APT-E Impact Test Wagon – Modelling an interesting prototype

APT-E Test Wagon

Yes, you read the title correctly… an APT-E test wagon? Little is known about this wagon, to the point where I am still trying to find out its number, and as such I have modelled it on the only photograph I have. I cannot credit the original photographer as it was one of those that gets posted to your Facebook or Email account from people who know you are interested in this sort of stuff!

It is rather specialist, and I doubt many will want to model it, but as it’s RTC related I just had to do it!

From what I understand of the prototype and tests so far, the ‘nose’ section of the wagon was pushed into a polystyrene pit that was situated at the Edwalton end of the Old Dalby test track. I can only assume these tests were to assess strength, nose damage or similar. Quite how many tests or at what speeds they were conducted at remain unanswered.

I set about this project by first enquiring with Kim to see if a 3D model would be possible, using the Rapido APT-E nose section as a guide for size and shape. After dropping off a single power car of my APT-E to him for assessment, he assured me that it was possible and “leave it with me”. What he wasn’t happy about was the responsibility of having the APT-E in the house for a minute longer than he needed- it scares him due to value I guess! I had, however every faith in him whilst it was away.

Once collected, the project could progress. He had done a wonderful job recreating the nose cone in CAD and 3D printing it. I set about dismantling an old Mainline Railways GW Weltrol wagon, which is the closet I could find to the one in the photograph and it had the correct bogie pattern.

After sawing off the tension lock couplings and removing two buffers on what will become the nose end, two blanking plates were fitted from scrap plasticard to resemble the plated off buffers.  I also found out that the weltrol section was strengthened and the void between the dropped section and upper frame was plated over. Once all this was done, a spray over in primer then matt black saw the main frame pretty much completed.

From what I can see and work out the ‘armour’ plating used for mounting the nose section looks nothing more than a section of 12T box wagon presumably cut and stretched to shape and welded on, not even painted, as traces of the original lettering on the side can be seen.  Quite how the nose section was mounted remains unknown. Also unknown is whether the nose section was a spare or one from the actual APT-E!

This section was then painted a deep rusted brown colour and some odd wagon lettering applied to represent the original, varnished and once dry fitted to the wagon. The nose cone had previously been primed in grey and a silvery grey/ white top coat applied. Looking at the photograph it seems the nose cone was in some sort of primer state.

The well of the wagon was loaded with rail lengths, again presumably for weight. Several sections of some old steel rail that have been left in the garden shed a fair while and have consequently rusted naturally (top tip there!) were cut to size and some odd sections of chain attached across the top before gluing into the well section. It appears that there was some sort of winch bolted onto the other end, why? Again, no one knows as yet. This was made up of some odds and ends found in the spares box. Four Cambrian Models handbrake wheels were added (two each side), as I understand that each bogie could have the brakes individually applied, again presumably for testing purposes.

Once metal 12mm three-hole disc wheels and a kadee coupling at the other end were fitted, the wagon was pretty much finished apart from a good dose of weathering powders to highlight the rusted areas noted on the actual prototype.

So, until someone comes forward with any details of the number this wagon is ready for service. I already have a class 46 to push it. I’ve always wanted to model the polystyrene pit that was at the end of the test track , now I have the perfect excuse!

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