Choo Choo Charlie posted:

Keep those great Homemade cars a coming.  I have really enjoyed seeing them and knowing other OGR members like making them and saving money.


Here are some of details of my Homemade Centerline Track Cleaning Car, a $3 to $4 version of the brass Centerline, O gauge track cleaning car and it works super.

The price of the Centerline Track Cleaning Cars is quite high listing for $133 plus postage. It is made from brass.  The brass Centerline car is a work of art and not required to do a mundane job like cleaning O gauge track.  I like the cars design as it has no pads to glue on to replace and no pad motor like the Lionel model. 

I worked from a picture of the Centerline track cleaning car and made a body out of wood.  The heavy weight of the brass for Centerline is not needed to clean the track as the roller brush rolls freely in the center of the car.  The center pit of my wooden version was lined with aluminum flashing and glued it in with epoxy.  This area gets wet from the cleaning solution and that would attack the paint and wood of the body.

I used 1 inch diameter mini paint rollers for the cleaning brushes and cut them 1/8 inch of less than the width of the pit (the rollers were the only out of pocket money spent).  Pit is 2 7/16 in wide, 2 7/16 in long and 1 5/8 in deep using a part of 1 in diameter paint roller 2 5/16 in long.   I used a short piece of ½ inch pipe coupling as weight inside the cleaning brush.

Rubbing alcohol is normally used the cleaning solution.  Two or three extra dry cleaning brushes are used after the alcohol saturated cleaning brush and run until the all the wet solution is removed from the track and the dry cleaning brushes show little of the dirty picked up cleaning solution.

The dirty cut off mini paint rollers can be washed in the home washing machine by placing them in a small nylon net bag used for washing small items.





Below is Track Cleaning Car, cleaning roller brush and 1/2 in dia pipe coupling used as weight inside roller when cleaning





Great ideal,  And good looking.

I seen one made from square steel tubing and small "C" channel iron and welded together. Your 1/2" coupling is from the oil/gas fields and not the standard type find in hardware stores.

Keith Johnson


I made these 3 excursion cars from die cast Lionel post war flat cars.


After reading about Cass then going there just had to have them.

     Dennis L. Schlossman

  Denver, NC

  TCA, LCCA      

     Yadkin & Catawba Model Railroad Club


      SE Shortline and Narrow Gauge Museum

Newton, NC

     E-5, United States Marine Corp 




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Not really Charlie. Not at all.   It's a different style of build.  I respect "modelers" and "builders" both for what they do to achieve a goal.(inculde yourself in both catagories please).  A little better supplies is all you lacked imo.  The end result is more than inspiring; it's empowering.

   The knowledge behind an engineering degree, doesn't mean they turn screws the right way without a second thought; that is a gift  

  (I'm not making it up, and the guy designed for Caddy, Ford, and Tesla so far; which is fine by keyboard..... but hide the tools from him eh?  

Choo Choo Charlie posted:

Several of you train men really have some imagination and building skills.  Great jobs, especially the prior four posts.  And a super job documenting and photoing your projects. 

Your efforts shame my attempts to copy Lionel and others rolling stock.

Keep them coming.


"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


So true I work with several engineers that couldn’t figure out righty tighty lefty loosey. It’s a piece of paper that anyone can get if they pass a test and pay some money. You want to have some fun, start asking about the differences between MET’s and ME’s.... that can be a fun one....  l’ll stop before I get into trouble. It takes all types and everything in this thread is creative and neat. Grace and detail usually come with experience, so the more you do, the better you get for the most part. 

Dennis Holler If its old and broke, I like it

When my grandnephews were in their "lego phase", I added a lego baseboard to a few flatcars.  They could then customize a train with lego parts to build different types of cars... and whatever!

Open air touring car:


Not a car,  but a modified set of Lionelville buildings to make an M&Ms factory and adjoined store:


Minion train:


Home of the Union Eastern, Thomaston & Williamstown Railroad


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I bought a Reynolds Metal covered hopper car without the 12 roof hatch covers.  I made a more modern, easy to use center fill cover for the car.  The older 12 hatch covers require a special loading bridge with 12 filling spouts and require the opening, closing and applying a security metal seals on each of the 12 hatch covers.  The center fill uses 3 or so loading spouts into the center of the car and has a four part center car long cover.  The covers overlap each other and require only opening and closing four covers and only one security seal saving time and money.




Here are my Great Northern woodchip cars. MTH electric trains makes a smooth side woodchip car. They do not make one in the Great Northern Road name. None of these woodchip cars have ribs steel supports on the sides as the ones do in real life. I had to completely redo the car. It is a custom paint job with the correct big sky blue paint I am a member of the Great Northern Railway historical society and have color chips. The decals were also completely custom made. The only thing that is original about this car or the trucks the couplers and the square box belongs to MTH. Everything else is mine.20180825_174312


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I made a homemade Chicken Dispatch car.  A Lionel small stock car was used to make the Chicken Dispatch car.  Every other slat was cut out of the side boards and parchment paper was used to Sharpie paint the chickens on. Lights were added to the roof and a pickup made.    No chicken poop sweeping man though !

