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It’s time for Revolution’s red death!

Revolution Trains Class 66 EP1 sample.

Revolution Trains is offering the Class 66 as its next diesel in N gauge. In a departure from our normal practice, the model has been tooled and samples have been tested and approved with decorated samples imminent.

In addition, we have created Revolution Bespoke – which will allow you to specify your own individually numbered loco when ordering!

The models are being offered in both original 4-door tier 0 (UIC 1) and low emission 5-door tier 1 (UIC 2) versions, and our tooling suite allows for prototypical variations in bodyshells, underframes, bogies, horn grilles, marker lights, tie-down loops, sandboxes, light clusters, buffers and couplers.

This means that we can offer not only the ‘standard’ EWS, Freightliner and GBRf versions but some of the more interesting variants including those repatriated from Europe, with UIC standard features, and the last batch built at Muncie, Indiana, with distinctive cab end recesses.

The prototype

The Class 66 revolutionised railfreight in Britain when it entered service a quarter of a century ago, and there are more than 500 of the type in service. On their introduction in 1998 they rapidly became known as the ‘red death’ as their power and reliability led to the rapid withdrawal of numerous older British Rail types.

The Red Death begins: 66001 at Toton TMD in 1998. Photo: Tim Horn, Creative Commons.

After acquiring Britain’s railfreight businesses in the 1996 rail privatisation, Wisconsin Central’s Ed Burkhardt’s quickly realised that large numbers of powerful, reliable new locomotives were needed if he was to make a success of the fledgling English, Welsh and Scottish Railway.

Having examined the US-built Class 59s, with their unparallelled levels of reliability, he placed an order with EMD for 250 locomotives to a similar design.

Designated Class 66 under TOPS, the new locomotives were faster than the 59s, had a greater range, and were supplied with radial (self-steering) bogies, for reduced track wear. To speed things up the Class 59 ‘outline’ was used as it was known to conform to the British loading gauge – a factor that would significantly reduce the time needed for UK approval and certification.

Since then the design’s versatility and reliability have seen it ordered by most other UK freight operators.

The model

Like the locos ordered by Ed Burkhardt, Revolution’s model builds on our successful Class 59 with many shared chassis parts and a similar specification. This includes photo etched grilles all round, numerous separate body and detail parts and a plethora of tooling options to allow prototypical variations in bodyshell, bogies, lighting arrangements, horn grilles, cab windows, cab interiors and underframes.

Revolution Class 66 sample on ‘Chirk’ by Allen Pearson.

Of more than 500 Class 66s in service in Britain there are only a handful that we cannot offer, and while we are not attempting to produce every version immediately over the coming years, we do look forward to filling the gaps in the options available to N gauge enthusiasts.

Like our Class 59, all Revolution Trains Class 66 locomotives will be supplied with one end superdetailed with full air dam and cosmetic couplers/air pipes at one end and slotted air dam with standard N coupler in NEM pocket at the other, however all models are supplied with duplicate parts so you can configure your model with superdetailing or working couplers at both ends should you prefer.

Liveries

Revolution is offering a selection of locomotives in our standard range including all the main operators. Named locomotives will come with the name printed on the bodyside at 95% size plus photo-etched nameplates for the customer to fit.

66083 – EWS

‘Standard’ EWS version with original BMAC lights, swinghead buckeye couplers and driver cab mirrors. 66083 is still carrying this livery in 2023.

66538 – original Freightliner

With ‘bug’eye’ lights representing second batch ordered by Freightliner. 66538 is still carrying this livery in 2023.

66704 – orginal GBRf

As first batch of seven delivered to GBRf with early logo and BMAC lights. Cab colour golden yellow.

66404 – DRS ‘Compass’

Represents first batch delivered to DRS in 2003 with bug-eye lights.

66128 – DB red with large logo

Depicted in 2016+ condition with revised BMAC lights.

66848 – Colas Rail Freight

With bug-eye lights is one of the locos acquired by Colas from Freightliner.

66795 – GBRf

Ex-Euro loco repatriated from Germany with ‘Euro’ details including extended horn grille, UIC cab interior and rectangular buffers. Supplied with Bescot LDC nameplates. Cab colour bright orange.

66303 – DRS plain blue

Low emission locomotive with modified BMAC lights.

66720 ‘Wascosa’ – GBRf

Low emission version with bug-eye lights and Wascosa branding. Supplied with ‘Wascosa’ nameplates.

66623 – Freightliner Genessee & Wyoming livery

Early G&W repaint from mid-2019, with revised BMAC lights.

66752 ‘The Hoosier State’ – GBRf Europorte livery

First of the last batch of locos built at Muncie, Indiana (which is nicknamed the Hoosier state) with revised details including cab front recess and extended sandboxes.

Please note graphic images are illustrative only.

Introducing ‘Revolution Bespoke…’

In addition Revolution has partnered up with Rainbow Railways to offer a new service so you can order not just the loco you like, but the individual running number you want too.

For a small premium any of our standard livery models can be ordered with your choice of number and, if appropriate, fitted etched nameplates. This work will be carried out by Rainbow Railways after the factory decorated base models are here and you will receive your chosen the locomotive soon after the main production is shipped.

The cost for this is £20 for printed details, £30 for printed details plus fitted photo-etched nameplates.

