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New boxes from Revolution!

Revolution Trains is offering another run of its popular MMA/JNA ‘Ealnos’ box wagons in OO gauge/1:76.2 scale in a host of new liveries.

Revolution MMA box wagon in DB red livery.

There are now more than a thousand of the type in operation now, with more to come, and since Revolution produced its first run of these models nearly four years ago further new versions have arrived in Britain.

These include the eye-catching Wascosa/Network Rail yellow, bright Cappagh blue and the dark red of Touax.

JNA in Wascosa livery. Photo Mark Saunders.
60046 with Cappagh JNA box wagons. Photo: Mark Few.
59104 with Touax and Mendip Rail JNA wagons at Kintbury. Photo: Foulger Rail – Creative Commons.

We will also offer the most popular of the original liveries including the original MMA in DB Red and the JNA in MRL. Other versions on offer will include the revised Ermewa/GBRf livery. The tooling will be modified to allow the accurate depiction of detail changes featured on some of the newest versions.

These models will be available to pre-order from Revolution Trains, but will also be available to purchase from our growing network of retailers. As with the previous versions, some variants will be offered with battery powered flashing tail lamps.

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Kernow Class 59 exclusives!

Kernow Model Rail Centre has commissioned two exclusive Class 59 models from Revolution Trains.

They are 59002 ‘Alan J Day’ in the much-requested Mendip Rail livery, and 59101 ‘Village of Whatley’ in the eye-catching revised ARC livery. Each model retails at £159.99 DC Silent.

59002 in MRL Mendip Rail livery. Copyright Kernow Model Rail Centre www.kernowmodelrailcentre.com Photography by Chris Nevard
59101 ‘Village of Whatley’ in revised ARC livery. Copyright Kernow Model Rail Centre www.kernowmodelrailcentre.com Photography by Chris Nevard DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION

Graham Muspratt, Kernow Development Manager said: “Our range of N gauge KMRC Exclusives continues to grow, this time in partnership with Revolution Trains, with the addition of these two unique and distinctive Class 59 liveries.

Revolution’s Ben Ando said: “We are delighted to be working with Kernow on these two exclusive models, which complete another chapter in the story of these historic locomotives.”

The images show decorated samples which are subject to some minor revisions ahead of production, and the models are expected in Spring 2023.

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It’s a Rover-lution!

Revolution Trains is offering the iconic Rover ‘cube’ wagons, and their timber carrier conversions, as its next wagon in OO gauge, 1:76.2 scale.

KSA ‘cube’ wagon.
KSA timber carrier conversion.

CAD has been completed and first samples are expected early in the New Year.

47188 takes a rake of Rover cube wagons through Small Heath. Photo courtesy Kevin Payne.

100 large vans were built for Rover Cars by Rautaruukki of Finland in 1995 to convey preformed car parts and completed sub-assemblies securely between plants.

Coded KSA-A under TOPS, and nicknamed ‘Cube’ or ‘Talgo’ wagons , they incorporated full-length sliding covers as well as floors that could be raised and lowered to simplify unloading while optimising use of the restrictive British loading gauge.

They were turned out in a smart maroon and grey livery, with black Y25 bogies and designed to UIC ferry standards to allow them to be operated on continental Europe.

They travelled to Britain from Finland via the Channel Tunnel and were used between Swindon, Longbridge and other Rover plants. At first they were hauled by pairs of RfD Class 47s; after privatisation EWS class 66s, and occasionally 56s and 60s, were used.

Direct Rail Services 37612 and 37609 near Greenhill on 15 May 2001 in charge of the 4M30 19:00 Grangemouth to Daventry service for Malcolm Logistics comprising 10 ‘Talgo’ high cube wagons and 2 Megafret intermodal wagons. Photo courtesy Gordon Edgar.

In 2001 WH Malcolm acquired several KSAs for secure transportation of Anglo-Scottish freight on the WCML and two were repainted into Malcolm’s Logistics livery. Traction for these trains was provided by DRS (Class 66 or pairs of Class 37s) and the KSA wagons were marshalled together, often immediately behind the locomotive. The rest of the train usually comprised Megafret container wagons.

The wagons have also been used in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France for various commodities including bottled water.

KSA timber conversion. Photo courtesy Tom Smith.

In 2012 several redundant KSA wagons were acquired by the wagon leasing company NACCO and converted to timber carriers. The work involved removal of the sliding covers and the hydraulic floor mechanism, installation of 14 pairs of heavy duty stanchions and the removal of some end panels, and replacement with bars designed to stop logs sliding through.

KSA conversion being carried out at E G Steele, Hamilton.

The timber wagons are used with other van conversions including the IWA timber carrier wagons previously offered by Revolution Trains. They are used on trains to and from Chirk, most recently on a newly trialled traffic from Aberystwyth. You can see some sample consists of the Colas timber traffic with a mix of our IWA timber carriers and the forthcoming KSA timber carriers here.

70813 passes Cardiff with timber train comprising mix of IWA and KSA wagons. Photo Nicky Boogaard used under creative commons.
Colas Class 70 shunts KSA timber carriers at Baglan-Bay. Photo Steve-Knight under creative commons.

