04 August 2023
A promise to help fill a "helpful missing link" for modellers, as Revolution Trains plans new multi-scale rolling stock.
Revolution Trains is to offer models of the French-built IHA-F canvas-hooded steel coil carriers as its next wagon model in OO and N gauges. Around 250 of the type are in use for transporting high-grade steel from Wales to destinations in the midlands, north of England, France and Belgium. They also feed imported steel from ports on the east coast and Thames estuary to steel terminals inland.
Revolution Trains is offering livery and number variations to cover the long service lives of these wagons. CAD work is complete and tooling is underway, with the models expected to ship in Q2-3, 2024.
The stubby design, with its characteristic platform at one end above the buffers to allow staff to reach the locking bar levers and cross safely from one side of a train to the other, is a familiar sight on steel trains and often intermixed with other designs such as the Thrall-built BRA/BYW wagons and JSA tippler wagon conversions.
Revolution’s model has NEM couplers in kinematic sockets, photo-etched end platforms, separately-moulded lashing loops and locking equipment and underfloor brake equipment. In addition, the detailed Y25 bogies have been designed with moveable brake blocks to allow straightforward conversion from OO gauge to EM or P4 standards.
The first batch of 48 wagons were built by Fauvet Girel in 1991, registered in France and given the UIC code Sfhimms – the ‘f’ in the code signifying their suitability in the smaller Brtitish loading gauge. Further batches were built in 1993, 1998 and 2001-2; the last build featuring slight variations in internal arrangements and the positioning of some small external details.
Now owned by wagon leasing company Ermewa, the wagons have red bogies, underframes and ends and grey canvas covers. Some have yellow discs and lettering ‘H’ or ‘HT’ painted in the covers. At one time this signified particular traffics they were dedicated to, but these are no longer used.
A further batch of similarly-coded wagons (IHA-G) was built in 2008-9 by Astra Rail (now Greenbrier) in Romania however these are to a different design and are not the subject of this model.
The IHA fleet is primarily used on domestic steel trains between Port Talbot, Shotton (Dee Marsh), Round Oak (Birmingham), Wolverhampton Steel Terminal, Masborough (Rotherham) and Middlesbrough Dawson Ayrton, as well as imported steel from Tilbury, Boston, Immingham and Hull. Bar a very small number of withdrawals, most of the fleet remains in use.