I've spent the last couple of weeks testing a variety of track cleaning products for the Supertest feature in the latest issue of Model Rail (MR156). Everything (well, almost) from the humble track rubber to the multi-function mobile rail buffer/cleaner/vacuum machine has been trialled.

The 'OO' gauge Dapol motorised track cleaning machine has been great fun to operate and the good folk at Hatton's lent me one of their limited edition Load Haul-liveried versions. Other short-run colour schemes available from Hatton's include BR blue/grey and a very attractive two-tone green. We at Model Rail have also offered our own special livery option, aimed at modellers of the more recent era, with a yellow Network Rail-esque scheme.

I've certainly found that propelled track cleaners make life easier on larger layouts, or on areas that are difficult to access with large, clumsy hands and a manual cleaning block. See the mag for my findings on this subject. It may not be anybody's favourite aspect of the hobby, but it is one of the most important.  

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 device is an 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, see 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!


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