hope you can send a video soon.

    I’ve always thought of a roller type of scrubber, with only a mm of overlap outside the rails, possibly rotating in the direction of the train’s movement which would assist with the forward movement of the train, possibly using a firm sponge (or equivalent) as the scrubber, being automatically doused with isopropyl continuously drip fed from a small on board tank. Whew!

    Maybe you will make your millions with this invention!



  59. Robin says:

    Track cleaner sounds great. Like others would like to seer a plan as not very electrical minded, thank you for the info. Regards Robin

  60. William Orton says:

    Great looking rig. Pls show some before and after pics if you can. I have a cleaning car like first picture and the pads come back filthy each month, but I don’t see a change in the track
    appearance. I’m using mineral spirits as my cleaner, but others suggest stronger solvents which I am weary of.

  61. You can go on amazon and find all different size dc motors for this project. If you notice they all have a shaft on them. the shaft goes through the bottom of the car. Only drill a hole slightly larger than the shaft itself. There are many different ways you can attach the motor to the car. These motors are very easy to wire up with a battery of your choosing.

  62. James says:

    Say, it would seem like the course pad would get caught on switch points?

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