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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.


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.

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ROG 93 revealed…

The first locomotive of the new Class 93 tri-mode fleet being built for Rail Operations Group by Stadler has not been completed yet, and their entry into service is probably a year away, but despite this our designers have been making progress on CAD of the model in 00, and we thought modellers may be interested in seeing progress.

The CAD has been produced from drawings and 3D files kindly provided by Stadler’s engineers to assist us in production of the model.

As can be seen there is plenty of detail, although the pantograph has not yet been added to the roof. On the finished models it will be positioned at the near end in the image above, and will be controllable under DCC.

The prototypes are designed to be a medium power ‘go anywhere’ locomotive designed to fulfil Rail Operations Group’s core business of moving new (or in service) trains around the network as well as powering new high-speed parcels and city-to-city light intermodal traffic.

The design of the cab draws on Stadler’s house style and is clearly influenced by the company’s very successful Euro Dual family of locomotives. Although Rail Operations Group released an artist’s representation of the finished locomotives when they announced their plans, there may yet be some adjustments to the final livery designs.

The underframe will feature a host of separately fitted details; much of the underframe shares a commonality with the Stadler-built Class 88s in operation with DRS, part of Nuclear Transportation Service, which is a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The chassis design is still subject to possible change; this cutaway view shows the current arrangement with Plux-22 DCC interface below a panel at the ‘diesel’ end of the locomotive, and space left at the far end for the pantograph operating servo, as well as the fully detailed cab interiors.

The models will be highly specified with a full suite of working lights, DC silent and DCC Sound options and along with a working pantograph. The image above shows the cooler group with one of the photo-etched grilles removed to show the fan detail.

Other details include numerous separate parts on the bogies and representation of the Dellner coupler carried by the locomotives to enable them to couple to many of the numerous classes of unit they will have to move, as well as modern coaching stock such as the Mk5As in service with TPE.

While this represents an excellent start there remains plenty to do to complete the design work, and once the first of the prototype locomotives are nearing completion Revolution expects to visit Stadler’s manufacturing plant in Valencia to photograph and measure the fine details, and check for changes made to the design plans during construction. Tooling will not begin until we are sure testing is completed and no visible alterations are required.

We won’t know the final cost of the model until the CAD work is complete and all specifications fully locked in therefore we do not expect to open the order book for these models until early 2023, however we will keep our supporters updated on this exciting project as we pass through each stage of development.

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A different class…

Revolution Trains has received decorated samples of the 35t Class A fuel tankers and MTV/ZKA Zander box wagons which are scheduled to go into production shortly.

Class B tank (left) and new Class A tank in original Esso silver. The Class B tank has the top details that are absent from the Class A. Note that the solebar of the Class A tanker will be painted red for production.

The Class As are designed to partner our award winning Class B tankers from 2017, as following their introduction from the late 1950s the two types often worked together, with the Class A tankers having a longer barrel as they carried lighter, more volatile fuel.

Class B and Class A tanks at Thameshaven in 1960. Photo Robin Webster used under Creative Commons.

The barrels sent for checking have been posted on Class B sanple chassis for photography; the production models will have the correct red solebars as shown in the painting diagrams.

Artwork for Esso revised livery with grey barrel

You may also notice the sample models are missing the photo-etched catwalks and ladders, and moulded manlids and vents (of two different types), that will be featured on production models. As with the original Class B models the chassis will feature either the original or revised suspension as appropriate.

As well as the original silver and revised grey Esso versions, these are still available to pre-order in Staveley Chemicals, Esso de-branded and weedkilling green or black variants.

Staveley Chemicals and Esso debranded.
Chipman’s weedkilling train water tanks in green and black variations .

In the British Railways modernisation plan of 1955 a need was identified for new, faster power-braked wagons and with the rapid growth in requirements for petrochemicals Esso and Charles Roberts Ltd jointly developed a new design of 35t tank wagons. The Class A tankers were used for lighter, more volatile fuels, and the barrels were therefore longer than the Class Bs designed for heavier fuel oils.

