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My own preferred R-T-R chassis; smooth running with unobtrusive wheelsets and wagons are correct scale distance apart thanks to the Peco couplers. The Peco chassis are available separately however some compromises have been made to some of the bodies used in order to standardise on these chassis. There are a total of six chassis types; steel framed nine foot wheelbase, steel and wooden underframed ten foot wheelbase wagons, ten and fifteen foot wheelbase brake vans and a fifteen foot wheelbase steel wagon. The pre nationalisation liveries are all of the pre 1937 large letter type, where any actual inaccuracies have been noted corrected forms appear in the text.

Chassis details

Peco offer a nine foot wheelbase chassis but only in kit form, this represents the standard RCH chassis used from the late nineteenth century. It is XXX mm OH, XXX mm WB and XXX mm OA. The axle boxes are of the `Gloucester' type, used by the GWR, SR and most private owners.

XXX To confirm dimensions of new Peco chassis - Kit in spares box

The 10 foot wheelbase wagon chassis is available separately and consists of a single moulding with sockets for the Peco Else coupling and standard Peco wheelsets which just clip in place. It represents the RCH standard 17 foot 6 inches over headstocks design. It is available with either steel or wooden solebars, although all RTR models are supplied on the steel chassis. Both types of ten foot wheelbase wagon chassis and the ten foot wheelbase brake van chassis are all 36 mm OH, 21 mm WB and 45 mm OA. The axle boxes are of the `Gloucester' type, used by the GWR, SR and most private owners.

The 15 foot steel wagon chassis is a relatively modern design, dating from the 1960's and originally used for PO wagons, such as oil tanks, and also for the Grano leased grain hopper. The axle boxes are of the LMS/BR type. It is 53mm OH, 31.5mm WB and 62 mm OA. The 15 foot wheelbase brake van chassis is a steel solebar chassis. It is 53 mm OH, 32 mm WB and 62 mm OA.

Note that the ends of the 15 foot chassis extend a scale 5 feet beyond the outer end of the suspension, the ends of the 10 foot chassis extend about three feet. Some 10 foot wheel base vehicles had a standard brake gear but a longer body than the standard, if you cut off the ends of a 10 foot chassis, level with the outer end of the suspension, then similarly cut off the ends of the 15 foot chassis the two longer ends and the chassis can then be mated. I have used this trick to produce various longer then normal wagons, unfortunately the ten foot chassis ends cannot be re-used as the cut falls across the coupling pocket although this does give you the parts to add buffers to American RTR wagons.

The brake van chassis are often preferable for kit-bashing, these have no brake detail other than the clasp shoes on the longer version and inner single shoes on the ten foot chassis. This makes adding brake lever detail easier, if you can live with the inaccuracies however the standard chassis can be used.

For convenience I have divided the stock into that based on the nine, ten and fifteen foot wheelbase chassis (although there are no ready to run models on the nine foot wheelbase chassis).

Models on the 9 foot wheelbase chassis

These models are currently only available in kit form, they have a frame on the base of the floor to allow accurate alignment of the solebars and headstocks so even a complete beginner has a better than even chance of getting the thing to roll well. The kits also include a new variation on the standard Peco coupler with a separate retaining cup to be glued to the chassis.

7 plank Open Wagon
A useful mineral wagon suitable for layouts set from the pre-grouping era into the early 1970s.

BR 16 ton Steel Mineral Wagon
The sixteen tonner end-door wagons were the single most common type on BR up to the late 1960's, the last of the unfitted vehicles disappeared from the revenue earning fleet in the early 1970's, a few of the vacuum fitted examples (never very common) soldiered on into the early 1980's.

BR 27 ton Iron Ore Tippler Wagon
The twenty seven ton tippler wagons are simply door-less versions of the mineral wagon. These were introduced in 1951 for iron ore but used for a wide range of cargo including stone, chalk and sand.

BR 20 ton Pig Iron Wagon
This wagon is essentially a half-heigh version of the ore tippler. Widely used for sand traffic.

