Category Archives: Train Formations and workings

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.

Cliffe Vale to St. Blazey ‘Clayliner’

This week my thoughts have turned to train formations, and in particular, the 6V70 Cliffe Vale to St. Blazey china clay working. Research has found that after the closure of the Bescot Curve in March 1993, the service was forced to go north via Walsall from Bescot, before heading south via the sutton park line and Washwood Heath. This is perfect for the time period I’m modelling, and I can now make use of a handful of the new Bachmann Polybulks.
The variation of wagons in the rake would often vary, but usually consisted of Polybulks and Clay Tigers. In addition, a VGA van or Cargowaggon would be added where bagged clay needed to be transported.
Power was normally provided by a pair of 37’s, although as many as four have been photographed, or a class 47. I’m planning on using a pair of ViTrains 37/4’s for this project, as I’m new to P4, and they are an easier conversion to start with than the Bachmann variety. Both will be in Railfreight Distribution triple grey livery, and suitably weathered.