BR 2-10-0 92019 at Hartford in 1965 with a mixed rake of Esso Class A & Class B tankers. Photo Ben Brooksbank/Creative Commons.

The addition of Class A tankers to our range enables the accurate depiction of fuel trains from the late 1950s and 1960s which often ran with a mix of both types. If a Class A tank was marshalled at the front then planked open wagons were included to act as barriers to protect the traincrew in the event of an accident. If the train was double headed the barrier wagons were not necessary as the second locomotive provided the required separation.

BRCW type 3s D6527 + D6505, at Oxford with a mixed train destined for Fawley in 1964. Photo Ben Brooksbank/Creative Commons.

In the mid-1970s, as higher capacity tank wagons entered service, 150 redundant tank wagons were converted to box opens to carry stone and sand, and given the TOPS code MTV.

Original MTV conversions

In the late 1980s many were transferred to the engineer’s fleet, recoded ZKV and given the fishkind name Zander.

Revolution is offering these box wagons in original brown, engineer’s revised versions with yellow top rail and fully repainted Dutch variants. Various individual wagons are being offered, with numerous subtle differences including patch painting and varied labelling.

ZKV Zander in early engineers livery
ZKV Zanders in later CE ‘Dutch’ livery, one with ‘Mainline’ branding

The full listing of liveries on offer can be found on our shop page, and these wagons can be still be reserved with Revolution for a short period at the pre-order price of £19.95 each, or for some versions in triple sets with different numbers at £59.85.

In addition, a further run of Class B tankers will be produced to accompany these models, however the Class Bs will be on sale via retailers in the usual way.

We anticipate that Class A and MTV/ZKV models will be available from retailers too after production, but at a higher price.

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Clayton CAD completed…

Tata steel CBD-90

CAD work is complete for the forthcoming Class 18 CBD-90 Clayton hybrid shunters in 00 gauge. Versions are being offered in both Tata steel, Beacon and Sellafield versions.

Beacon CBD-90

The Tata and Beacon locomotives are battery powered, and usually charged overnight, however each carries a small ancillary diesel engine to allow them to recharge the batteries if operational needs do not permit adequate mains recharging time.

Beacon CBD-90
CBD-80 as operated at Sellafield
Beacon Class 18 shunter under test at the Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire

The models will feature a powerful Bo-bo chassis, with twin flywheels, operational directional lights and factory fitted speakers. Plux-22 DCC decoders will also be featured. The models will be supplied with decorated blanking plates for added realism if the NEM-compatible tension lock coupler is not required.

These models are available to pre-order exclusively from Rails of Sheffield.

For more information about the real things why not watch our introductory video:

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Revolution’s second first, and third show of 2022!

Revolution Trains was delighted to be awarded N Gauge Manufacturer of the Year in the BRM/RMWeb/World of Railways British Railway Modelling Awards 2021 at the recent London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace.

The Revolution crew (L-R Paul, Ben, Gareth) clutching the award.

It’s Revolution’s second such honour of the year, coming soon after we were given a similar accolade by the readers of Model Rail magazine, and again we would like to offer our sincere thanks to all who voted for us. Naturally we’d also like to extend our congratulations to all other winners and nominees.

The show itself was enormously enjoyable and one of the busiest we’ve attended; during the weekend we were able to meet many dozens of existing, and hopefully future, customers and we saw significant interest in the new generation of high-fidelity N gauge models from visitors who told us that until recently they would not have considered the scale.

The historic Alexandra Palace transmission tower

Although we had numerous N gauge samples on display, we also took the opportunity to give one of the decorated samples of our forthcoming 00 gauge model of the SR General Manager’s saloon 975025 ‘Caroline’ (albeit missing its nameplates!) a run on Mike Buick’s excellent ‘Oak Rad’ layout.

Please note this is a pre-production samples and some aspects will be improved when production starts soon. Although the Revolution order book is closed this model will be available at selected retailers.