EWS maroon. Possible numbers: 66004-200. . Can be supplied with DB logo instead of EWS where appropriate.
GBRf blue. Possible numbers 66701-7 GBRf. Can be supplied with original or revised GBRf lettering.
Freightliner original. Possible numbers 66538-81, 66607-22 original Freightliner.
DB red. Possible numbers: 66004-200. Note: model has revised light clusters so is only suitable for refitted locomotives.

Revolution Bespoke also applies to DRS, revised GBRf and Colas versions.

Full options and prices will be available after Warley.

DCC, lights and sound

Like our Class 59, the Class 66 will feature ESU’s new E24 nano decoder. These decoders are smaller than Next 18 but offer significantly more functions, enabling all lights to be individually controlled and enabling us to offer fully prototypical working lights on DCC with directional headlights and marker lights, cab interior lights, two different yard modes for shunting and park mode.

With a nod to the prototype, the DCC decoder socket, and DC lighting switches, are accessed by removing the centre engine panel.

As with our other powered models Revolution is offering DC Silent and DCC Sound versions, with different sound files for the original locomotives and the low emission variants.

Prices and timelines

Because we have already reached the EP sample stage with this model the duration of the pre-order period will be significantly reduced, and we expect to put these models into production soon after Chinese New Year in late February, with delivery expected in late summer/early autumn 2024.

The standard models are available to order until 31 January 2024 at a discounted Earlybird price of £144.95 DC Silent and £239.95 for DCC Sound, after which the price will rise to the MSRP of £159.95 DC Silent or £254.95 for DCC Sound.

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Revolution at Warley 2023

As usual Revolution Trains will be attending the Warley National Model Railway Show in Hall 5 at the NEC next Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th November 2023.

We are on stand D51 – at the far end of the hall directly in front of the entrance – making us easy to find, though you might get distracted on the way…

Warley is the UK’s largest show and 2023 is its 29th year at the NEC. This year’s event will feature over 80 layouts, and along with Revolution Trains there are more than 120 traders and manufacturers. The show is consistently voted Britain’s best model railway exhibition, and is a must-see for many enthusiasts.

Our display this year is a little larger, to reflect Reviolution Trains’ steady and measured growth, which is why we have moved from our usual spot, but our display cabinets will still be crammed with all our latest samples for you to examine as well as our next N gauge powered model, which is being officially announced on Wednesday morning.

There’ll also be our popular Progress chart and we will have new catalogues available to pick up for free in both 00 and N and regular show goers know we are always much more indiscreet about our future plans and projects when chatting face-to-face; with the caveat that secrets shared in person are not broadcast on the web! So far no one has betrayed our confidences – so thanks for that!

In additon we will have limited stocks of some models on sale including our 00 FNA-Ds and N-gauge Class 92s, Wascosa JNA box wagons, STVA car carriers, PCV cement wagons and various other models.

See you at the show!

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A painted lady…

Revolution Trains has received painted samples of its forthcoming N gauge model of Southern Region General Manager’s Inspection Saloon 975025 ‘Caroline.’

All model images courtest Tom Everitt.

The models were on display at the Great Electric Train Show at the Milton Keynes stadium and are now being assessed prior to final approval.

Above: A selection of images illustrating 975025’s long history, including its roll-out at Stewart’s Lane, its part in the Royal Wedding in 1981, in Network Southeast guise and as it operates now, usually propelled by a Class 37 locomotive. Photos ( clockwise from top left) courtesy Simon Cartlidge-Swain, Chris Leigh, Chris Wilson collection, Ian Buck, Steve Poole and Arran Aird.

Revolution is offering three variants of the saloon, covering periods from its conversion from a Hastings buffet car in 1969 up to its current condition when operated on behalf of Network Rail.

975025 as originally converted in blue grey livery with full yellow ends and chocolate brown underframe. Along with the windscreens, tunnel inspection lights and two-character headcode box the coach had SR 27-way jumper cables, so it could drive any similarly equipped unit or locomotive.
975025 in Network Southeast livery with black underframe and yellow axleboxes. At this time a high intensity headlight was added.
975025 ‘Caroline’ after naming in its current Brunswick Green livery with revised end light clusters and blanked over headcode panel

Some small adjustments will be made before production, especially to the yellow. The models have similar working light functions to the 00 versions, though the footstep light is absent in N, and a Next-18 DCC decoder socket.

The order book will be closing for these models on December 31st 2023. We strongly recommend ordering before then as our website has been known to crash if too many leave it right to the last minute!

However, if you do miss out these models are expected to be available from retailers, albeit at a higher price to allow for their margins.

Delivery of these models is expected in Q2 2024, but that may be subject to change.

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Revolution gets to GETS

Once again Revolujtion Trains is attending the Great Electric Train Show at Milton Keynes this Saturday October 14th and Sunday October 15th.

We’re on Stand 21, and it’s a chance for many of our supporters and customers to take a first look at our latest amples including decorated N gauge Cartic-4 car carriers, FNA-D flask wagons and ‘Caroline’ inspection saloons plus EP1 samples of our forthcoming London Underground 1938 stock trains and Class 175/180 DMUs.

There will be plenty for 00 enthusiasts to see too, incuding decorated samples of our KSA Rover ‘Cube’ wagons and timber carriers, YLA Mullets, Parrs, Super Tenches and Borails, plus EP samples of our exciting Cartic-4 wagons, new-variant JNA Ealnos box wagons for Touax, Cappagh and Network Rail (available to pre-order very soon) and, for the 009 fraternity, the EP samples of the Vale of Rheidol 2-6-2 steam locomotives we are producing exclusively for Model Rail magazine.

