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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!

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Revolution at the NRM!

Revolution Trains is delighted to be attending the Celebration of N Gauge Exhibition organised by the N Gauge Society at the National Railway Museum in York this weekend.

Photo Billy Wilson/Creative Commons

The show is taking place in the conference centre and is free to NGS members, and of course entry to the main hall of the NRM itself is free to all!

Revolution will have some exciting new samples on display and updates on all ongoing projects. In addition there will be an opportunity to meet a new recruit to team Revolution – we will be giving more details tomorrow.

The entrance to the Conference Centre is just to the side of the main entrance on Leeman Road in York. For more information click here.

In addition, Revolution director Ben Ando will be giving a short talk each afternoon at 1445 in the Edmonson Presentation Room explaining a model’s route from inspiration to production. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and – if everyone agrees to Chatham House rules – maybe some indiscretions!

See you at the show!

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Revolution PEP joins ‘PEPs on Tour’!

Revolution Trains was delighted to support the Class 313 Farewell ‘PEPs on Tour: Sussex Rambler’ event on the South coast this weekend.

The 313 Farewell Railtour passes Bedelands Nature Reserve, Burgess Hill. Photo courtesy Jonathan Hughes.

The railtour was organised by the Branch Line Society and Southern to celebrate the Class 313 PEP (Prototype Electro-Pneumatic) units, that have served generations of commuters and travellers since the mid-1970s.

The PEPs pioneered many now commonplace features such as dual voltage traction and powered doors. For most of their service lives they operated in and around London, however in recent years they enjoyed something of a renaissance on Southern’s ‘Coastway’ route, having been refurbished by Southern and owners Beacon Rail Leasing.

313211 at Brighton in Southern Coastway colours.

In Scotland the similar Class 314s performed likewise.

For some time they have been the oldest units on the network still in squadron service, but they are set to bow out in the upcoming mid-May timetable change.

The railtour took us from Brighton, along the western stretch of the coastway route to Portsmouth Harbour, back to Three Bridges via Littlehampton then across to Hastings, Eastbourne and Newhaven Marine, before returning to Brighton. (Tour images at Hastings and River Arun at Ford courtesy Foulger Rail/Creative Commons)

The tour generated enormous interest, with photographers and enthusiasts waiting at most stations, and internet celebrity trainspotter Francis Bourgouis was one of those on board – patiently posing for photographs at every stop, with young and not-so-young fellow enthusiasts.

It also raised £25,000 for Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice and The Railway Children charities, through ticket sales and an onboard auction which included among its prizes a voucher for an N gauge model of the Class 313 provided by Revolution Trains – congratulations to all lucky winners!

Francis Bourgeois with three annoying hangers-on.

The Revolution Trains N gauge Class 313 ad 314 PEP unit models are now nearing production, and we expect to close the order book in the next 4-8 weeks. We were delighted to support the tour and join hundreds of others in celebrating these stalwart units. And of course it was a great chance to compare with our decorated sample!

We expect to have decorated samples of other models being offered – including Network Southeast, Silverlink and Southern, in the next few days.

All being well these will be on display at the N Gauge Society’s Celebration of N Gauge at the National Railway Museum, York, over the weekend May 13th and 14th, so anyone still undecided who may wish to pre-order can examine them personally. Come and see us there!

Our class 313/314 PEP models can still be pre-ordered at the low pre-production price of £225 (DC with Next18 socket and speaker) or £320 (DCC Sound fitted) using the button below. (Please remember to use separate orders for different types of model, though different liveries or numbers of the same item can be mixed. Thanks!)

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Class 59 D-Day…

It’s Decision Day if you still haven’t pre-ordered your Revolution Trains Class 59 locomotive at the low advance price of £124.95 (DC Silent) or £219.95 (DCC Sound.)

At midnight tonight the order book closes and we will shortly begin production. After the Class 92 this is our second locomotive and once again we are raising the bar in terms of features and details.