975025 ‘Caroline’ with suitable DRS propulsion!

Revolution’s third outing of 2022 is in just a fortnight’s time, when we are delighted to be supporting the first full exhibition organised by Britain’s Biggest Model Railway, the enthralling Heaton Lodge Junction built by Simon George.

The enormous 0 gauge layout forms the centrepiece of a new show at the Bath and West Country showground running from April 8th-10th, and among other layouts and exhibitors the Revolution stand will be present with decorated and EP samples of all our forthcoming models on display. More details can be found here.

Frosty scenics on Heaton Lodge Junction

As ever – see you there!

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It’s showtime – again!

Revolution Trains will be attending the London Festival of Railway Modelling this weekend at Alexandra Palace in London.

It’s the first time we have attended an exhibition in the capital; we were due to be there back in 2020 but we all know what happened then!

Revolution Trains is on Stand 8 in the Great Hall

We’ll have our usual stand with decorated and prototype samples on show of many forthcoming models including the N Gauge Class 59, Class 313 ‘PEP’ unit and Drax Power IIA-D biomass hopper, and 00 gauge HOA hopper, Borail/Mullet wagons, TUA Caustic Soda tanks and SR Manager’s Saloon ‘Caroline.’

Feel free to come and have a chat with us about our existing models, our newly announced Class 175/180 units or FNA-D nuclear flask wagons in 00 or N, or let us know anything else you think we should be offering!

N Gauge Class 180 CAD
N gauge Class 175 CAD
Early 00 gauge FNA-D CAD. Please note there is much detail to be added.

Alexandra Palace itself is a magnificent location for a show with a rich history well beyond its modern use as an exhibition centre.

Photo used under creative commons
Photo used under creative commons.

Access via public transport is straightforward via the nearby Alexandra Palace station on the ECML, Wood Green tube station on the Piccadilly line or numerous local bus services. A free shuttle bus will be running between the overground and underground stations and the venue.

You can book advance tickets here. See you there!

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Revolution goes ahead – with Adelante and Coradia!

Revolution Trains is offering the Class 180 ‘Adelante’ and Class 175 ‘Coradia’ units as its next multiple unit models in both 00 and N.

Grand Central Class 180 ‘Adelante’ – photo courtesy Hugh Llewelyn under Creative Commons
Arriva Trains Class 175 ‘Coradia’

Both families of units were buit by Alstom in Birmingham and share numerous similarities in design, meaning that many parts can be shared between the models to make them both viable.

CAD work on the N gauge models is almost complete; the 00 version will follow soon afterwards.

Class 180 with lower fairing cover removed
Class 175/0 two car unit

Prototype history

The Class 175 and Class 180 are both members of the Alstom Coradia family of units and share many common features and parts.

27 Class 175 units, in a mix of two and three car configurations, were ordered by First North Western in 1997 with the first delivered in 1999. They were used on services between Birmingham, Holyhead, Llandudno, Manchester and Barrow.

175006 passes Anglesey Aluminium while 60020 waits with a train of IWA vans. The vans are the type recently produced by Revolution in 00 and N and available from selected retailers. Photo courtesy Ken Minffordd.

Later they transferred to Arriva Trains Wales and were introduced on the Welsh Marches line to Cardiff, reaching Fishguard and the Pembroke Coast. Since 2018 they have been in the service of Transport for Wales and are now seen from south west Wales and Holyhead across to Stockport, Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham International.

175002 in Transport for Wales livery at Abergavenny. Photo by Jeremy Segrott used under creative commons.

The Class 180 units are a 5-car 125mph high-speed express member Coradia family. 14 sets were ordered by First Great Western and given the brand name ‘Adelante’, which means ‘go ahead’ in Spanish and explains our terrible headline pun above. Intended for high speed express services to sout Wales, they were plagued by technical problems and later used for fast commuter trains from Oxford, Gloucester and Exeter to London.

180106 at Reading. Photo by Hugh Llewelyn used under creative commons.