Models on the 10 foot wheelbase chassis

SINGLE BOLSTER PAIR - I was not able to identify a specific prototype for this model however it does capture the correct general appearance of the type. Note that most of these designs used a shorter wheel base, often 8 foot, however BR did convert some 10 foot wheel base wagons to single bolsters. Details of how to shorten these models have been included in the section on Kit Bashing.

CONFLAT - This is a late (1943) GWR design, subsequently produced by BR, the lettering on the wagon is BR in all cases. To make it a GWR design add a tiebar between the bottom of the axle boxes and the letters G & W on the solebar to either side of the chain pockets (the central board on the chassis side). The containers should be secured to the wagon, this can be done using simple `turnbuckles' made from plastic rod or wire, for details of securing methods see the section on container design.

The container supplied by Peco is the furniture container (Type BK) dating from 1933, which is identical with the bicycle container (Type BC) also dating from the 1930's. A more common type of container was the General purpose type BD, which had double doors on each side as well as the end door. Parkwood Models offer a kit of one A type and one BD type container, however the Peco container can be modified by either replacing the sides or sanding them down and re-scribing them. I have made a pair of A type containers from a cut-in-half Peco container, but this did require a fair bit of re-scribing and new strapping added from 10x20 thou strip. As I did not wish to bother producing a convincing door-end on I added a tarpaulin conver for a 'leaky roof' to one of the containers.

Photo of models

These older wooden containers were all phased out of service by the late 1970's. The container liveries supplied for the GWR date from 1934, and for the LMS variant the livery dates from 1932. The BR livery is early BR. The LNER used a deep blue livery with white lettering for furniture containers and the SR used their passenger livery of sea green and yellow lettering.

In about 1935 there was a degree of standardisation on lettering between the Big Four companies and the LNER adopted a roundel type logo, similar to the GWR `shirt button' on their furniture containers. Some of these wagons were modified for the Speedlink container service but with the change to the ISO container most of the remaining vehicles were fitted with bolsters and close-coupled in pairs. The chain pockets remained in place so all you need do is add the bolsters. You can use the bolsters from a fifteen foot wheelbase double-bolster wagon for this (see below).

5 PLANK OPEN - Basically an RCH (1923) standard mineral design, used by all the `Big Four' (that is GWR, LMSR, LNER and SR) after 1923, Pre grouping wagons would have been very similar, although most would have had grease axle boxes and a 9 foot wheel base chassis but this is barely noticeable in `N'. The top plank is not continuous so this wagon serves well as the 5 plank (high) open goods wagon used by most railway companies from pre grouping times. The liveries as supplied are pre-1937 Big Four and the LMS example is in pre 1936 grey.

Photo of  model

7 PLANK MINERAL - An RCH standard (1923) design, certainly used by the GWR and LMS. Used in smaller numbers by the LNER, and the SR, both of whom tended to favour 8 plank designs. Both 10 or 12 ton versions were produced, the larger capacity wagon having heavier axles. From the early 1920's the 12 tonner was the standard form (a 10 ton wagon occupied the same siding space but earned less revenue than the 12 ton type). The earlier wagons were a nine foot wheel base chassis, 16 foot 6 inches over headstocks (Peco now offer a kit of this type on their nine foot wheelbase chassis, described above). Seven plank mineral wagons were used by both the railway companies and private owners, although end door types were more common on PO wagons. Adding an end door is not difficult and this is described in the section on Kit Bashing. Some 7 plank general merchandise wagons were built by various companies. These can be made up from this model by scribing and adding microstrip details to the side doors and again this is described in the section on kit bashing. The examples shown have had their side doors modified to represent two pre-grouping designs (the stripe on the SECR wagon is supposed to represent an unpainted repair).