For a small class, there are a remarkable number of variations and adjustments made and we have endeavoured to incorporate all of these to produce the most accurate Class 59 – in any scale.

These diagrams illustrate the various differences between the sub-classes, and also changes made during their lives.

The first four Class 59/0 locomotives were built by EMD in 1985-6 and, being US locos shoehorned into the British loading gauge, were very different to BR-designed machines, even if the cab design was based, in part, on that of the Class 52 Westerns.

After a short time it was decided to move the two bogie dampers from the outer axles to the centre, and fit a body yaw damper to improve running. As NRN pods came into use these were added to fixed bases above each cab roof. And following complaints from drivers the exhaust port was moved across from the driver’s side.

59002 available as a Kernow exclusive

When ARC decided to order four Class 59s for themselves in 1990, the familiar standard lighting cluster was designed into the front end. In addition, recesses were created for the NRN pods, lashing loops were added to the frame and the altered exhaust and damper arrangement was retained.

Foster Yeoman took the opportunity to add a fifth loco to its fleet and while 59005 retained the original design of light clusters, its body had the NRN roof pod recesses designed in; making its bodyshell closer to a 59/1 than an original 59/0. Again, all these variations are faithfully reproduced on our model.

In 1994, when National Power ordered six more locomotives, further changes were made to create the Class 59/2 subclass. As well as the obvious addtion of drop-head buck-eye couplers at each end, these locomotives had their NRN pods slightly repositioned, revised arrangement of catches on the roof hatches and fire suppression equipment fitted on the outside of the frame.

The Class 59 story has one final twist: In the late 1990s when Foster Yeoman sent 59003 to operate in Germany, it had to conform to UIC standards with the addition of a top centre marker light (similar to soon-to-be-built Class 66) and rectangular buffers. These changes were retained when the locomotive was repatriated by GBRf.

59003 in GBRf and GBRf Europorte available as Rails exclusives

In addition to these many subtle detail variations and changes, the Revolution Class 59 will feature, for the first time in British N, the full array of lighting present on the real locomotives, enabling those with DCC controllers to operate in day or night mode (night mode 59/1 and 59/2 only), light engine, shunt mode and park mode and to have directional cab interior lights which, according to regulations, will turn off once the loco moves.

A full video describing the lighting functions can be seen here:

For those who prefer not to pre-order, we anticipate that the Class 59’s will be available from our usual retailers.

Look out too for the Rails exclusive 59003, Rainbow ‘First and Last’ twin pack of 59201 and 59206 and two exclusives from Kernow Model Rail Centre: 59002 in Mendip Rail livery and 59101 in ARC revised livery.

59201 and 59206 twin pack exclusive to Rainbow Railways
Copyright Kernow Model Rail Centre. Photography by Chris Nevard.
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Countdown for the 59s…

The deadline for pre-orders for the Revolution Trains Class 59 diesel locomotive of midnight on Friday March 31st is fast approaching.

And now we can reveal an exciting update on the light and sound arrangements for the models. In association with ESU the Revolution Classs 59 will be the British launch model for a new DCC interface which supercedes the existing Next-18 and is set to be known as Next 28.

ESU LokSound V5 Nano E24 decoders in Revolution Trains Class 59 locomotives. The DCC socket can be easily accessed by simply removing the top access panel, which replicates the arrangement of the real thing!

Let there be (lots of) light!

The Next-28 interface – coded E24 by ESU themselves – was developed for the North American market where Next-18 does not offer the functionality required. (And no, we have no idea why E24 becomes Next-28.)

We made the tricky decision to change the decoder socket from Next 18 to the new and improved Next 28 (ESU E24) decoder socket so that we could offer our customers a fuller range of prototypical lighting functions.