Between 2008 and 2020 Hull Trains used four Class 180s, though these units have recently been transferred to East Midlands railway and are now in use between London St Pancras, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield.

180108 at Harringay. Photo by Hugh Llewelyn, used under creative commons.

In 2009 Grand Central introduced two units for its services between London Kings Cross, Sunderland and Bradford, and now has ten in operation in its striking black and orange livery.

Like the prototype, the Revolution Class 175 and 180 will share many common features, including full interiors, working and switchable headlights, tail lights and interior saloon lights as standard and kinematic power couplers allowing the entire train to be controlled by a single DCC decoder.

Class 175/1 three-car unit.

The models will be fitted with a low-profile chassis, allowing interiors to be depicted on all cars, and Next-18 (N) or Plux-22 (00) decoders. The decoder will accessed via an underfloor panel to make fitting or changing simple. In addition all models will be have factory-fitted speakers for simple sound upgrades.

The Class 180s will have a similar specification to the 175s.

Revolution plans to offer a selection of versions, though the exact line up has not yet been confirmed.

175 – First North Western
175 – Arriva Trains Wales
175 – Transport for Wales
Class 180 – First Great Western launch livery.
Class 180 – Grand Central livery.
Class 180 – First Group ‘dynamic lines’ livery.
Class 180 – EMR ‘Intercity’ livery.

The order book will be opening very shortly in both scales, and as ever we will be offering a low EarlyBird price to reward those who step up and pre-order.

Revolution Trains would like to thank Alsom, Transport for Wales and Grand Central for their assistance in producing this model.

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Revolution goes nuclear – again!

Revolution is offering the new-build FNA-D nuclear flask carriers as its next wagon model in 00 and N.

68005 with FNA-D at Ravenglass.

CAD is almost underway on the 00 model with the N gauge version following soon afterward. This image shows the main components taking shape however a closer look will show that considerable work remains to be done. This includes adding the headstock details, flask cover locking bars and operating mechanism and making some minor corrections.

40 wagons were built by WH Davis at Langley Mill in Nottinghamshire between 2014 and 2016 and are designed to replace the ageing 1970s-built fleet, that last of which is understood to have been scrapped in 2020.

37716 and 66126 at Sawmills. Photo by Rob Reedman used under creative commons.

They are used across the network to ferry spent fuel from nuclear power stations and facilities to Sellafield in Cumbria for reprocessing. The trains are operated by DRS and are almost always either top-and-tailed or double headed to insure against locomotive failure.

Once the CAD work is complete the order book will open and the model will be sent for tooling. Look out for our limited time EarlyBird price.

We would hope to see samples by the summer, with delivery of the models expected early next year.

Revolution would like to thank DRS and WH Davis for their assistance in providing drawings and access to assist in production of this model.

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Revolution on the road – part two

As we confirmed last weeek, Revolution Trains will be attending this weekend’s Model Rail Scotland show by the Association of Model Railway Societies of Scotland.

The show is on from Friday February 25th until Sunday February 27th, and is the first for two years after last year’s was cancelled due to Covid.

Revolution Trains will be on stand B31 and is looking forward to seeing friends old and new.

Revolution always enjoys the Glasgow show – often dubbed ‘the friendly show’ – and we were last here two years ago. Little did we know what was heading our way!

We will be offering two new projects – one multiple unit, one wagon – and these will be unveiled here on our website and at the show which opens on Friday at 10am.

Once again – see you there!

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It’s a clean sweep for Revolution!

Revolution Trains is proud and delighted to have been voted N gauge Manufacturer of the Year for the second time running in the Model Rail Model of the Year Awards.

Incredibly, Revolution won twice as many votes as the next nearest rival. The full results are:

3Graham Farish17.4%

These awards are voted for by the readership, not chosen by a panel of experts, making them especially valuable.

But wait – there’s more…!

Photo courtesy George Dent, Model Rail magazine

Revolution’s Class 92, produced by Rapido Trains, was voted N gauge Locomotive of the Year in a much closer contest – just pipping the Kato CLass 800/0 at the post – 25.9% to 25.2%!

