Sweeper Car

Seems like we need to have a snow/leaf sweeper. Not that I plan on running in the snow (well, maybe) but it'd be handy to brush the debris from the rails before running. My plan is to have it sans propulsion. I'll shove it with one of the battery-powered locomotives. The brush motor, however, will be powered by a rechargeable battery in the car body. 

For inspiration are these views from the Seashore Trolley Museum:

The car on the left also has wings that were used to encourage the snow further off of the tracks (and onto the adjacent highway lane.) 

I started with the basic Bachmann combine, above, reduced it to various sized parts and reassembled it so:

I need to add that, since it's going to be shoved, we're putting the broom on one end only. I know, not prototypical. Don't care. It's my railroad!

Piece of thin aluminum used on the broom end to strengthen the floor. It's all stuck together with copious amounts of JB Weld. The original slide switch and battery box were reinstalled for lighting; a toggle was added for the broom motor.

Motor (Electronic Goldmine) G16279 has been nestled in a chunk of PVC pipe. Two rubber faucet washers elevate it from the floor and hopefully will minimize vibrations. The sprocket is from Robot Objects. They also supplied the roller chain that will connect the motor and broom.

Broom has been installed along with roller chain and sprockets. Nylon bushings are secured to the bottom of the I beams. A piece of Evergreen tubing is held to the wire brush core with silicone. ID of the bushing and OD of the tubing are about the same. Blew some PTFE in there for lubrication. Fender washers keep the bristles from rubbing on the side members and the roller chain.

Shell is upside down. Pieces of wood have been put in using JB Weld. These will support the batteries. You might be able to see the backs of the red LEDs that are in the far end.

Everything is right-side up at this point. Batteries are in place. The old truss rods from under the car have been trimmed and appear to support the broom mechanism. The end of the car required a slot for the chain to clear, hence the small brown piece of siding atop the chain.

Roof has been cut down to fit and reassembled. Headlight is spare Bachmann parts.

Look at that! It isn't even out of the shop yet and the hobos have put JBKing Esq on the car side!!

Finished product, more or less. I want to weather it, but it needs a test run first. Possibility of snow within the next week.


The second test run can be viewed here. The initial test run showed that the broom had a tendency to throw the chain under heavy torque. I added some washers on the right side (if looking from the front) of the broom to keep it in better position with regard to the chain. That seems to have worked.


This project proved to be somewhat of a bust. The car is heavy enough to require two locomotives to push it, and the chain keeps hopping off of the brush. Back to the drawing board one of these days.