It means the Revolution Trains Class 59s can replicate all the lighting functions of the prototypes including operational directional day and night time main lights, red tail lights when running light engine, two different shunt modes, park mode and cab interior lighting. All are outlined in this short video:

Lights on the Class 59/0s are significantly different to that of the later Class 59/1s and 59/2s.

59005 showing standard arrangement of both headlights and both marker lights lit. Photo: Train Photos/Creative Commons.

By the time the Class 59/1s and 59/2s were built, in the early 1990s, the railways had settled on the WIPAC-type light cluster.

59101 at Westbury showing lights in Daytime configuration with right headlight and left marker light illuminated.
Photo Dave58282/Creative Commons.

As the video explains, our models will enable DCC users to drive their locomotive with full lighting control and entirely prototypically, whether running a train on the mainline, light engine or shunting back and forth in the yard.

The decoders required for this interface are the ESU Loksound 5 Nano (Sound) and Lokpilot 5 Nano (Silent).

For DC users the DCC blanking plate will incorporate switches that allow the directional red tail lights and cab interior lights to be independently switched on or off.

DCC Sound

We have not overlooked sound, and all Revolution DCC Sound supplied models will feature a Legomanbiffo sound project which we recorded at Freightliner’s Merehead TMD last year.

We’d ike to thank Freightliner for giving us access to 59204 with a driver for comprehensive sound recording

Revolution Trains model features high levels of detailing and we have tooled five different bodyshell configurations allowing us to represent each of the three different subclasses at various stages in their service lives.

EWS 59204 and Hanson’s 59101 are two of the liveries on offer

These variations include:

  • Two different bogie designs
    • Left or Right side exhausts
  • Locomotives with our without NRN roof pods in sub-class specific rebates
  • Three different designs of roof access panel
  • Three different solebar fitment components
  • Single or twin-handled cab doors

In addition all models have a heavy diecast chassis with low friction, low geared drivetrain, numerous separately fitted and photo-etched parts and kinematic NEM couplers sockets with superdetailed bufferbeam at one end with alternate open air dam supplied for customers requiring working couplers at both ends.

59s as they are now: Aggregate Industries 59/0 and Freightliner G&W 59/2. The colour of the Freightliner loco is being amended for production.

The Prototype

The Class 59s were both the first privately-owned locomotives to operate on the British Rail network, and the first to be designed and built in North America. Based on EMD’s established SD-40-2, but adapted to fit a body shell designed for the British loading gauge, they heralded a new era of reliability and power on entering service, and were the predecessor’s the now ubiquitous Class 66.

59001 in original livery with PGA wagons at Bradford Junction in 1990. Photo Graham Roose.

Introduced in 1986, the first four locomotives are approaching their fortieth birthdays still doing the work they were designed for: hauling heavy stone trains on the gradients around the Mendip hills.

59201 at Westbury with JNA ‘Ealnos’ box wagons. Photo Jo Alder.

Though 59003, now in GBRf ownership, does have a more varied work pattern.

Deadline Day Approaching

This pre-order deadline for these models is midnight on Friday, March 31st 2023.

This is the last date customers can order models for the low locked-in price of just £124.95. After this the MSRP rises to £154.95, though for those who prefer not to pre-order we anticipate selected retailers will carry stocks.

As well as the 16 different locomotives in eight liveries being offered by Revolution Trains, there are four retailer commissions.

59003 in two versions of GBRf livery can be ordered from Rails of Sheffield.

Rainbow Railways have commissioned a ‘First and Last’ twin pack covering 59201, with its US-style bell at the No.1 end, and 59206 to commemorate the introduction of the Class 59/2 sub-class in the eye-catching National Power livery.

59002 in Mendip Rail and 59101 in Revised ARC livery can be ordered from Kernow Model Rail Centre.

Copyright Kernow Model Rail Centre www.kernowmodelrailcentre.com Photography by Chris Nevard.
Copyright Kernow Model Rail Centre www.kernowmodelrailcentre.com Photography by Chris Nevard.

