No one could say 2020 has been a vintage year. Nonetheless, while many of us have had to deal with lockdowns, loneliness or loss of income there have been some good points: working from home has given many a break from the drudge of commuting or created more time for modelling, and despite the pandemic Revolution has had one of its most productive years ever.
New models delivered this year include the HOA hoppers, KUA nuclear flask wagons, IPA car carriers and, just before 2020 draws to a close, the first Class 92 locomotives.
We have seen steady progress in previously announced projects such as the Class 128 parcels car and Class 313/314 electric units in N, as well as the FWA Ecofret wagons and IWA vans and timber carriers in both N and 00. However, some of these projects have taken longer than usual at the CAD design stage – this we understand to be largely down to labour problems caused by Covid.
In February we attended, as usual, Model Rail Scotland in Glasgow. At this exhibition we unveiled our new, expanded display stand designed to give us more space to engage with our supporters and show off upcoming models.
Model Rail Scotland is always a fun and friendly show, and 2020 was no exception. But little did we know then that the other shows we were booked to attend – The London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace, DEMU Showcase, The N Gauge International Show and the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC- would all be cancelled.
The onset of Covid in March changed many things. Revolution adopted stricter hygiene measures for dispatch of HOA hoppers, while with exhibitions and shows cancelled we needed a new way to talk to our friends and supporters. So we decided to host our first Facebook Live. This enabled both of us to give updates, show off samples or prototypes, and unveil new offerings.
The Facebook Live countdown clock became a familar sight, and the Lives enabled us to show off models in close-up, explain their features and show off the decor in Mike’s flat.
Judging by the feedback the Facebook Lives have been popular, and we plan to continue them, but while they have their place they are no real substitute for exhibitions where we can talk to our customers and enthusiasts can see (and often handle) our products for themselves.
2020 has seen several new announcements from Revolution Trains, including one in partnership with Rails of Sheffield, who share Revolution’s aim of supporting the growth of N gauge.
From top: IIA-D Drax biomass hopper, with Rails of Sheffield, 20′ gypsum containers (with Accurascale), Revolution realistic fixed couplers, SR general manager’s saloon ‘Caroline’ in 00 and N, MMA/JNA ‘Ealnos’ box wagons in N, new run Pendolinos in liveries including Avanti, 40′ hi-cube refrigerated ‘reefer’ containers with C-Rail, IPA car carriers in 00, exclusive DRS Compass livery Class 37 from Heljan in 0, HOA hoppers in 00.
Projects under development or in production include, from top: IWA vans and timber wagons in 00, MTV/ZKV ‘Zander’ 1970s-90s box open wagons in N, PFA container flats in N (with Accurascale), IWA vans and timber wagons in N, FWA ‘Ecofret’ container flat twins and triples in 00 and N, Class A fuel tanker in N, Class 320/321 EMUs in N.
For 2021 Revolution has many more exciting plans. Now the Class 92s are here, and the Class 128 and 313 are close to tooling, we are planning to offer new powered models for both present day and transition era enthusiasts, as well as further wagon models covering the 1960s to the present day.
Let’s face it: 2020 hasn’t been easy, but we have come through it. Here’s hoping for a healthier, happier and altogether better 2021!