Photo of  model

STEEL OPEN - A Butterly company patent design from 1935 large numbers of which were leased or sold to private owners. These resemble a riveted 15 ton wagon design built for the LNER in the 1930s but I have not yet traced any illustrations of any similar wagons in service with other of the pre-war Big Four companies. The Charringtons livery dates from the mid 30's and was for a wagon operating out of London. BR would have taken many of these ex PO wagons into its fleet, with a P prefix added to the number and this livery is now available from Peco. In its guise of GWR loco coal wagon it should have the end detail sand-papered off to represent plain sheeting and two vertical stanchions added. The corners of this wagon were rounded so again some gentle work with sandpaper or with the card type nail files is called for. The diagonal stripes indicated which end the end-door was fitted and so should be painted over. One other modification of possible interest is an early LNER metal bodied general merchandise wagon. Sand off all the end detail to represent plain sheeting, add two vertical supports at the ends, then cut away the door section and make up a replacement wooden door (copy the Peco 5 plank). I used scribed card with detail from microstrip and the result was acceptable.

Photo of  model

LIME WAGON - The lime wagon is typical of the type used by various firms. The Peco model is the standard 5 plank open with a removable roof unit incorporating the end planking. Two liveries are offered, Crawshay Bros (as shown below) and SLB. The latter was a firm also based in South Wales, note that some of the SLB wagons did not have the fixed solid roof, some had raised, curved ends and others had a fixed wooden beam between the peaked ends to support a tarpaulin. Examples can be seen in the book 'The Tanat Valley Light Railway' by Mike Lloyd, published by Wild Swan and both are easy modifications to the standard Peco wagon. Some railway company 'departmental' 5 plank wagons were fitted with a similar peaked roof (possibly for ash collection from outlying points on the system?) and there was an article in Railway Modeller some years ago which showed a peak-roofed wagon used by the army in WW1. Note that where the top doors became damaged, or leaked, it was common practice to tie a tarpaulin over the top, this dodge was also used on vans with damaged roofs. Some wagons of this general type had no top doors (either damaged and removed or never fitted) and had a narrow strip of tarpaulin tied across the central section of ther roof instead. The tarpaulin dipped visibly where the door-hole was, so you would need to carve out a hole in the roof section of the model leaving the central 'ridge' intact. Adding full tarpaulins or tarpaulin 'doors' adds a little variety to a rake of wagons.

Photo of model

SALT WAGON - There is a photograph of the `Saxa' version of this wagon, or one very much like it, in one of Bill Hudson's books on PO wagons, they were used to move bagged domestic salt and so would be seen at most locations at one time or another. Saxa was a brand name for Cerebos, now part of British Salt Ltd, operating from Cheshire. It should be noted that there were many and varied wagons used for salt and lime traffic, including hoppers, ordinary opens, sheeted opens with or without raised curved ends and wooden or patent hinged metal sheet rails, as well as peak roofed versions used by private companies (don't forget the chemical companies, ICI for example) and vans. The model is the standard open 7 plank wagon with an additional peaked roof section which plugs into the top, similar to the lime wagon although with slightly different roof detail.

Photo of model

VENT VAN - A GWR `mink' standard design, also now produced in BR colours. The planked doors date from 1927 and hence the large letter GWR livery is legitimate. To produce the older outside framed doors sand/scrape the planks away leaving the two centre planks and the two outermost planks in place, then add horizontal framing top and bottom. The illustration below shows the RTR van and a kit which has been modified.

Fig ___ Old style doors for the Peco van

Peco van kit with doors modified to represent the earlier type

The large white spot on the Peco GW van marks this as a `Fruit B' which is specifically for banana traffic, although the livery should really have the words `Banana Van' in place of the word `Ventilated', and often a bunch of bananas in yellow above this. Many of the banana vans also had a louvered vent between the uprights on the end, this had a sliding cover, which makes cheating easy, a simple piece of scribed card to represent the closed cover is all that is required. To convert this to a general purpose van it may be possible to scrape off the spot, although you may need to do a bit of painting and weathering to hide the marks.

STANDARD VAN - This is the British Railways standard banana van (the design published in 1949 is based on the LMS ten ton banana van) for which the Peco chassis is appropriate. In it's SR livery it captures the general look of the original, although this was a horizontally planked van with unusual brake gear. A simple modification to the doors prodices a handy NER van.