You can order as many 59s as you like, but please don’t mix in wagons or other Revolution Trains products as they are likely to arrive at different times and this will increase admin for us and in turn delay processing of your models!

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Revolution at the palace…

Revolution Trains will again be attending the London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace this coming weekend, March 18th and 19th.

We will be on stand 7 towards the rear of the Great Hall, and we’re looking forward to chatting to our customers and supporters during the course of the weekend, and displaying some of the exciting samples we have of upcoming models in development.

For N gauge enthusiasts there’s a last chance to inspect the decorated samples of our Class 59 diesels. These are still available to pre-order for £124.95 DCC ready, but hurry because the book closes on March 31st. Other models on show will be the first decorated samples of the Class 313 units, Borail and YLA Mullet engineers wagons and EP 1 samples of the Southern Region General Manager’s Inspection Saloon 975025 ‘Caroline’ plus first mouldings of the Class 175 ‘Coradia’ and 180 ‘Adelante’ DMUs.

Revolution N gauge models in development

For 00 modellers there are the EP1 samples of the new Class 18 hybrid shunters in both Beacon and Tata steel versions, plus our KSA timber carriers and ‘Rover Cube’ vans, decorated samples of the Alcan PCA tanks and our FNA-D nuclear flask wagons.

Talking of FNA-D wagons, these are now in the final stages of assembly and production and we are expecting them to ship very soon. They are still available to purchase and if you order now your models will be sent to you as soon as they arrive. We are offering eight variants, each with prototypical differences in markings and warning labels, for just £32.95 each.

As usual there may be some surprises – including production samples of a forthcoming model that we are hoping will make it in time – and remember we are invariably much more indiscreet when chatting in person with our thoughts and plans for future items!

See you at the show!

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Revolution and Rails give bio-massive Drax charity boost!

Last week Revolution Trains and Rails travelled to the giant Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to make a donation to Drax’s chosen charity, the Martin House Children’s Hospice.

Left to right: Brice Heppenstall (Drax Plant Director), Mike Hale, Ben Ando (Revolution Trains), Michelle Ford (regional fundraiser, Martin House Hospice), Mark Gibbens (Head of Logistics, Drax Power), Oliver Davies, Adam Davies, John Barbour (Rails of Sheffield), Jane Breach (Drax Power). Photo courtesy Ian Broadhead.

The money was raised through sales of N gauge models of Drax’s IIA-D biomass hoppers produced by Revolution and retailed exclusively by Rails.

A cheque for £2000 was handed over in a small ceremony and the team at Drax also explained the workings of the power station works and why biomass is an integral part of its operations.

Michelle Ford, North and East Yorkshire regional fundraiser for Martin House Children’s Hospice, said: “We very much value our relationship with Drax and appreciate all the support they’ve given us.  This donation will help us continue to provide free care and support for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families.  In addition to the funds, we’d like to thank Revolution Trains and Rails of Sheffield for the model wagon pack which will be auctioned to raise even more.

“£2000 will help pay for a specialist bed that will allow a child to have a good night’s sleep when they stay at the hospice – thank you so much from all of us.”

Revolution and Rails would like to thank every customer who has purchased these models and therefore contributed to the donation.

66207 at Drax. Imported biomass arrives from Liverpool, Immingham, Hull and Tyne docks. Photo courtesy Jonathon Lawton.

Mark Gibbens, Head of Logistics for Drax Power, said: “We’re incredibly proud of the work we’ve done to reduce emissions at Drax, which is the UK’s largest single generator of renewable power, and our fleet of innovative wagons have played a significant part in this.

Drax wagons in original livery line up outside the unloading terminal. The biomass is stored in four giant domes before conveyor belts move it into the power station burners.
This short video shows how the biomass trains are unloaded at Drax, and how the biomass is used. Music: www.bensound.com.

“We think it’s great that the highly detailed Revolution Trains models, in their attractive box-set, give railway modellers a chance to depict these operations on their layouts.”

