A blog outlining the construction of the 'Gladstone Yard' in HOn3 ½

Friday, January 4, 2013

VAK Coal Hopper

Note the faded '71' (indicating 71 tonnes) to the left of the arrow and logo.
Signs of its use in the old Central QLD days

Wagon profile:

Bogie coal hopper, red Circle wagon, constructed of aluminium, three drop doors, length of 3 units. They were restricted to A (Main Lines) and S (Mineral lines) class lines. The VAK were also restricted to 60km per hour when loaded. The VAK carrying capacity dependant on the class of line it operated on. The VAK originally had a carrying capacity of 56 tonnes. As indicated in the photo above they were capable of weighing a gross 71 tonnes. These 71 markings were regularly seen on the Blackwater system in the early 90's. Overtime their carrying capacity increased as lines/bridges were upgraded.


Grain VAKG, VAKS, VGK, VAKG (modern), VGMK
Predominately used on the Moura/Blackwater and southern lines, they were also used up north. During the 70’s flood they could also be seen on the NCL conveying coal from Gladstone to Brisbane. In the Gladstone the VAK were hauled by 1270, 1300, 1550, 2100, 2350, 2400, 3100, 3200, 3300, 3400, 3500 and 3600 class locomotives.

Southern Rail has recently released an excellent model of the VAK and variants. It was a great relief for the QR modeller when these models were announced. Although not prototypical, I will be running a unit train of 20 VAK’s representing a 60 car Moura consist. I would love to model a complete 60 car set but I feel if this was the case the layout would need to be built the size of a basketball stadium to match the scale train load and I don’t have the room to do that.
I have purchased both the QR Blue and QR Red liveries. All wagons will be suitably weathered. I would like to add graffiti to the wagons but the coal hoppers in Central Qld were usually graffiti free. The QR blue version will have shunter’s steps added to each end and a slimmer QR Blue decal placed on the centre of each side along with the the 71 tonnes decals. Sergeant couplers will be added to the wagons. I have also considered replacing the end slopes with the slopes that had sledding shields (the upside down V). There is still one in Brisbane traffic with this shield but i have not yet been lucky enough to photograph it. I plan to make my own coal loads for the hoppers. You could always tell where a loaded coal train originated from by the way the coal was loaded (I will explain fully in a later segment). Therefore the loads will be based on the Moura Mine style of loading.
The bogie/coupler height seems to be a hot topic with the latest release QR models. At the moment I have not yet decided what rollingstock to adjust.  This will be determined when the QR locomotives arrive. The rollingstock will then be suited to the locomotives as I’m guessing it’s not going to be easy adjusting the coupler heights of the locos.

Over the Christmas holidays I have been working on a few projects one of which is a ILM QR goods shed. These will of course be covered in future blogs. Also to come are brief VGK and QLX wagon profiles.

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