Back To Beginnings! New Ballast and Gypsum Hoppers!
The highlight of our calendar is the October Bank Holiday weekend, when we "play at home" as they say and exhibit at the Dublin model railway shows, held each year on rotation by the Model Railway Society of Ireland and the South Dublin Model Railway Club.
That's where it all began for us five years ago, when the good folk of the SDMRC gave us some space at the very last minute (we will be forever grateful for it!) to meet the modelling public for the first time and announced our intentions to produce an Irish outline model railway wagon; the humble CIE hopper.
A lot has happened in those five years, as IRM goes from strength to strength and the Irish model railway scene enjoys support and growth like never before. Of course, we didn't see that we would be in this position today back then, and certainly nobody could've predicted the strange times we are now in that causes us all to miss out on the Dublin show, but there's always positives ahead!
We have decided to revisit that first model we announced back in 2015 amid much fanfare among those who knew us, but one that was missed out by many others who have only learned of our existence in recent times. Yes, our lovely little hopper is back, in a host of new guises and including the gypsum wagon variant for the very first time!
Beginning with the ballasts, a mere 833 packs were produced in our first run as we tentatively entered the market for the first time. Since that run, we have gained many new friends and people "in the know" when it comes to research material, including a man who wishes to remain anonymous. Let's just dub him "The Archivist".
The Archivist had some amazing research material which allowed us to bring back the ballasts back with a bang, offering a number of packs spanning three distinct eras with some unique and tasty markings covering their lifespan on the network!
Starting with CIE featuring their iconic roundels, before progressing into the IR post 1987 era sporting the points logo and text, and then entering their final years in IE guise with a smorgasbord of interesting markings and painted out patches.
Of course, these hopper wagons were used for other services too. Hoppers numbered 26666-26694 were built by CIÉ in 1972 to cater for mineral traffic from Irish Gypsum’s railhead at Kingscourt in County Cavan, which served Irish Cement factories at Drogheda in county Louth, Castlemungret in County Limerick and Platin in County Meath.
Initially, these wagons could often be found in mixed rakes along with ‘Bulleid’ corrugated open wagons. On such occasions the hoppers would always be located closest to the locomotive as they featured continuous vacuum braking, while the open wagons were loose-coupled and required a brake van to be included at the rear of the train.
By the 1980s gypsum traffic was carried exclusively by the hopper wagons and this remained the case until the flow ceased in 2001. This long lived and widely travelled working featured A Classes, 141/181s as well as 121s during its life, even with the odd 201 featuring in later years in the Limerick area! We have tooled some all new loads to give the distinctive variety of shape and size of the gypsum as per the real thing!
The best part (apart from variety, multi eras covered, gypsum variants with newly tooled load etc) is the price, with each pack costing just €99.95 each! This is a €10 reduction on our first run and is our way of saying thank you for your support since we started, as well as a little helping hand during these uncertain times.
Ballast packs will be available in CIE, IR and IE bundle packs, with three packs per bundle along with their respective plough vans for just €370 (11 wagons per bundle including ploughs.) The gypsums are available in four packs of three wagons at €99.95 each or €375 for all 12 wagons.
You can order the ballasts by clicking here and the gypsums by clicking here. Due to COVID restrictions on factory slots the production runs have been limited in size so order early to avoid disappointment. Delivery is due in late November 2020!