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A brace of 21 ton hopper wagons in the siding at Hornsey Broadway (Parkside kits).

Until the introduction of the Parkside 21 ton hopper in 2007, the Dapol ready-to-run version was a good basis for modelling this type of wagon. This Dapol example has been modified to represent a re-bodied vacuum braked wagon, the bodysides having been re-built and extra detail added.

Fitted with wire handrails, vacuum cylinder and pipe running along the top of the solebar (TOPS code HTV).

Other R-T-R wagons retain the original riveted body to represent an unfitted version, and are enhanced with wire handrails and door operating levers fashioned out of brass rod.

To complement the modified wagons, several Parkside kits were built. This view shows some of the new wagons partly constructed, whilst a rake of finished wagons pass by on the test track.

At the time of writing (2011), Parkside produce 3 variants of the 21 ton hopper wagon. This view shows a number of re-bodied examples, finished in typical unfitted grey livery, although some took on a definate shade of brown once the paint had rusted off!

Looking smart in their bauxite livery, these two wagons are in ex-works condition, re-bodied & vacuum braked.

Another variant of the Parkside kit, showing one with little of the original paint, and one recently out of the BR workshops.

There's still a lot of underframe detail to be added, and number panels, but I feel it's always worth delaying some aspects of a model, if you're in the mood for painting.

Ex-LNER 21 ton hopper wagons under construction (Parkside kit).

A Parkside 21 ton hopper wagon, completed and in service at Wibdenshaw.

Shenston Road hopper wagons as built and finished by Greg Brookes (Parkside kits).

The plastic buffers have been replaced with sprung versions with steel heads.

Other details include circuit working decals, made from yellow transfer material.

Ex-LNER 21t Parkside hopper wagon (Canada Road).

Hebble Vale Goods - A start has also been made on some weathering of the wagon fleet. This is a Parkside 21T hopper that has been painted and weathered using enamel paints mainly Humbrol, but the dark rust colour is Revell Matt 84. Painting the intricate rust patterns on these vehicles is proving to be something of an artistic challenge, but Im fairly happy with this first example.



Shenston Road - this and the following 3 images show the 24.5 ton hopper wagon, scratchbuilt by Greg Brookes.

Shenston Road 24.5 ton hopper wagon.

Shenston Road 24.5 ton hopper wagon.

Shenston Road 24.5 ton hopper wagon.

HOP32 AB (TOPS code HAA)  

The Wibdenshaw rake of 32 merry-go-round wagons are based on the earlier Hornby product, with its quaint suspension, that makes it want to go somewhere other than on straight track!

To improve the running qualities of this wagon, one of the floating axle mounts is glued solid to the chassis, whilst the other is allowed to rock but not pivot, as shown by the glued on sections of plastic section. With this 3-point suspension modification, the wagons handle much better and can easily negotiate 2' 6" curves, with 30+ trailing wagons.

The as-built bodies had horizontal braces across the top of the hopper, and after a number of years these became damaged or detached, causing the body to swell at the top. A body re-building project started in the mid-1970s without the need of the horizontal stays. The re-built bodies are easily identified by the large bracing along the top sides of the hopper, and this change is reflected in Hornby's revised offering with solid suspension.

The insides of the hopper body have been sprayed a galvanised colour, and then supplemented by spaying a coal dust finish. All wagons have been individually coded, some with HOP AB and others with the TOPS code HAA. Buffer shanks have been painted silver to represent the hydraulic type, and maintenance points picked out in white paint. Reference to Paul Bartlett's wagon website has proved invaluable in detailing most of the wagons for Wibdenshaw.

The wagons are fitted with EM gauge Gibson 14mm disc wheels (with pads on one side only), and Smiths instanter couplings.


This rake of HBA hoppers date back to my 00 gauge days with Calder Bridge, and were initially used to trial EM gauge for a subsequent layout. After many years of just being re-wheeled and 3 link couplings fitted, they were finally upgraded to a more representative wagon.

The new HBA wagons were begining to appear on BR during 1976 painted in all-over bauxite, and only black under the solebars. These Replica based wagons have been resprayed and weathered to represent a late 1970s rake. The coal loads are finished with black foundry sand, and Oleo buffer shanks picked out in silver.

This HBA model has been modified by Paul James, and backdated to produce the original type of friction link springs, instead of the later Brunninghaus type. The replacement parts came from the leftovers of a Cambrian OBA kit. Careful removal of the moulded brake detail around the handbrake lever proved to be the difficult part on the Replica model, but the re-designed Bachmann model should be easier because of seperately fitted parts. Whilst on the workbench, the opportunity was taken to move the end ladders to the centre line (as found on the first 200 built examples), although this is quite tricky due to the fragile and brittle nature of them. The last of the HBA suspensions were converted about 1983.


This heavily modified bulk salt hopper wagon was also built by Paul James, and is based on the Lima agregate hopper with a few detail differences. The first is the outside ribs that need to be added using plastic L angle section. The salt hopper is a scale 2ft 2inches longer than the Lima agregate hopper. This is most noticeable on the wheelbase which is 18ft 2in (5537mm) on the salt hopper and 16ft 0in (4880mm) on the agregate hopper. This is not easy to remedy as you have to change the wheelbase and the hopper length whilst keeping the hopper detail consistent. By careful calculation of measurements and starting with a smaller middle part it is possible to make 3 salt hoppers out of 4 agregate hoppers. Some of the fleet are still in use by EWS as HGA wagons and have been modified again by being cut down by about 18 inches.


Shenston Road.

Shenston Road.


Pete Johnson's Iron Ore hoppers are ready for the rust brush. These are the mixture of adapted Ratio kits and cut-down Dapol bodies with Parkside underframes.

An ex-private owner Iron Ore hopper from 1938, as indicated by the 'P' prefix to the running number, now weathered to a typical mid-sixties rust-spotted condition. Wagons such as these lasted into the mid-1970s on limestone traffic around the Peak district and elsewhere.

Shown here and below are another couple of rusty ore hoppers, this time to the BR diagram 1/162. This design was a direct carry-over from the private owner fleets built before 1948, and again lasted into the 1970s, rivets and all.

One of very few survivors is now on display (with several other unusual BR wagons) at the NRM Shildon out-station, still in true-to-life rusted condition!

During Canada Roads appearance at the 2011 Expo EM in Bracknell, the later BR style iron ore hopper was spotted running on the Mostyn layout. When it turned out it was now available as a kit from 51L the chance of a new wagon type for my layout was impossible to resist. In this view the model of the diagram 1/163 wagon begins to take shape using a combination of resin, whitemetal, and brass parts. It will be finished in a late 1960s appearance, to run with other ore wagons of the earlier riveted design.

Shown under construction is the 51L kit of the BR Dia 1/163 ore hopper, which is now ready for painting. The kit has a resin casting for the main body tub, with detailing parts in a mix of whitemetal and etched brass. Although requiring care to assemble, the finished underframe is superbly detailed. I have chosen to substitute plastic plate-front axleboxes to match my selected prototype, and have also added worksplates and routecard holders in the same material. The slanted support stanchions at each end appear too narrow as supplied, so these have been re-made in plastic to match photographs. An example of the vacuum fitted version of this design survives at the Ribble Railway in Preston.

The BR Dia 1/163 ore hopper from the 51L kit has now gained its basic livery and is ready for weathering. The markings are a mix taken from transfer sheets by Fox, Modelmasters, and MTK, the latter being over 30 years old!