The Revolution models will feature our usual refinements including numerous separately fitted detail parts, and have been designed with 26mm axles to allow simple conversion to P4/EM standards using proprietory wheelsets.

The couplers are fitted in kinematic NEM sockets and the models also feature soft-sprung buffers.

Models are being offered in original Rover livery as a van and NACCO red livery for the timber conversions, in a variety of different numbers, to allow convincing rakes to be modelled. All models will be supplied as twin packs with an early-bird pre-order price of £99.95 per twin pack from our website (our standard pre-order price will be £104.95 from 20 December 2022).

KSA-A – Rover livery.
KSA in NACCO timber carrier form.

In addition, we are also offering exclusively through our growing retail network a twin pack of the attractive Malcolm Group KSA wagons. These wagons will only be available from our retailers and not direct from Revolution Trains and will have an MSRP of £124.95 for the twin pack – please contact your preferred Revolution Trains retailer to reserve/pre-order your Malcolm KSAs.

KSA-A – Malcolm Logistics livery.

These models are in development now and first samples are expected early in the New Year, with the finished models expected to ship in Q3-4 2023.

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Yellow boxes – and a correction!

Revolution Trains has started supplying our MMA/JNA ‘Ealnos’ box wagons in N gauge to pre-order customers who collected at TINGS, and remaining pre-orders will begin to be sent out this week.

Visitors to this weekend’s International N Gauge Show at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre will also have seen that in addition to the previously offered versions, Revolution has limited stocks of an all-new variant in Network Rail/Wascosa yellow.

JNA in Network Rail/Wascosa livery. Photo: Tom Everett.

The first of these wagons arrived in the UK in 2020 and are now in widespread use.

66795 with a rake of JNA wagons at Shawford. Photo CA850 used under Creative Commons

Four differently numbered versions are available, including one with a flashing tail lamp, and can be ordered only direct from Revolution Trains via our shop.

Four versions of the Network Rail/Wascosa JNA are available

Pre-order customers who could not make it to TINGS will also start to receive their models from later this week, however it will probably take us a few packing and posting sessions to get through all the deliveries, so please bear with us.

IMPORTANT NOTE RE MODELS WITH FLASHING TAIL LAMPS

We have discovered an error in the instruction sheets applicable to models with the flashing tail lamps. This is applicable to all versions with the suffix L on the product code, which you will find on the label on the end and underside of the packaging.

To power the flashing tail lamp unit, 2 x CR927 3V button cells are required, and not the LR44 types specified in the instruction sheet.

You can download a corrected version of the instruction sheet here to print out if you wish:

We apologise for this mistake!

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70s boxes from Revolution

Having delivered our modern style MMA/JNA ‘Ealnos’ box wagons, Revolution has not forgotten those modelling the 70s to the present day, and is delighted to confirm that we will now be offering the Redpath-Dorman-Long built PTA box wagons, and some of their steel carrying derivatives, as our next bogie wagon in N.

The PTAs were first introduced in 1972 to transport imported iron ore to steel works. Several batches were built to serve Redcar – Consett, Ravenscraig and Port Talbot – Llanwern carrying both iron ore and later limestone.

The wagons were built to be unloaded by ‘tippling’; that is, rotating them fully in a secure circular drum to empty them by gravity. To avoid the need for time-consuming, and therefore costly, uncoupling and coupling, the wagons were built with rotating couplings at one end. In early liveries this was designated by panels painted orange at the rotating end. The tippling process can be observed in this video albeit not in the UK.

56040 Oystermouth and 56044 at Cardiff Central, 1982. Photo John Grey Turner used under Creative Commons.
66026 with tippler wagons at Newport in 2001. Photo Steve Jones used under Creative Commons.

Use on aggregates started in 1981 when the Consett batch were purchased by Procor and hired to ARC and Yeoman. Later in life wagon leasor VTG repainted some PTAs (now coded JUA) in light grey for a variety of aggregates which were eventually withdrawn in 2015.

59002 with Yeoman PTA wagons. Photo Richard-Szwejkowski used under Creative Commons.
59101 with ARC liveried PTA tipplers. Photo:
PTA – Foster Yeoman

In the early 1990s some redundant PTAs were converted to covered steel carriers and coded as JSAs.

Briitsh steel conversion JSA BSSP 4029. Photo Newton Abbot Railways used under Creative Commons.

When first converted the telescopic covers were made of plain sheet steel, however this was heavy and caused excessive wear on the sliding runners, giving them a tendency to jam.

Wagon lessor VTG acquired the fleet and replaced the steel covers with those made of a composite material that was lighter. This material was left unpainted, resulting in a changed appearance.

PTA converted to JSA steel carrier in VTG use at Long Marston.

Revolution is expecting to offer models in both liveries.

JSA original conversion in British Steel livery
VTG liveried JSA steel carrier.

In 2018 a number of the JSAs had their hoods removed to work as open coil carriers. Our model will cover all these variants.

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Iron ore hoppers in N

Revolution is offering the 1950s- built HJO/HJV family of iron ore hoppers as its next transition era model in N.

HJV B439716 at Temple Mills. Photo courtesy Paul James.

