19 Jul Jason & Gareth’s Brilliant British Adventure: 4

Rapido UK Blog / July 19, 2017

Jason & Gareth’s Brilliant British Adventure: 4
A hard day’s work with Revolution Trains

By Gareth Bayer

Follow Jason & Gareth’s Brilliant British Adventure from start to finish:

1 – Launching the first British Rapido bus
2 – Driving the Sandtoft Trollies
3 – Exploring Rails of Sheffield
4 – A hard day’s work with Revolution Trains
5 – A day at the seaside with Railway Modeller

After an enjoyable night’s rest at Castle Farm Guest House in the tiny village of Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire, it was time to look forward to the day ahead…

The view from the guest house at Fotheringhay. The yellowish stone is local to the region and most of the buildings in the area are built from it.

After the exertions of the previous 24 hours, trudging up and down hundreds of staircases at Rails of Sheffield and investigating its ever expanding collection of apartments, industrial units and other spaces, we were looking for an easier day for our promised very long meeting with Revolution Trains.

After consulting with Ben Ando and Mike Hale of Revolution two options presented themselves: 1/ spend the day behind steam on the Nene Valley Railway and 2/ spend the day on the “real railway” behind English Electric Type 3 power (Class 37s) on the Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft routes.

I was voted down so despite strong protests we met at Peterborough for a day’s meandering behind Southern Railway “Battle of Britain” Class 4-6-2 No. 34081 92 Squadron.

RTV31, an experimental 1960s high speed hover train, at Railworld Peterborough.

This is the sight that greets you at Peterborough, the rather sad collection of portable buildings and slowly rusting equipment that forms Railworld Peterborough. There are plenty of cool items though if you look closely though.

We boarded the train of Mk.1 coaches and took a quick trip up and down the line. We hardly had a chance to start the meeting before it was decided to detrain at Ferry Meadows and investigate the eclectic selection of stock stored there.

The Mk.3 sleeper garnered many “ooos” and “ahhs”. A popular choice with the Revolution guys as much as Rapido, sadly we weren’t able to check out the interior and compare with Canadian sleeper stock.

Well restored Mk.3 sleeper No. E 10731 at Ferry Meadows.

Unfortunately our plans to make a full range of Mk.3 coaches, using the Prototype HST trailer cars as a springboard, came to nothing after another manufacturer beat us to it. That’s model railway manufacturing and we wish them well!

Of slightly more interest to Jason was 1949-built switcher No. 801, one of five Alco S1 locomotives built at Schenectady, New York state, for South Wales steel plants in Port Talbot and Margam. This is one of two S1 switchers at the NVR and sister Alco No. 804 can just be glimpsed in the RTV31 picture above wearing psuedo Union Pacific livery.

Alco S1 switcher No. 801 is being restored by the International Railway Preservation Society.

The rest of the yard was full of former Travelling Post Office vehicles, Royal Mail vans, several imported European loading gauge coaches, and the Class 325 cab mock up! After a productive wander we returned to the station to await our train.

Ben, Jason and Mike enjoying the pleasant surroundings at Ferry Meadows. Despite appearances lots of actual real hard work was done and Ben’s 3,000 word agenda was covered in full.

No. 34081 arrived – covering us in soot for good measure. Give me a diesel any day of the week!

The NVR’s finest in action.

The compartment coaches were very welcome and allowed plenty of privacy to talk about sensitive matters of business, such as the scene below…

“Where’s the Pendolino, Jason!!!”

After updating Revolution with the progress of their 423 projects underway with us at the moment we alighted at Wansford for lunch. Jason found a friend.

“Look, Isaac, it’s Thomas!”

After lunch it was back on board for the final run from Wansford to Peterborough.

As well as current projects we discussed lots of future ideas and even finalised the next two powered models we intend to work on. If you were in the third coach, second or fourth compartment, you probably have a very good idea about what we’ll be making for Revolution Trains over the next couple of years too!

Not a bad place to have a meeting.

After saying our goodbyes to Ben and Mike we were off to our second meeting of the day. We told you that we were working hard!

The villages in Northamptonshire can be breathtakingly beautiful. Jason was more interested in the red phone box.

Our second date was with Chris Leigh, editor emeritus of Modelrail magazine and formerly of the much-missed Model Railway Constructor. Chris has been involved in railway journalism since the 1960s and he is still a guiding hand at Modelrail.

As well as his beloved Great Western Railway, Chris is a huge Canadian railroad fan and he regularly visits Rapido’s side of the Atlantic to enjoy travelling across the country on VIA Rail Canada.

Many Canadian modellers also know his name well because he produced a small range of detailing parts for the North American market back in the pre-Rapido days when most manufacturers didn’t consider Canadian specific details on their ready-to-run models as cost effective. He’s also been a huge supporter of Rapido. Thanks, Chris!

Chris’s house is full of model railways but the dual-Canadian/British roundy-roundy layout is the highlight. Here a very familiar looking HO scale railcar traverses the stunning trestle bridge – hint: It’s a Rapido RDC-1″

Chris treated us to dinner at the local pub, the Montagu Arms. Well, actually he treated me. Jason had to eat store-bought salad. I recommend the lasagne and garden veg. Very tasty.

Chris and Jason pose in front of the Canadian poster in Chris’s layout room. Actually the whole house is a layout room, but who’s counting!

Then it was back to Chris’s house for a chat. Chris lives in the former London & North Western Railway station at Barnwell. The trackbed itself has disappeared under the A605 but fortunately the building remains and it is great to see it still in railway use… well model railway use.

Chris’s passion for railways and model railways is inspirational and we’d like to say a huge thanks to him for allowing us to look around.


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