In addition we will have models on sale including N gauge Class 92s, IPA car carriers and Network Rail/Wascosa JNA wagons, along with 00 gauge FNA-D nuclear flask carriers.

As ever we will have our popular project progress chart on display, so you can see at a glance the status of any models you’re interested, and of course the team will be on hand to answer questions, listen to feedback or new product ideas and maybe let slip one or two upcoming secret projects.

See you at the weekend!

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September 30th – N gauge deadline day!

It’s another Revolution Trains deadline day – this time for a slew of upcoming N gauge models: the class 313 and 314 Electric Multiple Units, BR Borail, BR YLA Mullet, YQA Parr and YQA Super Tench plus FNA-D modern nuclear flask carrier.

Once the order books close these models will go into production. They will become available in due course from retailers but at a price that includes their margin.

If you are ordering more than one product type please make separate orders as the models are likely to arrive at different times and we can more easily ensure you get the models you want as soon as we have them if they are ordered separately.

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Mk5 sleepers – a bit of a drag?

Revolution has received the first consignment of its Mk5 coaches. These are the Caledonian Sleeper versions; the TPE sets are due within the next few weeks.

Chapter and verse – Caledonian Sleeper book sets are here

Models have been dispatched for all pre-paid customers (though some international orders may not have arrived) and we are now working our way through balance payments to fufil remaining orders.

Retailers will be receiving their models soon too.

In the box

All models are supplied with full instructions, a ‘lighting rod’ to operate the interior and tail lighting, working Dellner-style couplers for those who desire added realism and a pair of ‘long’ NEM couplers for use on outer coaches coupled to locomotives that do not have kinematic couplers.

Marshalling your train

In addition to the instructions included we have designed the guides below to enable customers to marshall their trains prototypically.

Caledonian Sleeper runs two distinct services: The Lowlander and The Highlander.

The Lowlander links London Euston with Glasgow and Edinburgh. The train comprises two half-sets and splits (or reforms when running south) at Carstairs.

Revolution Lowlander sets have the code RT-CS-LS-Mk5 packX and can be marshalled as shown.

Haulage is usually Caledonian Sleeper or GBRf Class 92 throughout.

The Highlander links London Euston with Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness. This train runs from Euston to Edinburgh where it splits into the various sections, and Fort William trains have two additional day coaches added. The split between sleepers for Aberdeen or Fort William also varies to take account of seasonal fluctuations and tourist traffic.

Revolution Highlander sets have the code RT-CS-HS-Mk5 packX and can be marshalled as shown.

Haulage is Class 92 between London and Edinburgh, then Class 73/9s (often assisted by a GBRf Class 66) take over for the non-electrified lines north.

Excess drag on some wheelsets

We have sent out thousands of Mk5 coaches and inevitably some customers have reported issues – primarily excessive drag on some wheelsets.

Designing smooth running bogies with inside bearings and power pick-ups is a challenge in N gauge; the Revolution models feature metal half-axles in spacer muffs running in metal ring bearings in an effort to overcome this. 

On our test samples the performance was very smooth, however it is possible that in mass production the alignment of some wheelsets or components may be mis-shapen or just badly fitted. The tolerances involved are hundredths of a millimetre.

Ideally there would be no problems at all, but if you do have difficulties here are some suggestions:

  • Let the models run. Several customers have reported that after a period of running in the drag decreases rapidly as the axles and bearings burnish and settle.
  • We have found that removing any stiff wheelsets and reseating them can often free them up (the wheelsets simply unclip from the bogie and then clip back in.)
  • Check the pick-ups. Some customers have found small burrs which prevent them seating properly in the bogie frame. Correcting this can improve running significantly.
  • Check the back-to-back dimensions. If the wheels are slightly too close together they can ‘pinch’ the pick ups, exacerbating any drag.
  • We recommend that you check that the wheelsets are free running before putting 16 coaches behind your favourite loco. If you’re running-in your coaches as suggested above we suggest doing them in small batches. 
  • Please do not apply any form of liquid lubricant, as such chemicals may react with the plastic of the bogies.
  • Anyone experiencing ongoing problems, or who is nervous about making such checks themselves, is urged to contact our customer support manager for assistance using the email address in the instructions.
  • Also, while we do our best to follow social media it is inevitable that we will miss some posts and information. If you have found issues/solutions with our Mk5s that we may not be aware of please email our support line so we can add that experience to the pool of knowledge.

Needless to say we want to ensure all customers are happy with their models and will continue to investigate all issues and offer solutions.

We have also asked the factory to check the pick ups and bogies on the Mk5 TPE sets currently finishing production to hopefully ensure similar issues are not found with these models when they are delivered.

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KSAs in colour… Rover ‘cube’ and timber carriers impress

Revolution has received decorated samples of its 00 gauge 1:76.2 scale KSA Rover ‘Cube’ and timber carrier wagons for evaluation.

The prototypes were built in 1995 by Rautaruukki of Finland and intended to carry components for the Rover car company. These parts were large but light, so the wagons were designed to the limits of the loading gauge to maximise the number that could be carried.

Photo courtesy Kevin Payne.

In 2001, after Rover ceased operations, a number were transferred to the Malcolm Group for their Anglo-Scottish services tranporting bulky goods including bottled water, and two wagons were given their colourful red and blue colours.

Revolution is offering the Rover liveried models in maroon and grey in four twin packs, making a total of eight differently numbered wagons available.