Photo of  model

The body has vertically planked sides but horizontally planked ends and the model lends itself well to a number of conversions, both of vans and also of open wagons.

Fig___ Conversion based on the Peco van

LNWR van, long wheelbase L and Y van, MR CCT, freelance powder van, CL three plank open and L and Y long wheelbase open produced from the Peco van kit

CATTLE WAGON - A BR standard type, based on a GWR standard design (the GWR version, coded `Mex' and introduced pre 1923, had slightly different upper doors).

Fig___ Peco cattle wagon converted to GWR type

Peco cattle van with upper doors modified to represent the GWR standard design

BR built cattle wagons to a mix of LMS, GWR and SR designs, but the BR standard cattle wagon was closely based on the GW design. The last cattle wagons were built in 1954 and were in service into the late 1960's/early 70's, mainly used for traffic to seaports for Ireland and the Scottish islands. The last cattle trains moved on BR ran in 1975 but the business had been winding down for many years at this time. The GWR and BR converted some of these wagons to fruit vans, for details of which see the Kit Bashing section.

One sometimes sees pictures of pre-grouping cattle wagons with white interiors and white stains on their sides caused by `lime washing' the insides of the wagons as a way of disinfecting them. The interior of these wagons should be all white and the liquid leaked out between the planks as well as through the built-in openings. There would be patches of white all over the body but mainly where there were gaps such as the openings at the bottom and around the open upper sides. This practice was banned in the 1920's, so the stains should not appear on Big Four or British Railways stock, including the Peco wagon as supplied.

4 WHEEL TANK (10 foot wheelbase) - A standard design for an un-lagged class `B' tank wagon. It is fitted with a stub for a bottom discharge valve (the taller of the two stubs on top of the body) and so can not be used for the carriage of highly flammable (Class A) liquids. Bottom discharge was prohibited on class A tanks following incidents of leaking valves. To convert this to a `Class A' tank remove the taller of the stubs on top of the tank. Note that no `tap' or handle was carried on the discharge stub, this was to prevent tampering in transit, the stub had a square section top to which a valve handle was fitted at the discharge point. I have seen photographs of this type of tank carrying oil in the 1950's but I have no definite date of introduction. I believe it to be about 1938 for this particular design of tank, which lacks the wire rope strop securing of earlier RCH standard designs. The 1902 specification for `class A' very flammable liquids and Class B heavy oils and less volatile liquids is described in the livery section and from this it would appear that the Peco Esso (class A) & BP (class B) tanks are in post war livery.

Photo of  model

This tank is also available in United Daries and Express Daries milk tank livery, for which it is suitable for the very early 1930s, I believe the four wheelers were phased out in 1937.

Photo of  model

Models on the 15 foot wheel base chassis.

PLATE WAGON/DOUBLE BOLSTER- This design was originally LNER dating from 1942/43, some sources quote 1937 but this was for the riveted type. The two types were basically identical however and the riveting was not especially noticeable so you can use it for a late 1930s layout. This wagon design was apparently a joint venture with the LMS who produced wagons to a near identical design from 1944 to 1949. The model captures the look of the prototype rather well but the chassis is from the oil tank wagon and incorrect for the plate type. You can produce an improved although still not quite accurate chassis for the plate wagon using the triangular swinging link hangers cut away and repositioned centrally as V hangers, with brake handles and push rods from 10x20 thou strip and tie-bars from 10 thou brass wire. The sketch below shows the Peco chassis and the prototype plate wagon chassis

Compare PECO and plate wagon prototype chassis

This type of plate wagon was adopted by BR as their standard design (TOPS code SPV), they were eventually replaced in the 1980s by the air braked SPA (later coded SAA) wagons introduced in 1977. Intended for the carriage of sheet metal, usually steel plates, these wagons were also used to move cars and agricultural machinery as the drop sides meant they could be easily loaded from a loading bank. There is a photograph in Dave Larkin's book BR Standard Freight Wagons published by D Bradford Barton in the 1970's which shows two Mini cars roped onto such a wagon. The double bolsters were phased out in the 1970's, most had the bolsters removed to become plate wagons, if buying kits however get the bolster version as you can use the bolsters for converting other wagons to bolster types. Redundant plate wagons were used as the basis of a wide range of conversions, notably the trestle wagon, Conflat P wagons (for which use a chassis kit as these had no 'body' as such) and Timber P wagons.

