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Revolution upscales to offer 320, 321 in 00

Revolution Trains is offering the Class 320 and 321 Electric Units in 00 gauge, having previously produced these trains in N, after extensive lobbying from 4mm enthusiasts in both England and Scotland.

Revolution’s N gauge Strathclyde PTE Class 320 flanked by Network Southeast and London MIdland Class 321s.

The models will be available in a variety of liveries and will feature directional lighting, DC Silent and DCC versions with sound and working deployable (though not conducting) pantograph.

N gauge Class 320 in Strathclyde PTE Carmine and Cream livery produced as an exlusive for the AMRSS/Model Rail Scotland.

Prototype notes

The Class 321 4-car units were built at BREL York in the late 1980s and early 1990s to replace first generation suburban units on trains operating from London Euston to the Midlands, London Liverpool St to East Anglia and around Leeds.

London Midland Class 321 at Milton Keynes, 2015.

The success of the Class 321s – nicknamed ‘Dusty Bins’ after a character from the then popular TV quiz show 3-2-1 – led to a 3-car version, designated Class 320, being built in 1990 for suburban services around Glasgow.

Class 320 in Scotrail Saltire livery by Tom Smith

Introduced on the North Clyde line, they have also been used on the Argyll line, Cathcart Circle and between Glasgow and Lanark.

On privatisation the Class 321s were split between Silverlink, Great Eastern and Arriva Rail North, and through various franchise changes have seen use with London Midland, First Capital Connect, Northern Rail and Greater Anglia/Abellio.

The 00 model

CAD work is underway and although based on the N gauge version we produced using extensive drawings and access provided by owners Eversholt, it will be fully extensively and upgraded for the 00/1:76 scale version.

N Gauge CAD for the Class 321.

Once we open the order book we will confirm the livery options available to order. In N gauge, for each livery offered at least two running numbers were produced and it is likely we will repeat this in 00.

The models are likely to be priced in line with our other 00 unit models at around £300 for the 3-car Class 320 and £350 for the 4-car Class 321, with DCC Sound etc around £100 extra, and we will be opening the pre-order book shortly to enable customers to reserve their models.

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All iN for Alcan PCA tanks in N?

Revolution Trains has just released OO/4mm versions of the attractive Alcan PCA tanks and we invite expressions of interest in production of these tanks in N/2mm.  

Revolution Trains 00 gauge Alcan tanks in original Alcan, Rio Tinto Alcan and Alvance liveries.

We anticipate that the tanks would be produced in quad packs and be priced at a similar level to the OO tanks ie £149.95 per 4 wagons. We’d aim to offer the same liveries as 00 – original Alcan, Alcan debranded, Rio Tinto, Lochaber Liberty and Alvance – subject to sufficient demand.

These wagons have been used since their introduction in 1987-8 to transport alumina from the bulk sea terminal at Blyth to the UK’s only remainng aluminium smelter at Lochaber, near Fort William in Scotland.

When introduce they operated in shortish rakes of around 12 wagons. These were often marshalled into Speedlink or Enterprise services, and in the hands predominantly of class 37s, though class 26, 56 and 60 locos were also used. Following privatisation, the contract was won by EWS (now DB) and 66s began to be used.

Since 2010 the contract has been in the hands of GBRf and, while 66s continue to dominate, occasional traction shortages have seen 37s, 57s and even a class 55 Deltic step in.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of Alcan PCA tanks in N please complete the expression of interest form (it isn’t a commitment to purchase but please be realistic!).  The deadline for expressions of interest is 30 April 2024.

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Revolution at Model Rail Scotland

Revolution Trains will be on Stand A16 at Model Rail Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow from February 23rd-25th.

We’ll have some exciting news for both 00 and N gauge enthusiasts – with a distinctly Scottish flavour – plus all the latest samples of new and upcoming models on display, including more decorated samples of our upcoming Class 66 locomotives in N and EP1 samples of our Class 175 and 180 units.

As ever we will have our popular Project Progress poster on display, and some items for sale off the stand.

Any customers who have ordered Class 59/0 locomotives can collect them provided they let us know in time – please fill in the form here.

If you missed out on ordering direct you should be able to place an order with one of our retailers. Or you can order one of our exclusive 59101 in the brand new Heidelberg Materials livery (as shown above on the production sample!).