I later bought a Lionel Chicken Dispatch car with the sweeping man but I enjoyed making this car.


Homemade power pick ups were made for all homemade lighted cars from brass shim stock and Lionel plastic sided trucks.

Pickup detail.  A piece of tin can was added to improve durability of shim stock.

Gold Bullion car 4-20-2016 008



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Atomic Generator Car

This car started life as a K-Line search light car Number USA 401098 without the search light and operator.  I added a mini Christmas tree flasher light bulb and socket, light for the new operator and control panel and a red plastic "thing a ma jig" red flashing light cover.

The car now enjoys live as an Atomic Generator Car.  Every train layout needs a portable power source for emergencies.





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I made a ballast hauling gondola car load and placed a small back hoe machine on top to add to my track maintenance train.  The ballast load was made from a piece of Styrofoam (to keep it light weight) with ballast glued on with Elmer's glue.



Part of Maintenance Train

Keep your homemade cars coming in.



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"Prewar cast iron" loco made from an old Marx 999 with styrene and copper parts.


"Prewar" freight cars made from various parts...


Caboose is a real prewar Flyer item. Gondola and boxcar graphics were drawn on the computer and printed on photo paper. Gondola body is cardstock with the photo paper glued to it.


Beaver-tail observation made from AF prewar coach.




When they were passing out brains, I thought they said trains and I asked for a slow one.


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Nothing as awesome as what you guys have done; I  guess I'll need some stock to run on 3 rail track to go behind my new loco.

I've had an old Athearn boxcar sitting around for years, so I slapped on a couple of Atlas/Roco trucks and now at least I have a full-size O scale car with big flanges:


Still have to add details, but it's a start.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the crappy glue job on those grab irons; this car came to me this way, I swear! 

Mark in Oregon


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  Cab-Forward Engine

Years ago I purchased a Lionel 2025 2-6-4 steam locomotive that came with a homemade enclosed cab and white wall painted wheels.  I left both intact.  The Lionel 2025 and 2035 are my favorite engines to run on my layout.


My closed cab Lionel 2025 with white walls



Recently I was reviewing a March 1999 Classic Toy Trains magazine and read a product review of a 3rd Rail Brass O gauge Southern Pacific Cab-forward 4-8-8-2 steam locomotive.  I was not familiar with cab-forward engines.  The article pointed out cab-forward steam locomotives were made to solve a life and death problem Southern Pacific had due to asphyxiation of crew when operating in long tunnels and snows sheds in the Sierra Mountains in the early 1900s.  Baldwin developed the cab-forward style locomotive and over 195 engines were made from 1920 and used into the 1950s.


Real Cab-Forward steam locomotive

cab forward 10


Since I already, more or less, had a enclosed cabin steam locomotive, the Lionel 2025 mentioned above, all I would have to do to make a cab forward locomotive is find oil tender (an oil tender must be used as there is no way to get coal from a coal tender to the fire box with the cab in the front of the train).  Next was to make a hookup connector from the front of my 2025 steamer to the front of the oil tender at the tender slot coupling.  I know a Lionel 2025 2-6-4 is not a 4-8-8-2 which would have no chance of running on my O27 track !

I found a metal case from a junk DVD player as a source of sheet metal for the connector.  This metal sheet is thicker than tin can, strong enough for the connector and can be cut easily with a pair of tin snips.

Sketch of connector



Bottom view



Top view with tabs going on top of front wheel axle



View of connector in action, it turns well and navigates my Marx 1590 switches



Lionel 2025 as Cap-Forward engine pulling oil tender



Close up of an oil tender I found I already had



Connector is strong enough to pull other cars after the oil tender


The connector was quick and easy to make and works well.  It is a little weird to see a steam locomotive tooling around the layout backwards !  Someday I may add a headlight and markers lights to the front of cab-foward  loco.  (see headlight on first picture of real cab-farward Loco)


I attached a coupler to the front of a General's pilot truck after figuring out with a body mount, the front overhang pulled cars right off the rails in curves, or if heavier, the cars dragged the drivers off. I imagine fast angle wheels wouldn't do as well; the flat tread and deep flanges of early and loco wheels do a great job keeping the pilot truck on the rails, though you'd likely think "not". I think it's that the center of gravity and attachment point is so low; nearly at pilot truck axle height.

  I expect making a "home-bilt" Vanderbilt tender would be pretty easy for you too Charlie.. hint, hint,


"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


Here is a project I just completed. I took an inexpensive Lionel woodsided reefer and transformed it into a representation of a Mathers outside braced boxcar...

The donor car...BAR Reefer 2

and the prototype I am attempting to relatively mimic...


Here are some shots with the first color sprayed...IMG_1117IMG_1118

and then the second color...IMG_1119IMG_1120

and now the finished car with Protocraft decals applied and some weathering...IMG_1129IMG_1130IMG_1131IMG_1132IMG_1133



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Great job on making the Lionel woodsided reefer into an outside braced boxcar.  I was unaware of that class of car and its rarity in being modeled. 

Not having or not finding or not being made one are some of the best motivations for homemaking a car allowing one to have the fun and experience at doing for yourself.


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