5 PLANK TUBE - A BR `ferry wagon' dating from 1950's, used on the train ferry traffic to the continent, hence basically a Southern Region of BR design. Again the underframe is for the forty five ton GLW tank wagon and the wagon is therefore rather too short, but generally correct in outline.

8 PLANK TARPAULIN WAGON - Another ferry wagon, dating from 1957. Only 40 of these 21 ton payload wagons were built, originally vac fitted with a through air pipe all were changed to dual fitted, coded OJX and in the late 1980s they had the vacuum gear removed to be re-coded OJA. Ferry use of these wagons ended in about 1975 and in the late 1980's they were in use as coke wagons in Southern Region, carrying agricultural lime in Scotland and as barrier wagons on Western Region. The tarpaulin rails were removed from most of these wagons by the mid 1960's and by the early 1980's none remained in place. I believe at least some of those on Western region had the body cut down to 5 planks. As supplied this wagon uses the tank wagon chassis, which is not quite correct, the original having a 14 foot wheel base and different brake gear.

Peco wagon and original SR design on which the ptototype was based

The design of the body was based on a pre-grouping LSWR design adopted by the Southern Railway (who used it both for ferry work and for general goods traffic) and the Peco body can be cut-down and fitted to a Peco ten foot wheelbase chassis to produce a model of the type. This conversion is discussed in the section on 'Kit Bashing', these shorter ex SR wagons survived into the 1970's. The model shown below is simply a cut down Peco kit and retains the Peco livery.

Fig___ Shortened Peco tarpaulin wagon

Peco wagon cut down to fit a ten foot wheelbase chassis

GRANO HOPPER - Introduced in 1965 for PO grain traffic. One of the first of the `leased wagon' designs, built by BR and leased by BRT for hire to private owners, several batches were built, the last in 1971. BRT was a wagon leasing company formed in 1902 and taken over by Procor in 1974 (Procor then became Bombardier in the 1990's). The gain wagons were originally all painted in a basic livery of blue, of those leased to Scottish Distillers some were fitted with a large board on the side carrying advertisements for the leasing company. The Distillers group, who used these wagons, subsequently leased some French designed air braked bogie 'polybulk' wagons, making many of the four wheelers redundant. In 1983 some of the redundant wagons were revamped by Procor with new springs and air brakes, these were leased to TSL who painted them in the green and grey livery of the TSL operated `Grainflow' fleet. Called `Minibulk' (TOPS code PAA) the re-vamped grain wagons continued in this service until the end of Speedlink in 1991, they are still in existence and may yet be re-used for other traffic. Lima offered the bogie Polybulk wagon in the Granflo livery in their OO range, which can be cribbed for a re-paint. Note Procor replaced BRT on the small plate in the later 1970's, although not all such wagons had that detail changed initially.

Fig ___ Original and Grainflow livery for Peco Grano Wagon
Original and later Grainflow liveries for the Peco grano wagon

I believe that one other use for redundant grano wagons was carrying bauxite from ships docked at Blyth near Newcastle to Fort William in Scotland in the early 1980's for use in the manufacture of aluminium. The wagons were in a plain bauxite livery when on these duties. This traffic is now all delivered by sea direct to the factory, being off loaded from ships at anchor into large 800 ton barges which are then emptied using a shore crane equipped with a grab to transfer the ore to a conveyor belt.

The Peco model can be cut down to produce a fair representation of the LMS, GWR and early BR type of grain hopper although this does require a bit of surgery to obtain an accurate profile. Making these wagons is discussed in the section on Kit Bashing.
Dapol have now released an RTR model of the BR grain hopper which makes life a lot easier.

