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THE SPOIL WAGON STORY

 

After considerable thought I decided to have a go at building something at least vaguely resembling one of the 70 spoil wagons made by Cravens Ltd.,in 1966-7 for the spoil contract - carrying rubble from Magheramorne Cement works on the Larne line, to reclaim land for the M5 motorway project. Much to everyone's surprise, the railway won this over road competition in 1966. In this case the road congestion was probably an important factor, though I have heard a story that one of the procurement people on the government side wanted the railways to get it - a welcome change from previous policy!

 

It's quite a bit of work, as there's no wagon I am aware of on other railways in GB which looked anything like them. Drawing's don't exist, so i did my own sketch one based on photgraphs; I was fortunate to get some excellent ones from a photographer friend who'd taken some shots of one wagon as it arrived fresh off the boat in Larne! I ended up using a Bachmann Presflo wagon, the under frame looks about right (though a wee bit short). I removed just about every pipe and other attachment, basically all that is used is the baseplate and the axle boxes - keep the brake shoes though, though on one side you need to cut away the central links - the ones on the door side can stay as you can't see them. You need to re-position the vacuum cylinder too. Then I used the body as a kind of frame to glue sheets and strips of 30 thou plastic card. Next time I’ll use ready made strip though, the cutting out is a pain! The project also involves chopping a hunk out of the Presflo body. Below are some pictures of the work underway and the finished product. And yes, they were painted all over that colour!

 

The spoil trains ran in rakes of 20 of these wagons - with a Class WT 2/6/4 tank at each end! The wagons were vacuum braked, a guard travelled in the rear engine. A special loading bay, which can still be seen, was constructed at Magheramorne and the spoil tipped into the wagons, which had a door on one side only for discharging.

 

These trains ensured that steam remained in regular use on Northern Ireland's railways after it's disappearance from main lines everywhere else in Ireland and the UK, with the last steam locomotive finally being withdrawn in 1970. Some of these wagons lasted in infrastructure use with NIR until the late 1980s. None were preserved.

 

Am I going to make another 19? Well, I might be making some more but will have to find a way of simplifying construction if I can - this project took about 4 hours to do in total

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  • 2 weeks later...

Colm

 

Well done.That is certainly a very good model of the spoil wagon,it captures the feel of the wagons totally.

 

I model NIR in the 70s and I have often thought about how to make some of these wagons as they were unique to Northern Ireland,but now I have a great basis and narrative to tackle a few of them.At least in NIR days I can get away with about 3,as I can recall seeing that sort of number behind a DH,although that was probably about as much as they could handle!

 

While I have you,I also intend to model a 3 car MPD set and I know you done an article on these in New Irish Lines,but I cant seem to find which copy it was in,can you tell me which one it was?

 

Thanks for sharing the details on the spoil wagon.

 

Andy

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Hi Andy,

I'm away from home at present so can't look up my back numbers, but I don't think the MED did feature in NIL, I suspect it was Railway Modeller; certainly there was a piece by jeremy fletcher on ###### a Worsley Works MED - I did mine from Hornby Staniers and comet under frames/black beetle motor. Interiors need to be fully modelled as they are very "open". I will post an MED thread when I get home (2 weeks) with a couple of pics of mine.

 

Colm

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Hi Andy,

I'm away from home at present so can't look up my back numbers, but I don't think the MED did feature in NIL, I suspect it was Railway Modeller; certainly there was a piece by jeremy fletcher on ###### a Worsley Works MED - I did mine from Hornby Staniers and comet under frames/black beetle motor. Interiors need to be fully modelled as they are very "open". I will post an MED thread when I get home (2 weeks) with a couple of pics of mine.

 

Colm

 

Hi Colm

 

Thanks for your reply and for taking time to reply on your holidays.No need to reply to this post until you get home from your holidays,but it was the article on the Multi Purpose Diesels I have been trying to track down.

 

Also,I like the look of your brown van beside the spoil wagon,so any info on how you done that would also be great.

 

Enjoy your holiday and I look forward to your replies in a couple of weeks.

 

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Colm once again for doing the research and actually producing a convincingmodel of the spoil wagon. I had been searching without success for a similar wagon in BR stock and did not know it was unique to N Ireland. This had been added to my Things To Do list. What is the paint colour you used?

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Once again Colin you were in inspiration for making amodel. Following your example I had a go at a Spoil Wagon using a Dapol wagon and Evergreen plastic strips.

