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> What are MGR/HAA etc. wagons ?
hedgeaf
post 27 Sep 2011, 23:37
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Ok, I'm trying to build up some rolling stock but quite confused as to what all the wagon acronyms and names mean and are used for !

Is there any website that illustrates what the various letters mean ?, I assume it's something similar to aircraft, e.g. the F/A-18 is a fighter/attack of the 18th type and so on ?

So far I've come across the following, that I'm interested in but not always sure what they are/are loaded with;

MHA Coalfish
FL Falcon, by Dapol in yellow
Various open/drop side wagons of Limpet ZKA, OCA, POA, MEA, MFA (ballast ?), PNA
MGR "coal" Hopper of HAA, HBA and HFA types, plus CDA (clay ?)
OTA timber (converted from VDAs ??)
PGA hopper (aggregate ?)
HEA hopper (CEA covered version ?), 100ton HTA hopper, 90ton JGA hopper
BRA covered steel wagons (do Bachmann do these pristine / NEM couplings ?)
KFA container wagons
TEA 100 ton tanker
TTA smaller ("classic Hornby") tanker
FNA nuclear flask

There seem to be a lot of hopper types !, can anyone give a simple explanation or point me to a website somewhere !?! It just looks like alphabet soup to me !

I'm trying to build a couple of rakes and for variety of aesthetics would prefer mixed ones (probably not real but hey ho), so wondering what I can mix and match and with what loads.

Also, can anyone explain to me the difference between the two different current types of Hornby Yeoman hoppers ?
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upnick
post 27 Sep 2011, 23:54
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No expert on British stock but these two links hopefully will help

http://www.srpsmuseum.org.uk/10157.htm

http://www.ltsv.com/w_profile_007.php


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UPNICK.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm a busy man. I have a railroad to build.

''Building America''


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Graham Plowman
post 28 Sep 2011, 06:36
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Probably the best way to answer all of these questions is to point you in the direction of Paul Bartlett's wagon and roling stock library:

http://paulbartlett.zenfolio.com/paulbartlettsrailwaywagons

This is the most compehensive library of British rolling stock on the net.


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(British outline 00 - NCE PH PRO-R, Lenz 100 - DCC Sound and computer controlled signalling/interlocking of Ashprington Road with SSI software)
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34C
post 28 Sep 2011, 08:07
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This is the most user friendly site I can quickly find as it shows what the letters stand for, first letter vehicle general description, then the type, then the brake type. http://www.btinternet.com/~second_engineering/tops_codes.htm

Notice there have been some changes to use of the letters, and also that some of the terms reflect the past. Thus an HTA is a Hopper, type T, Air braked, but a JGA is also a hopper, but 'privately owned' which takes letter J, then type G, Air braked. That privately owned description only really made sense when a nationalised BR owning most of the wagons existed. Really, nearly every wagon should be a J now...

For your 'mixed rake' there is one authentic colourful possibility, in the form of a container train. A set of container flats can carry a very wide range of container types and liveries, and they can be swapped around freely
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Bear 1923
post 28 Sep 2011, 11:29
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MGR is easy = Merry-Go-Round. That is block trains of one load in one broad type of wagon - for example all HTAs or almost identical. As fas as I know they were all coal trains. The system was that they merrily went round and round between large collieries and large users like steelworks or power stations. As far as possible nothing was ever changed in the train - it just kept going round the load - haul - unload - backhaul cycle. The wagons were of very consistent types (or only one type) to both facilitate this and fit with the loading and unloading arrangements.

As always these things depend a lot on company and date.

Although they weren't thought of as MGRs the NER's and LNER's railway company owned coal hoppers that circled between pits and docks might be thought of as MGRs. Possibly to a lesser extent the largely P.O (Private Owner) wagons that cycled between the Valleys and South Wales Docks could be seen in a similar way. Thousands of wagons were built to fit specialised equipment such as coal tipplers.

The early BR MGR wagons were unusual in that they broke with traditional designs. They were steel bodied hoppers and continuously automatic braked. Some were even braked on two pipe systems which allowed for more rapid operation of the braking cycle. In theory this would have meant that they could operate faster overall - which would mean that their headway could be reduced... That is that trains of them could get through Sections of Running Line faster - and get out of the way of the sacred passenger service

Where completely new facilities were built it was usual to try to arrange a baloon track so that the train turned itself round by going round a circle. This cut out the time taken for run rounds and resetting the brakes/brake tests etc. These and some other loading/unloading facilities had their own specific signalling arrangements within the facility. The large circular signal heads had four or six lines of white lights. IIRC a horizobntal line meant stop. Other lines meant "go slow", "back up" and other specific meanings, AFAIK all the white line signals used solid side-to-side lines. IIRC some of these signals used coloured lights but the memory is flagging on that one.

An MGR isn't going to give you a pretty train of multiple variants! On the other hand MGRs and other block trains do have a distinct character. Personally I like them.

MGR wagons were originally restricted to MGR use. This means that you aare limited to their operation in the appropriate time period. Once later, usually larger, MGRs came along the earlier ones were released to non MGR traffic. The fact that they were originally specialised wagons could restrict their use. (Obviously coal hoppers were very specialised - other stock could start out in specialised captive service as well though). This meant that getting extra use out of them sometimes meant some pretty drastic rebuilds - as in turning some vans into open bulkhead flats for timber traffic.

