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Rapido Trains UK SECR Six-Wheel Brake Van Review

Announced in April 2022, Rapido Trains UK have released their South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SE&CR) Diagram s1062 six-wheel brake van – a useful accompaniment to their already extensive portfolio of SECR covered and open goods wagons.


Forty 20T vans were built to the original 1898 design which had one open and one enclosed balcony (or veranda). A further fifty were built from 1910 which were fully enclosed. Between 1914 and 1920, earlier vans were modified with two enclosed balconies – modified vans could be identified as they had a double top rail at the rebuilt end only, whereas those built new with two enclosed balconies had a single rail at both ends.


Several differences occurred between batches including upgraded axle boxes for those finished in 1914. All ninety vans became Southern Railway (SR) stock as Diagram 1558 and the majority passed into British Railways (BR) ownership.


Just one example survives today which originates from the 1898 batch and was later rebuilt in 1910. Sold by BR to the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) at Farnborough, Hampshire, it was later bought by Kent & East Sussex Railway (K&ESR) for preservation.


Rapido Trains UK have produced both designs (encompassing SECR, SR, and BR liveries) with Rails of Sheffield having taken an exclusive run of the single end vans. Train Times of Eastbourne, East Sussex, similarly offered the K&ESR’s No 2010 exclusively.


The amount of separately applied parts is one of the most striking elements of the model which includes very fine handrails, lamp irons, and step boards. The lightweight nature of the handrails is comparable to the Bachmann Europe ‘Dance Hall’ brake van which can be easily distorted with excessive force. Step boards are attached to the solebar by the smallest of inserts - out of the box one step was loose and had had been misshapen slightly, but upon reattaching was swiftly rectified with a little coercion. Plank detail throughout the body is well rendered.


A small accessory pack contains three document clips which were positioned in a variety of positions, therefore can be applied by the purchaser as appropriate to their example.


Once again, the satin finish applied cannot be faulted, as is the lettering which clean and precise.


Upon closer inspection underneath the model, the three axles sport split-spoked wheels in brass bearings which allow for very free running. Despite being rarely seen, brake gear is well represented and intricate.


Put simply, another fine release by Rapido Trains UK.

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