Between 1955 and 1959, British Railways built more than 2,000 hopper type wagons to carry iron ore between ports, quarries and steelworks across the network.

The wagons we are offering are those to diagrams 1/163, 1/165, 1/166 and 1/168 and while used primarily for iron ore they also saw service on limestone, sand and salt traffic and these variants may be offered too.

Under the TOPS system introduced in the early 1970s unfitted wagons were designated HJO and HIO while those with vacuum brakes were given codes HJV and HKV.

24054 with a short rake of HJO and HJV hoppers at Cockshute in 1975. Photo courtesy Cliff Beeton.

These wagons were particularly associated with BR standard 8F and 9F locomotives, often mixed with other hopper types, and later with BR diesel classes 24, 25, 37 and 40.

HJO in unfitted BR grey. Image for illustrative purposes, not based on CAD.

As ever, Revolution Trains is planning to offer prototypical variety and as well as variations in brake equipment we are planning versions with prototypical variations in axle box and buffer types.

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Swindon 120

Class 120 C504 at Hereford in 1975. Photo Hugh Llewellyn used under Creative Commons

Revolution Trains is offering the Swindon-built Class 120 cross-country units as its next powered model aimed at transition era enthusiasts.

This model builds on the development carried out for our Class 128 Diesel Parcels Unit, and will use the same tried and tested chassis to speed development and allow us to keep costs as low as possible while retaining the performance, specification and detailing expected of Revolution models.

Two-car Class 120 unit at Newport in 1966. Photo courtesy Hugh Llewellyn used under Creative Commons.

The units were built in 3 batches for the Western Region and Scottish Region and were introduced starting in 1958 with the final units being withdrawn in 1989. The units were in several variations of green before being repainted into BR’s new corporate colours – initially all blue followed by BR blue.

The fleet totalled 194 cars and these were built in three batches: 49 sets in 1958 for the Western Region; 7 sets in 1959 for the Scottish Region and an additional 9 sets in 1961 for the Western Region.

Three-car Class 120 in blue-grey at Birmingham New Street in 1985. Photo Steve Jones, used under Creative Commons.

The trains operated in formations comprising Driving Motor Standard Lavatory, Trailer Second Buffet Lavatory and Driving Motor Brake Composite.

The Revolution models will be offered in two-car and three-car sets in liveries reflecting the working lives of these stalwart workhorses; a selection of possible liveries is shown and they are expected to be available to pre-order from early next year. Please note these graphics are illustrative and not based on actual CAD design, which has not been completed yet.

BR green livery with whiskers. Approx 1958-64.
BR green livery with small yellow panel. Approx 1964-68.
BR early blue lviery with small yellow panel. Approx 1964-69.
BR blue. Approx 1968-1976.
BR Blue-Grey. Approx 1970-1989.

Unfortunately, no complete Class 120 units survived into preservation; the only remaining vehicle from the entire fleet is TSLRB 59276 at the Great Central railway in Leicestershire.

However, several vehicles – including a complete set – of the similar Swindon-built Class 126 units are preserved at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, and Revolution visited earlier this year as part of our preliminary research, however we are aware there are numerous differences between these and the Class 120s.

Revolution’s Mike Buick taking dimensions at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway.

The Revolution Class 120 is in CAD design and once the prices and livery selections are finalised we will open up the order book, with the models expected late next year or early in 2024.

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Electro Star Quality in N

377105 passes Battersea. Photo Michael Garnett used under Creative Commons.

Revolution is proposing the Bombardier/Alstom ‘Electrostar’ family of trains as its next modern multiple unit in N gauge. The Electrostars cover a variety of prototypes from TOPS Classes 357, 375, 376, 377, 378, 379 and 387, though it is unlikely every variation can be offered.

375707 at Wandsworth Road. Photo John Ray used under Creative Commons.

The Electrostar family was manufactured at Derby from 1999 until 2017 with over 650 sets now in service for a variety of operators including: Southern; South Eastern; c2c; London Overground; GWR; Heathrow Express; Gatwick Express; and Great Northern as well as a number of historic train operating companies.

We have not yet finalised the liveries/variations we are offering, and as ever we are wary of over-promising while at the same time wanting to provide as much variety as possible. Among the versions we are scoping are:

Class 377 in Southern livery
Class 377 in SouthEastern livery
Class 377 in First Capital Connect livery
Class 387 GWR livery
Class 387 Gatwick Express livery
Class 387 Heathrow Express livery
Class 387 Great Northern livery

Once we have finalised pricing the models will go on sale for our usual low pre-order price, and while schedules are difficult to judge at the moment we would anticipate a 2024 delivery.

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Revolution at TINGS 2022

Once again Revolution Trains will be at The International N Gauge Show at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, on our usual stand 18 on the nearside right as you enter the show.

We always enjoy attending exhibitions as it’s a great chance to talk to our customers, supporters and friends and to let everyone see what we have got planned for the next 12 months or so.

Paul, Gareth and Mike on the Revolution stand at TINGS 2021. We’ve refreshed the stand for this year!

We will have copies of our free new catalogue for visitors to take away which for this show will be exclusively N gauge. Included are TWO new powered models and TWO new wagons aimed at those modelling the transition era right through to the present day.