UTASpoilWagon003.jpg

I found it very difficult in getting a good picture of the “releaseâ€side of these wagons but it’s near as I could get it.

UTASpoilWagon007.jpg It’s only after I took photos that I saw the mistakes –strips not straight etc. I have another four wagons to convert so hopefully I’ll get better with practice. Thanks again for your initiative.

 

 

 

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Hello Kirley,

 

Glad to see someone else having a go! I'd suggest that you lenghten the "body" in relation to the chassis though for your next batch, it actually over hung the end a little as far as i can see.

 

I used a mix of Humbrol matt 49 + white for my "pristine" one but as you know they usually looked any colour at all as long as it was filthy! Lots of brown and grey rust/grime etc., I think next time I'll just use the 49 to save mixing, as most of them will get weathered anyway.

 

Colm

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Andy,

This is a very late reply to your message. I am doing a bit of digging into the spoil wagons and can mention that the ex-UTA spoil wagons were used by NIR for the second spoil contract, the lesser known one between 1974 & -5, transporting hardcore for Kilroot. DHs and then the Hunslets were the motive power. Sometime after that the spoil wagons were redeployed as PW ballast wagons (how many I do not know) and were hacked around to improve their utility in that duty. The main modification was to weld up the door and cut out the bottom half of it, replaced presumably by an internal flap. Thus if you consider using them for ballast then you should modify the door accordingly.

It is very good to see these unique wagons being modelled - congratulations!

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Thanks for that extra information Merlinxlili,much appreciated.I model the GNR section of NIR in the 70s as I lived beside Adelaide station and freight yard,when the freight yard was in its heyday,and I remember watching the DH at work with a few spoil wagons on ballast duty on the main line.So thus the spoil wagons I will be modelling will be the modified ballast type.Must look up some photos for any variants.

 

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some news for all lovers of the spoil agons!

 

I was speaking to Leslie Mc Allister (provincial Wagons) at a show at Carrickfergus and he has told me it is his intention to make a spoil wagon kit. price and availability TBA. So for now I am postponing any further "builds" until I see how this works out.

 

Colm

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Some news for all lovers of the spoil agons!

 

I was speaking to Leslie Mc Allister (provincial Wagons) at a show at Carrickfergus and he has told me it is his intention to make a spoil wagon kit. price and availability TBA. So for now I am postponing any further "builds" until I see how this works out.

 

Colm

 

 

Good news indeed Colm,did Leslie give any other details as to the type of kit he was thinking of,resin etc.Certainly a different direction for him from what he normally supplies,but a good choice as solely Northern Ireland wagons will never be done by the large manufactures.

 

A question for you,or anyone else who may have the answer,NIR used open plank wagons to transport sleepers for track renewal projects in the early 70s.These were a grey colour with each end higher than the sides,being tapered at either side (of the end panels) to meet the side panels.I think the sides were about 4 planks high with the ends tapered up to about 6 planks high.The info I require is confirmation of the number of planks and the scale length of these wagons so that I can butcher some suitable rtr wagons.Any help greatly appreciated.

 

Andy

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Good news indeed Colm,did Leslie give any other details as to the type of kit he was thinking of,resin etc.Certainly a different direction for him from what he normally supplies,but a good choice as solely Northern Ireland wagons will never be done by the large manufactures.

 

A question for you,or anyone else who may have the answer,NIR used open plank wagons to transport sleepers for track renewal projects in the early 70s.These were a grey colour with each end higher than the sides,being tapered at either side (of the end panels) to meet the side panels.I think the sides were about 4 planks high with the ends tapered up to about 6 planks high.The info I require is confirmation of the number of planks and the scale length of these wagons so that I can butcher some suitable rtr wagons.Any help greatly appreciated.

 

Andy

 

Andy,

HAve a look at this webside http://www.downrail.co.uk/carriages.htm, and scroll down to near the bottom where there is a picture of a UTA open wagon. I would guess the wheelbase is 9 1/2 ft (but it could be 10 ft), which might help. Otherwise send a query to Alan O'Rourke of NIL.

Regards

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Taking onboard Colm's advice of " lengthen the "body" in relation to the chassis" I re did M43 and completed 5 others.

