This humble LOWMAC design dates back to the Great Central ‘MAC N’ 20t implement truck. With a few revisions to the original concept the LNER upgraded the design in 1938 into the diagram 143 ‘MAC NV’ wagon, this improved the wagon’s carry weight to 22 tons. Pressures of the wartime era evidently called for an even greater load weight, so prior to production another batch of improvements were carried out. The design was refined by replacing the 12in by 6in main longitudinal sections with 14 in by 6in equivalents, this increased the load to 25t, and thus created the diagram 173 ‘MAC PV’ we know today.
Shildon Wagon Works received its first order for diagram 173 ‘MAC PV’ Implement Trucks in 1943, and by 1944 production was complete. The first batch of 60 wagons rolled out just in time to assist with the heavy freight traffic that was heading to the South Coast in preparation for the liberation of Europe. 30 wagons went to the LMS and the LNER retained 30 for themselves, however, in the last year of the war, and first year of peacetime, the LNER ordered a further two batches of 25, taking the Shildon built quota up to 110 vehicles.
The 173 ‘MAC PV’ Implement Trucks were reclassified as LOWMAC EP. Having proven successful throughout its working life under the Big 4, British Railways decided to build even more of them – giving them the diagram number 2/242 in their number system. Passing the contract to P & W Maclellan in 1950, a further 38 vehicles were produced. Incredibly, the LOWMAC continued serving Britain’s railways as an engineering vehicle way into the 00’s.
The Rapido Trains UK design of this long-serving wagon will be the most detailed version of the LOWMAC to date, featuring a combination of die-cast metal and injection moulded plastic construction, brass bearings, moulded lashing rings, and a rather nice optional load that represents a set of 4 replacement wheels and their carriers. These wheelsets will feature scale axles and are ideal for scenic use if not required as a load.
Eleven versions will be produced that cover liveries from the original 1944 design to its most modern engineering guise, and everything in between.
The LNER/LMS 25t Implement Truck is due Q2 of 2024. The model is currently in tooling and we hope to have samples shortly.
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