A Track Cleaner Car inspired by John Allen

Side View - Note the pad under the car
The cleaner works by sliding a Masonite pad along the rails as the car is towed over the tracks. The pad is allowed to "float" over the rails. That is, the pins (bolts in this case, but, more often brads or finishing nails) fit loosely into holes in the underframe of the car. Where the track has bumps, curves, turnouts, vertical transitions and (shudder) imperfections, the pad can follow the surface.
The pad itself - fitted with bolts
This pad is mounted by way of flat head machine bolts. They were handy at the time. The heads are countersunk to be flush with the bottom of the pad and secured with a drop of adhesive. The pad is slightly wider than the track gauge to assure some overhang and to avoid binding around curves and through turnouts. The edges are very slightly beveled for the same reason.
Underframe of car - note brass tubing that lines the holes
As the car moves over the track, the pad moves up and down. That action can cut through a plastic chassis. For most cars, I prefer to use a metal chassis. In this case, the car had a plastic floor, so, the holes were lined with brass tubing. The brass is secured to the floor with adhesive.
Bottom view - Pad in place
You can see the accumulation of gunk on the textured side of the pad. From time to time, clean it out using a dry toothbrush.
Bottom view - Pad in place
This installation is in a Marx, O-Gauge plastic box car with a sheet metal floor. The mounting nails are offset from the center line to avoid the center rail. Since the floor is tinplate steel, there is no need for inserts. Just drill the holes slightly larger than the diameter of the nails.


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