Photo courtesy Gordon Edgar.

In addition, the two Malcolm wagons are available in their own twin pack and these will be available from our selected retailers.

Photo courtesy Tom Smith.

In 2012 several of the wagons were selected for conversion into timber carriers for Kronospan traffic from Scotland, north and south west England and south Wales to Chirk. In these trains KSAs are often mixed with the blue IWA ‘Rfnoos’ wagons already produced by Revolution Trains

Photos courtesy Steve Knight, Barry Lewis used under Creative Commons.

The conversion involved removal of the top covers, isolation of the centre well lift mechanism and addition of side stanchions. In addition, slats were cut in the outer ends to improve air flow in some wagons. Revolution is offering both designs.

Once the decorated samples have been checked and assessed the models will be cleared for production. There are some minor changes we want to make such as darkening the blue shade on the Malcolm’s versions.

The deadline for pre-ordering is December 31st 2023, with the models expected to be delivered in Q1-2 2024, subject to delays caused by Chinese New Year.

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Fantastic-4 – Revolution Cartic samples in 00 and N!

Revolution Trains has received decorated samples of its N gauge Cartic-4 car carrier wagons and EP1 samples of the 00 versions which are following closely behind.

00 EP1 samples of Cartic-4 variants with side mesh screens and with solid side screens, with or without roofs, as added in the 1980s.

As built 1960s-70s version of the Cartic-4 in N gauge with stanchions and safety ropes along the top deck in MAT Transauto livery.

The full 00 Cartic-4 is approx 814mm over buffers.

The Cartic-4s were built in the 1960s with a double-deck design to enable British Railways to satisfy the rapidly growing demands of the UK car industry. Some sets were also used for the new Motorail service allowing passengers to take their cars on holiday with them to destinations in south west England, Wales and Scotland.

Operators included MAT, Silcock & Collings and later STVA.

Originally designed with open sides, in the 1980s some wagons were fitted with ‘Expamet’ screens and others with solid panels to prevent damage from stones, ballast etc.

Revolution 00 EP sample of version with ‘Expamet’ side screens

As can be seen from the image above, the articulated joints are not dissimilar to the real thing and incorporate a common lower plate on the bogie pivot with an end vertical peg on the diecast lower deck of the unit dropping into a locating hole. The 00 model is shown but the principle is the same on the N gauge version.

Please note that the EP samples are just to check fit of parts and running – some fine details, such as the ribs on the roofs, are yet to be engraved into the moulds as they have been on the N gauge decorated version.

As our models need to cope with far tighter curves than the real thing there are two holes – one for those needing easier clearances, and one offering scale separation for those with more generous curves.

Revolution Cartic-4s on test over 2nd radius setrack S-curves.

Revolution is offering Cartics in both scales to cover the full lifespan of these fascinating and eye-catching vehicles. Although the N gauge decorated samples are shown below, the liveries and colour schemes will be the same in 00.

Introduced in 1966, the first production units were put into service by BR on Motorail trains, and by MAT Transauto and Silcock & Collings on new car deliveries.

From the early 1980s operators began making alterations to the wagons to protect their loads being damaged by thrown stones and so on.

Silcock & Collings’ solution was to add side screens, and later roofs, while MAT fitted Expamet mesh sides.

In the mid-1990s MAT was acquired by STVA, and in their final iteration the wagons received STVA’s pale grey livery with red lettering.

We are still accepting orders at the lower pre-order price in both scales, though the N gauge version is likely to close out in the next couple of months so production can begin with delivery estimated for Q2 2024.

The 00 gauge model has been thoroughly tested on 2nd radius curves and the next step will be painted samples in 4mm; these models are expected to ship in Q3 next year.

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Mullets can look good…

Revolution Trains has received decorated samples of its forthcoming 00 gauge BR Borail EB/EC and MB wagons, BRV and BRA steel carriers and YLA Mullet, YQA Super Tench engineering flats.

BORAIL MB (front) and BRV rear. Please note all the samples shown have accommodation wheels. Production models will have wheelsets of the correct scale diameter.

The Borails were built in the late 1950s and early 1960s as EB and MB variants (with five bolsters) and EC (no bolsters) for the Eastern and Midland regions to convey pre-stressed concrete beams and other long, heavy items. They had 8′ plate bogies, five-spoke handbrake wheels and twelve chain loops on each side.

Chain loops on each side are separate fittings. On production models the deck will be a slightly lighter shade.

Under TOPS in the 1970s they were coded BRV, then in the early 1980s 150 were fitted with air brakes, six bolsters, recoded BRA and used for steel traffic, particularly rails, primarily from British Steel Workington. These wagons were painted railfreight red during the rebuild.

The shade of Railfreight red will be corrected on this version, and the bolsters will be correclty configured.

Later the fleet was transferred to the engineers and given the fishkind name Mullet. Most received CE ‘Dutch’ livery. On some wagons the bolsters were removed and replaced with longitudinal baulks for carrying concrete sleepers; these were given the fishkind name Parr, while post privatisation some were designated Super Tench, having their upper body replaced with modular ISO standard mesh-sided cages.

Livery variations included variations in CE Dutch – with some wagons receiving Railfreight grey underframes; all-over mainline blue, and EWS maroon. Versions of these are all available to pre-order in packs with two wagons that complement each other.

