Throughout the 1980s the major drive from British Rail and the Government was for customers to invest in their own equipment and facilities. Scrap traffic was no exception and some very successful private owner wagon types were produced.

However, with the withdrawal of vacuum braked trains and hence the 16T mineral wagons that had been used there was a need for air braked wagons to carry scrap metal from scrap yards to processing plants. A quick and easy solution was the conversion of redundant HEA coal hoppers.

This Train Simulator expansion features HSA scrap wagons converted from HEA coal hoppers in weathered maroon and Railfreight flame red and grey liveries.


Background

With the decline in domestic and industrial coal traffic as a consequence of switching many energy needs to natural gas British Rail found themselves with a surplus of relatively new air braked coal hoppers. These hoppers (TOPS code HEA) had been constructed in the late 1970s to enable facilities that were unable to handle merry-go-round trains to be served using modern wagons. With a surplus of HEA wagons available a number of different experiments were undertaken to try and find useful work for the underused assets.

One of the conversions which were attempted with the HEA hoppers from 1987 was for scrap traffic as there was a distinct shortage of suitable wagons at the time. This shortage was possibly as a consequence of the removal of vacuum braked and unfitted trains from the network which meant that the 16T mineral wagons that had previously been used for scrap traffic were no longer available. It should also be remembered that at this time British Rail were actively encouraging customers to own or lease their wagons rather than them being supplied by the railway.

With this situation in mind, a very basic conversion of HEA hoppers was attempted for scrap traffic. The main aim of the conversion was to produce a flat bottomed wagon and to take the hoppers out of use as loading and unloading at scrap processors would be via mechanical grabs and magnets. This flat bottom was achieved in two ways, either a steel plate was welded across the bottoms of the hoppers at approximately under-frame height or a similar level of ballast was dropped into the wagon. The latter wagons can be identified by an increased tare weight that was patch painted on to the data panel.

Inevitably the end of Speedlink saw the end of the majority traffic for which the wagons had been converted but some do appear to have remained in use well into the 1990s.


Features

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.

  • Weathered BR maroon and BR Railfreight flame red & grey liveries
  • Loaded and unloaded versions with suitable physics.
  • ‘Intelligent’ tail lamps
  • Animated hand brake
  • Variable infill method with tare weight patch
  • Five different logo styles randomly applied with overrides
  • Variable load planes randomly applied
  • Body switching dependent on vehicle number with reference to end ladders on earlier vehicle
  • Randomised textures of Railfreight red/grey versions

The pack includes a user manual with further details about the rolling stock and the customising of some of the features when using the wagons in scenarios.


Scenarios

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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