Andy York examines these Irish prototype wagons with a 42ft underframe, so, are they authentic in their representation?
British railway modellers may now be more familiar with the Accurascale name than its progenitor, Irish Railway Models. It’s the same team behind the brand and the attention to detail first surfaced in products for the Irish railway network with its ballast wagons, cement bubble and plough brakes.
The Córas Iompair Éireann or Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) networks made extensive use of a standard 42ft underframe with bogies for a variety of wagons and IRM will be extending the same use to forthcoming Guinness keg cage, spoil, weed-spraying and intermodal wagons.
90 of the fertilizer wagons were introduced from 1974 for transportation of bagged products around the network from Irish Fertiliser Industries near Arklow as block trains or within liner services. The red oxide livery was carried through their life and the CIE branding survived the transition to Irish Rail in 1987. IRM has captured different variations in livery and markings within the range of twin packs of wagons in four differently-numbered packs.
In use, the wagons were loaded with pallets of bagged fertilizer via forklift; the metal-framed plywood hinged side doors opened and could be retracted into the recess between bays for clear access to the six compartments on each side. The centre two bays could only be loaded to half height due to metal beams above those bays to ensure the wagon did not exceed its 40T capacity. The model includes a full load of double and single height pallets of bags. If the modeller wishes to portray empty wagons, the top rails can be unclipped and the pallets removed, which gives an ideal excuse to model an unloading facility.
As ever, detail is accurate and well-executed, with detail beneath the underframe, such as pipe runs and gear linkages, particularly pleasing even if they will be rarely seen. The axle ends feature rotating axle boxes as with the preceding Tara Mines bogie wagon. As the width of the bogies are dimensionally accurate, there is capacity to fit scale-width axles and wheelsets for those modelling the network in accurate 5ft 3in gauge. Further detailing is provided in the pack with a choice of tension-lock or rigid bar couplings to mount into the NEM pockets. There are also vacuum brake pipes for the bufferbeam and the locking bar mechanism for each end of the sides if there is sufficient bogie clearance on layout curves.
The wagons carry minimal livery markings, but those on the models all copy prototype photographs for each number and are effectively executed in clarity.
With this and other models, the prospect of modelling a different world is more appealing. Aside from the excellent quality, the choice of model is a good one as a prototype, which lasted for near on 30 years and could be found anywhere on the network. With this, previous releases and forthcoming models, this is a golden age for the modeller of the Irish Rail scene.