Drax Power Head of Logistics Mark Gibbens explains the unloading process. The wagon discharge doors are opened automatically by magnetic sensors as they pass through the unloading shed at 0.5 mph.

Ben Ando, co-director of Revolution Trains, said: “As an N gauge enthusiast myself I am thrilled that we have been able to do justice to these impressive and fascinating wagons, and being able to watch the unloading operations was a real privilege. And being able to help Martin House Hospice is the icing on the cake.”

Oliver Davies, Director of Rails of Sheffield, said: “These models have been very popular with N gauge enthusiasts and are selling fast.  Rails believes strongly in supporting the community and we were delighted to be able to join in making a donation to such a good cause.”

Revolution Trains IIA-D wagons in all four versions of new Drax ‘Renewable Pioneers’ liveries.

The Revolution Trains IIA-D Drax biomass hoppers in N gauge are fully licenced and are available in twin packs depicting the original, original ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and new Drax ‘Renewable Pioneers’ versions.   Limited stocks remain at Rails and can be purchased for £79.95 per pair.

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It’s TEA time – again!

Revolution Trains is offering a second run of its highly popular TEA tanker wagons in OO gauge 1:76.2 scale.

Verisons in VTG red and EWS are among those being offered

First proposed at Warley in 2015 (yes – eight years ago!!) and delivered in 2018 the ‘modern style’ 100t TEA tanker was Revolution’s first OO model and to some extent helped to set the standard for features Revolution has come to be known for: accuracy, numerous alternate running numbers and high levels of detail with a focus on subtle variations.

60010 at Kingsbury Fuel Terminal. Photo courtesy Tom Smith.

On our TEAs these differences include the style of ladder – with our without the anti-climb guards, discharge chutes – single or bifurcated, brake equipment and variations in tank vents and man-lids.

VTG grey, red and blue versions

The models will be available singly in improved packaging but with multiple running numbers of most versions, and we have carefully chosen liveries to include our most popular existing versions and complementary new variants.

The class of 2023…

All new versions will have different running numbers to those previously offered.

EWS livery: wagons 870203, 870247, 870272, 870309.
VTG red: wagons 88117, 88130, 88134, 88140.
VTG grey: wagons 88167, 88169, 88170, 88173
VTG plain blue: wagons 88144, 88156
Freightliner green 871002
VTG green (Freightliner rebranded) 871006
VTG dark blue with environmental message: 8370 7792 042-4 ‘Railfreight delivers…. with less congestion’
VTG dark blue with environmental message: 8370 7792 049-9 ‘……caring for the environment’
Greenergy green debranded: 8370 7792 026-7
Greenergy blue debranded: 8370 7792 003-6, 8370 7792 017-6

Please note these graphics are illustrative and are not to scale or fully colour corrected.

The new run of TEA tankers will be available from retailers or can be ordered direct from Revolution Trains. We have managed to keep the MSRP the same at £48.95 per wagon, even though it is more than five years since these wagons were last produced.

Which TEA is right for me?

While the useage has remained largely the same since we first prepared our TEA route map, the main difference is that the debranded Greenergy wagons are now used largely from Puma’s refinery at Milford Haven to the west of England and the Midlands. The EWS liveried wagons also seem to be more widely used.

60040 works 6B33 Theale-Margam past Shrivenham. Photo courtest Foulger Rail Photos/Creative Commons.

The green ex-Freightliner batch are seen largely with the grey and blue VTG types on trains from Humberside to the Midlands, while the Dalston train from Ineos Grangemouth to Dalston in Cumbria is mainly operated by a mix of red and grey VTG tanks, with the occasional blue mixed in.

60059 with Humber-Kingsbury train. Photo courtesy Rob Reedman/Creative Commons.
60056 with the Dalston-Grangemouth empties. In the background can be seen the conical Gateside ‘Bings’ (former colliery spoil heaps) that are being incorporated into a land art project known as The Crawick Multiverse by American artist Charles Jencks. Photo courtesy Dave McAlone.