There will also be plenty to see for those following our progress over the last 12 months.

Class 128 Diesel Parcels Units – Decorated Samples on show – order book closing immediately after the show.
Class 59 diesel locomotives – all versions on show. Order book closing soon.
Southern General Manager’s Inspection Saloon TDB975025 ‘Caroline’ – EP1 sample.
Class 313/4 PEP unit. EP1 sample.
Cartic-4 car carriers. EP samples.

We will also have available to purchase at the show a previously unannounced new model – this will be available to buy from Saturday morning.

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Revolution at Rails

We had a great time at the Rails Open Day yesterday; for those that couldn’t make it we’ve prepared a quick one-minute watch showing the highlights including our N gauge Class 59s, 00 gauge HOA decorated samples and first EP of the 00 Alcan PCA tank.

We were asked plenty of questions about all our models at the show and hopefully we answered them all. Face-to-face we are usually far more indiscreet about our plans than we are online – as long as Chatham House Rules apply!

The most common question we were asked was: “How long before your Mk5 coaches/Drax hoppers/Caroline saloons/any other product will be here?”

The answer is that even for models currently in production it is very difficult to know. This is because, although things are improving all the time, the lingering effects of Covid are still making precise scheduling almost impossible.

Issues including, but not limited to, sudden power cuts or power rationing, staff shortages, revised working arrangements to allow for social distancing and supplier issues (caused by the same problems) are having a regular but completely unpredictable impact on production times.

There is little we can do about that, so once models are tagged as in production asking us when they are ‘due’ or ‘expected’ is unlikely to get a definite answer – we put a summary of all the information we have on our Projects page. Once we know the models are shipped we update the project overview and will start sending out balance invoices, so that’s a big clue that they’re imminent!

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Sweet CaroliNe

Revolution unveiled an early sample of its N gauge model of the Southern Region General Manager’s Inspection saloon TDB975025 ‘Caroline’ in N gauge at the Rails Open Day today.

Caroline – ‘kitchen’ side.

The model received represents the saloon as it operates currently in green with new light clusters, rectangular step lights, no third rail pick-ups and the recently fitted CET equipment, as it appeared on the Revolution’s recent ‘Sweet Caroline’ railtour.

Photo courtesy Dan Foster/Aviation Photos.
Image showing the interior from the ‘kitchen’ side.

Inside, the model has the correct present day armchairs and driver cab arrangement. Other versions, in original BR blue grey and Network SouthEast, will have era specific details and we will be unveiling models of these versions in due course.

Once decorated samples are prepared these will be shown and then the model will go into tooling. You can pre-order ‘Caroline’ at the lower pre-production price of £130.

The 00 gauge models of the saloon are in production now and are expected before the end of the year.

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Alcans arrival!

Revolution has received EP1 samples of its forthcoming 00 gauge, 1:76.2 scale Alcan PCA alumina tanks. These models represent the fleet of wagons diagram PC020A which have been in use since the late 1980s transporting alumina, which is used to make aluminium, from Blyth in Northumberland to the UK’s only remaining aluminium smelter at Lochaber at the base of Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands.

Alumina PCA sample in as-built form with ladders.
Alumina PCA without ladders as currently operated.

When built the wagons had ladders, however these were removed in the early 2000s. They entered service with Alcan, were subsequently taken on by Rio Tinto and are now operated by Alvance.

Revolution research trip to Lochaber Smelter.

The models feature a wealth of separately fitted details to the underside and fine, photo-etched catwalks.

Close up showing photo-etched catwalk and array of underframe detailing.

The wagons operate through some of the most beautiful scenery in the British Isles. In BR days they were usually hauled by Class 37 locomotives; then after privatisation EWS brought in Class 66s.

37413 “Loch Eil Outward Bound” leads the North Blyth – Fort William Alcan tanks over the River Fillan at Crianlarich. Photo courtesy Alan Mitchell.

Nowadays GBRf operates the trains. Standard traction remains the Class 66, though in 2011 GBRf hired in Class 55 Deltic 55022 due to traction shortages.

Photo courtesy: Arran Aird.

Revolution is offering the models in packs of four differently numbered wagons in all the liveries they’ve carried during their long lives.

If you want to find out more about the fascinating operations at Lochaber smelter, in the stunning highlands of Scotland, or are interested in the operations of these iconic wagons, see our video here:

These samples will be on show at the Rails Open Day on Saturday August 27th. The next step is to generate the livery drawings so decorated samples can be prepared for approval, and then the models will go into production with delivery expected next year.

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EMD-esirable diesels arrive!

Revolution Trains has received decorated samples of its forthcoming Class 59 diesel locomotives. These models are now in the final stage of development before going into production.

59001 in 1986 original Foster Yeoman livery and 59101 in original 1990 ARC Southern livery

All the samples will be on display at the upcoming International N Gauge Show at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on September 10th-11th.

The first 59/0 locomotives were delivered with the exhaust port on the left side and single dampers on the outer bogie axles. With experience, this arrangement was changed. Foster Yeoman were presented with an American-style locomotive bell by EMD and this was fitted to the No. 1 end of 59001 as can be seen above.

