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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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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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Revolution records result for Railway Children

Thanks to everyone who entered our N gauge prize draw over the last week – the number of entries was beyond anything that we expected and together we raised £3840 for the Railway Children charity. These funds form part of our fundraising efforts along with our friends at Beacon Rail.

We used a random number generator to draw the prize winners earlier today and the lucky prize winners will be either receiving their prizes in the post over the next few days or we will be in contact if we need any additional information. All other entrants will receive a container (1 per entrant) and many have gone in the post today with more to go in the post over the next few days (if you are outside the UK we will combine your container with an order) – please bear with us as we’re also sending out a lot of models at the moment.

We will be running a similar prize draw for OO gauge customers in the run up to the Great Electric Train Show (GETS) at Milton Keynes Arena over the 14-15 October.

Thank you so much for all your generosity.

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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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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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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!

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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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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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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:

“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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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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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 Photography by Chris Nevard
59101 ‘Village of Whatley’ in revised ARC livery. Copyright Kernow Model Rail Centre 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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Nuclear flask carriers (FNA-D) on sale and first sample!

When we announced the FNA-Ds in February we never anticipated that it would take this long to get the first samples, but we’re pleased to announce that the factory has finished the EP samples of the OO version and that we’ve opened our order book – you can order direct from us or from any of our retailers all at the same excellent price of £32.95 per wagon (sold in singles). Our model has been produced under licence from DRS/NTS and we’re very grateful for all their help on this model (along with that of WH Davis who built the wagons).

The FNA-D nuclear flask carriers were built by WH Davis from 2014 to replace older nuclear flask wagons.  The FNA-D nuclear flask carriers are used across the network to transport spent fuel from nuclear power stations to Sellafield. The FNA-D nuclear flask wagons typically run in rakes of 1-4 wagons mostly with two locos either double-headed or top-and-tailed.

The models feature a wealth of accurately-applied detail to replicate the real thing! Check out the under frame detailing below including the prototypical see-through area where the flask sits!

Accurately-rendered under frame details!

The models feature our usual high levels of detail and features:

  • Produced under licence from DRS
  • Highly accurate OO gauge model, 1:76.2 scale on 16.5mm track
  • All models share the same livery with 8 different running numbers available
  • Accurate underframe detailing
  • Minimum Radius 438mm (2nd Radius)
  • Bogies include separate brake shoes in line with wheels
  • RP25-110 profile OO gauge wheels on 26mm length, 2mm diameter axles (to make conversion to EM/P4 easy)
  • Sprung buffers
  • Kinetic NEM coupler sockets mounted on the body with mini-tension-lock couplers

We’ve also been working on which models to offer and we’re pleased to offer 8 different running numbers, all in the attractive teal livery.

The N gauge version is in tooling at the moment and we will have some news of this over the next few weeks.

You can place your pre-orders now either direct with us (using our deposit system if you prefer) or with any of our retailers – all at the same excellent value price of £32.95 per wagon!

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Retail exclusive Class 128 in Express Parcels!

Since we announced the class 128 liveries there has been a glaring gap in the versions offered – that of the attractive two-tone blue Express Parcels units. We are pleased to announce that 55994 in Express Parcels livery will be available exclusively from any of our retailers.

Livery sample of 55994 in Express Parcels livery

Our retailers would appreciate early expressions/pre-orders for this version so that they can order sufficient stock – so if you are interested in one please get in contact with your preferred retailer to reserve your model as soon as possible!

You can see a list of our retailers on our website here. Please note that this version is exclusive to retailers and is not available to order from Revolution Trains.