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Class 59/0 – delivery and invoice updates!

Just like the real 59s, our models of the 59/0s have arrived before the 59/1 and 59/2 sub-classes! We have just finished checking over samples of each version of Class 59/0s (ie 59001 to 59005 in all liveries) and the first orders have started to be sent out.

Posting orders and change of address

All fully paid orders will be sent out by Royal Mail. If you need to update your address please login to your account on our website and update your delivery address – if you update your address after 15 February 2024 please also send us an email using the Contact Us form otherwise your order might go to your old address.

If you have a balance to pay please see below.

Non-sound DCC ESU Lokpilot decoders

The non-sound DCC ESU Lokpilot decoders arrived with us on 22 February and we will start to post them with 59 orders after Model Rail Scotland.

Order status – has my order been posted?

You can check where we have got to in terms of posting orders (or generating balance invoices) on our Project overview page – sorry to repeat this but every time we send out orders we get emails asking for order updates. Please do not send us emails asking if your order has been posted, it just slows us down! Once your order has been posted your order status will be updated to “Complete” in your account – please give it 7-14 days from when your order is marked as despatched before asking what has happened to your posted order.

If you paid a balance please read the note below!

Balance invoice to pay?

We will start to generate balance invoices for 59/0s only over the next few days. Once your balance is paid we post orders in the order that they were paid ie your order goes into the despatch queue once fully paid.

If you pay a balance invoice then your original deposit is automatically marked as “Complete” and an email is automatically generated saying that your order has been despatched – whilst we send out orders as quickly as we can, the reality is that there are only 1 or 2 of us despatching orders at any one time and we’re not superhuman! The email is automatically generated by our deposit system and we can’t change it – your order is not despatched (despite what the email says) until the balance half of your order is also marked as “Complete”.

What about the class 59/1s and 59/2s and mixed orders?

Unfortunately final production of the 59/1s and 59/2s didn’t quite make it out of the factory before Chinese New Year however we expect both sub-classes shortly and we will update our website as soon as we have a confirmed delivery schedule.

If your order contains both 59/0s and 59/1s or 59/2s we will ship the models separately at no extra cost to you.

If you missed out on ordering direct you should be able to place an order with one of our retailers. Or you can order one of our exclusive 59101 in the brand new Heidelberg Materials livery (as shown above on the production sample!).

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Revolution Bespoke – how does it work?

As you may be aware with the launch of our forthcoming N gauge Class 66 we also announced a new option to allow customers to tailor their models – Revolution Bespoke. Working with our friends at Rainbow Railways we can take factory finished bodyshells and apply individually-tailored livery details (numbers, additional branding or livery elements and nameplates) onto our base liveries.

So far we have offered the following Class 66 sub-classes for bespoke livery application:

  • Colas 66/8 (early bird ended)
  • DRS or GBRf 66/3 (early bird ends 29/02/2024)
  • DRS or GBRf 66/4 (early bird ends 29/02/2024)
  • GBRf ‘original’ livery 66/7 (early bird ended)
  • DB 66/0 (early bird ends 08/03/2024)
  • Freightliner Genesee & Wyoming orange – there will be no bespoke option for as 66623 is currently the only Freightliner 66 in that livery with those lights and body details.
  • Remaining GBRf 66/7s – Europorte variations and “standard” GBRf livery variant (66798 only) (early bird ends 12/03/2024)
  • Freightliner green 66/5s and 66/6s (early bird ends 20/03/2024)

The final batch to upload are the EWS 66s. We have been through thousands of images of 66s to match the livery variations with the body shell details that we’re offering in our first run of 66s (so that you don’t have to!). Having said which we’re sure that we will have missed some combinations – if you find a version that you would like and that we’re not offering please let us know and if we have the correct combination of details we will add it.

Early bird pricing

As we’re releasing the bespoke options in a rolling programme we guarantee that there will be at least 4 weeks of early-bird pricing for each version – starting from when the bespoke option is published and ending as noted above. We will update the list above as we publish new livery options.

How to order?

Revolution Bespoke will only be available direct from Revolution (standard range items are available to all our retailers). Use the dropdowns on the relevant model page to select the livery variation, number and DC/DCC ready or DCC sound (plus in some cases named or un-named) – once you select all the options the image will update to the relevant livery variation so that you can see what you will get.

