Model train vacuum

Dave has been in touch with his model train vacuum tip:

“Hi Alastair

Just thought I would share a little trick I found while trying to clean up the layout after some major track modifications.

I find it rather hard to get a vacuum into the small spaces on my layout, especially as I model in n gauge.

So cobbled together an extension using the old outflow hose off of a disused washing machine. This allows me to have the machine on the floor while having a small pipe to get into the nooks and crannies around the trackwork.

And inadvertently suck up something important, its simple a matter of taking the bag out and finding said piece.

Hope this is helpful for other modellers and thanks for all the great hints and tips in your informative newsletter.



Model train vacuum

Model train vacuum

Now on to Chuck:

“Hi Alastair,

I have never written you but have been receiving your emails for several years now and have really enjoyed them. And I have your books you created and have downloaded them and are in my collection of ideas box.

I got my first train back in Christmas 1961 when I was 8 years old. I have had it all these years with dreams of one day building a complete layout. I have all the original train cars from that set and have acquired many more since then.

I have always loved trains from the first day I met my grandfather at age 7. My grandfather was a conductor on the railroad and did the run between Montreal, Canada and New York City and Boston. We lived in Essex Junction, Vermont and yes it was known as “The Junction” – the rail station was located there.

The town has 5 main roads that all come together there known affectionately as the 5 corners. No traffic light back then, but when my grandfather was coming through town my dad would take us down to the station to see him come through. I have his original conductors watch and a photo of him in his conductor’s uniform (yes, black and white). Anyway enough nostalgia and the reason for my writing.

It struck me the other day, after viewing some tips from one of your posts on how different people have been creating their own models and repairing or changing out things, that your viewers might be a good source for what I have been in need of for a lot of years.

As a kid I ran my trains a lot and when my first son came along we would run them in the basement of my home, but as time would have it the motor eventually gave out. At the time I was working at IBM and had an acquaintance at work that was involved with trains and I had given him the armature to see if he could find someone to repair it. The long story short however is that we both left IBM completely forgetting about the armature so I no longer have it. I have been looking for a replacement motor, either parts or something that would fit within the motor housing and engine.

The engine was made by the Lionel Corporation. I have attached some photos of the engine along with the motor box with some dimensions. If this is something you would consider sharing with your viewers that would be good, but if it is not something you would normally do, that is fine too. I someday hope to get a new layout going before my 9 year old grandson gets too big to have an interest. He has loved trains too from an early age.

The motor housing inside dimensions are 5/8” round and 5/8” long. It was a three lobe armature with brushes and commutator at the front of the motor. The total shaft length was 1 – 5/8” – I still have the original gear that goes on the end. Since I don’t have the original shaft I am not sure of the exact diameter of it, but judging from the holes in the motor casing and the gear, it was somewhere around a 1/16” in diameter.

Anyway, thanks Alastair for your emails and keeping my dream alive. When I get the upstairs playroom cleaned out from all my kids things left behind by them, I hope to get building little by little and I will share photos as I get started.



vintage model train

vintage model train

model railroad locomotive

model railroad locomotive

model train motor housing

“Hi Al, just got my Deltic back with the EM2 speaker fitted, sounds fantastic, I have added a clip with a real Deltic to compare the sound, which to me is near as possible to get, also shown that I am now starting to remove some track ready for changes, hope to have completed before Xmas

you have to excuse the sound on the low track side clips as I was using the go pro camera, and its not very good on sound reproduction.

All The Best



The very lates ebay cheat sheet is here.

A big thanks to Dave for his model train vacuum tip, and to Chuck (I did wonder about posting – but maybe someone can help?).

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

25 Responses to Model train vacuum

  1. Rob says:

    This may help find motor parts for your Lionel loco.

  2. Bob Shipley says:

    What a great story. I’m sure you can locate a new motor for this loco. Tons of old Lionel stuff on eBay. Maybe try there.

    Good luck.

  3. You could also try using the vacuum discharge to blow any debris into an area where you can then sweep or vacuum it up. I use this method to regularly clean my tunnels and hidden reversing loops
    Norm in York, PA

  4. Brendan says:

    Have Dave look on EBay under Lionel and that engine number, but looking at the pics I think he is mistaken as I think he has a Marx engine not a Lionel.

  5. Jim Eaton says:

    Lionel does not list an engine # 0635 in my book.