These are a selection of the twin packs available; full details of the complete range and wagon identies are on the order page. Please note N gauge graphics are shown; however the 00 versions are the same.

Detail features on these models include fine photo etched mesh sides, separate wire and plastic details, NEM couplers in kinematic pockets and four different designs of brakewheel.

Once the decorated samples are assessed feedback will be sent, and then the models will be ready to go into production. The order book will close in due course.

For those who prefer not to pre-order, these twin packs are expected to be available from retailers, albeit at a higher price.

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Sparta Revolution plays (badly) for charity!

Revolution Trains – in its football alter-ego Sparta Revolution – took part in a 5-a-side football tournament with rail industry teams from Beacon Rail, GBRf, Freightliner, Avanti, Lumo, Progress Rail, Yellow Rail and Network Rail among others to raise money for charity in East London today, Thursday September 7th.

Sparta Revolution Top Row L-R: Ben Jones, Ben Ando, Alex Perkins, Simon Veasey, Mike Buick; Bottom Row L-R Jo Ando, Mike Hale, Amber Veasey

The annual tournament organised by Beacon Rail sees squads of eight from across the rail industry taking part in a day-long tournament to Power League rules, with all money raised going to The Railway Children charity, the same charity that will benefit from the N gauge Prize Draw Revolution is running now and over the weekend at TINGS.

The rules specify that every team should have at least one member of the opposite sex on the pitch at all times, and to help with the gender mix daughters Jo Ando and Amber Veasey gamely agreed to take part.

And as Revolution only has four employees our friends Ben Jones from Heljan and Alex Perkins from Cavalex also agreed to don the orange and black.

Unfortunately a crushing lack of skill and fitness saw Revolution make a clean sweep of results: Played 4, Won 0, Drawn 0 and Lost 4 with Revolution roundly thrashed by teams from Network Rail (the eventual runners-up), Avanti, GBRf and Freightliner. In the words of a Norwegian commentator in 1981, ‘our boys (and girls) took a hell of a beating…!’

In all the event raised well over £10,000 and, on the hottest day of the year, resulted in remarkably few casualties.

Revolution’s Mike Hale (L) and Ben Ando with Rob Dee, Beacon Rail Chief Commercial Officer

With TINGS approaching this weekend, and set-up day tomorrow, the timing may have been unfortunate as far as potential injuries were concerned but, other than a broken(!) wrist and a strained calf, the team made it through relatively unscathed and we look forward to seeing everyone this weekend at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre.

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Revolution at TINGS – again!

Revolution Trains will once again be attending the International N Gauge Show at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre this coming weekend – September 9th-10th.

We are on stand 18 in the nearside corner of the hall – if you turn a hard right as you enter and keep walking you can’t miss us!

As ever we are very much looking forward to meeting and chatting with old friends and new and showing off the progress on our many N gauge projects.

On display will be EP samples of our forthcoming Class 175 and 180 units and 1938 stock tube trains, along with decorated samples of our upcoming Cartic-4 car carriers.

The show also gives enthusiasts the opportunity to see up close samples of those models about to go into production, such as the Class 313 units (including those available exclusively from Rails of Sheffield with T7 translator cars), Borail, Mullet, Parr and Super Tench wagons and FNA-D nuclear flask carriers.

But wait! There’s more! We will also be happy to chat in person on progress of other previously announced models including the Class 120 Swindon units, IHA steel coil carrier, K-type Pullmans and Class 377/387 Electrostar models, plus anything else we may have up our sleeves.

And remember, we are invariably far more indiscreet in person than online – provided it isn’t blurted all over the web we are usually happy to share other more secret plans face-to-face to help customers with their budgeting.

PFA and gypsum container orders: customers wishing to collect their PFAs and/or gypsum container packs will be able to do so if you let us know by 2100 on Thursday 7 September. Shipments and balance invoices will begin to be sent out shortly, but if you would like to collect your order(s) at TINGS this weekend please complete the short form here. You will be able to pay any balance due at the show.

Prize draw: as a final incentive we will be offering tickets for a charity prize draw to raise funds for the Railway Children charity with some wonderful prizes (including some no longer available models) – please look out for the separate post on the prize draw (tickets will be available online and at the show)!

See you at the show!

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Nuclear secrets…

With our FNA-D nuclear flask wagons now in stock here with Revolution and with retailers we have received some enquiries from customers about the variations in hazchem panels applied to the models.

When loaded, the wagons are required to run with panels indicating the contents – for these wagons this is 3329 7 fissile nuclear material, which comes with assorted regulations for loading, transportation and unloading, and showing the Radsafe information line number for use if necessary.

In addition, the wagons can carry the appropriate ADR/EU orange hazard labels with the same 3329 code, though this is not always present.

When running empty – either to a nuclear site, for repair or maintenance, or as a barrier wagon or spare, the panels do not carry any warnings at all, and to enable our customers to replicate this we are offering one wagon – version 3 – which does not have the warnings present. This table shows the panels on each of the models on offer.

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Vive la France! French steel carriers next in 00 and N!

Revolution Trains is offering the IHA ‘Sfhimmns’ canvas covered steel coil carriers as its next wagon model in 00 and N.

CAD is complete and the models in both scales are in tooling, however the 00 model is slightly more advanced than the N gauge version.

The stubby design, with its characteristic platform at one end above the buffers to allow staff to cross safely from one side of a train to the other, is a familiar sight on steel trains and often intermixed with other designs such as the Thrall-built BRA/BYA ‘Nissen hut’ design.