Appropriately, the Class 59 locomotives themselves revolutionised the expectations of the UK railfreight industry in terms of both haulage and reliability when they entered service in 1986.

59003, Merehead 1986. Photo: Nigel Menzies, used under creative commons.

They were the first mainline diesel built for the UK market in the United States, and the first privately owned locomotives that British Rail permitted.

59001 + 59101 showing the differences between exhaust port location and bogie dampers.
Class 59/2 locomotives in original National Power livery.

The original four Foster Yeoman 59/0 locomotives arrived in 1986, the second batch of four ARC locomotives in 1990 (along with an addional loco for Foster Yeoman) and then in 1994-5 six more Class 59s entered service with National Power. These were designated 59/2 and again featured extensive differences to the earlier versions, with prominent fire suppression systems, buckeye couplers and altered end details and revised roof latches and radio pods.

The Class 59/2 locomotives in National Power livery are available to pre-order as a twin set of 59201 (with commemorative bell) and 59206 exclusively from Rainbow Railways here.

In the late 1990s the Class 59/0 locomotives received a revised Foster Yeoman livery. ARC was taken over by Hanson the Class 59/1s were repainted and the Class 59/2 locomotives passed into the ownership of EWS and were similarly reliveried.

59004 in revised Foster Yeoman livery.
59204 in EWS maroon and 59101 in Hanson livery.

In due course the Class 59/2 locomotives joined their sisters on Mendip stone traffic, and as repaints became due the Class 59/0 locomotives went into Aggregate Industries colours while the 59/2s received DB red.

59005 in Aggregate Industries livery. 59005 was built later than the other 59/0 locomotives and has a unique combination of details, which have been faithfully replicated.
59201 in DB red. The roof grille will be corrected to grey on production models!

In 2019 the contract to move stone from the Mendip quarries was won by Freightliner. While the 59/0s and 59/1s remain in their AI or Hanson liveries, Freightliner is progressively repainting the 59/2s into its own orange Genessee and Wyoming livery.

59203 in Freightliner G&W livery.
The present day – Aggregate Industries and Freightliner liveries.

The last chapter in the Class 59 story involves the single loco 59003. It was sent on long term hire to Germany in the late 1990s, and for this it was fitted with a UIC standard light above the cab windscreen and other modifications were made.

Then, in 2015, it was acquired by GB Railfreight and returned to the UK. Originally painted in GBRf’s Europorte scheme, it was later repainted into more standard GBRf colours. Both of these versions can be reserved exclusively from Rails of Sheffield here.

The Revolution Class 59 will have a full suite of lights, factory-fitted speakers in every model (and DCC Sound versions of all our variants available) and the DCC socket is accessed by a removable centre section – which replicates the arrangement of the prototype.

The switches that enable DC users to deactivate the red tail lights when running with a train can also be seen.

These decorated samples will be assessed and some small amendments to colours will be adjusted, and customers should also note that these were assembled and painted by hand using components from the first test mouldings, and as ever some small adjustments will also be made to improve fit and finish, especially of the etched parts.

Other than the exclusives you can pre-order any Revolution Trains Class 59 from our shop page here:

We are looking forward to showing these models off as the show season gets into full swing, and would be interested in any feedback. We expect the order book to close during the autumn, though we have not yet set a date.

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Battery diesel hits the road…

The Clayton CBD-80 and CBD-90 models in development by Revolution Trains recently featured on an episode of the TV show ‘Train Truckers’ on the Yesterday Channel. Yesterday is one of the family of channels broadcast by UKTV, which is part of the BBC.

In the programme specialist haulage form Allelys are tasked with transporting one of the Sellafield CBD-80 variants from Clayton’s plant in Burton to the Chasewater Railway for testing.

Previously Allelys had also moved a CBD-90 locomotive on behalf of steelmaker Tata, who operate a fleet.

Photo: Allelys.
Photo: Allelys.

The programme also features the similar, but heavier, CBD-90 locomotives being built by Beacon Rail and now in service with GBRf at Whitemoor depot. These featured in our own video to introduce the models.

The models are now in tooling and EP1 samples are expected in the next 6-8 weeks, following approval of the CAD diagrams some weeks ago.

Beacon CBD-90 with single light
Beacon CBD-90 with BMAC lights
Tata Steel CBD-90

Train Truckers S2 EP2 can be viewed here

The Revolution Trains introduction video can be seen here

These models can be pre-ordered exclusvely from Rails of Sheffield here

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Aluminating tanks from Revolution!

Revolution Trains is offering the distinctive Alcan PCA alumina tanks, used between Blyth and Lochaber Aluminium Smelter near Fort William, in the Scottish Highlands, as its next OO wagon model and we’ve prepared a short video to launch the model which is currently in tooling.

With Ben More dominating the background 66739 The Bluebell Railway eases the Alcan empties across the Fillan Viaduct at Crianlarich. Photo: Terry Callaghan.

Built in 1988, the Alcan PCA tanks have been in frontline service for more than three decades and despite their relatively limited route they pass through some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK.

66740 with the Alcan tanks at Whifflet. Photo: Tom Smith.

