What prototype is the Triang / Hornby track cleaning car based on? I'm
thinking of the bogie one with the pitched roof and the loop of spongy
I bought one of these at an exhibition to help with the ongoing battle
to keep the track clean on my loft layout. Unfortunately, bright red is
a little conspicuous, so I thought I'd paint it. So...
What is it based on? Where did it run? When did they all go to the scrap
Thanks in advance.
Assuming that this isn't a wind up....
If it's the one I'm thinking of it look very US railroad like so would
be either an adapted Tri-ang American model (they dipped their tows in
the US/Can market in the late '50's early 60's IIRC) or a totally
freelance design - I doubt any such design actually ever ran on the
British railway system. Don't know what period your layout is but how
about a military green colour, perhaps with US Amy insignia?
No - not a wind up. It never occurred to me that it could be a non UK
prototype - sort of obvious now you say it. I just thought it could have
been a pre-nationalisation design and that the odd one might have
survived in departmental service - shows what I know!
My layout is based around early 80s North West, so I'm never going to
make it look remotely right. Perhaps I'll just paint it BR blue and hope
nobody notices - or transplant the die-cast bit into something more
acceptable - or just forget the whole idea.
My layout is in a *very* dusty loft and its a continual battle to keep
the track clean, so I thought I could stick the triang thing on the back
of the odd goods train and perhaps not have to clean the whole layout by
hand quite so often.
Mine's in a garage, complete with leaves blowing under the door and
frost in the inside of the windows. To make matters worse within the
same garage I use a bench sander, bandsaw and electric scrollsaw so I
would imagine that my cleaning problems are at least on a par with
yours. I also have a long tunnel and hidden storage sidings making much
of the track inaccessable for cleaning purposes during normal day to day
My solution was to take an old hornby 21t mineral wagon and cut out a
section of the floor in the middle. Drop through a 00 guage track
cleaning rubber - trimmed to size then load the whole thing up with
white metal ingots both resting on the rubber and over the wheels (I do
a bit of home casting to have plenty of white metal to spare - but any
heavy material should do). When it's loaded up the only thing I have
that will pull it is a Bachmann C20 but it does't half keep the track
I'm now making a new version based on a pair of old coaches, the leading
one to carry the rubber and a second one with a brush (or felt pad if I
can get hold of the felt).
You may want to try something similar, very inexpensive and of course
you can make the track cleaning vehicles out of anything allowing you to
hide the function of the vehicles at least from a casual glance.
When the weather's better my next project along this theme is to fit a
motor inside a carriage, fit it with a ducted propeller and build make a
vacuum cleaner out of it!
The model arrived in 1961 with a black body and grey roof and used the
discarded body and roof moulds of the original Tri-ang transcontinental box
car (but with the door "fixed").
It survived in this form until 1966 when the body colour changed to olive
green. It was supposed to represent a BR Engineering Department wagon
despite being unsuitable for the British scene. Final versions were finished
in bright red.
Throughout its life, it carried the inscription "PERMANENT WAY DEPT." and
the number TR9372. Carbon Tetrachloride for the felt pad could be bought in
plastic capsules which were sold in boxes of six. (Lifted from Pat Hammond's
I have posted a foto of a van at Exeter which was a 4 wheeler and
there was another similar at Bath Road MPD (Bristol) in the steam days
but that was a bogie type and had been a very dirty red.
I converted a spare old Cl 47 using the kit out of one of the Hornby
originals. In the beginning I ran it as a dummy but found that I could
leave the motor in after taking off the tyred wheels and replacing
them with insulated solids together with a new 5 pole motor with wheel
It was based (losely) on a British impression of an early US boxcar,
modified to suit the then current manufacturing techniques used in the
From memory there were three types of bogies fitted at different times:
- pre-archbar style diecast with open axleboxes and arm type/single bar
- archbar style diecast with open axleboxes and stamped full loop
- archbar style plastic with closed axleboxes and stamped coupler.
The giveaway that it was non-British prototype based (ie
"Transcontinental") is that it lacks buffers.
Used to have a couple of these on my old Zero 1 layout in an attempt to
keep it running.
They worked OK, especially when I used a few drops of surgical spirit
on the felt pad, but I had to stop using it when they started putting
something in it to stop the 'down and outs' drinking it as the smell
used to make my Mum ill when I used it and it became a little greasy.
I got another a few years ago and tried using meths but they have
stopped selling it around here, you now need a special licence
I made my son a track cleaner by sticking a piece of plywood under a
closed wagon using Velcro strips and using old wheel balancing weights.
Chamfered the leading edges off ( like in the car old drum brake days
) and it works a treat, non abrasive, cleans well, the Velcro pads can
be removed without damage and the replacement pad is just scrap ply.
" ........ I made my son a track cleaner ........ "
Now theres an idea !
The Victorians used to send them up chimneys- we send them into
I think you & Simon have been sniffing the Carbon Tetrachloride
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