Accurascale PFA wagons

11 March 2020
Andy York believes Accurascale has a knack of selecting interesting prototypes for its range, and that it has succeeded again with these small two-axle container wagons.

Manufactured in 1986 and 1987 for Cawoods, a subsidiary of the British Coal Corporation, by the Standard Railway Wagon Company to diagram PF012A to carry open containers of coal, the fleet extended to 172 vehicles. These generally ran as train loads from collieries in the North East, East Midlands and South Wales to ports on the west coast for export of household coal and smokeless fuels to Ireland. The containers were handled at established ports in the same manner as conventional closed containers.

PFA wagons

The distinctive open-topped yellow Cawoods livery suits the 1986 to 1996 period.

While in service with British Fuels, loading points included Onllwyn Washery in South Wales, Rossington Colliery in South Yorkshire and Gascoigne Wood Colliery in North Yorkshire, together with a plant at Immingham Docks. These traffic flows continued after British Fuels was acquired by Coal Products Ltd (CPL) in 1999, before the PFA fleet was re-deployed on flows from Gascoigne Wood to Aberdeen, Mossend and Inverness in Scotland, and from Immingham to Mossend.

PFA chassis

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Diminutive, for a UK container wagon, the unladen model wagon weighs in at 40g thanks to the die-cast components in the chassis with a wealth of fitted plastic detail parts underneath representing the braking systems.

Direct Rail Services Ltd. (DRS) acquired a fleet of 23 for carrying low-level nuclear waste in smaller containers in 2000. These versions of the model proved very popular as they are ideal for creating short-length trains with DRS traction from nuclear facilities to disposal facilities or transhipment overseas. Empty wagons can often be seen as barrier wagons in these consists and also in those of nuclear flask wagons. Accurascale has produced the models in a form that allows for easy replacements of the wheelsets for those working to EM and P4 standards.

PFA wagon

There is a substantial amount of small printing to the sides of the wagon, particularly the DRS version, which is festooned with small notices meticulously printed into the recesses of the solebars.

Each wagon is individually numbered and, because the wagons are available in sets of three in each of the liveries, it means that there are some 45 separately-numbered chassis within the range. The printing on the containers is exemplary, too. Noteworthy examples of this are the data printing on the ribbed ends of the Cawoods-branded containers, which must be very difficult to achieve with tampo printing, and also the side-print on the half-height nuclear waste containers.

Read the full review in the Spring 2020 issue of BRM, available from