4 WHEEL TANK - A standard 45 ton GLW (Gross Loaded Weight) design built by British Railways and outside contractors for private owners and dating from 1963. Smaller 35 ton GLW tanks were introduced in the late 1950's, (see Fig ___) but only Esso showed much interest at first. The 45 ton type follwed an increase in permitted axle weight and the tank became so large they had to put the ladders at one end. With the change in policy regarding oil shipments in block 'company trains' in 1962 these modern wagons become more common. Many of these wagons are leased to the oil companies, notably Esso who these days avoid actual ownership of rolling stock, partly because of the costs of changing from vacuum brakes to air brakes for new stock from 1966 and retro fitted to older stock in the early 1970s.
Company liveries on oil tank wagons were constrained by the rules on Class A and Class B cargo and particularly in the case of Class B cargo were mainly confined to the company logo at one or both ends of the tank barrel, where they would not be affected by spillage of the fuel. Tanks carrying Class A liquids (highly flammable goods such as petrol) have grey or plain metal tanks and should have their solebars painted red.
The photo shows the Peco model in the guise of a Class A (highly infamable liquid) tank, the model as supplied has the correct red solebar.

Fig ___ Peco tank wagon in Fina petrol livery
Photo of a Peco tank wagon in Fina petrol livery
The logos were generally phased out from about 1974 and I understand cleaning is now carried out much less frequently, the bodies being either plain black or grey, and the tanks are often stained and streaked from spillages during loading. The `hazchem' warning panel towards the lower left provides a splash of colour on the more modern liveries.

Peco now offer alternative bodies for LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas, i.e. Butane & Propane) wagons, a cement `Presflo' type wagon and an Albright & Wilson chemical tank. Albright & Wilson tanks in this livery are used for, amongst other things, shipping phosphoric acid, the cargo being identified by the hazard plate on the side of the wagon and also its name in lettering about 4 or 6 inches high to the lower left of the body. Phosphoric acid is widely used in soft drinks and might also be delivered by rail to sugar refineries, fertiliser factories, soap and detergent makers and oil refineries, these tanks often have heavy white staining due to spillages during loading. The LPG tank and the acid tank should both have red solebars.
The photo shows the Peco model in the guise of a Liquid Petroleum Gas tank, the band along the side of the tank is officially orange, in practice they tended to fade to this yellowish colour as on the model. The discharge pipe under the wagon should (I believe) be removed for the LPG tanker as the discharge connections were under the side mounted sliding covers. The sliding cover and associated rails on the lower tank side are printed on, adding rails of 10 thou rod gives a little relief and helps capture 'weathering' in the right area. In the later 1960s or early 1970s Mobil hired some wagons from BRT for LPG traffic from their London refinery, these form the basis for the Peco offering. The Peco Mobil tank can be back-dated from its mid 1970s livery by covering the 'P' logo on the left hand end with the standard three box BRT logo. These tanks do not seem to have had the rather visible manholes of the original 1962 type.

Fig ___ Peco tank wagon in mid 1970s Mobil LPG livery
Photo of a Peco tank wagon in Mobil LPG livery
The gas tank model can be back-dated to represent one of the original 1962 Shell BP wagons, you should add a 3.5mm dia manhole on one end and a 2mm dia manhole on the other with two small stubs of 40 thou rod on the top centre of the roof at the end with the larger manhole. Adding the door (10 thou card 5mm x 4mm high with curved ends) with rails and handles from 10 thou strip is worth doing. In the later 1960s these lost the logos and were used by other companies, making painting easier. Esso and other firms later purchased or hired similar wagons for LPG traffic.