Please note that once production has started we can’t cancel or change your loco as these will be bespoke models produced to order (statutory rights still apply).

How it works?

The list of available variations all represent real combinations of livery and details (we have been through a lot of research to enable this!). The base livery will be factory finished, but the final touches eg the side numbers and changes to logos or additional logos will be printed by Rainbow Railways along with any finishing touches eg etched nameplates.  

When will I receive my model?

The Revolution Bespoke models will finished by Rainbow Railways once the models arrive so will arrive with customers later than the standard versions to allow time for customisation. We are aiming to start production of the 66s in April 2024 with the models currently due to arrive late-Summer-Autumn 2024.

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Revolution to supply pre-mapped non-sound decoders for N Class 59

With the Revolution Trains N gauge Class 59 locomotives in the final stages of production we are aware that some DCC customers will not be familiar with the new E24 decoder interface that the locomotive uses.

DCC Sound models are supplied with the fully configured decoder fitted, however to supply the needs of those who prefer DCC Silent we have also decided to stock a limited number of pre-mapped ESU E24 Lokpilot 5 Nano decoders.

Pre-production samples shown

Revolution chose the new E24 design because it offers significantly greater functionality than the existing Next 18 standard. In the coming months it is anticipated that E24 will be adopted as the new Next 28 norm.

The E24 allows us to offer fully functioning day and night running, working cab interior lights, along with two shunt/yard modes (marker lights and no headlights) and independently controlled tail lights for light engine, top’n’tail operation or parked mode. This level of functionality is simply not possible on Next 18.

The E24 decoder is also smaller. This makes it easier to fit in N gauge models and means that more internal space can be used for weight, enhancing the performance of the locomotive.

Fitting the decoder is a simple matter of removing the centre cover and blanking plate and pressing the E24 decoder into position. All models are supplied with full instructions.

The ESU E24 Lokpilot 5 Nano decoders available from Revolution Trains are pre-configured to ensure the lighting functions on your model work according to the function list supplied with your model.

Please note that you must select the correct type of decoder for your model – there are two versions of decoder:

  • Class 59/0 (version 1)
  • Class 59/1 and 59/2 (version 2) – the 59/1 and 59/2 share the same lighting decoder

They can be ordered for £36.95 via our shop.

Depending on order numbers we are hoping to send the E24 Lokpilot 5 Nano decoders to customers with their models, and the first batch of Class 59s are expected shortly. If you have pre-ordered and not paid in full you will receive a request to pay your balance in due course – please do not contact us about payment until you have received this message.

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Revolution and Trains4U twin-set for the forces

Popular Peterborough-based retailer Trains4U has commissioned Revolution Trains to produce an exclusive twin pack featuring the two GBRf ‘military’ Class 66 locomtives – 66723 ‘Chinook’ and 66775 ‘HMS Argyll’ in N gauge.

The models will be sold as a pair in an exclusive presentation box and every sale will include a donation to charities linked to the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.

66723 (ZA723) Chinook

66723 was named ‘Chinook’ in 2008 in honour of the RAF’s 7, 18 and 27 squadrons, based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, which is the home of the Royal Air Force’s Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopter.

When named the locomotive was fitted with cast nameplates which also featured the three squadron crests and an outline of the Chinook, and was in the First livery.

66723 Nameplate. Photo courtesy Rob Reedman/Creative Commons

In 2017 the locomotive was repainted into GBRf livery, retaining the name but gaining the large number ZA723 and a large orange Chinook silhouette on the bodyside, along with the RAF Ensign on the left cabside.

Photo courtesy Mick Page.

66723 was built in 2006, and was one of the first batch of GBRf Tier 1 (low emission) 5-door locomotives. Revolution’s Class 66 tooling allows for this variant, with the combination of bug-eye headlights, extended cooler group grilles, revised bogie with lifeguard deformation cut-outs and a smaller fuel tank.

Revolution 66723 CAD variation

66775 (F321) HMS Argyll

66775 was built in 2015 and is one of the very last batch of Class 66 locomitives built at Muncie, Indiana.

66775 at market Harborough. Photo courtesy David Page/Creative Commons.
66775 at Eastleigh in 2017. Photo courtesy Dave Kirwin.

