Last Saturday a good friend was due to visit, and was bringing his grandchildren to see my American Flyer Trains run. I have to admit I have not run any trains recently so I needed to get the tracks clean. Some years ago at the York Train Show I made an impulse purchase, a Trackman S-2000 cleaning car. For a lot of years this car has been faithfully shining up my rails, even in the hard to get places like tunnels. For those unfamiliar with this product, it basically drags a piece of scotchbrite around the track. It really does a good job, and I have gotten used to having and using it.
I hooked the cleaning car up to an E grade 293 engine, and started the construct around the track. I watched it approach a standard Gilbert switch, and to my horror the engine fell over, and it and the cleaning car went 3 foot to ceramic tile flooring. I have no idea why it happened, the switch was all the way in position, and the train crossed the switch in the direction that would not normally cause derailments. The 293 suffered a broken pilot wheel, and the front driver and axle are damaged. I will have to find good used parts to make these repairs, not too big of problem, and there doesn’t seem to be any significant cosmetic damage to the engine.
The larger problem for me, is the track cleaner car which has a broken truck. The side broke off, and maybe it can be glued, but probably not. The truck is unlike anything I have on any of my other rolling stock, so I am not sure what my next step is. I could use some help if anyone knows who makes the Trackman S-2000 cars. I searched the Internet and emailed one vendor who replied to me “Sorry sold out and backordered”, nothing else. I am not sure if that reply was for an entire cleaning car, or just the truck I was trying to purchase. I can’t seem to locate the manufacturer’s website. If anyone knows who the manufacturer of the Trackman Cleaning cars is or where parts can be purchased, I would be very grateful for the information!
The story of the train hitting the floor takes me back to Christmas day 1955, when I got my first American Flyer Train, with an Atlantic engine. It was set up for me in the basement on a 4×8 green painted sheet of plywood, complete with 2 switches. I ran my train over the switch, which was in the wrong position. The engine went to the concrete floor, and the plastic shell broke off. My father used some Duco cement to glue it back together, and I was running again, until I sent the train to the floor a 2nd time. The cement came out again, and I am pacing the floor waiting for it to dry so I can play with my new train that had gone from mint condition to Fair in one fall! While the cement was setting, my father cut two strips of wood that he fastened along side the switches, so if the train derailed, it stayed on the table. The fix worked, as I tried to send the train to the floor later that day, but it just tipped over, but stayed on the table. From then on, if my childhood switches were mounted near the edge of a table, they always had that strip of wood next to them. Maybe I should add that strip of wood to my current layout!
One Last Note: As some of you have noticed, Stumpy has taken a well deserved break from his kitbashing articles. We look forward to having him back in the future!