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accurascale Hop To It With NER 20t Coal Wagons in OO/4mm

accurascale Hop To It With NER 20t Coal Wagons in OO/4mm

It's been about 20 minutes since we announced a new model for our highly regarded "Powering Britain" range of coal wagons, so let's fill in a huge missing link in ready-to-run format.

Today we're announcing the family of NER 4 wheeled hoppers as the latest addition to our lovely wagon range. Of course we could've just announced one type to satisfy the market with. But no, that's not the Accurascale way! 

This family is made up of the P6, P7, P8 and Q3 variants of these distinctive 20 ton hopper wagons. Four different types, with differences within the range, based on period! 

Check out our announcement video with our friends at Hornby Magazine below!

I Don't Need Any Further Convincing, Take Me To The Range Now! 

The Prototypes

Having been influenced by witnessing coal haulage operations in the United States, where tradition did not hinder working practices and facilities, the Board of the NER decided to improve the ratio between capacity and tare weight of their waggons by building larger capacity rolling stock. Ideally, this would have meant moving to steel bodied bogie hopper wagons, with a 40 to 60 ton capacity, but the restrictions placed upon wagon stock by the cramped rail layouts of many of the collieries, the height of the loading screens and the investment required in modernising the shipping staithes and coal depots under its control meant that the NER needed to standardise on wooden bodied 20/23 ton 4-wheel hopper types.

Still mindful that colliery owners would resist investing in new facilities, the first of the new enlarged vehicles to be ordered was the Diagram P6 hopper in April 1902, with a capacity of 15 tons, a wheelbase of 10’ 6”, a length of 20’ 0” and 8’ 3” in height. 1,800 vehicles of this type were produced with both side and end brakes, but they were essentially an interim design, created to make the new approach palatable to the colliery owners. Within a month, in May 1902, a 20 ton prototype version was created, fitted with higher sides at 9’ 10” and better suited to incline operations.

The Diagram P7 hopper was built in huge quantities, the majority by Shildon; the original order for 550 vehicles increasing to over 12,000 by Grouping in 1923 and again, both side and end braked versions were built, as well as with modifications to the end panels that made for safer operation on curved inclines in the Central and Northern Divisions.

A further development by the NER saw the fitting of anti-friction rollers to the type, resulting in an increase in capacity to 23 tons, creating the Diagram P8 hopper. The friction rollers decreased the starting resistance of a train and from 1906 around 6,400 wagons were fitted in this manner, before having the friction gear removed around the time of Grouping, when they reverted to the classification of diagram P7 and a reduction in capacity to 20 tons.

As with the haulage of commercial coal, the transportation of locomotive coal was transformed at the beginning of the 20th century by the development of the Diagram Q3 loco coal waggon, based on the P7 type. The Q3 was introduced in 1902 and featured a flat floor and a single set of doors on each side for the unloading of the coal, although the NER required them to be convertible for use with ordinary coal trade traffic and so hinged sloping floor panels were fitted, along with two latitudinal bracing struts to maintain the wooden body’s integrity. Like the P8 hoppers, the Q3 hoppers were originally built with friction rollers and a 23 ton capacity, but by Grouping the friction gear had been removed and the capacity reduced to 20 tons.

8 plank, 15 ton Diagram P6.

  • Two types of end stanchion tooled: NER wooden or LNER metal ‘T’ bar type from 1925 onwards. After 1926, the bottom sections of any remaining wooden stanchions were removed.
  • Side chains were fitted to NER Northern Division examples until 1916 and have been catered for.
  • Five types of axle-box: 3A Grease, Iron-Oil S1 (9” x 4.25”), Iron-Oil S2 (9.5” x 4.25”), No.3 (10” x 5”) & S4 single (10” x 5”), all of which have been tooled.
  • Differing brake arrangements tooled: Morton single shoe per wheel pattern brakes and Morton Cam pattern (diagonally opposed).
  • Handbrakes can be end, or side fitted, with two types of side handbrake arrangement catered for.
  • Body ends will feature the removed central section of bottom plank for Northern and Central Division incline hauled hoppers, as well as the Southern Division solid end.

8 plank, 20 ton Diagram P7.

  • Two types of end stanchion tooled: NER wooden or LNER metal ‘T’ bar type from 1925 onwards. After 1926, the bottom sections of any remaining wooden stanchions were removed.
  • Side chains were fitted to NER Northern Division examples until 1916 and have been catered for.
  • Two type types of axle-box tooled: S4 double axleguard (10” x 5”) covering 1909 to 1912 and No.3 (10” x 5”) covering 1912 to 1930.
  • Double axle-guards, as fitted to new wagons between 1904 until circa 1916, have been tooled for.
  • Differing brake arrangements tooled: Morton single shoe per wheel pattern brakes and Morton Cam pattern (diagonally opposed), as well as 4-shoe clasp on one side of wagon.
  • Handbrakes can be end, or side fitted, with two types of side handbrake arrangement catered for.
  • Body ends will feature the removed central section of bottom plank for Northern and Central Division incline hauled hoppers, as well as the Southern Division solid end.
  • Different corner step arrangements: Left hand opposed corner steps fitted from the end of 1903 onwards, but if Morton Duplex brakes were fitted, steps were put at opposite end. If end handbrake fitted, steps fitted to all corners.

