Posted on

Sweet CaroliNe

Revolution unveiled an early sample of its N gauge model of the Southern Region General Manager’s Inspection saloon TDB975025 ‘Caroline’ in N gauge at the Rails Open Day today.

Caroline – ‘kitchen’ side.

The model received represents the saloon as it operates currently in green with new light clusters, rectangular step lights, no third rail pick-ups and the recently fitted CET equipment, as it appeared on the Revolution’s recent ‘Sweet Caroline’ railtour.

Photo courtesy Dan Foster/Aviation Photos.
Image showing the interior from the ‘kitchen’ side.

Inside, the model has the correct present day armchairs and driver cab arrangement. Other versions, in original BR blue grey and Network SouthEast, will have era specific details and we will be unveiling models of these versions in due course.

Once decorated samples are prepared these will be shown and then the model will go into tooling. You can pre-order ‘Caroline’ at the lower pre-production price of £130.

The 00 gauge models of the saloon are in production now and are expected before the end of the year.

Posted on

Good times never seemed so good…

Would you board a train with these people?

Revolution Trains’ long awaited – and much delayed due to Covid – ‘Sweet Caroline’ railtour on board the former Southern Region General Manager’s Saloon 975025 Caroline finally took place this weekend carrying the Revolution team, our guests and our competition and charity auction winners.

From behind by tractor…

Traction for the day was provided by 37418 ‘An Comunn Gàidhealach’ in its stylish BR large logo livery. The locomotive is named after the Assocation founded in 1891 to preserve and develop the Gaelic language, making its Highland stag motif especially appropriate.

After all on board had been given a goody bag featuring a variety of mementoes of the day, we set off, with our driver Carl at the controls accompanied by driver conductor Tom, who had joined us at the last minute (after some frantic phone calls and emails!) when GBRf came to the rescue as it was realised that Carl did not sign for all of the planned route.

Our driver Carl, guard Andy and driver conductor Tom – his knowledgeable commentary was an invaluable and unexpected bonus of the trip.

Our route took us from Derby, southwest to the WCML, north to Cheshire and into Manchester before looping round via the Hope Valley line and back via the huge locomotive depot at Toton. The route was designed as a loop, with no reversals, to optimise our use of Caroline’s unique ability to permit passengers to ride in the saloon with the driver.

Those on board included those who had won our ‘Sweet Caroline’ competition for those who pre-ordered a model – some coming from as far afield as Ireland and Australia – and the high bidder in our charity auction to raise money for cancer research UK.

As well as enjoying the on-board catering and views, the opportunity was taken to examine the Revolution pre-production model samples – even comparing the colours of the seating on the model to reality!

Don’t mock the moquette…

As some may know, the saloon is named after Caroline Mayo, a long time employee of the RTC who died of cancer in 2019. There is a photograph of her and explanatory plaque on board.

Caroline Mayo

After leaving Crewe we stopped briefly at Sandbach for a photo-opportunity, the light drizzle failing to dampen the spirits.

Scruffs at Sandbach…

On the freight only branch via Middlewich we stopped briefly in the loop there to allow GBRf’s 66759 with limestone from Hindlow to Small Heath in JNA box wagons (as offered by Revolution Trains) to pass.

We were nearing Manchester. Of course it was raining.

After skirting south Manchester we picked up the Hope Valley route via New Mills and Chinely and on to Edale, by which time by some miracle the sun had started to come out.

Sweet Caroline speeds along the Hope Valley. Photo courtesy Andrew Taylor.

Although the best views are forward, the rear saloon was popular as it had far better acoustics…

Is it a tractor? Is it a growler?
Bennerley viaduct. Opened in 1878, closed in 1968 and reopened as a walking route in January this year.
Heavy freight at Toton depot. Sadly some of these locomotives are unlikely to turn a wheel again.
GBRf’s 66708 ‘Glory to Ukraine.’

After returning to Derby, and saying goodbye to some guests, the majority of the party remained on board as we reversed back into Loram’s depot for an additional treat.

Loram’s EDU – Engineering Delivery Unit.

Sweet Caroline hi-viz vests were donned, and the party was led on a tour of Loram’s workshops at Derby, and we were given a guided tour by rail maintenance and ops director Ross.

As well as Caroline, Loram maintains Network Rail’s test vehicles including the New Measurement Train and Ultrasonic Test train, and those who wished to were able to climb on board and see the equipment for themselves.

Spot the easy-to-spot spotters.

The success of the day has encouraged us to think of other ways we can use our contacts in the industry to enable our customers to get more of an insight into the ‘real’ railway, and raise money for good causes, and we will be saying more about this in due course.

And finally we would like to sign off by saying a huge thank-you to Ross, Carl, Darren, Shanice and Andy from Loram, Tom from GBRf, Andrew, Charlotte, Steve, Neil and Sir Peter at Network Rail, Stephen at Procast for the superb headboard, and our guests on the day Gareth, Paul, Seb, Stewart, Bob, Mark, John, Eamon, and the two Philips.