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Revolution finds caustic soda at the end of the Rainbow…

Revolution Trains is teaming up with Scotland-based retailer Rainbow Railways to offer TUA caustic soda tank wagons in 00 gauge, 4mm scale.

40129 at Golborne in 1983 with ICI caustic soda tanks and brake van. Photo courtesy Richard Clayton.

CAD has been completed and the model will be going into tooling early next month.

28 of these tankers to design code TU013A were built by Standard Wagon of Heywood in 1977 for caustic soda traffic from ICI’s Mond works in Cheshire. They were owned by leasing company TRL and numbered TRL 70700-70727.

They featured pedestal suspension, a lagged barrel to a slightly narrower diameter than tankers intended for petroleum traffic, a short catwalk with ladders on each side and distinctive over-ride protection barriers at each end.

25207 at Wigan Springs Branch in 1984 with a short rake of ICI caustic soda tanks. Photo courtesy John Turner/53a models.

When built they were painted in ICI’s livery of dark blue-grey barrel with bright orange solebars and black underframes. They were used for deliveries of caustic soda liquor (sodium hydroxide) from ICI’s plant at Mond in Cheshire to destinations including Corkickle, Burn Naze, Stevenson in Scotland and Haverton Hill in north East England.

TRL70726 in original ICI Mond Division livery with TRL branding. Photograph courtesy Paul Bartlett.

From the mid 1980s ICI’s requirements for the wagons fell and they started being taken on by Pan Ocean (in the original livery with the ICI logo painted over) for its trains from Ellesmere Port and by ATO from Immingham to destinations in south-west, north-west and north-east England and Scotland, often as short cuts of wagons in Speedlink services.

TRL 70717 (mislabelled TTA) in use with ATO. Note Tiger branding. Photo courtesy Paul Bartlett
90147 on Mossend-Willesden Speedlink service in 1992 with two ATO TUAs immediately behind the locomotive. Photo courtesy Robert Catterson.

In 1988 some of the wagons began to see use in china clay slurry traffic. Twelve assigned to ECC International were repainted into its attractive blue livery for use between Burngullow (in Cornwall) and Aberdeen.

TUA TRL70727 (again mislabelled TTA) at Mossend Yard in china clay traffic. This wagon still carries its original livery with the branding painted out. Photo courtesy Tom Smith.
TUA TRL70711 at Radyr in ECC lnternational livery. Photo courtesy Huw Millington.
90025 at Preston in 1990 with Speedlink train including ECC tanks. Photo courtesy Neil.

This map gives an overview of the use of these wagons. They are thought to have gone out of use in the early 2000s.

The models will feature NEM couplers, sprung buffers, separate plastic, wire and photo etched parts and will be weighted for smooth running.

There were some minor detail variations between the wagons, at different times, and these have been catered for in the design. Two different designs of manlid have been recorded, and in later years some wagons ran without the solebar placards.

TUA with revised manlid and no load placard.

In the first run nine different numbers will be available in ICI orignal livery (with a split between TRL and TIGER branding), four each will be available in ATO and ECC International , and two in unbranded original livery.

These models are being produced exclusively with Rainbow Railways of Linlithgow in West Lothian, and are not available to pre-order from Revolution Trains. There’ll be an earlybird pre-order price of £35, rising to £40 in due course. For more information, or to secure your order, see here.