And to complete the hatrick, Revolution’s IPA car carriers took gold in the N Gauge Rolling Stock of the Year category!

IPA twin sets – flat, flat with stakes, covered wth side screens – in STVA red and original pale grey
IPA quad set in Groupe CAT blue

Second in this category was the EFE Rail ‘Shark’ ballast plough, and the Revolution PCV Cement hoppers, produced for us by Accurascale, and our own FWA ‘Ecofret’ container flats were third equal.

PCV ‘Cemflo’ wagons in TOPS and Blue Circle versions
GBRf FWA ‘Ecofret’ triple set. Freightliner twins and DB red triples also available.

We still have stocks of the IPA quad sets in Groupe CAT blue livery and PCV cement hoppers plus very limited numbers of some of the other models. If you wish to acquire some of these award winning models then go to our shop:

Naturally we would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who voted to us, and offer our warmest congratulations to all the other winners.

Revolution on the road again

Next weekend (February 25th-27th) we will be at Model Rail Scotland at the SEC in Glasgow. It’s our first chance to visit Scotland since 2020, and we are very much looking forward to catching up with everyone who can attend.

The Scottish Exhibition Centre (just out of view) is in the shadow of Glasgow’s famous Finnieston Crane, now preserved but once used to load North British locomotives for export around the world.

We expect to announce a new unit and new wagon on the opening morning, plus we will have a *free* catalogue for show-goers to pick up which includes the new items and summarises our current ongoing projects.

See you there!

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A new face for the new year

Revolution Trains is delighted to announce that well-known railway modeller Mike Buick is joining as a third full-time member of the team from the beginning of 2022.

Mikel is a keen railway modeller in all scales and his layout Oak Road, which depicts a stretch of the Great Western Berks and Hants line in 4mm scale, has been widely admired on the exhibition circuit since debuting in 2017.

Oak Road 00 layout by Michael Buick. Michael has a passion for HSTs! Photo courtesy Richard Watson/Hornby Magazine.

As well as being a popular attraction the layout also raises money for the charity Meningitis Now. Having survived meningococcal meningitis at the age of 20, Mike is dedicated to supporting research into the disease.

Mike Buick with a replica of the nameplate from HST power car 43041.
The layout depicts a rural west country station with adjacent virtual quarry. Note Michael’s beautifully weathered Revolution Trains JNA box wagons in VTG/Mendip Rail livery. Photo courtesy Richard Watson/Hornby Magazine.

“I have been interested in railways for as long as I could talk,” says Mike.  “Joining Revolution Trains is a fantastic opportunity and I am looking forward to bringing my passion, CAD design skills and eye for detail to the job.”

Did we mention Mike loves HSTs? Photo courtesy Richard Watson/Hornby Magazine.

“I used to go train spotting as a kid and had both N Gauge and OO Gauge Trainsets until I found cars motorcycles and women,” continues Mike.

“After a brief dabble back in to N Gauge around 1999 I didn’t really start playing with model railways again until 2010 and eventually after a few years at Fareham & District MRC, I started building Oak Road in 2016. It’s also no secret that I have a passion for HSTs, both model form and 1:1 scale.”

Oak Road even includes a 3D printed representation of Michael on the platform, photographing the trains. Photo courtesy Richard Watson/Hornby Magazine.

Mike’s role at Revolution will be to provide greater capacity for project design – so we can develop more new models – and to improve our customer service.

“With more and more projects under development it was becoming clear we needed to recruit someone to help Revolution grow,” explains Revolution co-director Mike Hale. 

“We are confident Mike’s enthusiasm and skill are what we need as we move forward with our plans.”

He’ll be the third permanent member of the team, joining company founders Ben Ando and Mike Hale, and will also represent Revolution at exhibitions alongside long-time helpers Paul Churchill and Gareth Atkinson, who have full-time jobs outside the hobby.

Revolution on the road. Look for a new face at our next exhibition!