66303 on Dee Marsh – Margam service. Photo courtesy Roger Cutts.
Tata Steel Clayton battery hybrid shunter 930 shunts IHA wagons at Knuckle Yard, South Wales. This locomotive type is also being offered by Revolution Trains. Courtesy Clayton Equipment Ltd.

Photos: Clockwise from left – 66007 on Margam-Wembley enterprise, 2009. Courtesy Robert Catterson; GBRf 66755 with Grain-Margam service; 47212 in RfD livery at Kingswinford Junc. in 1995. Courtesy Dave Gomersall.

47805 ‘Talisman’ and 47769 ‘Resolve’ on hire to Colas with a short train for Dollands moor, 209. Courtesy David Smith.
Colas 56113 with imported steel from Boston bound for the Midlands in 2016. Courtesy GarstangpostT21.

There are around 250 of the type in use for transporting high-grade steel on a variety of flows. These include domestic steel from South Wales to destinations in the midlands, north and south-east of England and via the Channel tunnel to customers in France, Belgium and Holland.

IHA wagons at Botlek in the Netherlands. The smaller British loading gauge is very apparent in this image courtesy of Paul van Duin.

These wagons are also used to feed imported steel from ports on the east coast and Thames estuary to steel terminals inland.

Left: 08507 shunts IHAs over the swing bridge at Boston Docks. Courtesy 6089 Gardener. Right: IHAs at Wolverhampton Steel Terminal. Courtesy Stephen Burdett.

Protoype history

The first batch of 48 wagons were built by Fauvet Girel in 1991, registered in France and given the UIC code Sfhimms; the ‘f’ in the code signifying their suitability in the smaller British loading gauge. Further batches were built in 1993 and 1998.

There are very minor variations between batches and these are accounted for in the Revolution tooling.

Now owned by wagon leasing company Ermewa, the wagons have red bogies, underframes and ends and grey canvas covers.  Some have yellow discs painted in the covers signifying they are reserved for domestic traffic only.

Recently, as the canvas covers came due for renewal, wagon owners Ermewa began adding its branding more prominently.

These graphics are for illustrative purposes only and not approved painting diagrams.

A further batch of similarly-coded wagons was built in 2008-9 by Astra Rail (now Greenbrier) in Romania and finished in GE (now Touax) blue livery, however these are to a different design and are not the subject of this model.

Model features

The wagons feature our usual levels of detailing with lots of separate parts and photo-etched platforms at one end and NEM coupler pockets in kinematic mounts.

The models are also designed for easy conversion to EM or P4 standards, with axles set at 26mm. The brake blocks on the model will be supplied correct for its 00 wheels, but additional mounting holes have been incorporated into the frames to make widening them straightforward.

Formations and destinations…

During our research we have identified numerous flows these wagons are used on however it is quite possible there are others we have not come across.

The majority of the flows on the diagram are now operated by DB, however the Margam-Dee Marsh and Grain-Llanwern contracts are now in the hands of GBRf, on occasion using hired in locomotives. The Trostre-Tilbury trains and those carrying imported steel from Boston use Colas traction, often Class 56.

One reason for offering these wagons, as our popular sample consists diagram shows, is that they tie in very nicely with other models already available – such as the BYA from Bachmann, IGA from Heljan, IWA from Dapol and JSA from Accurascale, enabling enthusiasts to depict more authentic steel traffic.

We would like to thank Ermewa and DB/Axiom for permission to use their logos and IP and their generous help with information and facilitating close up inspections of the real thing.

We are hoping to have first samples of these models for evaluation very soon, with delivery expected by summer next year.

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Revolution and Rails 313 exclusives

Rails of Sheffield have teamed up with Revolution Trains to offer three exciting exclusive models for N gauge enthusiasts, based on the forthcoming Class 313 units.

The models are Network Rail’s 313121 test train in yellow livery, Southern’s 313201 in revised BR Blue and a twin-pack containing the Arlington Fleet Services T7 vehicles used as translators for multiple unit moves.

313121 was converted in 2013 at Wembley to enable engineers to test the new European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and painted into a yellow livery. 

The former commuter unit was chosen for this role as it can operate on either overhead and third rail power and has can be used on restricted gauge routes.

313121 at Camden Town. Photo Roger Marks under Creative Commons.

In 2017 Class 313 pioneer 313201 (former 313001) was repainted by Beacon Rail and Govia into BR Blue (with with grey doors to conform to modern accessibility regulations) to mark more than four decades of service given by the class. 

313201 also took part in the recent ‘Class 313 Farewell’ railtour from Brighton to Portsmouth and Hastings recently.

In 2014 two outer driving cars from unit 508207 were converted at Arlington in Eastleigh into translator units coded T7 to enable locomotives with standard hook and shackle couplers to move multiple units fitted with tightlock couplers.

The two vehicles, 64664 and 64707, were painted bright mint green and named Liwet and Labezerin in 2016.  Often seen travelling to and from deliveries behind a GBRf Class 66, the pair offer a complete train in a single box.

Our models feature a working tightlock couplers at the cab ends and standard N gauge couplers, with working directional red tail lights, at the non-cab ends. The models are expected to ship in Q1-2 2024. 

Revolution will be closing the order book for its own Class 313s at the end of September, to allow customers to see the decorated samples on our stand at The International N Gauge Show, after which the models are still likely to be available from retailers but at a higher price.

