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Mk5 sleepers – a bit of a drag?

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

Chapter and verse – Caledonian Sleeper book sets are here

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

Retailers will be receiving their models soon too.

In the box

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

Marshalling your train

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

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

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

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

Haulage is usually Caledonian Sleeper or GBRf Class 92 throughout.

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

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

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

Excess drag on some wheelsets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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