Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Train-o-Vac

Automatically clean train station tracks
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Lots of rubbish gets thrown onto the tracks at train stations, attracting vermin and looking unsightly.

The train-o-vac operates on through trains going through stations or could be fitted to a maintenance train scheduled out of hours. It uses a wind tunnel designed funnel which vacuums up the rubbish on the tracks as it goes through the station, using the air currents generated by the movemetn of the train. If necessary, the chipping that the rails sit on could be sprayed with tarmac to stop them being sucked up.

hamiltonpruim, Apr 15 2003

Vigilante Track Vaccuum by Railquip http://www.railquip.com/Pages/track.htm
Not quite as you describe, but track vacuum equipment does exist. [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

[link]






       Nice idea. I think it would have to be two-stage.
The first car, with disruptive air foils, speeds through to create a vacuum force in its wake, lifting up all the trash into a whirling vortex, and a second stage pulled close behind like a giant wire mesh trash can on its side, gathering in all the flying debris and the drunks who are sucked off the platform.

This would probably be more exciting than effective, but who cares.
roby, Apr 15 2003
  

       The existing equipment looks expensive, cumbersome and requires operators. I reckoned that something that has only a few moving parts, probably low capital cost and low running cost might actually get used....
hamiltonpruim, Apr 16 2003
  

       How am I gonna flatten quarters?   

       Just like you always did:   

       1. Place the quarter on top of your head.   

       2. Hit the quarter with a brick.   

       And the problem is........ ?
8th of 7, Apr 16 2003
  
      
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