Model photos of 313121, 313201 and T7 cars courtesy of Rails of Sheffield and Tom Everitt.

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It’s Radio Revolution!

Ben and Mike from Revolution Trains were delighted to be invited onto Jeremy Vine’s popular lunchtime show on BBC Radio 2 today, Thursday July 13th to talk about the fun to be had with model railways and demonstrate some of our latest models – including one of our sound-fitted locomotives.

Ben Ando, Jeremy Vine and Mike (S)Hale!

Jeremy’s show is by far the most popular lunchtime programme on British radio with around 7 milion listeners every day, and has had some very special guests over the years.

The chance to go on to talk up the hobby we all love was not to be missed especially as recently attention has been returning to more practical hobbies and away from the virtual world of computer screens. If you want to listen the segment is from 1:37 onwards:

The locomotive you can hear operating is one of our N gauge Class 59 diesels; we also showed Jeremy one of our new run Class 390 Pendolinos and our JNA box wagons in both 00 and N.

During the conversation Jeremy admitted that he had come close to starting out in model railways himself, after hearing about Rod Stewart’s amazing layout, but in the end was slightly daunted by the various skills needed and the scale of the work involved. Instead, well known cyclist Jeremy decided to buy himself a penny-farthing bicycle!

After the main sequence there was a short phone-in section and it was great to talk to Dan Evason of Tunnel Lane Model Railways too!

It’s always a pleasure to talk about – and talk up – the World’s Greatest Hobby!

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ROG invites Revolution to see the 93…

Revolution Trains has been able to go and visit the first of the new Class 93s – 93001 – at the depot being used by its owners Rail Operations Group as a base for the approvals procedures now needed before the locomotives can enter service.

The Class 93s are tri-modes – able to draw power from 25kV OHLE, from an onboard battery pack or from a 1200hp Caterpillar diesel.  They are designed as a flexible go-anywhere option (one reason why, unlike early renders, the finished loco has a yellow front panel) and this week ROG have been displaying the new arrival to a succession of potential users.

Our visit is going to be the first of several as we adapt the CADs we already have (derived from information sent by Stadler) to match the locomotive as it is built and incorporating alterations made during that process. 

Draft CAD image. Even a cursory glance will reveal numerous variations between this and the as-built locomotive

For example, some parts of the underframe have been altered or reconfigured and initially the design followed European practice in not having cab door windows; these have since been added and will be to our CAD of course.

For ROG the next stage is a combination of testing both in Britain and abroad and there may well be further changes to ensure the locomotive conforms to any further gauging, safety, operator or staff requirements and these will be incorporated. 

While we are keen to develop this model as quickly as possible we will not begin the expensive tooling until the locomotive is in its ‘service’ condition; furthermore the licence we have with Stadler and ROG stipulates that the models must not be released before the locomotives begin to enter service.

We’d like to thank the team at ROG for welcoming us yesterday, and for a rather nice guidebook, and look forward to providing further updates as the project develops. In the next week or so look out for a short video giving more detailed information about this trip and the next stage of the locomotive’s development and introduction.

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Revolution at DEMU Showcase – again!

Revolution Trains will again be attending the DEMU Showcase event in Sutton Coldfield this weekend, June 17th and 18th 2023.

Both Mike and Ben are long-standing members of DEMU – the modelling society intended for those modelling diesel and electric subjects – and Showcase is invariably the first entry in the exhibition calendar every year.

As well as a chance to demonstrate some of our latest samples, such as the N gauge Class 313 units, FNA-D flask carrier and incoming Pendolino production samples it is also a great social occasion and we enjoy chatting to friends old and new about all things model railway!

We are on stand 8 this year, just inside the entrance next to our friends at Rainbow Railways.

See you at the show!

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Revolution backs DB and Drax!

Revolution Trains would like to thank our friends at DB Cargo UK and Drax Power for inviting us to join a locomotive naming ceremony at York in honour of Martin House Children’s Hospice this Friday June 2nd.

66190 was the locomotive selected by DB for the honour and arrived into the station for the ceremony gleaming from a fresh repaint and ready for the unveiling, which was carried out by representatives of Martin House, Network Rail, and DB accompanied by families who’d used the services of the hospice.

Martin House fundraising head Rosie Mellor-Silvester leads the unveiling of the distinctive nameplate.

DB Cargo UK’s head of sales Roger Neary told those watching that in four years of fundraising, primarily through a series of exclusive charter excursions, DB, Network Rail and the wider rail industry had raised an incredible £200,000 for Martin House.

He vowed this work would continue, adding that the naming would help to raise awareness of the charity as the locomotive carries its name around the network.

Revolution was invited because of our previous support of Martin House, having worked with Drax and Rails of Sheffield to raise funds for the charity through sales of our N gauge models of Drax’s striking IIA-D biomass hoppers.

Several twin-sets were repackaged for the day with commemorative Martin House/Drax branding for on-the-day presentations and to be auctioned to raise more for Martin House.

Drax Power head of logistics Mark Gibbens and Rosie Mellor-Silvester with Mike Hale and Ben Ando from Revolution.
Revolution Trains IIA-D biomass hoppers in current Drax ‘Renewable Pioneers’ liveries. These are still available in limited numbers from Rails of Sheffield.

The ceremony was followed by a short railtour from York to Gascoigne Wood and on to Drax itself, where guests were given a brief tour of the power station which is Western Europe’s largest.