“Mike will be a familiar face to many in the hobby,” said Revolution co-director Ben Ando, “and we are confident he’ll be a good fit in our small but dynamic team.”

During a varied career Mike has previously worked in property and has his own recruitment company.  Among his other interests he lists bass guitar, music production and admits to having been a keen BMX cyclist – until injury forced retirement!

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Revolution Round-Up 2021

It’s the time of year again when, fingers laced over distended stomachs following an over-indulgent Christmas, we look back and take stock of the year that has passed.

Few will remember 2021 as a great year, however despite difficulties in the UK and China we have managed to progress numerous projects, with more exciting news to come.

Revolution Class 92 92003 ‘Beethoven’ with a train of IPA car carriers in original STVA livery. An IZA Cargowaggon twin can be seen lurking behind. Photo courtesy S. Allen.

The year began with us picking and packing hundreds of our eagerly awaited Class 92 locomotives after the consignment arrived just ahead of Christmas. The locomotives were available in RfD, EWS, DB, GBRf and Caledonian Sleeper liveries, with Kernow receiving their exclusive Stobart versions.

One reviewer described the models as ‘the best N gauge locomotive yet produced’ and the reactions of those receiving them on social media were similarly positive.

Other models delivered this year were the Sonic Models GWR 56xx 0-6-2 tank locomotives, PCV Cemflos manufactured for us by Accurascale and the FWA ‘Ecofret’ container flats, all in N gauge, and our first 0 gauge project – an exclusive Heljan 37405 in DRS Compass livery.

Last week – just before Christmas – we received the IWA Sfins-2 vans and Rfnoos timber carriers in 00 and these are being dispatched now.

The N gauge versions are expected to be leaving the factory very soon, but obviously won’t make it before the end of the year.

We had hoped for more models to be delivered over the last 12 months, but the reality of learning to live with the ever-present threat of a pandemic hindered this.

All our models are produced with a combination of processes but the most labour intensive is the fitting of the many dozens of tiny details that bring the models to life. This is all done by hand, on a production line. But if workers have to be socially distanced then the number on any given line can be severely reduced. In practice, if a production line has half the workers it would normally have, then that process will take twice as long. In addition the skilled workers – the production line managers, tampo print masters or CAD designers – may be off sick themselves or isolating.

Add into this the well-documented problems with international logistics and power problems that have seen some factories limited to two- or three-day a week production and it rapidly becomes clear how production that would normally take three months could take twice that or longer.

Models that we had hoped to deliver in 2021 but will now come in 2022 include the Class 320 and 321 units in N, aforementioned IWA vans and timber carriers in both scales and 00 FWA Ecofrets and IPA car carriers. Fortunately, all the indications are that all these models will arrive in Q1 2022.

The PFA container flats and second run of Class 390 Pendolino models are also in development and should be delivered in 2022.

Development on previously announced models has continued; again perhaps slightly slower than we would have liked but for very obvious reasons. These include the MMA/JNA box wagons in N, SR Manager’s saloon Caroline in 00, Mk5 coaches in Caledonian Sleeper and Trans Pennine Express variants and Class 128 diesel parcels car. EP samples of the Class 313/314 PEP units are expected in the next fortnight; some sample mouldings have already been received.

New models announced in 2021 included our Class 59 diesel in N – ideal to go with our HOA hoppers or JNA box wagons, Class 18 diesel hybrid shunter in 00, 1938 tube stock and 1928 ‘K-type’ Pullman coaches in N and Cartic-4 car carriers and BR Borail/YLA/YQA flat wagons in both scales. All these are on progressing as planned, and at various stages of development.

An exciting development has been the emergence of new retailer relationships; as well as the Drax hoppers commissioned by Rails of Sheffield, and scheduled for delivery in 2022, we are producing an caustic soda TUA tank wagon in 00 gauge for Rainbow Railways. We expect to have news of more commissions in Q1 2022.

