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Sweet Caroline…rail tour draw and winners!

We spent some time trying to work out the fairest method for selecting winners for places on our exclusive Sweet Caroline rail tour and the best our boffins could come up with was to use Google’s random number generator. Each purchase of 975025/Caroline was assigned an exclusive number according to the date the order was placed. Google’s number generator did its magic and we cross-referenced the draw numbers with order numbers.

You can watch the video of the draw and a bit more of an explanation below (or you can skip to the end if you prefer to just see the winners rather than listen to me waffle on!).

Sweet Caroline rail tour draw for places

We’ll now make contact with all the winners to check their availability. The tour is provisionally booked for 19 May 2021 (subject to any coronavirus restrictions) starting and finishing at Derby. Thanks to everyone that has purchased a model so far – you can still pre-order a model from our webshop.

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It’s Sweet CaroliNe!

After an enthusiastic response from modellers Revolution is delighted to confirm that we are offering the amazingly versatile former Southern Region General Manager’s Saloon 975025 “Caroline” in N gauge as well as 00.

37421 with Caroline at Lichfield Trent Valley in July 2020. Photo courtesy Simon Cartlidge-Swain.

Caroline was converted from the buffet car of a former Hastings unit in the late 1960s, as a saloon for the General Manager of the Southern Region of BR to entertain VIP guests, but was also used by the engineers for line inspections and assessments. Originally numbered TDB975025 and with a kitchen and catering on board, it rapidly became known as the “gin palace” and an invitation on board became something of a golden ticket.

975025 with a group of County Council officials during the 1980s. Photo Courtesy Gordon Pettit, former Southern Region General Manager.

The secret of the saloon’s success is its versatility; being derived from Hastings line stock – which was built to a tighter loading gauge than most BR vehicles due to clearance issues on that line – it can travel on virtually any part of the network, and with driving controls can be both loco hauled and propelled and – almost uniquely – allows invited guests to see the railway from a driver’s point of view.

975025 at Clapham Junction in Network Southeast livery. Photo courtesy Arran Aird.

In the late 1990s, after the end of BR and the demise of Network Southeast, TDB975025 was purchased by Belmond Pullman but little used, until being acquired by Serco and refurbished, given the name “Caroline” and repainted into dark green with yellow ends. Since then Caroline has been largely associated with DRS traction.

Caroline in present day livery being propelled by DRS’s 37409 in heritage large-logo livery. Photo courtesy Steve Poole.

Caroline now resides at Derby with LORAM/Network Rail and is widely used for track inspections, line repair assessments and still, occasionally, to entertain VIPs. The saloon is about to be fitted with toilet retention tanks, suggesting her future on the mainline is assured for some years to come. Caroline has also been earmarked for the national collection once her service life is over.

Revolution research trip to Derby

Revolution’s N gauge model of Caroline will offer similar specifications as the 00 model, with lots of separate parts, power pick ups, kinematic couplers, directional headlights, search lights and tail lights (or illuminated headcode boxes depending on the era) and interior detailing with working saloon lights. CAD for the 00 model is almost complete and we anticipate CAD for the N version will be shown very soon.

Caroline 00 CAD – still under development

Initially we are offering the same three variants as in 00: BR Blue grey with headcode boxes and 3rd rail power pick-ups, BR Network South East with headcode boxes and 3rd rail power pick ups, and Network Rail green with LED light clusters and high intensity headlight. Please note the graphics below are purely indicative of the livery, and not based on the model CAD designs.

Caroline offers a complete train-in-a-box, and can be both hauled and propelled.

The early-bird price of £115 is available until October 31st, at which time the price will go up to the standard pre-order price of £130. In addition, anyone ordering before September 11th will join our existing 00 customers in being entered into a prize draw to win a place on our ‘Sweet Caroline’ railtour next year (which will be drawn and announced the weekend of 12/13 September)

The model is expected to be ready to ship in early 2021, though as ever delivery schedules can alter due to circumstances outside Revolution’s control.