In 2017 in a ceremony at HM Naval Base Devonport the locomotive was named after the Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll. Along with the cast nameplate the locomotive was adorned with the ship’s number, F321, and a replica of her funnel crest on each side of the no. 1 end cab.

Photo courtesy Steve Knight/Creative Commons.

Like 66723, 66775 is a Tier 1 5-door locomotive, however having been built in the United States, not Canada, it has significant variations including the revised cab vent position, front panel seam and revised 2-part repositioned BMAC lights.

Revolution 66775 CAD variation.

Like all Revolution’s forthcoming Class 66 models, these will feature the ESU E24 Nano decoder interface, allowing for fully authentic light and sound features.

Although not available in DCC Sound form, all models incorporate a factory-fitted speaker, allowing for a simple plug-and-play sound upgrade.

Revolution’s Ben Ando said: “Revolution has previously supported the Royal British Legion, through sales of its ‘Poppy Pendolino’, and we are delighted to be able to do the same for other important charities in the military family.”

Trains4U owner Gareth Helliwell said: “GBRf has a major presence in Peterborough and I am delighted to be able to offer these locomotives which are a familiar sight across the network.  In addition I am keen to recognise our debt to the armed forces and we are guaranteeing a minimum donation of at least £1500 to each of these good causes.”

Each twin pack retails at £325.00 and can be ordered exclusively from Trains4U, with delivery expected Q3/4. We hope to have decorated samples to show in the coming weeks.

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Revolution goes green with Heidelberg

Revolution Trains has agreed a licence with Freightliner and Heidelberg Materials to offer newly repainted 59101 in its striking new green livery.

59101 in the sidings at Whatley Quarry in early December 2023.

The locomotive had been in Hanson colours since the late 1990s, but parent company Heidelberg Materials recently announced a complete rebranding of the company, and 59101 was selected as the recipient of the new colours.

The repaint was carried out by Arlington Fleet Services at Eastleigh, and following its completion Revolution Trains was invited to the locomotive’s Whatley home depot to check colours and measure all the relevant logos and lettering.

After its arrival on shed in the early hours of Tuesday December 5th, we were given access to the locomotive in the shed at Whatley quarry, then invited to watch as the locomotive left with its first service train – a rake of box wagons bound for West Drayton coal sidings in London.

By happy coincidence the rake included several examples of the JNA ‘Ealnos’ wagons released by Revolution Trains in VTG blue, Mendip Rail silver and Touax deep red.

Revolution has added a limited number of this model to the production run and they are available to pre-order direct from us, in sound and non-sound versions now! We’ve only got a very small number of sound versions but if you miss out on a factory-fitted sound version upgrading the loco to DCC sound is very simple and you can buy the same sound project that we recorded from Legomanbiffo through DC Kits.

Section from the painting diagram for the model.

The 59s are in the final stages of production and are likely to arrive in two batches – the first batch are the 59/0s which are expected in early February (production samples should be with us early next week) followed by the 59/1s and 59/2s after Chinese New Year in late Feb – March.

We’ve got exciting news about the non-sound E24 DCC decoders to come in the next few days.

You can place an order from our online shop now (please don’t mix with other products which will arrive at different times).

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Revolution supports Railway Children

Revolution Trains was invited to Crewe station by operators Avanti West Coast in January to present a cheque for £3,480 to well-known charity Railway Children.

The cash was raised through a raffle held late last year in which numerous N gauge models were on offer – including hard to find items such as the Network Southeast Class 321 electric unit, and every entrant received a container.

Vulnerable children can find themselves frightened and alone on the rail network and Railway Children charity works to help them by training rail staff, the police, and other workers in identifying youngsters and in handling them effectively and safely.  The charity also funds ‘safe spaces’ in major railway stations where they can be given food, water and shelter.

Avanti West Coast Crewe Customer service assistant Ant Stanley and station manager Taryn Banks help as Cath Gresty from Railway Children receives a cheque from Revolution Trains directors Ben Ando and Mike Hale.

Cath Gresty from Railway Children said:  “We are fortunate to have some very generous supporters in the rail industry, but receiving a donation from those who manufacture miniature scale models of trains is a new experience, and we are very grateful to all those model enthusiasts who entered the prize raffle and helped raise this money, which we will put to good use helping vulnerable children on the rail network.”

