I finally got round to spray painting the whole layout today (was going to wait until all the track was laid, but as I'm waiting on deliveries - thought I might as well crack on.)
I used a dull matt brown, I think it was from Hobby Craft -I've had it a while!
I painted the layout in 12" sections and sort of "Sqeegee'd" paint off the top of the rails using a small off cut of pine strip-wood as I went along, wiping that on kitchen towel as needed.
Third rail was harder to clean paint from, because it sits fractionally lower than the other rails. I found that scraping the nearly dry paint off with a blade works well - if not a little time consuming!
Here are some pics of the layout as it is now:
In two areas the third rail popped off! But for the most part, painting actually increases the bond between rail and sleeper. Can't explain it!
Buffed the rails with a very old, very very fine bit of emery then a brush over with an old toothbrush, gave the class 08 a run around and it all seems good!
Thanks for reading.