  6. Bruce says:

    Dave, There is a magic tool readily available on your computer. It is GOOGLE. Type in “lionel 1635 engine motor” and a host of places to visit is listed. I chose the first in the list as it had the store name with a direct link to the motor. The motor for this not too common engine, it’s a Lionel HO, is listed for $15 US.
    I tried to simply enter the store by typing in the and found the site under remodel. So the user must enter the exact page to get to the motor. Note that this appears to be a Lionel site (old?).

    Certainly hope this helps. There may be a motor or even an entire engine on eBay, which would give Chuck a complete parts inventory for his engine.
    Bruce in SC USA

  7. Bruce says:

    Dave, I like your scale wood chisel and drill in the beginning.

  8. Always a pleasure to watch Dave’s videos…Love the old vintage cars & houses, although just maybe they have a plastic look to them, but not sure….Love the string of apartment buildings up against one wall….Everything looks European (UK?) but not sure of Dave’s accent….Marvelous landscaping & a delight to watch how fast his trains go. Never gave a thought to Lionel. Wonder where he gets them old cars?

  9. Jim says:

    As always Dave, another great video. That sound is so realistic. Amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    Jim AZ

  10. Richard B. Walter says:

    Not a Lionel engine nor is it a Marx. Not sure if it’s an American Flyer pre-war which was “O” gauge 3-rail.

  11. stan b says:

    I have lionel up for sale theres 5 engines, a bunch of cars 100 feet of track laid out sell all for $400.00 !!
    email me for more info and pics!!

  12. Milt Thomas says:

    I have found that there are computer keyboard vacuum cleaner attachments available that work very well on model train layouts. I have one that I use on my z gauge layout. They provide different attachments that fit onto the end of a vacuum cleaner hose.. Included are small brushes on hose ends and they allow the suction to be adjustable.. Hope this helps a fellow reader.

  13. Clyde says:

    Chuck, There is a Lionel 4-6-2 #0635 for sale currently on eBay

  14. Mark says:

    Hi, Chuck have two engines from Lionel, Both were my dads, I replaced side rods that were broke. Did you try ebay for parts? Also I got this number from the Syracuse, NY train show He might still be in business, I have Lionel post war trains and my dads HO Lionel. Last thing you might find on ebay the same engine from Lionel and use it for parts. Give that a shot good luck.


  15. Mark says:

    Sorry Chuck here is the number from the fella that has Lionel HO Parts: Dick his number is: 607-748-2614 address looks like Endwell, NY GOOD LUCK


  16. Richard H Chapple Sr says:

    Chuck. Your engine is definitely a Lionel engine, an HO model, the tender probably reads southern Pacific. As others have mentioned, there are at least two listed on ebay.
    I don’t have the information at hand but there may be other Lionel HO model steam engines that used that same motor too.

  17. James R Vogel says:

    Hi Alastair!
    tell Chuck that I have an exact duplicate of his engine that I acquired with a bunch of HO stuff I got at a garage sale and I would be willing to part with it.
    If he is interested

  18. Keith Miller says:

    Always great to see Dangerous Dave’s movies – thanks Dave. Some interesting camera angles. Sound is probably let down by the cameras – but we get quite a good idea. What track do you use, Dave?

  19. Rich Rudolph says:

    This is a Lionel HO model which parts should be found. I can give you a few leads is still needed.

  20. david howarth says:

    I use the Peco Flexi code 100 track …Dave

  21. Chet Karlewicz says:

    Awesome sounds, great job!

  22. Ian McDonald says:

    Cant help with the train parts but I am amazed how much help you have received this hobby is amazing cant wait to see the changes to Daves layout I have a lot to learn about sound cards I don’t have any in my trains. thanks for sharing.

  23. Louie says:

    Reeelly nice.

  24. Roy Forbes says:

    When I’m vacuuming my layout I always use an old duster or ‘blue cloth’ fixed over the nozzle (or pipe end) with an elastic band. that way I don’t have to go scrabbling through the bag if something gets inadvertently sucked up. It also is good when you are ballasting or using scatter as you can reclaim a lot of material. I’m allergic to dust so I really suffer if I have to sort through the vacuum bag.

  25. Kelvin Bland says:

    If you are worried about sucking up and losing vital parts in the “Hoover” then try this. Cut the foot part off the end of a stocking or tights. (Safety tip make sure the lady is still not in them). Then feed closed end into Hoover nozzle and fold & hold the open (cut) end around the outside of the nozzle. Now clean up. The dust, dirt and vital parts are caught up in the stocking or tights foot and not in the bag so easier to sort through. Really good when you drop that vital part off the modelling table!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *