Author Topic: Swiss HO spreader as HOn3 track cleaner  (Read 1606 times)


  • Yardman
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Swiss HO spreader as HOn3 track cleaner
« on: January 21, 2014, 05:00:41 PM »
Some may consider this a no-no, but I have just converted a HOm BEMO Metal Collection track cleaner for use on my HOn3 tracks. I have had excellent results with such a HOm model that disguises its track cleaning part so well that it does not show. It looks like the Swiss version of a narrow gauge spreader for meter gauge. I was not happy with what I found for HOn3. Particularly, I had no idea how well these would clean (dry only). So when I found out there was also a gray version of this Swiss spreader, I decided to get one if possible, and to convert it as a stand-in for a D&RGW spreader, in a way. Switzerland has a rather extensive meter gauge rail net, mostly in the mountains. So snow removal equipment has been needed just like in the Rocky Mountains.

I had to adjust wheel space, as HOm is 12 mm track and HOn3 is 10.8 mm. The Bemo spreader is built to be converted to HOe or 9 mm track. So HOn3 is conveniently within the range.

Changing the coupler was easier than I had feared. Bemo still uses loop and hook coupler technology for its HO models. They have started an Om line recently, and they use Kadee couplers on those models. Fortunately, coupler height is pretty much the same. So I had to adapt Kadee #714 couplers to fit into the coupler pocket. That was only possible with a conversion to a fixed coupler. But that's no problem.

The bottom picture shows the spreader that unobtrusively fits into the consist. At least in my opinion. If I'd add handrails, I would get closer to a D&RGW flanger. But the car would stand out more, and thus would also reveal its faulty origin just the more.

The other pictures show the converted model up close from below and from above. Here the attached Kadee couplers are well visible (minus the major portions of the tripping hooks), and the track cleaning felt strips can be seen as well. The central element is movable and has a spring pressing it on to the track. The all metal construction of the car provides a decent amount of weight. The central element can be substituted by a non-cleaning one that comes with the model as well. .

Unfortunately, these spreaders are always produced as limited runs only. Though with some persistence, one should be able to find them even several years after they were released.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 05:04:31 PM by swissboy »