We have continued our Facebook Live events as exhibitions we would normally attend such as Model Rail Scotland and DEMU Showcase were cancelled, however we were delighted to attend The International N Gauge Show (TINGS) and The Great Electric Train Show later in the year.

Would you buy a model train from these men?

The Great Electric Train Show also saw Revolution’s KUA nuclear flask carriers receive Hornby Magazine’s N gauge rolling stock Model of the Year award; in February Revolution had been named N gauge Manufacturer of the Year by the readers of Model Rail magazine, and our KUA nuclear flask wagons voters the best N gauge wagon of 2020.

L-R: Ben Ando, Mike Wild (Honrby Magazine Editor), Mike Hale.

Readers of Model Rail may be interested to know Revolution’s Ben Ando will be starting a regular column in Model Rail in the New Year discussing aspects of modelling from the point of view of both an enthusiast and a manufacturer.

Looking ahead to 2022 we are obviously very hopeful that the problems of the pandemic begin to recede as the virus mutates into less virulent strains and the global vaccination programme takes hold. As ever, we tend to time new announcements with the delivery of models; once the Class 320/321 models are delivered we are expecting to offer at least two new mulitple units in N gauge, while we also expect to have exciting news about new wagons in both scales.

And last of all, Revolution is growing – as well as new models and shows, we will be unveiling a new addition to the team in early 2022. Happy New Year to all our friends and supporters!!

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Revolution Class 59 takes shape…

Revolution Trains has received the first Engineering Prototype (EP1) sample of our forthcoming Class 59 diesel in N gauge.

The EP is designed to check the fit of parts, their appearance and the basic performance of the drivetrain, and overall we consider this to be an excellent start, though of course there are areas that will be improved before the next stage of livery sampling.

Specific areas we have identified for improvement are the wheels, the fit of some of the etches (the roof grille was damaged in transit as the packaging that will secure and protect production models is not available yet) and there are some minor blemishes on the body tooling, though this is not unusual as the metal moulds have not yet received a final ‘finishing’ polish.

Like the real thing, the centre cover is easily removed to facilitate access to the Next-18 DCC socket and the light switches that allow DC users to control the tail lights and cab interior lights.

The eagle-eyed will have spotted that this EP is something of a Frankenstein locomotive – combining early pattern Class 59/0 bogies, with Class 59/1 bodyshell and Class 59/2 centre cover. It is not unusual for EP samples to combine parts in this way; naturally details will be combined correctly for specific locomotives at the production stage.

All models supplied with factory fitted sound speaker located in the fuel tank.

Nevertheless, in general we are delighted with the overall look and shape of the model which we feel has captured the character of these powerful and distinctive locomotives. The next step is to finalise the livery diagrams so that decorated samples can be prepared.

Eight liveries (with two running numbers for each) are being offered by Revolution Trains at our low pre-order price of £124.95 (£219.95 with DCC sound fitted).

CLASS 59/0

59001 Yeoman Endeavour in original condition with bell. Foster Yeoman livery. Also available: 59002 Yeoman Enterprise.
59004 Paul A Hammond with updated bogies, yaw dampers, roof pods and exhaust. Revised Foster Yeoman livery. Also available: 59005 Kenneth J Painter, with different roof pod arrangement.
59005 Kenneth J Painter in present condition. Aggregate Industries livery. Also available: 59001 Yeoman Endeavour.

CLASS 59/0

59102 Village of Chantry . ARC Southern livery. Also available: 59104 Village of Great Elm.
59101 Village of Whatley. Hanson livery. Also available: 59103 Village of Mells.

Class 59/2

59203 Vale of Pickering. Model features paired door handles, cosmetic buckeye coupler and correct roof pods. Also available: 59204 Vale of Glamorgan.
59202 Alan Meddows Taylor. DB red livery. Also available: 59201.
59203. Freightliner G&W livery. Also available: 59206 John F Yeoman.

In addition, Class 59/2 locomotives in original National Power livery can be ordered exclusively from Rainbow Railways, and unique locomotive 59003 in two versions of GBRf’s colours can be ordered from Rails of Sheffield.

