Summer is here and it's time to get the garden railway working properly. Maintenance over the winter means that one end of the circuit needs no work and most of the rest just a bit of a clean.
The better news is that cleaning duties can now be farmed out to a new addition to the fleet - an LGB track cleaning loco.
Picked up at a bargain price from an advert on Facebook, the machine is simple but effective. The back end 0-4-0 is a normal LGB loco. The "nose" houses a pair of motorised wheels that spin in the opposite direction of travel when the loco moved forward. The speed of the cleaning wheels, which have a mildly abrasive surface, is controlled by a knob on the cab roof.
It takes a beefy controller to power the loco. I'm using a Helmsman Model Rail unit designed for garden railways and offering 0-20V DC at 4.5amps. My suspicion is that the little 0.5a LGB controller isn't going to be man enough for the job. Sadly, the Helmsman unit is a prize for a forthcoming Garden Rail competition. I may have to buy my own.
The track is noticeably shinier after a few passes by the loco. How well it will deal with the dirt after months of inaction I'm not sure, but with parts of the railway difficult to access, this is a worthwhile purchase.
Did I mention the lights on top flash? They do - fantastic!