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Yes we Al-can in N!

Following a successful Expressions of Interest campaign Revolution trains is offering the Alcan PCA alumina tanks in N gauge 1:148 scale.

CAD has already been completed and once sufficicent pre-orders are received we will put the model straight into tooling.

At this time we have not finalised exactly which liveries will be available.

We expect to open the order book very shortly, and having already produced them in OO development and production is expected to be without too many hold ups.

The Prototype

The Alcan tanks are used to transport imported alumina between Blyth, on the north east coast, and the UK’s only remaining aluminium smelter at Fort William.

With Ben More dominating the background 66739 The Bluebell Railway eases the Alcan empties across the Finnan Viaduct at Crianlarich.

Built in 1988, the Alcan PCA tanks have been in frontline service for more than three decades and despite their relatively limited route they pass through some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK.

Class 55 55022 on the Alcans at Upper Tyndrum. The Deltic was hired in by GBRf to cover locomotive shortages in 2011.
Photo: Alistair Blackwood.

43 wagons numbered BAHS55531-55573 were built in 1988 by Powell Duffryn to design code PC020A for British Alcan Aluminium. Unusually the wagons have twin-link suspension with parabolic leaf springs, due to restrictions on the West Highland line.

BAHS55555 at North Blyth. Photo: Henry Pattison.

The wagons have always been pale grey with black underframes and discharge gear.

Originally introduced with the familiary Alcan logo, this was removed during the early noughties and following a takeover the wagons received Rio Tinto Alcan branding.

Subsequent changes of ownership led to revised Liberty/Lochaber labels being applied and then, from 2019, Alvance branding.

Like their OO predecessors, these models are likely to be packaged in sets of four, however the exact combinations of liveries and numbers has not been finalised.

We expect to open the order book shortly and hope to have the models ready to ship by Q1 2025, but this is dependent on expressions of interest converting into sales.

Thanks to all who expressed their interest and enabled us to move forward.

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Alcans arrival!

Revolution has received EP1 samples of its forthcoming 00 gauge, 1:76.2 scale Alcan PCA alumina tanks. These models represent the fleet of wagons diagram PC020A which have been in use since the late 1980s transporting alumina, which is used to make aluminium, from Blyth in Northumberland to the UK’s only remaining aluminium smelter at Lochaber at the base of Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands.

Alumina PCA sample in as-built form with ladders.
Alumina PCA without ladders as currently operated.

When built the wagons had ladders, however these were removed in the early 2000s. They entered service with Alcan, were subsequently taken on by Rio Tinto and are now operated by Alvance.

Revolution research trip to Lochaber Smelter.

The models feature a wealth of separately fitted details to the underside and fine, photo-etched catwalks.

Close up showing photo-etched catwalk and array of underframe detailing.

The wagons operate through some of the most beautiful scenery in the British Isles. In BR days they were usually hauled by Class 37 locomotives; then after privatisation EWS brought in Class 66s.

37413 “Loch Eil Outward Bound” leads the North Blyth – Fort William Alcan tanks over the River Fillan at Crianlarich. Photo courtesy Alan Mitchell.

Nowadays GBRf operates the trains. Standard traction remains the Class 66, though in 2011 GBRf hired in Class 55 Deltic 55022 due to traction shortages.

Photo courtesy: Arran Aird.

Revolution is offering the models in packs of four differently numbered wagons in all the liveries they’ve carried during their long lives.

If you want to find out more about the fascinating operations at Lochaber smelter, in the stunning highlands of Scotland, or are interested in the operations of these iconic wagons, see our video here:

These samples will be on show at the Rails Open Day on Saturday August 27th. The next step is to generate the livery drawings so decorated samples can be prepared for approval, and then the models will go into production with delivery expected next year.