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10th May 2015
Another slightly overdue round-up of recent news events.

New builds and orders
The Drax biomass hoppers are almost complete, the batch up to 83.70.0698.175 being delivered in February leaving just 25 more to come. Meanwhile, the 10 new FNA nuclear flask wagons (11.70.9229.001-010 as FNA-D to design code FN006A) entered service in September 2014. They can be distinguished from older FNAs by their Barber BER22.5 bogies and green superstructure.

Freightliner's second batch of FWA 'shortliner' container twins appeared from August. The full batch is numbered 83.70.4520.088-129 and most (but not all) are formed into consecutively numbered pairs. Following on from these was the batch of triple-sets for GB Railfreight (leased from VTG). The outer wagons are numbered 83.70.4520.130-163 in consecutive pairs, while the inners are 83.70.4521.001-017.

A second batch of Kirow-built tilt-bed track carriers started arriving in September. The 24 wagons, formed into six 4-car sets, are numbered 37.70.9228.001-004, 011-014, 021-024, 031-034, 041-044 and 051-054, where the penultimate digit is in effect the set number.

A third Railvac machine (99.70.9515.003-0 to design code KF058A) was also delivered in September with a fourth expected.

Ordered in May 2014 and expected in mid-2015 are 67 new JPA bogie cement wagons, to be built by Feldbinder and owned by VTG. 19 are for use by Hanson Cement and 48 for Hope Construction Materials. The wagons should be similar to the existing JPAs (VTG12400-12462) but will no doubt have European numbers.

The first of the 8 Robel Mobile Maintenance System (MMS) 3-car trains ordered in 2014 is now undergoing testing. Numbers have been allocated as follows:
  DR97501 / 99.70.9481.001-4 (Traction Supply Unit)
  DR97601 / 99.70.9559.001-1 (Intermediate Car)
  DR97801 / 99.70.9580.001-4 (Mobile Maintenance Unit)
Note that the vehicles will carry both UIC numbers and DR-prefixed numbers in the CEPS series.

Modifications and livery changes
The conversion of several YEA long-welded rail wagons to BQA steel carriers from 2007 has always been something of a mystery, with the modified and renumbered (81.70.4842.001-020) wagons apparently remaining in store. By early 2014 several of the BQAs had been further modified (recoded from BQA-A/BQE922 to BQA-B/BQE977). It eventually transpired that the BQA-Bs were in fact for the movement of (wait for it....) long-welded rail! The roller banks for the rails are not unlike those originally fitted, but are painted red, while the wagons no longer have the side rails for the loading gantry. 12 BQA-Bs are in use from Scunthorpe, working with YEAs, while a total of 8 BQA-As are stored at the same location.

Another conversion to make use of former YEA wagons is being undertaken by Brodie Engineering at Kilmarnock. 15 YEAs are being rebuilt as Rail Delivery and Recovery Train (RDRT) wagons, each fitted with two crane arms. The first 5-wagon set was in use at Eastleigh by October 2014, renumbered from the DB9790xx range to 99.70.9551.001-005 and recoded YXA-A to design code YX092A. Several more YEAs are expected to be converted to Snow and Ice Treatment Train (SITT) vehicles, joining those modified in 2011-2013.

An unexpected development in early 2015 was the appearance of two new types of bogie open wagon. First on the scene was former BDA bogie bolster 950321, given a new low-sided open box body and recoded MXA (MXA-A to design code MX004A). This was followed by BBA 910164 gaining a somewhat taller box body and being recoded MVA (no further details yet). The wagons were modified at Axiom Rail in Stoke, with the bodies built by W H Davis at Langwith Junction. It is reported that three different sizes of body have been produced, while more BBAs arrived at Stoke for conversion in March. The purpose of these conversions is not yet known, although the elimination of the large fleet of 4-wheel wagons still used on ballast/spoil workings (types MFA, MHA and MTA) might be an ambition. The conversions are notable for being the first use of a BBA derivative for anything other than steel traffic, and also for the age of the donors. The BBA was built in 1977, while BDA 950321 was rebuilt with new bogies in 1978 but was based on Bogie Bolster D B942084, built in 1955/1956. The MVA has been reported in use on the Peak Forest to Ripple Lane circuit so I will endeavour to get a photo of it.