Something that someone else can fill in the detail on (please) is that - to be permitted to run at/above certain speeds - trains are required to have specified available Brake Force. For reasons that are technically beyond me some combinations of stock cannot meet these requirements on their own. In order to get round this suitable additional wagons can be added to the train. These wagons aren't usually loaded but they add their Brake Force to the train - this brings the total availabe Brake Force up and allows the train to run at higher speed. Redundent from MGR hoppers were certainly used for this in some areas. Another wagon that was used for it was the Ferryvan. These Brake Force wagons were usually run in blocks at the front or back of a train - sometimes front and back. I never saw them dotted around a train.

Another use of redundent MGR wagons was as barrier wagons... Wagons used as protective barriers to keep specific wagons and/or loads away from things - usually the loco.

They could also be used as Match Wagons for heavy loads to seperate a spacial wagon with a heavy load from the weight of a loco so that the two heavy weights did not get onto a bridge at the same time. This was relatively rare - because Extra heavy loads were mostly going by road by the time that MGR wagons became redundent.

Another job could be as Reach Wagons. Where a loco couldn't get in due to hazard or restricted structure gauge - or (again) bridge loading - a number of wagons could be used as an arm to reach in to where the loaded wagons would be. Sometimes a string of reach wagons would be parked at the location and other times they would travel backwards and forwards between the location and the servicing yard.

Sometimes MGR coal wagons find other uses. Two I can (cynically) think of are acting as buffer stops and holding track down in disconnected sidings. Other people may know of other jobs they were used for...

MGR is the only acronym in the letter clusters you have listed. The rest are all codes. AFAIK they are all TOPS codes mad.gif

Some people love TOPS, There is no accounting for taste!

From my end of the system they looked pretty silly when they phoned up and demanded that we tell them what wagons there were in sidings that had been ripped out years before - or demanded to know what two wagons were in a siding with about twenty in it... and wouldn't believe our mark1 eyeballs on the scene knew better than their computer... So why were they having to ask us? (It wasn't part of our job to check wagon numbers - so, if they learnt to ask nicely we would tell them... otherwise they got a two word response - and that included from our Inspectors).

Other people have given you links to TOPS codes etc.

TOPS codes replaced the older railway telegraphic codes. These gave types of wagons a short name that always remained the same for a type. "Open A" was an unfitted open wagon. "Open A" is a lot less telegraph message than "unfiited open wagon" - the principle is the same as "BURMA" and "NORWICH". Evidently the marvelous new computers couldn't handle names but only three letter codes. (What makes you think that I really don't like TOPS)?

I will go into another post to cover your remaining question(s).
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Bear 1923
post 28 Sep 2011, 12:07
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Building a mixed rake of wagons...

I suspect that strictly speaking you want a train of mixed wagons... A rake tends to be a few - often of one type and with one load for one destination - but that's being picky...

Anyway... Even when MGR wagons were in captive working and would only usually be seen in block trains they had to be moved from the builders to the train and, occasionally, from the trains to specific maintenance facilities for specific jobs. It wouldn't have been cost effective to pull a whole train for maintenance at one time so - as far as I know - wagons were usually pulled out in clusters - 3,5,10 or whatever - I don't know. Then there would be odd, individual awkward wagons that needed to be taken out for unscheduled maintenance. (Which assumes that the blocks/rakes of wagons were on scheduled maintenance). So long as a wagon was only "Green Carded" or had a brake fault that didn't get it Red Carded as "NOT TO GO" it could be moved under appropriate conditions to a maintenance facility.

All that means that you can have MGR wagons in an odd mix of traffic.

In fact you can have a whole train - which might be made up of all individual wagons - trundling off to a works for maintenance - alteration - or scrapping. In the modern era this is the most likely kind of train that will have numerous different types in it.

This is because BR went for a "whole load" policy and wanted to go for "whole train" as far as possible - meaning that they could turn away revenue earning traffic and boost the road haulage industry so that they could put more, ever bigger trucks on the road, do more damage, have more accidents and burn more fuel ultimately contributing to climate change. All supported by government's policies.

I don't agree that a container train will give you a whole different lot of wagons. Different containers yes - but only a few different wagons in any one train - and that is only more recently. The early container trains - both the very early running Conflats (telegraphic name) and ???? various TOPS coded container wagons - were intened to run as block trains. After Conflats the wagons were sometimes bar coupled in specific rakes - the idea was to cut tare weight by cutting down on buffing gear etc - but, as usual, one dud in a bar-coupled rake put the whole rake out-of-action so the tendency has been to go back to individual wagons. The growth in container size has also influenced some changes.

A container train, while it may have assorted different containers (usually mostly boxes) isn't going to have the same variety as a mix of vans, opens, tanks and hoppers...

Hope this answers some of your questions.

tongue.gif

PS Another option would be a "Departmental" train. S&T or OLE tend to be the most varied and weirdest. They tend to be made up of redundent and modified wagons as needed. Sometimes they run in their (usually very faded/begrimed) old colours and sometimes they get splattered all one colour - usually bright yellow (especially OLE stock).
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hedgeaf
post 28 Sep 2011, 18:58
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Hi,

Thanks for all the replies, those websites were perfect, just what I needed to grasp a sense of what it all meant and how it came about !
Thanks also for the descriptions, and the MGR one in particular, I'd have been trying to work out what that meant !

When I say mixed rakes, I guess I'm thinking more of a "coal" train with perhaps a few different types of hoppers, rather than a complete mish mash, but it reflects lack of finance to buy large batches of the same thing, a desire to see some variety and try and get as many shapes/colours overall. I'm not too fussy about historical accuracy but I would at least like to make a nod to it !

The container wagons seem to be quite pricey so are on a "gradual acquisition", but it was mainly the hoppers and opens that confused me the most.

cheers.




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