How To Stand up while cleaning your gauge-1 track

Stand up while cleaning your gauge-1 track

By Mark Groves | August 10, 2021

A gondola and an extension pole make the routine task faster and easier

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A track cleaner on a pole
Make track cleaning easier with this extendable pole. Photo by Mark Groves

Crawling around on the ground to clean my rail was getting tiring. I needed a new method to clean track, so I built an elevated track cleaner to get the job done instead.

Supply list

Wooden extension pole

Drywall pole sander head

Two-truck LGB gondola car

LGB #50050 track cleaning attachment

Scrap thin-gauge aluminum

¼” thick Sintra plastic, cut to fit the inside of the gondola


A track cleaner on a pole
Photo by Mark Groves

First, cut the Sintra to fit inside of the gondola. To secure the Sintra to the gondola, I made metal attachment tabs from scrap thin-gauge aluminum. The tabs fit into the (molded-in) rectangular openings on either end of the gondola car. As an alternative, you could skip the tabs and drill holes through the Sintra and the gondola bottom, and permanently secure it with screws. My version allows the gondola to remain unmodified, and it could easily return to service as rolling stock.

Close up of top of track cleaner pole
The Sintra is held on with two metal “clips,” the ends of which fit into molded-in openings on the car sides. Photo by Mark Groves

Remove the 360° swivel from the pole sander head. I encased the edges in a piece of aluminum scrap and screwed it to center middle of the Sintra. You could skip the aluminum and drill holes directly through the Sintra to attach the swivel instead.

By extending or retracting the pole, I can reach anywhere on my main line and remain standing. The 360°   swivel allows the track cleaning gondola to easily maneuver around any curve on the track. It’s faster and easier on my knees too!

Bottom side of track cleaner
The gondola bottom is unmodified, and it can return to service as rolling stock if desired. Photo by Mark Groves

One thought on “Stand up while cleaning your gauge-1 track

  1. Excellent idea. I used to use a drywall sander with an LGB track cleaning block attached to it. Your idea of using a gondola makes the job a bit easier, as it keeps the cleaning pads on the rails.

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