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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!