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As longer wheelbase air braked vans were introduced it became apparent that there were some traffics that they were not suitable for. One such commodity was government stores from munitions factories to MoD depots which had a number of tight curves and clearances that were more suited to the traditional short wheelbase vans that had seen use for most of the previous century in one form or another. The issue was further compounded by the requirements to introduce a modern air braked wagon fleet and all the suitable wagons were vacuum braked!

The solution to this problem was in the late 1970's and early 1980's to convert 550 Vanwides to air brakes complete with new running gear to enable them to be used in modern Speedlink trains and still safely access the restricted locations required.

This expansion for Train Simulator includes the VEA vans in the three liveries they wore during their careers, Railfreight Maroon, Railfreight flame red and grey and Railfreight Distribution sector livery. This is further enhanced by the bonus inclusion of ODA open wagons in Railfreight flame red and grey livery and the unique wagon carrying Railfreight Distribution livery. Like any Fastline Simulation Train Simulator stock pack expansion these liveries are mixed up with clean and dirty variation, varied load simulating physics and rear versions complete with tail lamp.

Three scenarios are included for the WCML Over Shap route as this was a common stretch of track for the VEA vans to be seen in Speedlink services.


Rolling Stock

VEA Vans

British Railways built a covered merchandise design suitable for palletised loads in the early 1960s. The vehicles to Diagram 217 had centrally fitted double doors on each side that pulled out before sliding back to give a useful 9ft door opening on the 17ft 6in body length. They were on a 10ft wheelbase and rated at 12t.

As BR moved on to producing longer wheel base air braked vans and aimed to reduce it’s use of vacuum braked stock, an issue arose in the late 70’s. These newer vehicles were deemed unsuitable for use over the tight curvature found in several military depots and to that end, a total of 550 VEV were refurbished with air brakes, new suspension, renumbered and coded VEA. These Air Braked conversions are represented in this pack.

The first 50 VEA were converted at Ashford Works, as lot 3918, in 1978 and were painted in Maroon livery. Of these, only 4 were later repainted into Railfreight Red/Grey. The vans were renumbered into the series starting with 230000.

There was a 3 year gap before any more conversions, with vehicles 230050 – 230109, forming lot 3982, passing through Horwich Works in the first half of 1981. These vehicles, as with all subsequent ones, were delivered in Railfreight Flame Red & Grey.

Lot 4017, comprising 230110 – 230399, followed from Shildon Works in the second half of 1982, with the final 150 to lot 4028 appearing during 1983, also from Shildon.

ODA Open

For loads that were too large for the VEA to handle, an open wagon was required. 50 SOV 12t Pipe wagons were taken in hand at Shildon in 1983. These vehicles had 2 five-plank doors per side, with a removable central stanchion between them, to allow easy access.

They had a 12ft wheelbase, some 8ft shorter than that of the main BR Air braked open types then in service. They emerged with air brakes, new roller bearing axleboxes and new suspension, renumbered in the range 113000-1130049, and were coded as ODA. They were delivered in Flame Red & Grey livery. Only a single example, 113017, received Railfreight Distribution livery.


Scenarios

To let you experience the wagons in as authentic an environment as possible three scenarios are included in the pack for the WCML Over Shap route available via Steam.

6S87 1320 Carlisle NY – Eastriggs MOD. (October 1986): Work the daily trip from Carlisle to the MOD depot at Eastriggs.

Traffic in the Carlisle area featured workings to several Ministry Of Defence depots. You are to work the 1320 service to the facilities at Eastriggs. The train is waiting in the Down Departure sidings, and is formed of a mix of ODA and VEA wagons that have travelled overnight from the south of England. Be aware that this service is timed to run at a maximum of 60 mph.

6M91 1530 Eastriggs MOD – Carlisle NY (October 1986): Work the daily trip from the MOD depot at Eastriggs to Carlisle Yard.

Having worked the outbound leg from Carlisle Yard earlier in the afternoon, you are now ready to assemble the stock for the trip back to Carlisle. You are booked to leave at 1530, so there is no rush. Class 6 services are timed to a maximum of 60 mph.

6M87 1810 Severn Tnl Jn Down Yd - Carlisle NY (April 1987): It’s a crisp clear night and you are to work a northbound Speedlink service between Preston and Carlisle Yard.

The WCML was a main route for the Speedlink network, BR’s general freight service. You will work one of the services that linked the South West of England with North West England & Scotland. The line is still busy with passenger and parcels services, so you will be looped at Oubeck, Carnforth and Penrith. Class 6 services are timed to run at a maximum of 60mph.

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