Sketch and Photo of a Peco tank wagon in early LPG livery

FISH/PARCELS VAN - This design was introduced by the LNER in the latter part of the 1940's as a plywood bodied insulated fish van for use in express passenger duties on the East Coast Main Line. BR built further examples but all early models tended to suffer from overheating axle boxes, and all the remaining vehicles were eventually fitted with roller bearings. As the fish traffic transferred to road haulage some of these wagons transferred to parcels duties when they were recoded SPV (Note this was not a TOPS code, it was the abbreviation for Special Parcels Van). Peco offer both the blue Express Parcels and white fish van liveries, however the fish van should have a blue disc, about a foot in diameter, towards the left hand end of the body (these vans were referred to as `blue spots' by enthusiasts). This livery is illustrated in the section on Livery BR 1948-1964 . The model runs on the standard Peco chassis, which is incorrect (the wheels should be a lot closer to the ends so the body is somewhat over long), however like many people I have a couple of these vans and can live with the compromise.

PALLET VAN - A 1960's BR design, 123 of these wagons were built by British Railways. They were originally leased to Ford for the transportation of spare parts. The model is very under length, the prototypes had a wheel base of 20 foot 9 inches (as opposed to 15 foot as supplied), and a length over headstocks of 35 foot (ten foot longer than the model), but it makes a pleasing model for the modern image layout and the Ford livery at least is accurate. The model is available in alternative liveries but I have not as yet traced any definite references to these vehicles being used for traffic other than Fords. The basic kit can be used to produce a range of vehicles to fill in gaps in the available models, several of these are described in the section on Kit Bashing.

Models on special chassis.

46 Ton GLW HAA MGR Hopper
A useful model of a Merry-Go-Round 32.5 ton coal hopper and a new chassis specific to the type. These were originally coded HOP 32 AB, and introduced in 1964, over 10,000 being produced. The liveries at the time of writing are the pre 1974 TOPS 'HOP AB' (bauxite cradle), TOPS era 'HAA' BR Railfreight (red cradle, the 'sector era' coal sector markings (yellow cradle) and EWS Maroon. The HAA was developed for supplying regular customers such as power stations and it is fitted with automatic discharge gear. Top speed loaded is 45 mph and empty 50 mph. In the 1990s some of these wagons were revamped with improved suspension and air brakes to enable speeds of up to 60 mph and re-classified as HFA. Some routes have sufficient clearance to allow side and ends extensions to be fitted to the hopper to increase their capacity and Peco offer a pack of two such 'hoods' with loads to suit. In the early years a number of these wagons were built as covered hoppers with a solid roof with roof top hatches fitted and these remained in use, coded CBA, at least into the late 1990s carrying limestone. At the time of writing I am unaware of any RTR models or conversion kits for this variant. Some of the open wagons were also converted to carry china clay, re-coded CDA they entered service in January 1988. The CDA has a motorised canvass cover or 'hood' and Peco have released a model of this variant (discussed below)

CDA Hopper
Introduced in 1988 for china clay working these wagons are the standard HAA MGR hopper but fitted with a motorised retractable canvas 'roof', at the time of writing the Peco model is available in ECC Blue and EWS Maroon.

Brake vans

LNER (15' chassis) Basic design introduced 1929, unofficially known as `Queen Mary' by the guards due to its size. The version supplied by Peco has the running boards extended beyond the wheels, whereas on the LNER version these were stopped just beyond the axle boxes. A single concrete bodied version was tried, but although it lasted into BR days it was not considered a success and no further examples were built.

BR (15' chassis) - The standard BR type, developed from a late design of fitted van introduced by the LNER for their Green Arrow express goods service. The full length foot boards are correct as supplied.

Fig___ Peco Brake Van kit as a BR fitted van

Peco brake van as a BR fitted example

The example shown was picked up second hand, the builder had added the figure of the guard which is not supplied with the kit.

LNER (10' chassis) - This represents a 1934 `Toad E' van.

LMS (10' chassis) - A standard design, introduced pre 1923 by the Midland Railway but the model has a 10 foot chassis, whereas the original ran on a 12 foot wheelbase chassis, and so is a little short (the N Gauge Society now offer a correct length model in the form of an etched brass kit).

MR (10' chassis) - A useful pre-grouping model for the LMS modeller, available only in MR colours and not as far as I am aware in kit form. Some of these may have survived into BR ownership but I doubt it.

There is also an SR brake van available as a kit, for details see the section on available kits.


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