For over a century the Hunter Valley coalfields were served by private owner hoppers. At their peak, they numbered over 12,000 and were characterized by a rugged simplicity: mainly timber, with handbrake only. They came in many, many varieties and sizes – Small (S), Medium (M), Large (L) and Extra Large (LL). The hopper was removable from the underframe and was swung out by crane over the waiting ship for discharge. Colours were mainly bauxite red, with some in medium grey and a very few in black. Lettering was generally in white, although some were lettered in yellow. The colliery name or initials featured on the side of the hopper, while the fleet number was painted on both the hopper and the underframe.
Phoenix Reproductions has modeled the most common, the L size hopper, with timber underframe, as used from about 1890 until the end of the 1960s. It is available in a number of authentic liveries, in packs of ten wagons. Kadee scale-head couplers are fitted as standard, with alternative draft hooks included in the pack, along with five differently shaped coal loads and two styles of “hungry board”.
These wagons will look right at home behind a 50 class (saturated or superheated), 53 class or an SMR 10 class tank, as well as 48 class diesels.