Convert (Almost) Any Locomotive into a Track Cleaner

A few years ago, PIKO announced their G scale GE 25 Ton diesel locomotive. A special version of the loco is called the “Clean Machine”, equipped with cleaning pads that are clipped onto the track power pick-up shoes.

Two pictures from Large Scale Train News (image gallery – external link) to show the Clean Machine:

PIKO G Clean Machine

PIKO G Clean Machine

The good thing is, PIKO is also selling these special cleaning pads separately under article number 35416 (4 pcs). So in theory, you can convert any locomotive into a track cleaning locomotive. Of course, in case of running track power, you have to trade power pick-up quality for track cleaning functionality. So personally, I would only convert a locomotive with three or more axles to ensure consistent power pick-up.

I wanted to convert PIKO’s German prototype V 36 diesel locomotive, because it has three axles, and two sets of power pick-up shoes. So, perfect to sacrifice one pair for track cleaning.

PIKO G Track Cleaning Pads on V 36

The cleaning pads are easy to clip/slide on.

PIKO G Track Cleaning Pads on V 36

PIKO G Track Cleaning Pads on V 36

Oops, when placed on the track, the cleaning pads interfere with the counterweight of the side rods.

PIKO G Track Cleaning Pads on V 36

Let’s try the other pair of power pick-ups then.

PIKO G Track Cleaning Pads on V 36

Oops #2, the cleaning pads hit the wheel flanges.

PIKO G Track Cleaning Pads on V 36

So… I’ll have to try it again on a different locomotive with a bigger axle spacing and/or less intrusive side rods, so probably a more modern diesel locomotive.

I first wanted to name this post “Convert Any Locomotive into a Track Cleaner”, but here’s the reason I added “(Almost)” in there ;-).