Friday, 11 March 2011

Messing around with track cleaners

Hattons of Liverpool offer a few limited edition liveries on the famous Dapol track cleaning machine, a jaunty Load Haul version seen here. Others include BR blue/grey and a very attractive two-tone green. The Network Rail-esque one was produced by Model Rail a few years ago.

I've just spent the last couple of weeks testing a variety of track cleaning products for the Supertest feature in MR156. Everything (well, almost) from the humble track rubber to the multi-function mobile rail buffer/cleaner/vacuum machine has been looked at and the results will be revealed in Model Rail on 21 April.

We all hate track cleaning but it's one of those essential tasks that can be made easy by using the right products in the right way and at the right time. Rubbers are notorious for leaving behind a trail of debris, but they are the fastest way of shifting heavy deposits of muck. Following with a vacuum cleaner is always recommended.

This natty little number was given to me at Model Rail Scotland and is a simple but ingenious bit of kit. Simple to assemble, it's designed to mimic the heavy ballast box carried beneath LMS 20t brake vans. The kit's designed to fit the ex-Airfix model, now produced by Hornby, but other vehicles can also be modified. It's designed and marketed by Lanarkshire Models & Supplies. For more info, look out for the forthcoming article.   


  1. Hi I have the Dapol Track Cleaner and it is in the Dapol livery, but I don't really like it. Is there a way of changing livery without buying a new one?

  2. Hi, Yes - all you have to do is repaint it! However, it will need dismantling of the moving parts and the sides rubbed down with fine wet/dry paper to flatten the surface (or the printed Dapol lettering will show through). If any parts are too difficult to remove, just cover them with masking tape. Give it a good clean and wipe with white spirit, dry and spray an aerosol primer. then add whatever colour topcoats you fancy.
    Good luck!