Oxford Rail releases its Carflat

REVIEW: The manufacturer has unveiled its first D&E era wagon in 4mm, this portraying the ex-LMS vehicle-carrying flats.

ANNOUNCED just over a year ago, Oxford Rail has now released the first version of its much anticipated Carflat wagon. This not only provides a scale rendering of these useful vehicles for the first time in ‘OO’ gauge, but also marks the company’s entry into the diesel & electric market, its previous models having been very much for the steam era.

Seen at Goole on April 18, 1982, No. B748748 was one of 20 diagram 1/088 ex LMS Carflats modified to have dual brakes so they could travel in Speedlink services carrying imported Renault cars. The air brake cylinder and distributor can be seen between the vertical members of the underframe trussing while the wagon carries a FVX TOPS code. Other wagons known to have been modified are Nos. B745743/800 and B748674/720/728/730/736/751/755, some of which later lost their vacuum brake equipment, becoming air-braked only. At least two of these conversions were later transferred into departmental service. Trevor Mann

A large fleet of Carflats were converted by British Rail in the 1960s to cater for the burgeoning demand for motor vehicles, the majority being used on commercial flows of new vehicles. Others were deployed on the growing network of Motorail services, carrying passengers’ cars on long distance journeys, usually to popular holiday regions.

Redundant coaches provided the underframes for the Carflats, these having their bodies removed and a new flat deck with low railings added on top. The donors were drawn from many sources, including Mk.1 types along with ex-GWR, LMS and LNER vehicles. As a result, a variety of Carflat designs emerged to several different diagrams, these having variations in bodywork style and bogie types along with relatively minor dimensional differences.

Choosing a Carflat

Notably, Oxford Rail eschewed the common and long-lived Mk.1 derived Carflats from the start, instead opting to produce a version built on LMS underframes, this having a 60ft length and 9ft bogies. This proved to be fortuitous as Bachmann announced
the Mk.1 Carflats back in January, which are currently scheduled for release around the end of the year.

Read more in the August issue of RE – on sale now!

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