Castle Cement PCA Wagons – Part 1

As I’ve been busy with commission work over the last few weeks, my spare time has been taken up with researching the Washwood Heath to Bescot, Castle Cement working. It isn’t very well documented on the internet, but trawling youtube did find one video taken in 1990. The train arrives at Bescot with 20 PCA wagons, all built to design code PC009A. There is currently no RTR or kit manufacturer producing this version of the PCA, so I thought I’d have a go at bashing one together using Hornby/Lima/Dapol PCA ‘Vee’ versions as suitable donors.

Looking closely at all three brands, I decided that the Hornby one offers the best chassis in terms of detail. The chassis is also very rigid, so ideal for a P4 conversion with relatively little work.

With the body removed, I then cut the ends from the tank which revealed a lip on the end piece. This was then separated from the remainder of the tank body and measured with digital calipers. The idea was to use some PVC plumbing pipe for the new body centre, and after a trip to B&Q I purchased some suitable white pipe. After cutting the tube to size, and a small amount of work, the end caps fitted snugly and it was starting to look like something!

Cutting the wagon to reuse the tank ends
Cutting the wagon to reuse the tank ends

The only other thing I have done at this point is to cut a rectangular hole in the base of the tank to allow for the chassis weight to locate into the tank.

The end caps fit the 32mm plumbing pipe very well.
The end caps fit the 32mm plumbing pipe very well.

4 thoughts on “Castle Cement PCA Wagons – Part 1”

  1. Shall be watching with interest.the area around bescot was so interesting, although it only really became aware of it in the EWS era when work took me up the M6…

    Have you stockpiled hornby 31110s…..!

    1. Thanks for commenting. I have quite a few class 31's ready for the civil link fleet. Not just 31110's though. Other peds Hornby have done make for more interesting variants. Watch this space 😉

      1. good luck with that. I have a Lima body of 31423 in intercity mainline, which i was thinking of mating to a hornby chassis, but since my layout moved area towards Oxford , it's project 10000…..

  2. I didn't realise the Hornby chassis had a metal part to it, very interesting. Watch out for the suspension units – they have a 1mm slab let in at the top (possibly for train set gradients), but as Jim S-W and others have pointed out, the lower part is at full extension as if the wagon is up on jacks (more so than if just empty, imagine it loaded with Helium!) as well which makes the wagons at least 2mm too tall. Jim has a solution on P4NewStreet which involves Cambrian parts and butchery…

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