In addition they have been hauled by a wide variety of traction including Classes 26, 37, 47, 56, 60, 66 and perhaps most remarkably, Class 55 Deltic 55022 in 2011.

26036 with Alcan tanks bringing up the rear at Beattock in 1990. Photo: Dave McAlone.

To assist with research Revolution recently visited the Lochaber smelter.

Prototype History

43 wagons numbered BAHS55531-55573 were built in 1988 by Powell Duffryn to design code PC020A for British Alcan Aluminium. Unusually the wagons have twin-link suspension with parabolic leaf springs, due to restrictions on the West Highland line.

BAHS55555 at Blyth. Photo: Henry Pattinson.

Introduced in a plain grey livery with blue ‘Alcan’ branding, by the mid 2000s the Alcan logos had faded and resembled dusty grey triangles, and the end ladders were removed.

37413 “Loch Eil Outward Bound” with Alcan tanks at Crianlarich in 1991. Photo: Alan Mitchell.

In 2008 Alcan was amalgamated into Rio Tinto Alcan, and while the basic livery remained the same new red branding was introduced.

BAHS55559 at Stirling’s Yard in Rio Tinto Alcan livery. Photo: Tom Smith

Following the purchase of the Lochaber aluminium smelter in 2016 by GFG Alliance the wagons were progressively relabelled in Lochaber Power/Liberty and more recently with Alvance branding.

BAHS55568 in Alvance branding, BAHS 55566 wih Lochaber/Liberty branding. Photo: Tom Smith.

The Model

The Alcan PCA tanks feature four top loading hatches, a full length catwalk and access ladders on each side.  The ladders were removed around 2005-2007 and versions with and without ladders, with appropriate liveries, will be offered.

PCA original version with ladders
PCA revised with ladders removed

In addition some wagons have had the plate on the discharge chute removed, and this will be supplied as a customer fit part to allow both options.

The models feature NEM pockets and are designed for straightforward conversion to EM or P4. Tooling is almost complete and first samples are expected next month.

Revolution is proposing versions in a wide selection of the liveries carried by these tanks to allow every era of these interesting wagons to be depicted.

Operations

Lochaber smelter is just outside Fort William in the West Highlands of Scotland and was opened in 1929. The enormous power requirements of alumium smelting require that plants are located close to suitable power supply. It would take the average family 20 years to use the electricity needed to produce just one tonne of aluminium!

Lochaber smelter generates the power it need using hydro-electric turbines spun by vast quantities of water piped from Loch Treig via a tunnel through the base of Ben Nevis and down five huge pipes into the plant.

Five enormous pipes feed water to power Lochaber’s hydro-electric turbines. Photo: James Dean Shepherd.

Aluminium is produced in a two-stage process. Aluminium ore (Bauxite) is first converted into alumina, then smelted into aluminium ingots.

Molten aluminium being poured into casting moulds at Lochaber. Photo: GFG Alliance.

The alumina used at Lochaber is processed at Aughinish in County Limerick, Ireland – the largest such plant in Europe – then shipped to the Port of Blyth, where it is unloaded into three large silos before being sent by rail to Fort William.

Bulk carrier Arklow Willow is unloaded at Blyth, prior to the alumina being railed to Lochaber. Photo: Chris Phillips, used under Creative Commons.

When introduced the wagons were also used, on occasion, to supply alumina to the Lynemouth smelter, around 7 miles north of Blyth, however these trains ceased when it was mothballed in 2012.

At the present time the trains, running under the headcodes 6S45 (loaded) and 6E45 (empties) run north on the East Coast main line via Dunbar and Millerhill to Mossend, then across via Helensburgh Upper onto the West Highland line to Fort William.

66737 with diverted Alcan tanks at Denton Mill. Photo: Dave McAlone.

Diversionary routes can include north of Mossend via Gartcosh or avoiding the ECML using the Tyne Valley line via Hexham to Carlisle and then the northern West Coast main line.

Sample consists

The models are in tooling now with samples expected very soon, and the order book is open now – just click on Shop in the website menu.

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Revolution on the road again…

Revolution Trains is preparing for a busy show season, and will be at the first of four upcoming exhibitions next weekend at DEMU Showcase at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall next weekend, July 23rd/24th.

Come and see us on Stand 5 in the Auditorium where we will have our usual display showing decorated and EP samples of upcoming models including the N gauge Class 128 parcels units, Class 59 locomotive, Class 313 unit and Borail, Mullet, Parr and Super Tench flat and Cartic-4 wagons and 00 gauge HOA hoppers, TUA tankers (exclusively with Rainbow Railways), Borail, Mullet, Parr and Super Tench flat wagons.

We will also be unveiling an all new 00 model, and for those who cannot attend the show this will also be announced here on our website at 1000 on Saturday July 23rd.

DEMU is the society for those modelling diesel and electric outlines, and following its cancellation due to Covid in 2020 and 2021, and the loss of its long-time former location in Burton-on-Trent, this is the first Showcase in Sutton Coldfield and Revolution is delighted to be able to continue our long-standing support of DEMU and its annual Showcase event.

Entry is free or DEMU members, while for non-members ticket prices are Adults £11, U16 £8, Famlies (2 adults + unlimited children U16) £27.

