A bunch of (Mark) fives from Accurascale and Revolution!
Dublin-based model train maker Accurascale and crowd-funding pioneers Revolution Trains are teaming up to produce Mk5 coaches in 00 and N gauge.
The two companies are co-operating on research and development and will be producing complete ranges of the Mk5s operated by Caledonian Sleeper and Trans Pennine Express's Mk5a vehicles.
Both types of Mk5 are being manufactured by CAF of Spain, and they are the first loco-hauled vehicles built for Britain's rail network since the Mk4 Inter-City 225s which entered service three decades ago.
Those for Caledonian Sleeper comprise Sleeper, Accessible Sleeper, Club Car and Lounge Car while TPE will operate theirs in fixed sets of five with a driving trailer, three intermediate standard cars and a first class/guard's vehicle.
Although the Mk5 and Mk5a vehicles share many design features and common components, there are also significant differences - primarily the Caledonian Sleeper vehicles are slightly wider to offer more room in the side corridor.
Revolution and Accurascale have obtained exclusive rights to make the TPE coaches in their respective scales and CAD work on their design is now well underway.
As part of this exciting new project, Accurascale will also introduce a high specification Class 92 to complement the Caledonian Sleeper stock, with Revolution providing valuable research assistance.
Fran Burke of Accurascale said: “It has been an amazing first year for Accurascale and we are delighted to add our first electric locomotive and coaching stock to our range. Both the 92 and the Mk5 will be done the Accurascale way - with absolute attention to detail and quality. We’re delighted to be working with Revolution Trains again on another exciting project for both companies.”
Accurascale's Patrick Conboy added: "We want these models to set a new standard for the British market, and they will be the perfect accompaniment for our forthcoming Class 92 in 00."
Exact specifications for the coaches are yet to be finalised, but modellers can expect switchable interior lighting, fully detailed and painted interiors and accurately modelled detail differences in the roofs, underframes and bodyshells.
Both Beacon Rail, who own the TPE vehicles, and Caledonian Sleeper have been hugely helpful with drawings, CAD designs and facilitating visits to both Longsight and Polmadie depots to enable us to photograph and measure every inch of these attractive and stylish vehicles.
Mike Hale of Revolution Trains said: "Revolution and Accurascale have a similar approach and when the opportunity arose to work together on the Mk5s we did not hesitate. We will be focussing on the N gauge models, as you'd expect, but we are certain that co-operating like this will benefit both 2mm and 4mm modellers."
And Revolution's Ben Ando added: "We'd very much like to thank Beacon, Caledonian Sleeper and of course the makers CAF for providing such detailed and comprehensive research material. These coaches will go very well with high-end models already on the market - such as the Dapol Class 68 and Revolution's own Class 92 - so they were a logical choice for us."
Caledonian Sleeper operate two trains each night from London to destinations in Scotland - the Lowlander, with 8 coaches each for Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the Highlander with six coaches for Aberdeen, six for Inverness and four for Fort William. Both companies anticipate that book sets will be offered with separate sections, allowing a complete train to be assembled.
Similarly, once introduced TPE plan to operate their Mk5a vehicles in fixed formations of 5 between Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Scarborough and Middlesbrough. Again, these will be packaged as complete rakes in book sets.
Development of the models is underway, with first samples in both scales expected by Autumn. For more information on the N gauge project, visit www.revolutiontrains.com and www.accurascale.co.uk for the OO models.