Monday, 30 June 2014

HEA Hopper Conversions: Scrapped

Fastline Simulation - HEA Conversions: One of the later build of HEA hoppers with an offset ladder and wearing grubby Railfreight flame red and grey livery has been converted into an HSA scrap wagon. Judging by the increased tare weight that has been added at the same time as recoding, 'conversion' has involved filling the hopper bottoms with ballast to make a level loading area!

Fastline Simulation - HEA Conversions: An earlier built HEA hopper with central ladder has managed to cling on to it's maroon livery but has been converted to an HSA scrap wagon. It can be assumed that conversion in this case has involved welding a plate across the hopper bottoms to provide a level base to the wagon as only the TOPS code has been changed.
Sorry, couldn't resist that heading given the subject of this post!

The stars of the blog post today, featuring items under development for our HEA Hopper Conversions expansion for Train Simulator 2014 are possibly some the most minimal 'conversions' ever. As domestic and industrial coal traffic declined British Rail started looking for further traffic that the HEA hoppers they had relatively recently invested in could be used for.

One such traffic was the carrying of scrap from collection points to processing plants. Given the nature of the traffic the bottom discharge capabilities of the wagons was not needed with locations loading and unloading wagons using electro-magnets or grabs. As a consequence conversion involved blanking off the hoppers at the bottom of the wagon to give a level base. Two methods of conversion were used, either the welding of a steel plate across the tops of the hoppers (as in the maroon version above) or a more basic conversion achieved by filling the bottom of the wagon with ballast (as with the flame red and grey wagon above).

In both cases the TOPS code was changed to HSA and an increased tare indicated for the ballast filled examples to take into account the weight of the ballast in the bottom of the wagon. In either case the wagons were not overly successful for the harsh treatment they received being loaded and unloaded with grabs and magnets with serious body damage taking place fairly rapidly due to the much lighter build compared to the specialist scrap box type wagons.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

HEA Hopper Conversions: A Brake Van for the Sectorisation Era

Fastline Simulation - HEA Conversions: The splitting of British Rail into business sectors saw every part of the business stamping their identity on movable and fixed assets. Railfreight even applied their new grey livery to some of the 30 year old brake vans they owned. On the whole these were the CAR conversions with through air and vacuum pipes which would be used where propelling and shunting moves were required or at the rear of trains conveying dangerous goods.
Our latest screenshot of items to be included in our HEA Hopper Conversions expansion pack for Train Simulator 2014 is a dia 1/507 CAR brake van in Trainload Railfreight Sector livery.

Even though the days of every goods train conveying a brake van on the rear for the use of the guard were long past a number of CAR brake vans did surprisingly receive the Trainload Railfreight livery complete with sector decals. The vans were given this modern livery as they were still needed for use with hazardous cargoes and where propelling movements were required as a part of a trains booked schedule. It was probably good for public perception of some of these potentially controversial commodities to appear to be carried in smart, well maintained trains too!

The main reason for including a new version of the CAR in our HEA Hopper Conversions expansion is to work alongside the RNA Barrier Wagons for use with nuclear flask traffic. The vans were included in trains in the late 1980's and early 1990's to assist with shunting movements at terminals and in the unlikely event of something untoward happening to a train conveying nuclear flasks the guard would be able to protect the rear of the train without the locomotive crew having to pass the flasks carried on the train.