UTASpoilWagons003.jpg

UTASpoilWagons005.jpg

UTASpoilWagons006.jpgUTASpoilWagons007.jpg

UTASpoilWagons009.jpg

Then I went to the Carrickfergus Show, saw Colm and Leslie and learned that Leslie was considering doing a run of Spoil Wagons. I hope he does as I never want to see plasticard strips again. There was a total of 92 separate pieces of plasticard per wagon.

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Taking onboard Colm's advice of " lengthen the "body" in relation to the chassis" I re did M43 and completed 5 others.

UTASpoilWagons003.jpg

UTASpoilWagons005.jpg

UTASpoilWagons006.jpgUTASpoilWagons007.jpg

UTASpoilWagons009.jpg

Then I went to the Carrickfergus Show, saw Colm and Leslie and learned that Leslie was considering doing a run of Spoil Wagons. I hope he does as I never want to see plasticard strips again. There was a total of 92 separate pieces of plasticard per wagon.

 

Good job with the spoil wagons Kirley,sounds like a lot of hard work and effort,but certainly well worth it judging from the photos.

 

Andy

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  • 1 year later...

I see my name taken, properly, in vain on this string!

 

I have, at last, sent various info on these wagons to my resin modeller.

 

He views it as a challenge and although I have plenty for him to do, I hope that he might get a prototype out sometime next year - Bangor would be nice, but there are other delights in the pipeline - all for the Blue Railway!

 

They will only be available as a kit, NOT RTR. Obviously, a sample will be made up for publicity purposes.

 

Well done Kirley for your rake - he has a hard act to follow!

 

Leslie

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  • 3 weeks later...

Taking onboard Colm's advice of " lengthen the "body" in relation to the chassis" I re did M43 and completed 5 others.

UTASpoilWagons003.jpg

UTASpoilWagons005.jpg

UTASpoilWagons006.jpgUTASpoilWagons007.jpg

UTASpoilWagons009.jpg

Then I went to the Carrickfergus Show, saw Colm and Leslie and learned that Leslie was considering doing a run of Spoil Wagons. I hope he does as I never want to see plasticard strips again. There was a total of 92 separate pieces of plasticard per wagon.

 

I'm glad I decided to wait for the kit! One piece of info which may encourage you, is that the early trains were only 10 wagons (and a brake van) with a single WT class. So you're only 4 away from a train, not 14....!!! They look good.

 

Colm

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  • 1 month later...

Just to say that the spoil kit is next up after the GNR Loco Coal wagon, which is progressing.

 

I was having a debate with My Man over whether to include the chains (!). WE decided that life was too short and if any of you want them, don't let us stop you!

 

By the way, the ten wagon trains sometimes had one of my ex GNR(I) 20 ton brakes at the end - photo evidence available - so with luck you could have a complete PW train.

 

Colm, I assume you need twenty so that the muck trains going through Bleach Green look right?

 

Hope to see some of you at Warley - stands F16 and F17. I'll have everything unsold with me!

 

Leslie

Leslie

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  • 9 months later...

Hello All,

 

Leslie tells me that he is hoping to go into production very soon with a spoil wagon but would need to have an idea of the level of interest - who will actually buy and how many? I am aware that times for all of us are tough and leslie is no exception - his startup cost is considerable for a kit; it is likely to come in around the £20 mark (inc couplings and wheels) + postage. It will be a simple build, some glue and suitable mucky paint to complete!

 

The seventy wagons of this type were built by Cravens of Sheffield, and are uniquely irish - nothing like them ran in the UK. They ran in trains of ten with a single engine and brake van, or twenties with an engine (WT) at both ends; however they were also occasionally added to van trains when going for repair or similar, and some were used by NIR later for infrastructure work - so short trains of three or four would be hauled by a Hunslet or a GM.

 

Anyone who wishes can contact me by PM and I will pass it on to leslie or of course you can PM him yourself.

 

Colm Flanagan

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As you know I have made 6 wagons so I would need another 4 to make up a small rake. But before I would commit to buy I would like to see a photo of a professionally made one to see if my home made ones would  not look too out of place against it.

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Just to set this good news in perspective. I informed Leslie about my interest and he replied that actually his modeller has not yet started on this kit. It is not at clear that they can sell  enough of them to cover the production cost, so if anyone is interested please let Leslie know. Otherwise do not hold your breath!

I also asked if they could be made to accomodate 21mm gauge and Leslie replied that they usually try to do this.

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