8 plank, 23 ton Diagram P8.

  • Two types of end stanchion tooled: NER wooden or LNER metal ‘T’ bar type from 1925 onwards. After 1926, the bottom sections of any remaining wooden stanchions were removed.
  • Side chains were fitted to NER Northern Division examples until 1916 and have been catered for.
  • Tooling for anti-friction gear, with double axle-guards, as fitted to new wagons between 1904 until circa 1916 and retained when anti-friction gear removed.
  • Differing brake arrangements tooled: Morton single shoe per wheel pattern brakes and Morton Cam pattern (diagonally opposed), as well as 4-shoe clasp on one side of wagon.
  • Handbrakes can be end, or side fitted, with two types of side handbrake arrangement catered for.
  • Body ends will feature the removed central section of bottom plank for Northern and Central Division incline hauled hoppers, as well as the Southern Division solid end.
  • Two types of axle-box tooled: S4 double axleguard (10” x 5”) and No.3 (10” x 5”) when ant-friction gear removed.

8 plank, 23 ton Diagram Q3.

  • Two types of end stanchion tooled: NER wooden or LNER metal ‘T’ bar type from 1925 onwards. After 1926, the bottom sections of any remaining wooden stanchions were removed.
  • Side chains were fitted to NER Northern Division examples until 1916 and have been catered for.
  • Tooling for anti-friction gear, with double axle-guards, as fitted to new wagons between 1904 until circa 1916 and retained when anti-friction gear removed.
  • Differing brake arrangements tooled: Built with Morton double shoe per wheel clasp brakes, then with Morton single shoe per wheel pattern brakes when anti-friction gear removed.
  • Handbrakes can be end, or side fitted, with two types of side handbrake arrangement catered for.
  • Two types of axle-box tooled: S4 double axleguard (10” x 5”) and No.3 (10” x 5”) when anti-friction gear removed.

The Models

A long-time missing link in ready-to-run models in 00/4mm, the NER 20t hoppers were identified as a pivotal chapter in our famous “Powering Britain” range, telling the story of the movement of coal by rail through the ages. Work began on these models with surveys by our team in mid-February 2021, at a time when the country was once more under severe Covid restrictions, and the only people on site at Beamish were contractors and skeleton operational staff.

Normally a bustling, vibrant location, the P7 wagons were surveyed at Rowley Station with just birdsong to interrupt the silence, while Buzzards circled above and Deer grazed on the Events Field and Parkfield. Certainly an experience that will surely (and hopefully) never be repeated, but one that was carried out adhering to all protocols and safety guidelines.

This range of NER Hopper wagons, completely new to the RTR 00 market, bridge the gap between the use of small Victorian, wooden planked waggons, like our lovely little Chaldron waggons, and the arrival of the much improved steel bodied hoppers for the transportation of coal and coke in Northern England and the Borders. As such, they represent an important period of modernisation for mineral wagons as the railway companies evolved their designs from the Victorian era, and fully deserve their place in our “Powering Britain” range of models depicting the coal wagons which fuelled a nation by rail.

 

While it would’ve been simple to just offer one type of NER hopper, these wagons will instead see a complete range of variety, as another worthy subject is done “The Accurascale Way”. With four variants (P6, P7, P8 and Q3) in the line up, modellers will enjoy a wide range of variation over these important wagons. This will include modifications across their careers from NER service, through LNER and BR careers and onto their final days plying their trade in NCB collieries. A fully die cast chassis, separately applied wire handrails, brake gear, chains and more are also included where appropriate.

 

A variety of liveries will be offered across our traditional triple packs, priced at £84.95 each with 10% off when you buy two packs or more via our website and participating retailers. Tooling is complete with improvements and tweaks fed back to the factory, with a delivery date of Q1 2024 slated for delivery.

 

We must thank David Williamson and the North Eastern Railway Association for their help in providing photographs, drawings and insights for the project, which made the task of wading through additional drawings at Search Engine a far less daunting task. Equally, we must also thank Paul Jarman and Beamish; The Living Museum of the North for allowing us unfettered access to the wagon collection at what was a very difficult time for the Museum.

Browse the range and place your pre-orders here

MODEL SPECIFICATION

  • Die-cast metal chassis with plastic body. Target weight of 35g
  • Scale length of 80mm over headstocks for all four types, 30.67 wide for P6 and 32mm for P7, P8 and Q3.
  • Wheelbase of 42mm, allowing operation over a minimum radius of 371mm (1st radius set-track).
  • Three different body designs, with tooling variations to cover the NER, LNER and Early BR periods, as well as NCB and Internal User patterns.
  • Brake blocks fitted and aligned with wheels.
  • Variety of axle journals catered for, depending on time period and usage pattern.
  • Side and end handbrakes catered for.
  • Split spoke wheels, to a blackened 00 Gauge RP25-110 profile, set in blackened brass bearings
  • Eroded metal, plastic and wire detail parts, including (but not limited to) handrails, grab handles, side-door handles, lamp brackets, brake gear, draw gear and anti-friction gear.
  • Accurate representation of internal body detail and hopper door detail.
  • Turned metal sprung buffers.
  • Wagons connected via small tension locks, set into small, self-centring NEM housings.
  • Authentic livery, markings and numbers, accurate to time period modelled.
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