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Mullets with style – in 00 and N!

Revolution Trains is offering the BR Borail EB/EC ‘fishbelly’ flat wagons, and air-braked YLA Mullet, YQA Parr and YQA Super Tench derivatives, as its next wagon in both 00 and N gauges. These wagons were introduced at the end of the 1950s and many remain in use now, albeit rebuilt.

25140 with BR Borail wagons in mixed train at Loughborough. Photo courtesy John Dedman.

These wagons were built in batches between 1959 and 1961. The original Borails were either fitted with five bolsters (Borail EB, diag 1/483 ) or had plain decks (Borail EC, diag 1/482) and were used primarily for pre-stressed concrete beams, girders or lengths of rail. They were fitted with 8′ plate bogies and vacuum brakes, and in the 1970s coded BRV under TOPS.

Revolution BR Borail EB with bolsters, chain loops and plate bogies
BR Borail BRV at Workington. Photo courtesy Paul Bartlett.

In 1981-2 150 BRV wagons were fitted with air brakes, Y25 bogies and new decks on top of the original decking. The wagons were re-coded BRA for use carrying rail in the Speedlink network. The five stanchions were replaced by six of a slightly different design, and tensioning ratchets were added to each side. Within a short time they began to be transferred to the engineer’s fleet, and given the fishkind name Mullet.

66711 with short engineers train of 3 x OCA and 1 x YLA Mullet at Charlton in 2019. Photo courtest Adam Snow.
Revolution YLA Mullet with air brakes, tensioning ratchets and Y25 bogies
BR YLA mullet wagon – still in Railfreight red – at York. Photo courtesy Paul Bartlett.

Some of the air-braked conversions were rebuilt without bolsters but with two longitudinal timbers for carrying sleepers, and recoded YQA Parr. They also feature end flaps and small corner footsteps. Revolution is offering this variant too.

Revolution YQA Parr with Y25 bogies, longitudinal timber baulks and end plates.
33113 at Stratford with rake of YQA Parr sleeper carriers in 1990. Photo courtesy Michael Hart.

In 2010 several were rebuilt again; deck equipment was removed and ISO engineers’ modules with drop-down doors and mesh sides were fitted. These retained the YQA code but were redesignated Super Tench.

YQA Super Tench at Eastleigh in 2020. Photo courtesy Dave Kirwin.
Revolution YQA Super Tench with ISO modules on deck.

Due to their versatility, strength and usefulness numerous YLA Mullet, YQA Parr and YQA Super Tench wagons remain in use in 2021. They’re used for carrying almost anything the engineers may need to transport between depots or to and from possessions include rail, sleepers, equipment and waste.

YLA Mullet carrying crane lifting beam at Northampton in 2015. Photo courtesy Dan Adkins.
66703 with YQA Super Tench wagon and JNA Falcons at Eastleigh in 2020. Photo courtesy Dave Kirwin.

The Revolution Trains models will cover all variants and tooling allows for numerous detail differences and prototypical variations in buffers and brake wheels to enable specific wagons to be accurately represented.

Air brake equipment on YQA Parr model.
Research visit to the Dean Forest Railway

Revolution Trains would like to thank the Dean Forest Railway for allowing us access to examine and measure one of the YQA wagons in their fleet, and would recommend anyone looking for a good day out to book up and enjoy a trip in their beautifully maintained stock. You can book here.

GWR Small Prairie 5541, built 1928, at the Dean Forest Railway in April with mixed raike of BR Mk1 and Mk2 stock.

The models will feature our usual attention to accuracy and detail, and the order book will be opening soon – look out for our limited-period low EarlyBird price.

The models are now in tooling and delivery is expected Q1-2 2022.

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MMMMA…… tasty!

Revolution Trains has received first egineering samples of our forthcoming MMA/JNA ‘Ealnos’ box wagons in N.

MMA/JNA – 9 rib versions

Introduced on the network five years ago, and there are more than 900 of these wagons in service or on order. The first were coded MMA and are in operation with DB; subsequent versions carry the TOPS designation JNA and carry variously VTG, Ermewa, Tarmac, GBRf, Cappagh and Touax brandings.

There are two main versions – either with 9 or 11 bodyside ribs, and within these there are examples both with and without bodyside doors that enable the wagons to be more easily swept out. Revolution is offering all types, and as well as the alternate body styles the variations in brake arrangements have also been faithfully depicted.

JNA 11 rib versions

As is customary with models from Revolution Trains, the models feature a wealth of detail on the body and underside, including plenty of separately fitted brake components and wire pipes and end footsteps. The first 9-rib wagons, for DB and Ermewa/Tarmac, feature the parking brakes and cylinders on the underframe, whereas the 11-rib variants for VTG incorporate such equipment mounted on the bogies. The parking brake wheels are absent on the samples; this will be corrected for the production models.

9-rib MMA (left) and 11-rib JNA underframes

As with the 00 versions of these models, and our popular IZA Cargowaggon vans, versions are being offered with factory-fitted, battery powered flashing tail lamps.

