MOW (Maintenance of Way) Equipment

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HO Scale MOW Track Cleaner

MOW equipment is an important part of any railroad, big or small, whether it be a prototype or model railroad. Trains won't run on tracks that aren't maintained well, or if the passages are blocked with rocks, fallen trees or snow. Sometimes the rails buckle with changes in temperature, or they get overgrown with vegetation. Who is responsible for maintaining and repairing these problems? In the real world, it's the MOW Department of the prototype. In the model railroad world and on my little pike, it's me. So that's another one of my titles, "Director of the MOW Department"!

[I have a lot of titles in my Blue Ridge and Southern RR company - President and CEO, Business Manager, Public Relations Director, Chief Inspection Officer, Chief Engineer, Chief Photographer and Videographer, Salvage and Trash Director, Chief Crash Investigator, to mention just a few. It makes me feel important. My therapist says it helps my self-image;). This is yet another benefit of model railroading!]

So, I find it useful to have some MOW equipment around the layout to help me with things like this. For example if I need some track cleaning, I pull out the Aztec Predator tank car, fill it full of high potency Cleaning Fluid mixed with Goo-Gone, or ACT-6006, and a few drops of transmission fluid (any brand) to improve conduction, and then attach four locomotives to it (that tank car is heavy!) and run it around the layout a few times, trying to get it into all the branches as much as possible. It would be nice to have a few gandy dancers to help out.

After a crash on the rails, or even just a derailment, I have to go pick up the crane from the MOW yard, bring it to the site of the accident, pick up all the junk and carry it off to the repair yard or backshop for a do-over. 

If there's just too much snow on the tracks for a regular pee-wee locomotive to handle, I get out the big guns. These are the giant locomotives with the shovels and the plows and the huge rotary fans that don't stop for anything. 

Here is a video of some of these MOW locomotives working on my layout after a snowstorm...

Just kidding. That wasn't my layout, but I wish it were. Now that's some impressive stuff! A "WOW for the MOW!" you might say.

Here's a rotary plow...

Here's a review of the Aztec Predator...


Railroad Crane

And other MOW equipment that you may want for your own model railroad...


CMX Track Cleaner Car

WS Wheel Cleaner

WS Track Cleaner

N Scale TomeyTec Cleaning Trolley

Bachmann HO Cleaning Car

Bachmann HO Track Cleaning Car

O Gauge Track Cleaning Car

Bachmann HO Track Cleaning Reefer

Walthers Track Cleaning Car

You might also like these pages:

  • 3D Printing

    3D printing is a great way to create unique 3D models or parts for your miniature model railroad in any scale.

  • Model Trains

    Information and resources to help you in choosing appropriate model trains, including different types of locomotives and rail cars, for your model railroad layout.

  • Weathering Your Model Trains and Structures

    Basic weathering techniques for model trains and model railroad buildings.

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