Budget Techniques To Clean Your Track

Looking for tools to keep your railway track clean on the cheap? Model Railway Engineer finds 3 popular budget solutions from model railway magicians across the Internet.

  1. Perhaps simplest and easiest first. Railway forums across the web have numerous posts from members, such as this one on Model Railway Forum.Com, that recommend IPA Isopropyl Alcohol — both very similar — on a lint free cloth. Just dip the cloth into the fluid and run it over the track head.
    I covered this on my YouTube channel here.
    IPA can be obtained via Amazon here.
  2. model railway trackInvolving slightly more physical effort (but not much), the gurus at New Railway Modellers suggest using track rubber. Available from approximately £5 via Amazon or model railway hobbyist stores, just rub your rail track over with this to shift stubborn dirt.
  3. Amongst a discussion on this very subject over at yourmodelrailway.net was perhaps the lowest cost option. Use a bit of hardboard. In the post describing it, a description is given of how hardboard is attached to a truck and then pushed around the track but there’s nothing to stop you doing this manually and just rubbing the track surface with the wood yourself – as would be done with the cloth and white spirit tip above.

That’s 3 budget tips from model railway forums, what are your favourite techniques? Add yours in a comment below, alternatively if you’re looking for more model railway cleaning advice see 7 tips that’ll make your model train-run smoothly.

Picture credit, Orin Zebest

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  1. Don’t use track rubbers!  They are abrasive, and will scratch the surface of the rails, which will enable them to pick up and hold on to dirt all the easier; some of this dirt will be picked up on the loco wheels and transferred to the mechanisms.  

    • Hi John, thanks for your input. I agree but they are useful for shifting stubborn dirt/paint etc that has some how got on to the rails. When I use them I run over the track with an IPA solution to pick up the dust left behind on the rails and hoover after extensive work. Andy

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