We are anticipating delivery of the models in Q4 2022 or Q1 2023, though at the present time delivery schedules are harder to estimate due to problems with Covid and worldwide logistics chains.

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Caroline – a painted lady…

Revolution Trains has received decorated samples of two versions of the SR General Manager’s saloon 975025 “Caroline” in 00.

Caroline in original blue grey with indicator box and jumpers, and in present day Network Rail green.

The models are currently being assessed and feedback will be sent to the factory in due course, ahead of the models going into production next year.

Caroline in present day livery with revised lights. Nameplates will be added for production.
Network Rail version with newly fitted toilet retention tank visible in the centre at the far end

Among the corrections to be made before production begins are frosting the glass in the toilet compartment window and specifying that the underframe on the blue-grey version is dark brown, not black.

Caroline can still be ordered at the pre-production price of £149.

The N Gauge version is in tooling and all versions can be reserved at the pre-production price of £130.

975025 in original BR form with SR jumper cables and indicator blind
Network Southeast era 975025 with high-intensity headlight added
Present day Caroline with nameplate, jumpers removed and revised light clusters

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Revolution shunts into Class 18 hybrid…

Revolution is offering the all-new Class 18 battery/diesel hybrid shunting locomotive as its next model aimed at 00 gauge, 4mm scale modellers.

Class 18 (CBD90) at the Chasewater Railway

The new locomotives have been developed by Clayton Equipment Ltd as a zero-emissions replacement for the ageing Class 08 fleet, and are the largest locomotives to be built in the UK for nearly two decades. Their TOPS class 18 designation follows on directly from the last mainline locomotive to be built by Clayton, the Class 17 in the 1960s.

The locomotives are being built by Clayton at their plant in Burton upon Trent

Designated CBD-90 by Clayton – for Clayton Battery Diesel – 90t – five are in use with Tata Steel at locations including Margam and Llanwern, two are in service at Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria, however the largest customer so far is Beacon Rail Leasing Ltd who have ordered 15 – with options on more – to service railway yards and industrial sites across Britain.

Tata Steel CBD90 no. 933 at Margam Knuckle yard. Photo courtesy Arran Aird.
Tata Steel CBD90 at Margam. Photo courtesy Clayton Equipment Ltd.

The locomotives can move more than 2000t and can be recharged via three-phase mains for zero-emissions operation; should a suitable power supply not be on hand the locomotives have a small diesel engine for on-board charging.

18001 coupled to HAA wagons during demonstrations

Revolution Trains first became aware of this project during discussions with Beacon Rail some three years ago and have been awarded an exclusive licence to develop their models. We were delighted to attend a recent event organised by Beacon Rail at the Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire to demonstrate 18001 to prospective users from the UK, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The bright, open cab offers a much improved crew environment over the cramped Class 08

We also took the oppportunity to record the locomotive sounds as we will be offering DCC Sound options.

CBD90 cab fabrication

With the full support of Clayton we also visited their plant while 18001 was being built for further research, and have been furnished with detailed diagrams and CAD to ensure the models will be as accurate as possible.

18001 under construction earlier this year.

The prototypes are modular and there are some variations in configuration; Revolution’s models will reflect these and feature our usual detail refinements including separate detail parts and photo-etched components where appropriate. DCC Sound options will be offered, and we are aiming to replicate the lighting arrangements, including the coloured shunting beacons, as accurately as possible.

The models will also be designed for simple conversion to P4/EM standards.

Initially these versions will be offered, however should other liveries appear these will be added subject to agreement with the operator.

Beacon 18001
Tata Steel

Rails of Sheffield will be the exclusive retailer for these models, and they will be available to order in due course. The models are expected to be ready to ship late next year or early 2023.

CAD work is already underway and images will be published soon. An N gauge version will follow should this model prove popular.

Revolution Trains would like to thank Beacon Rail Leasing Ltd, Clayton Equipment Ltd and Tata Steel for their assistance in producing this model.