17 December 2019
Andy York examines this new wagon arrival, exclusive to the model retailer.
One of the delights of the Speedlink era of BR was the variety of wagons found within workings. Kernow Model Rail Centre’s exclusive PRA china clay wagon ticks a box with its distinctive appearance. True to its Cornish roots, Kernow has found another interesting prototype to grace the metals of the South-West.
David Ratcliffe’s useful prototype article on page 112 gives a more detailed history and explains the heritage of the wagons that gave them their distinctive appearance, superbly captured in this model. Chris Trerise, Managing Director at Kernow Model Rail Centre has obviously carried out a lot of research, which shows in the variations of the model available. Our review images feature one each of the earlier and later styles of decoration. The early selections feature the grey chassis and buffer stocks that includes slightly more solebar decoration. From 1987, the wagons had their leaf-springs upgraded to coil suspension and worked on into the 1990s in that form.
The wagons, of which a total of 14 were made, generally ran in groups of three to five within Speedlink workings from Cornwall to Scotland. Kernow has produced four differently-numbered and decorated versions, available individually or as a set of four in both early and late styles to give a total of eight differently-numbered wagons.
KMRC's PRA has detailed brake gear to its underside, which is effective when viewed from the side.
Finesse is key
The most eye-catching aspect of the models is the walkway platforms at each end of the wagon and above the solebars on the sides; these are beautifully etched and surrounded by flexible but durable handrails and ladders matching the prototype well. When you look at the model closely you can see how many small parts have been included in the assembly of the product with individual cleats between the upper body and the edge of the sheet roller cover. The production costs are therefore quite high and it must be borne in mind that this is a relatively niche product.
The standard of decoration is excellent with crisp lettering detail. The russet-coloured roller sheets could certainly do with a bit of modellers’ weathering, inspiration for this can be found on Kernow’s website on a dedicated project page, with images of the wagons in traffic.
The accessory pack includes spare buffers, cosmetic screw-link couplings in the stowed position and air-brake hoses. Initial reactions from customers is good and the wagons are selling fast. Highly-recommended.