Conversion of FCA container twins to FXA is ongoing while a notable de-conversion was of prototype CGA covered hopper 310552 back to a HTA.

The overhauling of the former National Power JMA coal hopper fleet is almost complete, with all but four now rebogied and recoded HKA. The 60 wagons completed over the past year have also been repainted into DB Schenker red livery, while the 21 done in 2008/2009 so far retain National Power blue livery. DB red livery is now being applied to other hopper types, including HOAs and the ex-RMC JGAs. Also treated to at least a partial repaint have been some of the Bardon JGA hopper wagons. These have had the vertical sides of the hoppers repainted from 'dirty brown' to plain grey.


Partially repainted BHQ17126.

Staying with repaints, several Freightliner MJA twin-boxes (including 502023/024) have been repainted blue and branded for GB Railfreight. It is not yet known if these have been sold or are on loan. Also due to be repainted blue are the JGA hoppers new to RH Roadstone and later used by Freightliner Heavy Haul. Changing from red to yellow are the former Jarvis KRA sleeper carrying wagons (JARV97101-97132), now being overhauled and given Network Rail livery and NR prefixes.

Numbering changes
The domestic numbering series are continuing to see additions, despite the adoption of 'Euro' numbers as standard. The overhauled HKAs (see above) carry both UIC and air-braked series numbers, while in August the CEPS number series was resurrected. The High-Output Plant System trains used on the Great Western main line electrification project had been delivered with UIC numbers in the 99.70.9131.001-023 range. They are now also being given matching numbers in the DR76901-76923 range, whereby the last two digits tie-up. The Robel MMS trains (see above) have also been allocated numbers in both series.

TOPS code RMA has reappeared, being assigned to two Mk2 escort coaches used by Direct Rail Services. These retain their coaching stock numbers of 9419 and 9428.

Somewhat surprisingly, a new Private-Owner prefix appeared last year. Two of the KBA barrier wagons (converted from TEA tanks and used as coupling adaptors for LUL stock moves) are now marked as BT85937 and BT85943. Although unconfirmed, I presume this relates to Bombardier Transportation.


KBA barrier wagon BT85937 showing new prefix.

Traffic
A set of 21 HTA bogie coal hoppers saw use on Mendip stone services in mid-2014, while a small number of HEA hoppers were returned to use from August on a lengthy flow of gravel from Southampton to Mossend.

In the run up to Christmas, a rake of 14 VGA/VKA vans was pressed into mail traffic between Shieldmuir and Warrington. Wagons have had to be used for this purpose since the virtual elimination of the traditional 'parcels' van fleet, although in 2013 IZA twin vans were used.

The delivery of new Class 387 EMUs from Derby has seen RBAs (ex VGA) 210489 and 210553 in use. Providing brake force for the trains have been a pair of HIA hoppers plus the two single 'test' MJAs (502199 and 502200). The trains are marshalled with one of each type of wagon at each end.

Withdrawals and disposals
Disposals commented on by Rail Express included the last of the steel prototypes built in 1990. The 12 wagons of types BGA, BHA and BJA were meant to be the first of many to modernise the steel carrying fleet. For various reasons they were not successful and the last examples were sent for scrap at the end of 2014.

Also sent for scrap around the turn of the year were all but one of the remaining CBA hoppers (ex British Steel PBAs) and about half of the KFA timber carriers converted from ferry vans in 2007 (GERS971xx series). The latter had been replaced by Dutch-registered IWA wagons, to which the stanchions previously on the KFAs have been fitted.

Site News
Latest additions and changes to LTSV Wagons

10th May 2015
A lengthy news catch-up has been added, and several reference and profile pages have had minor updates. One new page added is my attempt at explaining the RIV/UIC/TEN numbering/coding system! Any feedback or corrections would be appreciated.

1st March 2015
138 new photographs have just been added, including 103 taken by me last week, and 35 of Derek Everson's from last year. Most of the subjects are already covered, exceptions being IFA-G car flats, KBA barrier wagons and a YZA stoneblower. I still have quite a few of Derek's photos to put up and these will cover some more new types.

I had been working on a news update page but I got rather distracted researching the intricacies of EVNs (European Vehicle Numbers). A lengthy page covering this subject will be added shortly, along with the news update.



Page added: 10/05/2015 Spotted an error? Got some additional info?
Please e-mail me at tom (at) ltsv.com
Last edited: 05/06/2016