How to model wagon loads for mining areas
In steam days, goods trains were the lifeblood of the railway system. Miles of wagons rolled around the country hauled by locomotives such as the Q6 by Hornby.
On a model, we can do the same, but our wagons really need to be full. After all, transporting empties around represents lost money and companies didn't do this if they could help it!
Moulded plastic loads are available but these normally look exactly what they are, plastic. It's not difficult to do a much better DIY job, and often an awful lot cheaper too.
You don't have to glue anything into the wagons, so they won't be damaged. In fact, removable loads are the best idea as they allow you to run full trains to the destination, empty them, and have an excuse to run the train back in the other direction.
To start with we are looking at suitable loads for mining areas. Coal is an obvious choice, but coke, stone, ballast and ore all kept the railway in employment. Modelling each is basically the same, just use a different material.
Be aware though that coal weighs more than coke but less than stone or ore. All wagons have a maximum 'tare' (the weight they are permitted to carry) and should not be overloaded. Therefore you see a greater volume of coke than stone in a wagon, but this would still represent the same weight.
To complete the mining theme for steam era layouts, wooden pit-props were vital to the industry and millions were shipped from wood-yard to coal pit. This is another cheap modelling project, a pounds worth of cocktail sticks will load at least two wagons. Mind you, doing this is time consuming, but ultimately satisfying.
Filling up your wagons adds a real sense of purpose to a model railway. A few evenings work can transform a model and provide a reason that the trains are running, yet you only need knife to cut some cardboard and a bit of glue and coal.
R6599 – 21 Ton TIRPENTWYS wagon – Geoscenics coal loads kit
R6444 – Bedwas coke wagon – Crushed coal
R6473 – Mineral wagon* – Geoscenics stone
R6117 – Ammanford coke wagon* – Coop cocktail sticks
*Wagon is part of a 3-pack.
You'll see from this simple 11-step guide just how easy it is to create a variety of wagon loads, all of which are suitable for mining areas. We love how these loads are easily removed and transferrable to other wagons. Plus, ther are really cheap to model. Try them for yourself! You can see from this picture just how effective they are.
Click here to read our guide to modelling even more loads for your model railway wagons.