The DB/Drax railtour passes Knottingley with newly named 66190 leading and 60044 bringing up the rear. Photo: Martin Elsey/Creative Commons

The train comprised Mk2b generator (Formerly BFK) M17105, Mk2f FOs M3325 and M3345 and MK2f RFB M1200, all in blue grey livery, top-and-tailed by 66190 and 60044.

Due to the requirement for a reversing manoeuvre 60044 led the train for part of the journey. Photo courtsesy Phil Precious.

Revolution’s friend and celebrity rail enthusiast Francis Bourgeois joined us on board and, while an 00 modeller himself, surprised us by saying the production samples of Revolution’s Caledonian Sleeper coaches and decorated samples of our Silverlink Class 313s (his favourite train!) might just convince him to begin an N gauge side project…

Finally, special mention must be made of the team at Toton that prepared 66190 for its big day out.

66190 resplendent at York

The locomotive had been immaculately repainted and was beautifully turned out with white wheel rims, a shiny new exhaust and incredible gloss finish.

Surely, we mused as the day came to an end, it was deserving of a limited edition N gauge model to Revolution standards that, like our Drax hoppers, could generate more funding for such a good cause…

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Pendolini Avanti!

Revolution has received production samples of the second run of its award-winning N gauge Class 390 Pendolino models from Rapido Trains.

Pendoline-up: Back to front: Original Virgin, Virgin flowing silk, DfT ‘ghost’ grey, Virgin Pride, Avanti.

Eight different versions are being produced in both 9-car and 11-car formats. They are 9-car and 11-car in original Virgin livery; 9-car and 11-car in Virgin flowing silk livery, 9-car in DfT ‘ghost’ unbranded livery, 9-car and 11-car in Avanti livery (though the 9-car set has the partial version of the Avanti livery) and additionally the 9-car Virgin Pride livery.

Once given approval we expect to begin shipping the models to customers in the next 4-6 weeks.

Pre-order customers will receive their models direct from Revolution; anyone interested in acquiring one of these models who did not pre-order will find limited numbers available from selected retailers in due course, with an MSRP of £450 for complete 9-car train sets and £499 for complete 11-car train sets.

Shorter 5-car sets have not been produced on this occasion as sales in the first run were relatively low and far outstripped by sales of the full 9-car and 11-car trains.

The Revolution Trains Class 390 Pendolino was voted N Gauge model of the decade by the readers of Model Rail magazine.

All models feature working directional headlights, marker lights and tail lights and operating table lamps in First Class, however Revolution will also have stocks of Pendolino lighting bars for those that wish to upgrade their models with full interior lighting.

In addition, all models are factory-fitted with speakers so adding sound is a snap. We recommend the sound project recorded for this model by Legomanbiffo at Longsight depot in Manchester.

Recording sound at Longsight depot for the original Pendolino models.

DCC on the new models has been upgraded to Next-18, but customers should note that some decoders, whether silent or sound, may require CV changes to ensure correct operation of directional motors and lighting. These are explained in the documentation with the models. Users of the Legomanbiffo sound files or decoders will not need to make these changes.

These models, like the original Class 390 Pendolinos, are being produced by Rapido Trains UK and Revolution would like to thank them for their hard work and enthusiasm for this project.

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A new Revolutionary joins the team!

Revolution Trains is delighted to announce that Simon Veasey has joined us as our Customer Services & Warranty supremo!

Photoshoot! Revolution Trains directors Mike Hale (L) and Ben Ando (R) present Simon with his new shirt!

With a background in customer-facing repair and support for electrical appliances, Simon’s role will be to improve Revolution’s customer care, speed up enquiry responses and enhance our after-market product support.

In addition he is an enthusiastic modeller and will be known to some for his DCC Sound fitting service in multiple scales.

He has also volunteered at the Colne Valley Railway in Essex, taking special responsibility for maintaining the attraction’s miniature railway, a 7¼” gauge line that runs parallel to the main line.

Simon’s skills will enable Revolution to provide a better experience on the occasions when a customer requires assistance or a model needs to be repaired. In addition his technical expertise will enable us to further refine the ease of repair and quality assurance aspects of our products.

Simon said: “I am delighted to be joining the guys at Revolution and helping to not only improve their customer service but also play a part in the design of the models to make them not just simpler to repair but also less likely to need attention”.

“Revolution is a small but exciting company with big plans – and not just in N gauge – and I look forward to being a part of that.”

Mike Hale said: “We identified a need for a dedicated customer support agent some time ago, and we think Simon’s skillset is a good fit for what Revolution needs to take our standard of customer service to the next level.

Revolution at Warley: L-R Mike Hale, Paul Churchill, Ben Ando, Mike Buick

Simon’s appointment takes the full-time Revolution team to four, as he joins company founders Ben Ando and Mike Hale and project designer Mike Buick, seen above with our Class 92 repairs supremo Paul Churchill.

Ben Ando added: “We have achieved a lot for such a small company and now is the time for us to take the next step in our growth. We have no intention of getting too big, but recruiting Simon will give us the opportunity to expand in a cautious, measured and sustainable way.”

Simon’s appointment will allow Mike Buick to focus on his core role researching and developing new models. We believe this will enable us to progress existing projects faster through the development stage and offer a wider variety of new items.

Simon will be making his ‘first team debut’ on the Revolution Trains stand at this weekend’s Celebration of N Gauge modelling organised by the N Gauge Society at the National Railway Museum in York, Come and meet him and the rest of the team attending!