As can be seen above, the Dalston train usually comprises 18 wagons between Grangemouth and Carlisle, but because the unloading siding at Dalston can only accommodate six bogie tanks, the train is tripped in shorter consists from Kingmoor yard to the terminal, making for a very modellable train.

A fascinating video explaining the full sequence can be enjoyed here, with thanks to ‘Northumberland Snapper’ for documenting these manoeuvres:

Freightliner has also used these wagons, in VTG grey or green, to supply its locomotive fuelling point in Ipswich, often in short consists of 2 or 3 wagons, again offering modellable potential for those with smaller layouts or tighter budgets.

If you’re keen to learn more searching on Flickr for still photographs, or YouTube for videos, of your preferred route will give a good indication of what the consists are.

These models are going into production next month and are expected to arrive in the summer, however China is subject to ongoing Covid issues so this date is an estimate, not a guarantee!

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Revolution in Scotland – again!

Revolution Trains is heading north next week again to attend Model Rail Scotland 2023 this February 24th, 25th and 26th.

Come and find us on stand A21, near the front of the hall, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.

We’ll have plenty to show, including a first outing for our decorated BR Blue Grey Class 313 units in N, 00 KSA EP1 samples, FNA-D nuclear flask carriers in 00 and N and latest news and samples of a host of existing and new projects in N and 00.

There will be free catalogues for all listing all our current projects, and with some good fortune and a fair wind there could be a couple of surprises too!

It’s always a thrill to pass Carlsle and see the Saltire!

See you there!

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2022 – the Revolution Round Up

As 2022 draws to an end, and we look ahead to 2023, there is time to take stock of the year and reflect on the ups and downs.

The Revolution grows…

January saw a new face join the Revolution as Mike Buick became a full-time member of the team alongside founders Mike and Ben. Paul and Gareth have also continued to be an enormous help both at exhibitions and with their expertise in model railway electronics and in knowledge about the real thing!

The train now arriving… is delayed.

New models delivered in 2022 included the hotly-awaited Class 320 and Class 321 multiple units in N (and much requested in 00), IWA ‘Sfins2’ vans and ‘Rfnoos’ timber carriers in 00 and N, JNA ‘Ealnos’ box wagons in N, IPA car carriers in 00 and FWA Ecofrets in 00 and N.

But ongoing difficulties in China with the lingering effects of the Covid pandemic and power issues caused significant delays and some (though not all) of these projects arrived later than we’d expected when we began development.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – just after Christmas, we received final production samples of the N gauge Drax biomass hoppers that are exclusively available from Rails of Sheffield. Subject to final checks these models will be shipped early in the New Year and should be here by the end of February.

So near and yet, not…

Unfortunately some models that we had expected to arrive this year – the N gauge Mk5 coaches, second run Class 390 ‘Pendolinos’ and PFA 4-wheel container flats plus 00 gauge TUA chemical tankers (for Rainbow Railways) and 975025 ‘Caroline’ saloon have failed to materialise.

China Crisis

Delays are obviously as frustrating for us as they are for you but the reality is that there is little we can do.

So what has been happening? We thought it might be helpful to give a little more depth to the standard ‘blame it on Covid’ line.

The Chinese zero-Covid policy meant that often industrial zones were closed with almost no notice if a case was identified in the area.

Factories could be told to shut immediately, and not permitted reopen for weeks or more. Lockdowns have been sudden, extensive and vigorously enforced.

Strict travel and quarantine regulations curtailed travel between areas for designers and engineers.

Restarting a complex production line after a sudden enforced shutdown is not trivial and in addition power outages exacerbated these problems. Factories in some areas were only allowed power for, say, two days a week – and those days were not necessarily consecutive! This made time critical operations such as painting and printing very difficult.

