14 December 2020
These container wagons convey modular weed-killing equipment to keep Ireland's railway network weed-free. Andy York looks at their miniaturisation by the Irish manufacturer.
Irish Railway Models continues the development of its ‘Project 42’ wagons based on the same platform as preceding wagons with this eye-catching weed sprayer train comprising of three wagons, two with a pair of tanks and the third with a tank and equipment container.
CIE's weed spray train has been an essential infrastructure service for many years, operating every May across the entire Iarnród Éireann network (including closed lines) to keep weed growth under control. In later years it has also operated in September due to a change in the chemicals used. The prototype train utilised 42ft flats from the mid-2000s with the introduction of a modified BR van. Operation was usually with a Class 141 and latterly a Class 071, with a very occasional Class 201 providing haulage. More recently, the weed spray wagons have been paired with the larger Sperry container wagon for brake force on its track recording missions across the network.
Irish Railway Models weedspray pack features the three 42ft flat wagons with the distinctive weed spray tanks and a single CIE 20ft container used for storage of supplies. The tanks used were re-purposed from four-wheeled tank wagons, featuring the distinctive Bulleid triangulated underframes. In operation, the train would include a converted BR Mk.1 BG van with the controls inside for the spraying heads beneath and to the sides of the van. As a unique vehicle, it would be prohibitive to produce, but conversions should be possible. This set is finished off with a 20ft container finished in a darker brown shade to reflect the darkened state of the prototype in service.
As you can now expect from this range of models, the weed spray pack features a high level of detail and prototype fidelity to do these interesting prototypes justice, and there's a feel of high-quality with their substantial weight. The die-cast framed wagons feature Sambre et Meuse Y33 Bogies, with rotating axle hubs, sprung buffers, kinematic couplings with NEM pockets at the correct height (and separate coupling bars provided for close coupling) as well as weighty tanks and container.
As with all of its range, the models can be converted to finescale gauges including 21mm track for Irish 5ft 3in gauge and are available through its website at the price stated, inclusive of shipping to the UK. Highly recommended.