Revolution models on display at the Bath and West of England Showground in April 2022.

If you can’t make it to Sutton Coldfield we will also be attending The International N Gauge Show at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on September 10th-11th, the Great Electric Train Show at Milton Keynes on October 8th-9th and the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC on November 26th and 27th.

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Summer Deadline Day…

The Revolution pre-order book will be closing at midnight on June 30th for our N gauge Class A fuel tankers and MTV/ZKV Zander box wagons.

Class B and Class A tankers in Esso livery. Note Class A will have catwalk and ladder details and red solebar on production models.

The Class A tankers were designed and built, like the Class B’s previously offered by Revolution, in the late 1950s. They were designed jointly by Charles Roberts wagon builders and Esso, and being fully power-braked they revolutionised the transport of benzene and heavy fuel products.

BR 92 2-10-0 92239 with Esso tanks at Wolvercote Junction, 1962. Photo Ben Brooksbank used under Creative Commons.

The Class A tankers were introduced in a livery of silver tanks and red solebars. Later, the tanks were painted grey, while the Class B tankers, designed for less flammable heavy fuel oil, were painted all over black. Because class A fuels were lighter, the tanks were slightly longer, as can be seen from the models, however the chassis remained the same.

Double-headed Class 33s at Oxford with a mixed train of Esso empties in 1964. Photo Ben Brooksbank used under Creative Commons.

The trains often ran in mixed rakes, operating primarily from Esso’s huge refineries to much smaller terminals.

In later years the Esso tankers had the branding placards removed, and some were used by Staveley chemicals. These versions are available to pre-order too.

Class A in Staveley Chemicals and Esso unbranded liveries. Note production models will have etched catwalks, ladders and red solebars.

In addition we are offering two variants of the Class A tanks used for water in the well-known Chipmans weedkiller trains.

Class A tankers in Chipman Nomix green and plain black.

In the mid 1970s, having been replaced on fuel trains by higher capacity monobloc wagons, many Class A and Class B tankers were converted to box wagons. The tanks and discharge gear was removed, and a simple box body fitted. These were initially coded MTV and used primarily for stone and sand.

Two of the various MTV options available.

In later years many found their way into the engineers fleet, being recoded ZKV and given the fishkind name ‘Zander.’ Initially given a yellow box rim, many went on to receive CE Dutch livery and some lasted though until the introduction of the shadow railfreight companies and the end of vacuum braked stock.

ZKV in original brown livery with yellow lip
ZKV in CE Dutch livery

As with many Revolution models, the Class A tankers and MTV/ZKV wagons are available in singles and triple packs with different livery variations and running numbers. See order page for details.

We anticipate these models will be available from our usual retailers after production, however the price will be higher to include their margin.

NGS Hunslet with Revolution Trains Class B tankers.

We are also re-running our very popular Class B tankers in a variety of liveries, including Esso, Regent and unbranded, and with new running numbers, however these will only be available from retailers. If you want to reserve yours we recommend you contact your preferred Revolution stockist to let them know.

Delivery schedules are hard to predict at the moment, due to the lingering impact of the pandemic, however we anticipate these models will be shipped in Q3-4 2022. We will update the project page if this changes.

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Special Delivery…

Revolution Trains has received decorated samples of its forthcoming Class 128 Parcels cars in N gauge.

Full line-up of Class 128 models. Photo: Jacques Portal/Model Rail.

Revolution is offering six versions in a selection of liveries and in both Midland Region centre headcode and Western Region gangwayed versions to cover the lifespans and locations of these esoteric and well-liked units.

Midland region 55987 with centre headcode (left) and Western region gangwayed 55994 with split headcode in original green with whiskers.

Although only a small number were built (4 for the Midland region, 6 for the Western region) these units travelled far and their appearance changed significantly when the gangways were plated and the headcode boxes replaced by marker lights. Revolution has tooled for all variations.

55990 in BR Blue ‘Parcels Service’
55991 in BR Blue with headcode boxes replaced by headlights

BR blue era modellers can choose between Midland 55990 with original headcode box showing plain ‘dominoes’ or WR 55991 with headcode boxes removed and replaced with marker lights.

In the 1980s several were painted into an eye-catching Royal Mail red livery with striped double doors, and Revolution is offering two versions: 55992 and 55993.

55992 (right) with gangway and marker lights, 55993 with fully removed and plated over gangway front. Photo courtesy Jacques Portal/Model Rail.

The Midland versions did not receive Royal Mail red as all were withdrawn in the late 1970s and early 1980s, however the Western region versions lasted roughly another decade.

Primary colours: Versions available in green, blue and red. Photo courtesy Jacques Portal/Model Rail.

Naturally the models will feature our usual specification of Next-18 decoder interface, directional working lights and NEM coupler sockets. In addition the models feature highly realistic buffer beam details and pipes, most of which will be factory fitted. We have photographed the models with the couplers removed in most cases to show off the detail, but couplers will of course be provided as the prototypes often ran with a BG or a couple of parcels vans in tow.

As well as variations in the gangways, lights, buffer heads and exhausts, previously mentioned, the Revolution models feature an underframe packed with separately fitted parts and attention to detail you’d expect.