Revolution’s Ben Ando said:  “Revolution is always looking for ways we can partner our friends in the railway industry in supporting the charities they promote and we are delighted that the proceeds of our raffle, along with the money raised by Beacon’s 5-a-side football tournament we played in, will benefit such a worthy cause. 

Revolution’s Mike Hale added: We’d like to thank all our customers and supporters for taking part, and we are planning similar events during 2024 with other hard-to-find or sold out models from our 00 gauge range.”

Avanti also fielded three teams in the football tournament; Revolution only met Avanti 3 and was roundly thrashed by them!

Taryn Banks, Avanti West Coast station manager for Crewe, said: “Supporting the community is important to us, and we were delighted to facilitate the presentation of this money to Railway Children, which is based close by in Cheshire.”

A small section of the impressive photographic display documenting the story of Crewe station and Avanti West Coast.

In addition to Railway Children, Revolution Trains has supported the Royal British Legion and Martin House Hospice and is looking forward to continue supporting charities of its own choice or those nominated by its friends in the rail industry, in 2024 and beyond.

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The Revolution round-up: 2023, a year of consolidation and catch-up

As 2023 draws to a close it’s time for Revolution’s annual look back on the last 12 months of activity.

The enormous global disruption caused by the Covid pandemic has led to delays and some frustration, however it is clear that our manufacturing partners in China are now returning to normal levels of production.

Revolution Tattoo impression courtesy of steelcapjo.

This has meant that in the second half of 2023 a variety of long-awaited projects have finally been delivered, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their patience, goodwill and loyalty.

Raising funds, talking trains and a new recruit…

Highlights of the year have included: recruiting a fourth member of the team, Simon Veasey, to the position of Customer Services Manager; the opportunity to support our industry friends Beacon and GBRf by playing, with our friends from Cavalex and Heljan, in a charity football tournament; supporting Drax’s chosen charity Martin House Hospice through a donation from sales of the N gauge biomass hoppers with Rails of Sheffield; being given the opportunity to talk up the hobby on the Jeremy Vine programme on Radio 2, the UK’s most listened to lunchtime radio show; the Class 313 farewell railtour, meeting internet celebrity rail enthusiast Francis Bourgeouis; contributing to the enormous success of Railnuts’ Making Tracks 3 at Chester Cathedral; and as ever visits to real-railway locations to research new projects, including the exciting Rail Operations Group/Stadler Class 93 locomotives.

The Show does go on…

We attended a variety of shows in 2023 including Model Rail Scotland, the Festival of Railway Modellng at Alexandra Palace in London, DEMU Showcase, the International N Gauge Show, the Great Electric Trains Show at Milton Keynes and, of course, the Warley National Model Railway exhibition at the NEC.

We’d like to thank Paul Churchill (below, second left) for stepping in to join the team whenever we need it!

Shows are very important to us as they give us a chance to not just display exciting upcoming models but also to meet with our supporters and customers and listen to what you have to say about what we have done and what we should be doing. We may not always agree, but we always try to listen!

We also do our best to upload photos and short videos when we are attending shows so anyone who can’t attend can at least get a flavour of the event, and what we have on display.

In 2024 we will be attending these shows:

  • DEFINE, Risley Memorial Village Hall, Derby. 6 January.
  • Revolution at Rails of Sheffield. 13 January.
  • Model Rail Scotland, the SECC Glasgow. 23/24/25 February
  • London Festival of Railway Modelling, Alexandra Palace. 16/17 March.
  • Model World Live, NEC, Birmingham. 27/28 April.
  • DEMU Showcase, Sutton Coldfield. 15/16 June.
  • The International N Gauge Show, Warwickshire Exhibition Centre. 14/15 September.
  • The Great Electric Train Show, Milton Keynes. 12/13 October.

Models of the Year…

Despite the difficulties, 2023 has proved to be one of our most productive years ever for delivering new models.

In N, the long-awaited Class 128 Diesel Parcels Units finally arrived, and the amazing reaction to their smooth running has given us the encouragement to speed development of other models that can utilise the chassis, most obviously the already announced Class 120 units.