Because the light unit has to be positioned inside the wagon body, we have tooled a moulded ‘load’ to hide it – the load is being supplied as an option with all the models, which are also supplied with a flat floor to run as empty. The first prototypes are smooth; the finished items will be engraved to represent stone.

These prototypes are primarily to test the quality of the components, their dimensions and fit. These checks are now almost completed and feedback on some minor areas has been given.

Sizing up!

The Chinese New Year festivities mean that factories will be closing down for the next 2-3 weeks, but once they resume toward the end of February we will expect decorated samples of the models to follow.

Which versions do I need?

We have created a helpful diagram showing a variety of authentic trains operated by these wagons, along with a route map, that can be found further down the page. We are aiming to offer in this production run as many of the variants as possible.

These images show each of the different versions in more detail. The suffix -L denotes a version with the flashing tail lamp – but for production reasons only the most widespread and popular liveries will be available with the tail lamp fitted. However, we are investigating the possibility of making the tail lamp unit available as a spare.

9-pillar with door

This version is suitable for DB Cargo MMA versions N-EAL-101A/B/C/D/L

66119 with DB MMA hoppers at Peak Forest in September 2018.

9-pillar without door

This version is suitable for Ermewa and Ermewa/Tarmac versions N-EAL-101A/B/L/C/D

66711 at Irchester with mixed rake of Ermewa and VTG spot hire JNA. Photo courtesy Steve Madden.

11-pillar with door

This version is suitable for GBRf and Ermewa/GBRf versions N-EAL-106A/L/B/C

66028 with GBRF JNAs on the Cumbrian Coast. Photo courtesy Aidan Fort.

11-pillar without door

This version is suitable for VTG and Cappagh versions N-EAL-103A/B, N-EAL-104A/B/L, N-EAL-105A/B/L, N-EAL-107A, N-EAL-117A/C/L

11-pillar without door and body-mounted brakes

This version is suitable for the Touax versions N-EAL-108A/B/C

59206 at Acton in 2020 with Touax and VTG/Mendip Rail JNAs. Photo courtesy Dave Kirwin.

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Fantas-car-tic Four – from Revolution!

British Rail’s iconic and revolutionary Cartic-4 car carriers are the next 1960s era model to be offered by Revolution Trains.

Each four-unit articulated Cartic-4 set could carry 34 (1960s-sized) cars at up to 75mph. In total 538 Cartic-4s were constructed between 1966 and 1972, and they lasted in service until the mid 2000s.

40078 with empty Cartic-4s at Peterborough. Photo courtesy Paul James.

The Cartic-4 was developed jointly by BR and Ford following after the Beeching report of 1963 urged British Railways to focus on efficient block trains for freight and adopt fast, air-braked bogie wagons to replace its fleet of ageing and slow four-wheeled stock.

The design was radical at the time for freight stock – comprising a permanently coupled four-part vehicle in which the inner cars were linked via shared bogies on articulated joints – and two prototypes were constructed and trialled on traffic from Ford’s giant Dagenham plant in September 1964.

The production units differed slightly from the two prototypes, and the majority were built for private vehicle transporters MAT, Silcock & Collings and Tolemans, however some were also built by BR and used to launch its Motorail brand in 1966. This offered motorists the opportunity to take their car on holiday with them, with an extensive network of services between cities including London, Birmingham and Sheffield and Scotland, the South West and North Wales.

A new terminal was opened at Kensington Olympia in London, and ramps allowed both decks to be loaded simultaneously. This is featured in the wonderfully evocative British Pathé film “Car And You By Train” – which you can see here.

Stills from the British Pathe film “Car And You By Train.”

Out of holiday season, the Motorail-branded vehicles were often used alongside the rest of the fleet for new car deliveries. We will be offering as-built Cartic-4s in BR Motorail, MAT-Transauto and Silcock and Collings liveries.

In the 1984, following increasing incidents of vehicles becoming damaged in transit by stones, Silcock and Collings decided to add screens to the sides of the wagons. Some were also given corrugated roofs to protect vehicles from items dropped from overbridges; the roofs were hinged and could be raised to allow loading and unloading. Both these variants are being offered, and they often ran together in the same train.

85005 at Stratford in 1988. Photo courtesy Phil Richards.

This was a success, and within two years MAT had decided on similar measures, using Expamet mesh for its screens. The MAT fleet was inherited by STVA when it took over, and the Cartic-4s, by now coded PJA under TOPS, were refurbished and repainted into its pale grey livery.

47309, also at Stratford, with MAT mesh-sided car carriers in 1991. Photo courtesy Michael Hart.

A very small number of the MAT sets received roofs, however they were to a different design and are not being included.

STVA also decided to remove the top decks from three sets, and run them as single deck units primarily for light commercial vehicles; these lasted in use until 2013 however they are not being offered as they also featured some strengthening additions which would not be practical to tool.

BR drawings have been sourced and CAD work is underway. The models will feature our usual high levels of detailing, with the brake gear on the underside, accurate representations of the deck tread arrangement and separate parts including plastic and photo etched ladders, screens and roofs.

Preliminary CAD work has started following the Chinese New Year holiday

Once CAD is complete the models will be available to pre-order.