1971 was a year of seminal works: Who’s Next, Led Zeppelin [IV], Sticky Fingers and LA Woman…plus it was the year that BR unveiled the first of a new generation of good rolling stock.
That first design was the 45t Open AB open wagon, better known as ‘OAA’. It was a revolutionary open wagon for BR as it featured the new 20ft 9in wheelbase underframe, air brakes and upgraded running gear.
Images courtesy of Paul Bartlett
Ashford Works built the 100 new OAA (Nos. 100000-100099) with their distinctive long planked doors and metal ends. Subsequent designs had higher ends and steel replaced wood.
As part of BR’s air-braked network (a fore runner of Speedlink), the OAAs could be found across the network. But as newer wagons were introduced some were relegated to departmental duties or were modified for other duties, such as the five modified to carry Redland roof tiles.
The OAAs continued to be useful, however, particularly for carrying concrete blocks from Foster Yeoman’s Merehead quarry to Acton. EWS rebuilt a batch of OAAs in the late 1990s for this work, replacing worn wooden doors with mesh.
Rapido Trains UK’s ‘OO’ gauge model of the OAA was produced using original drawings and help from Peter Harvey from PH Designs Etchings. It has the highly detailed body and underframe detail you’d expect from a Rapido model.
We’re particularly proud of the planned decoration on these models. We’ve gone to great lengths to not only replicate the different positions of the numbers and logos but we’re also replicating models that have received ‘bodged’ repaints. That extends to repainting the odd replaced door timber to whole ends that have been repaired to one wagon where nearly the whole body has received a non-standard colour.
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