We also received the Mk5 Caledonian Sleeper coaches, second run batch of Class 390 Pendolinos and PFA container flats. In addition the TPE Mk5as are now en route and expected in the UK very early in the New Year.

We are aware that some customers had difficulty with the running of the first batch of these, so the Mk5as were all re-checked and anyone still having problems is encouraged to reach out to our Customer Services Manager as we have identified a variety of straightforward remedies.

Other N gauge models arriving in 2023 included the popular MMA/JNA box wagons, Class A and Class B tankers and their associated MTV/ZKA ‘Zander’ box wagon conversions.

In OO the models delivered have included the FWA ‘Ecofret’ container wagons, Southern Region General Manager’s Saloon 975025 ‘Caroline’, FNA-D nuclear flask wagons and just this month the second run of TEA tankers.

Deadlines and developments…

We’ve offered fewer new models this year than usual, largely because we wanted to catch up with a few of the more delayed previous announcements.

Nonetheless work is proceeding well on models that are either in production or close to it, and 31st December 2023 is the pre-order deadline for the N gauge Southern General Manager’s Inspection saloon and Cartic-4 car carriers, and in OO the KSA Rover ‘cube’ vans and timber carriers, BR BRV/BRA Borails, YLA Mullets, YQA Parr and Super Tench engineer’s flats.

Other models continue to move through the development cycle, and as ever the latest information can be found on our Projects Page.

Models in production are the Class 59 diesel and Class 313/4 Electric Multiple unit in N. Also coming very soon are the OO Alcan PCA powder tanks and HOA hopper wagons.

Class 175/180 DMUs in OO – EP1 samples have been received and are being tested. Below are a couple of sneak preview photos, with better images coming soon. These samples will be on show at the DEFINE show in Derby on January 6th.

Also coming soon: EP 1 samples of the IHA steel carrier in 00 and N.

Other models in development at the CAD stage are the Class 120 DMU, K-type Pullmans and Class 377/387 Electrostar EMUs in N.

The next models going into production will be the Class 66 locomotives in N. The Earlybird price closes at the end of January 2024 with models expected to ship in the summer or early autumn.

Decorated samples of the EWS and DRS variants were shown at Warley; others will be unveiled over the coming weeks.

Your model – your choice

With the Class 66 Revolution is also introducing Revolution Bespoke, an opportunity for you to personalise your fleet of locomotives. For a small premium your model, in one of our standard liveries, can be supplied not with our own standard number but with another number of your choice, subject to accuracy.

Limited editions are also being planned. The first to be confirmed is 66788 Locomotion 15 in GBRf livery.

This model is being offered under the Railway Icons range created by Rails of Sheffield and the National Railway Museum and a share of profits will be used to support the important work on rail preservation and heritage carried out at Shildon.

Coming up in 2024…

Revolution has lots of exciting new models coming in 2024, with announcements expected over the course of the year, and as ever we will often time them with shows so you can talk to us about them.

These will include new locomotives in OO and N along with new units, wagons and possibly coaching stock too.

All that remains now is to wish all our customers and supporters a very Happy and Peaceful 2024 and our hope that you continue to enjoy your railway modelling!

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66788 Locomotion 15 announced as first Class 66 exclusive

Revolution Trains, Locomotion Models and Rails of Sheffield are joining forces to offer 66788 Locomotion 15 as an N gauge exclusive model.

66788 Locomotion 15 at Rivenhall End in 2022. Photograph courtesy David Smith.

The locomotive was named in September 2019 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the opening of Locomotion in Shildon, partner museum to the National Railway Museum in York and home to a large number of historic items from the national collection.

Locomotion has a particular role in highlighting the vital role the railways have had in moving freight, and naming the locomotive in its honour is especially appropriate.

GBRf engineering director Bob Tiller and Head of Locomotion Sarah Price at 66788’s naming ceremony at Shildon.

Sarah Price, Head of Locomotion, said “The naming of ‘Locomotion 15’ in 2019 was a wonderful way to celebrate the museum on our 15th anniversary, so I am looking forward to seeing the engine brought to life in miniature.”

The locomotive will join the Railway Icons range, a joint initiative between Locomotion Models and Rails of Sheffield.

