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Nukiller Waste Transporter


A successful eBay bid for a bog-standard LGB 'stake wagon' led to the management reaching for the pot of Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway regulation grey paint. (The management team have been watching Ivor the Engine so we know all about the importance of The Reg-u-lay-shuns for small railways – those in the top left-hand corner of Norfolk as well as the top left-hand corner of Wales.) And while daubing the paint a bit of head-scratching went on as to what might make a suitable load for this flat-bed. There are some fairly ambitious ideas, but at this stage what was needed was something less time consuming.

One of the contractual requirements for way leave for a track bed through the property manager's beloved flower beds was the ability for the railway to deliver glasses of Pinot Grigot topped up with soda. Or mugs of tea on less summery days. No problems – a wagon constructed along the lines of those used to transport flasks of nucleur fuel would do nicely.



 
The original 'Magnox' nuclear flask transporters looked something like this


But when not carrying essential refreshments the wagon could revert to its normal duties. Google Images was forthcoming in offering details of 1970s Magnox nuclear fuel transporters. But what did the contents look like? The management has never encountered 'nukiller fuel' up close and personally. However, as ever, Google can be relied upon to provide accurate information:

    'Radioactive waste is commonly seen around Springfield as an ominous green sludge-like liquid, often sealed in leaking drums marked with the radioactive symbol. On many occasions the liquid itself can be heard humming and throbbing as if it were alive.'
A quick search through Amazon confirmed this description: glow-in-the-dark green slime was being sold in model 'oil drums'.



 
The test load undergoing quality control tests before despatch from
Springfield Nuclear Power Plant


construction

The flat-bed is a repainted (but otherwise unmodified) LGB 45002 stake wagon.

The 1970s-style Magnox nuclear flask transporter was created from plastic card, augmented with cup hooks and M4 bolts.

The 'oil drum' of green slime, white LEDs (to enhance the glow-in-the-dark effect), coin-cell battery holder and switch were sourced online. The LEDs sit in the sawn-off neck and shoulder of a vitamin pill bottle made from blue plastic which just happens to have the right internal diameter to grip the drum of slime. The resulting 'inexplicable' blue glow (the bottle cannot be seen without taking the drum of slime out) was just a happy accident…

The inside was sprayed silver. The outside was partially sprayed with a rust-effect paint then partly over-sprayed with matt white. A further wash of rust-coloured paint was dabbed on (and mostly wiped off). The radioactive hazard signs were washed with cold tea to 'distress' them.

The short wooden stakes holding the waste transporter to the stake wagon are from a kebab skewer; they too were dipped in the cold tea to give them a healthier colour.

In addition to the radioactive hazard signs is a rather elderly waybill which reads:
'To Windscale, Cumberland. If undelivered return to Springfield Nuclear Power Plant'.



 

 
To conform with Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway's
risk assessment procedures a 'belt-and-braces' approach to securing
the load has been adopted.

 

 

 
The 'payload' glows rather impressively in the dark!

 



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Text and previously unpublished images copyright Bob Trubshaw 2018–2019