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It’s time for Revolution’s red death!

Revolution Trains Class 66 EP1 sample.

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

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

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

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

The prototype

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

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

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

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

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

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

The model

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

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

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

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

Liveries

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

66083 – EWS

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

66538 – original Freightliner

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

66704 – orginal GBRf

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

66404 – DRS ‘Compass’

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

66128 – DB red with large logo

Depicted in 2016+ condition with revised BMAC lights.

66848 – Colas Rail Freight

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

66795 – GBRf

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

66303 – DRS plain blue

Low emission locomotive with modified BMAC lights.

66720 ‘Wascosa’ – GBRf

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

66623 – Freightliner Genessee & Wyoming livery

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

66752 ‘The Hoosier State’ – GBRf Europorte livery

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

Please note graphic images are illustrative only.

Introducing ‘Revolution Bespoke…’

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

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

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

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

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

Full options and prices will be available after Warley.

DCC, lights and sound

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

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

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

Prices and timelines

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

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