I always loved the red and grey Railfreight livery of the 1980s and have been stocking up on a number of Bachmann VDAs in this scheme to flesh-out my Speedlink-era rolling stock. As featured in the latest Model Rail - on general sale today - I trialled some weathering dyes on a limited edition Civil Link version of a VDA, but was not entirely pleased with the results. Having learned the lesson of not testing unknown products on a precious model, I couldn't see any other way of salvaging the van except for a complete strip-down and repaint.

So, said wagon now carries the red & grey of Railfreight rather than the 'Dutch' scheme of the engineers' department. The repaint has taken a month or two to complete, the various stages being fitted in around other projects and coinciding with a Railfreight-liveried Class 47 (lima/Vi-Trains hybrid) also on the go. I usually wait until I've a couple of things to paint in the same colour, as well as varnishing and weathering - it saves a lot of time mixing paints, etc. It does, however, result in lots of part-finished models littering my workshop at any one time!

This VDA, in the later Railfreight Distribution sub-sector livery, was a birthday treat to myself from my local model shop. It was weathered at the same time as the red & grey van, but with a little more restraint to preserve its newer appearance within my late 1980s Speedlink fleet. I just need to fit scale couplings to this van...

Another model in the weathering queue was this Vi-Trains Class 37. Portraying boiler-fitted 37247, this is another blue South Wales 'Tractor' for use on my Maudetown Colliery layout. The loco has also been the testbed for a variety of detailing parts that came into Model Rail for review; most notably the snowploughs and bogie footsteps (PH Designs). A full appraisal and demonstration of these components will appear in the magazine in due course.


  1. George the Shawplan Class 37 window frames and laser cut glazing make a HUGE difference to the ViTrains 37s...

  2. Hi James,
    You're right - I saw a sample of a modified Vi-Trains 37 on the Shawplan stand at the DEMU show in Burton a few weeks ago - It looked so much better. I think I'll have to try it out!


  3. Hi

    Do you know how many civil link VDA vans would have run together in any on etrain back in the early 90's + what other wagons woul d have been with them - thanks

  4. Hi,
    That's not an easy question to answer as they ran in all sorts of quantities and consists, depending on the purpose of the train. Have a look at Paul BArtlett's website for more info: http://paulbartlett.zenfolio.com/



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