Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /storage/content/39/1007239/ on line 30 ZCA Sea Urchins ex VDA [EWS]

The railways have always been good at making use of things they have lying around to create something new and useful and when the need arose for new engineering various spare air braked wagons made suitable donors.

Converted during the early 1990's the Sea Urchins were designed as a replacement for older vacuum braked and unfitted engineers wagons used for carrying ballast or spoil with reinforcing ribs to help them withstand the battering given to them by mechanical excavators when loading or unloading.

This Train Simulator expansion features ZCA Sea Urchins converted from two different lots of VDA vans later on in their careers when some of them received EWS maroon and gold livery either as a result of maintenance or through vandalism.


A predominate story for the engineers department of British Rail during the second half of the 1980s and into the 1990s was the replacement of firstly the unfitted, and then the vacuum braked wagons used for the majority of their trains with higher speed air braked wagons of greater capacity. The engineers became quite adept at converting what they had or what they could acquire in order to modernise their fleet. The ZCA Sea Urchins converted from redundant VDA vans are one part of that story.

The 1980s saw a steady decline in the amount of general merchandise traffic carried by the railways and this ceased completely with the end of Speedlink in 1992. As a consequence a large number of vans and other wagons were surplus to requirements and disposal or alternative uses started to present themselves along with sales to the MoD for internal use.

In late 1992 a start was made in converting some 400 VDA vans (other types of air braked wagon were also converted at different times) into open ballast wagons with a reinforced box type body and an angled top. Some 300 of the wagons went to Network SouthEast and the balance to the West Coast Mainline. The conversion work was split between four contractors: ABB Transportation, Marcroft Engineering, Prorail Bombadier and RFS Doncaster and naturally there was some variation in the conversions.

The wagons used came mainly from lots 3855 and 3908 which can easily be identified by the length of their handbrake levers. The bodies themselves also show some variation with the end bracing either being flush to the top of the body (like the sides) or protruding out beyond the top of the body, there is also variation in the location of the lamp iron.


We always like to find ways of doing things a little differently and to incorporate new features to improve the use and enjoyment of our expansions.

Sometimes we will look at enabling new features to make models operate more like the prototype and in other cases to more closely reflect other influences in the real world.

This pack is no exception and we have and features a number of 'standard' Fastline Simulation features along with some newly developed ideas which include.

  • ZCA Sea Urchins on under-frames from two different lots of VDA with detail differences.
  • Two different body styles which are randomly applied to wagons when placed in the simulator.
  • Clean and weathered versions.
  • Weathered versions have three different levels of weathering applied at random.
  • Weathered versions have randomly applied graffiti.
  • Empty versions with randomly applied load remnants in corners.
  • Loaded versions with 4 different loads and randomly applied load shapes.
  • Discrete rear versions with later style slimline battery flashing tail lamp
  • User manual giving further details and usage instructions.
  • Bundled post mounted retro-reflective Temporary Speed Restriction (TSR) signs.


As these expansions are being released via Steam Marketplace it is usual to not included bundled scenarios as we have in the past with our self-published expansions. However, as this product is workshop compatible we have commissioned two scenarios featuring the rolling stock included in the pack and these will be uploaded to Steam Workshop in the near future.

In the meantime you may want to search Steam Workshop to see if any scenarios have been shared by other people: Click here for Steam Workshop Scenarios

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