The chassis has a Next-18 decoder socket and although only one bogie is powered under test it has pulled 8 heavy bogie tankers with ease.

All versions can be reserved from our shop at the pre-production price of £135. Models will be available later from retailers, but at a higher price to include their margin.

These samples will be on display at the DEMU Showcase exhibition at Sutton Coldfield in July and at TINGS in September, after which the order book will be closed and the models will go into production.

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Delicious memories of Sweet Caroline…

World of Railways’ Phil Parker has published a video of the Revolution Trains Sweet Caroline railtour that took place just a week ago.

In the video you can step aboard Caroline and Revolution’s Ben Ando explains the thinking behind producing the model, some of its features and describes some of the challenges involved.

975025 ‘Caroline’ in 2008-2015 ‘Viridian Green’ – this version only available from Rainbow Railways. BR Blue-grey, Network Southeast and present day Brunswich Green versions will be available from selected retailers for those who missed the pre-order deadline.
The seats match!

The Caroline models shown in the video are the pre-production decorated samples; for those who pre-ordered the models are now in production and delivery will be – by the end of Q3.

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Good times never seemed so good…

Would you board a train with these people?

Revolution Trains’ long awaited – and much delayed due to Covid – ‘Sweet Caroline’ railtour on board the former Southern Region General Manager’s Saloon 975025 Caroline finally took place this weekend carrying the Revolution team, our guests and our competition and charity auction winners.

From behind by tractor…

Traction for the day was provided by 37418 ‘An Comunn Gàidhealach’ in its stylish BR large logo livery. The locomotive is named after the Assocation founded in 1891 to preserve and develop the Gaelic language, making its Highland stag motif especially appropriate.

After all on board had been given a goody bag featuring a variety of mementoes of the day, we set off, with our driver Carl at the controls accompanied by driver conductor Tom, who had joined us at the last minute (after some frantic phone calls and emails!) when GBRf came to the rescue as it was realised that Carl did not sign for all of the planned route.

Our driver Carl, guard Andy and driver conductor Tom – his knowledgeable commentary was an invaluable and unexpected bonus of the trip.

Our route took us from Derby, southwest to the WCML, north to Cheshire and into Manchester before looping round via the Hope Valley line and back via the huge locomotive depot at Toton. The route was designed as a loop, with no reversals, to optimise our use of Caroline’s unique ability to permit passengers to ride in the saloon with the driver.

Those on board included those who had won our ‘Sweet Caroline’ competition for those who pre-ordered a model – some coming from as far afield as Ireland and Australia – and the high bidder in our charity auction to raise money for cancer research UK.

As well as enjoying the on-board catering and views, the opportunity was taken to examine the Revolution pre-production model samples – even comparing the colours of the seating on the model to reality!

Don’t mock the moquette…

As some may know, the saloon is named after Caroline Mayo, a long time employee of the RTC who died of cancer in 2019. There is a photograph of her and explanatory plaque on board.

Caroline Mayo

After leaving Crewe we stopped briefly at Sandbach for a photo-opportunity, the light drizzle failing to dampen the spirits.

Scruffs at Sandbach…

On the freight only branch via Middlewich we stopped briefly in the loop there to allow GBRf’s 66759 with limestone from Hindlow to Small Heath in JNA box wagons (as offered by Revolution Trains) to pass.

We were nearing Manchester. Of course it was raining.

After skirting south Manchester we picked up the Hope Valley route via New Mills and Chinely and on to Edale, by which time by some miracle the sun had started to come out.

Sweet Caroline speeds along the Hope Valley. Photo courtesy Andrew Taylor.

Although the best views are forward, the rear saloon was popular as it had far better acoustics…

Is it a tractor? Is it a growler?
Bennerley viaduct. Opened in 1878, closed in 1968 and reopened as a walking route in January this year.
Heavy freight at Toton depot. Sadly some of these locomotives are unlikely to turn a wheel again.
GBRf’s 66708 ‘Glory to Ukraine.’

After returning to Derby, and saying goodbye to some guests, the majority of the party remained on board as we reversed back into Loram’s depot for an additional treat.

Loram’s EDU – Engineering Delivery Unit.

Sweet Caroline hi-viz vests were donned, and the party was led on a tour of Loram’s workshops at Derby, and we were given a guided tour by rail maintenance and ops director Ross.

As well as Caroline, Loram maintains Network Rail’s test vehicles including the New Measurement Train and Ultrasonic Test train, and those who wished to were able to climb on board and see the equipment for themselves.

Spot the easy-to-spot spotters.

The success of the day has encouraged us to think of other ways we can use our contacts in the industry to enable our customers to get more of an insight into the ‘real’ railway, and raise money for good causes, and we will be saying more about this in due course.

And finally we would like to sign off by saying a huge thank-you to Ross, Carl, Darren, Shanice and Andy from Loram, Tom from GBRf, Andrew, Charlotte, Steve, Neil and Sir Peter at Network Rail, Stephen at Procast for the superb headboard, and our guests on the day Gareth, Paul, Seb, Stewart, Bob, Mark, John, Eamon, and the two Philips.