Even now, with regulations relaxed, as the Chinese New Year break approaches many factories are closing early and their owners are struggling to recruit amid concerns that rural workers who normally travel in their millions to the cities to boost their earnings may prefer to remain at home and work in lower paid agricultural jobs.

While everyone is doing their very best to return to pre-Covid levels of efficiency we anticipate that production will continue to take longer than normal for at least the next 8-12 months.

As ever, if there is a particular project you’re ‘wondering what the latest is on’ or ‘looking for an update on’ then please check our Projects page. There is a comprehensive table reporting progress on all products we have on the go and we are diligent about keeping it updated. We don’t hold back; if there’s no news there then there’s no news at all!

To blurt or not to blurt?

This in turn led to some headscratching and a slow down on some of our planned announcements, as we are acutely aware of the simple equation:

New Announcements + Lack of Delivery = Eye Rolling and Exasperated Sighs

For this reason we have tended to time our announcements in 2022 to coincide with the arrival of corresponding models; for example once the Class 320/321 units arrived we offered the Class 175/180 family, and with IWA vans and timber carriers here we were able to announce our FNA-D nuclear flask wagons.

However, the good news is that while production of finished models has been slower than we would have liked, the development phase of newer models has become, if anything, faster.

Our FNA-D nuclear flask wagon and PCA alumina tank wagons went from announcement to sampling in a matter of months, and the FNA-Ds are expected to arrive early in 2023, with the PCAs likely in the summer. Similarly, other previously announced models have shown good progress and one stalled product – the 1938 tube stock – is now back on track (sorry!) after a research visit was finally made to the London Transport Museum depot at Acton once Covid restrictions there ended.

The eagle-eyed may spot the KSA mouldings and Cartic-4 CAD in 00 and these will be the subject of more detailed updates in the next week or so.

Revolution on the road

During the year we have managed research trips to locations including Fort William, Kingmoor, the Vale of Rheidol, Acton, Whatley Quarry and Merehead, Eastleigh, Germany and Romania.

In partnership with a variety of friends in the rail industry these research trips, and others that are currently confidential, have enabled us to continue developing new models this year and have more exciting products to launch in 2023.

The Revolution will be… televised?

We’ve also started recorded videos to explain more about some of our most recent projects – you can find them on our You Tube Channel or watch them below. There’ll be more to come in 2023.

Class 19/CBD-90 locomotives
Alcan alumina PCAs at Fort William
Revolution at the Rails of Sheffield open day

It’s all fun and games until someone gets 3D scanned…

In March members of the Revolution Team were 3D scanned by Modelu with frankly terrifying results… and Ben made it into print with a monthly column in Model Rail magazine giving his take on aspects of the hobby which is continuing into 2023.

Finally – if you’ve made it this far – Revolution would like to wish everyone a very Happy and Prosperous 2023.

We have plenty of exciting plans and we look forward, with all our customers, to continuing to grow and enjoy this wonderful hobby.

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New boxes from Revolution!

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

Revolution MMA box wagon in DB red livery.

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

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

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

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

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

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Kernow Class 59 exclusives!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s a Rover-lution!

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

KSA ‘cube’ wagon.
KSA timber carrier conversion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KSA timber conversion. Photo courtesy Tom Smith.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KSA-A – Malcolm Logistics livery.

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

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Yellow boxes – and a correction!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four versions of the Network Rail/Wascosa JNA are available

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

IMPORTANT NOTE RE MODELS WITH FLASHING TAIL LAMPS

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

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

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

We apologise for this mistake!

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70s boxes from Revolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revolution is expecting to offer models in both liveries.

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

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

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Iron ore hoppers in N

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

HJV B439716 at Temple Mills. Photo courtesy Paul James.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Swindon 120

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Electro Star Quality in N

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Revolution at TINGS 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Revolution at Rails

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

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

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

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

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

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