Stuart Brown of Locomotion said: “We are thrilled to be working with Revolution Trains for the first time on the first N-Gauge model in the Railway Icons range.”

Revolution’s new Class 66 locomotive will feature the very latest in detailing, light and sound features, and the tooling allows for 66788 to be correctly depicted as the former EWS locomotive 66238 acquired by GBRf in 2018.

The model will feature accurate details including swinghead buckeye coupler and control lever, loco location beacon on the horn grille and original BMAC design lights.  It will not have the distinctive driver cab mirrors as these have been removed by GBRf.

The model can be preordered now from either Locomotion Model or Rails of Sheffield and is priced at £159.95 (DC Silent) or £254.95 (DCC Sound.)

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It’s time for Revolution’s red death!

Revolution Trains Class 66 EP1 sample.

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

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

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

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

The prototype

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

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

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

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

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

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

The model

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

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

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

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

Liveries

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

66083 – EWS

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

66538 – original Freightliner

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

66704 – orginal GBRf

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

66404 – DRS ‘Compass’

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

66128 – DB red with large logo

Depicted in 2016+ condition with revised BMAC lights.

66848 – Colas Rail Freight

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

66795 – GBRf

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

66303 – DRS plain blue

Low emission locomotive with modified BMAC lights.

66720 ‘Wascosa’ – GBRf

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

66623 – Freightliner Genessee & Wyoming livery

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

66752 ‘The Hoosier State’ – GBRf Europorte livery

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

Please note graphic images are illustrative only.

Introducing ‘Revolution Bespoke…’

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

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

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

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

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

Full options and prices will be available after Warley.

DCC, lights and sound

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

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

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

Prices and timelines

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

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

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Revolution at Warley 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you at the show!

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Parcels arriving – Class 128s and the remaining Pendolinos

Updated 18 October 2023.

Our N gauge Class 128s have just arrived and we’ve checked them over in the final part of our normal QC process before shipping them to customers.

Paid in full: if you paid in full you don’t need to do anything, your model should have shipped (and your order status updated).

Paid a deposit: all balance invoices have been sent out. Please note when you pay a balance invoice the website automatically updates the deposit part of your order to “Complete” and sends you an email saying your order has been despatched – this is an automatic software bug that we can’t change. Your order is actually despatched when we mark the balance part of the order as “Complete” ie despatched.

If you need to change your delivery address please update the shipping address in your account but also please send us an email if you changed it since 9 October (otherwise your order might not get updated in time). Thanks!

If you missed out on our pre-orders some of our retailers still have models available to order (they should receive their allocations late this week).

Pendolino remaining batch: we’ve received the remaining Pendolinos (ie the Pride Pendolino and the 11-car full Avanti Pendolino) and will start to send them out on 19/10/23 (as well as generate any balance invoices).

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A painted lady…

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

All model images courtest Tom Everitt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Revolution gets to GETS

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

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

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

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

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

See you at the weekend!

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September 30th – N gauge deadline day!

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

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

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

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Limited quantity of Caledonian Sleeper/GBRf Class 92s available to order now

When we decided to produce the Mark 5 sleepers we were conscious that some customers may have missed out on our Class 92s in Caledonian Sleeper and GBRf liveries (both of which are used on the sleepers), so we decided to keep stock of a small quantity for release when the Mk5 sleepers arrived.

We have got very limited stocks of the following:

  • 92018 in Caledonian Sleeper teal (DC/DCC ready and DCC Sound versions)
  • 92023 in Caledonian Sleeper teal (DC/DCC ready only)
  • 92032 in GBRf Europorte livery (DC/DCC ready and DCC Sound versions)
  • 92043 in GBRf revised livery (DC/DCC ready only)

In particular the GBRf and DCC sound versions have extremely limited quantities.

The stock is available to order now from our online shop but please don’t mix with other items.

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Mk5 sleepers – a bit of a drag?

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

Chapter and verse – Caledonian Sleeper book sets are here

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

Retailers will be receiving their models soon too.

In the box

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

Marshalling your train

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

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

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

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

Haulage is usually Caledonian Sleeper or GBRf Class 92 throughout.

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

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

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

Excess drag on some wheelsets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy Kevin Payne.

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

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

Photo courtesy Gordon Edgar.

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

Photo courtesy Tom Smith.

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

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

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

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

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