WIth a cement-themed project in the offing, a rake of PCAs is needed

I've had a small bunch of Hornby 'depressed centre' PCA wagons in my collection for some years, thinking they'd come in handy one day. Well, some of them had already proved useful for trialling a variety of new weathering products - to varying degrees of success - but I'd long had a small quarry-cum-cement works in mind, inspired partly by Chris Nevard's 'Cement Quay' and some of the impressive real life cement works in my locality.

While the layout is in the early stages of planning, the PCA wagons surfaced again for use in an upcoming Model Rail feature on upgrading older style tension lock couplings (to appear in MR195). Now with the natty Symoba pivoting NEM coupling pockets installed, plus new buffers, the wagons are looking more refined and I've initially fitted Kadee couplers. I've never run a layout with Kadees - only ever having employed them on fixed rakes of carriages and the like - so this may well be my first serious foray. As the stock and traction for the layout is likely to be limited, this shouldn't prove too expensive. But I do like my working 3-links... Well, we'll see how it goes.

This PCA is in a sand carrying livery, so it might have to succumb to a coat of grey paint...

I picked up this trio of 2nd hand Hornby and Lima PCAs from SMTF model shop the other week - they're now in the queue to receive the coupling/buffer/brake gear detail upgrades and a suitably weathered finish.


  1. Jonathan Hiscox9 April 2014 at 10:07

    These look really good, George. One quick question, though, is have you compared how the Lima suspension looks against the new Bachman wagons in a mixed rake - I've heard comments that both the Hornby and Lima PCAs seem to be on "tiptoe" and with the wagons all fitted with Gloucester suspension units I have been wondering if this causes any visual discrepency

    1. Hi Jonathan,
      Yes, there is a bit of a difference, with the solebar of the Hornby/Lima wagons being a bit higher and the buffer centres being out of kilter by about 1mm. But it's not that much of a problem - to me at least. The wagons look so different anyway, with the depressed centre tanks being taller at the ends and the underframe gear not being identical on the real things. Just depends on how far you want to go with it. Swapping the wheels on the older wagons is an option, for 11mm diameter instead of 12mm.

    2. Hi. George.

      I've. Actually been up dating some of these myself. I came across a photo of a rake of these taken back in the eighties and it looks to me that they had the Blue Circle boards fitted to the side's similar to the old Presflo's. So far I have done 5, chuffed to bits how they have come out.


  2. Thank you so much George. Looks like the moths will be disturbed by Messers Bachmann and Symoba following the very helpful wokbench article! Can't wait to see your cement project!!!


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