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<< Profile 58 >> HOA/IIA Bogie Aggregate/Sand Hoppers
Build Details: 2006-2009, Astra Vagoane (Trinity Rail/IRS), Romania (HOA) or Wagony Swidnica (Greenbrier Europe), Poland (IIA)
Numbering: 320000-320067 (HOA), 33.70.6955.068-101 and 37.70.6955.100-159 (IIA)
Bogies / Suspension: Axiom Rail TF25
Published Drawings:
Areas of operation: Workings from Peak Forest and South East England
Main liveries: cream, white/blue, red, grey or silver
Summary: Almost from the start, EWS had ambitious plans to build many new wagons. However, its first order for aggregate hoppers was not placed until 2005, these becoming the HOA class. Delivered in EWS livery, many of the wagons were very soon repainted into the colours of their main user. A follow-on batch also wore this livery but were from a different builder and carrying 'international' numbers. More wagons to the latter design were ordered for use by Mendip Rail.

History: Having addressed its urgent need for coal hoppers and container wagons, EWS (English, Welsh and Scottish Railways) placed an order for 68 bogie aggregate hoppers in 2005 [1]. The York works reopened by Thrall Europa for EWS's earlier orders had by then closed again, and consideration was given to constructing the new wagons at Thornaby Carriage and Wagon depot [2]. Instead the order went to Trinity Rail, with the wagons to be built at its Astra Vagoane plant in Romania [3]. Trinity had merged with Thrall in 2001, but the company was bought by IRS (International Railway Systems SA) in August 2006. A number range in the railway-owned series was allocated for the new wagons (320000-320067) along with TOPS code HOA and design code HO002A [4]. Design code HO001A had already been used in 1997/8 for a reduced-height conversion of a HEA hopper wagon [5], later rebodied as a standard HEA. Curiously, although the design code was not reused, the TOPS AARKND of HOA-A was.

The first of the HOAs were delivered in December 2006, carrying a livery of cream with two thin maroon stripes, EWS Construction lettering, and the 3 animal heads logo. The solebars and Axiom Rail TF25 bogies were grey, while the hopper ends were of the fully enclosed type. Their initial allocation was to Tarmac workings from Stud Farm Quarry to Hayes [6]. They were also used on sand trains from Acton to Marks Tey [7] and from Irvine (for WBB Minerals) [8].

HOA 320020 is seen in original EWS Construction livery at Kentish Town West in 2013. It was working with a rake of PGA hoppers on the Marks Tey to Brentford Town service.

Changes to the traffic and livery of the still-new wagons took place during 2007. In May a deal was reached which would see EWS take over ownership of the former RMC (Ready Mixed Conrete) JGA hoppers used from Peak Forest on workings for Cemex. The JGAs were to be partially replaced by 48 of the HOAs, which would be repainted into Cemex livery of white (upper half of the body) and blue (lower half). Repainting of the wagons was undertaken by Marcrofts at Stoke [9]. The other 20 HOAs were to remain on workings for Tarmac.

HOA liveries after 2007
3200xx= Cemex white/blue livery 3200xx= EWS Construction livery
320000 320005 320010 320015 320020 320025 320030 320035 320040 320045 320050 320055 320060 320065
320001 320006 320011 320016 320021 320026 320031 320036 320041 320046 320051 320056 320061 320066
320002 320007 320012 320017 320022 320027 320032 320037 320042 320047 320052 320057 320062 320067
320003 320008 320013 320018 320023 320028 320033 320038 320043 320048 320053 320058 320063  
320004 320009 320014 320019 320024 320029 320034 320039 320044 320049 320054 320059 320064  

HOA 320001 was one of the wagons repainted into Cemex livery but debranded fairly soon afterwards. The patches where the lettering has been painted out can be seen in this view taken at Acton Mainline in 2013.

In July 2007, EWS placed an order for 34 additional wagons for the Cemex traffic, although the contract went to Greenbrier instead of IRS [10]. Before the wagons were delivered the European Railway Agency issued its Technical Specifications for Interoperability. One result of this was that all new wagons were to be assigned numbers in the 'international' series. The new hoppers were thus numbered 33.70.6955.068-101, the last three digits forming a continuation of the HOA series. Deliveries started in August 2008 [11]. The design was quite different from the HOAs, being more akin to the Freightliner HHA/HXA and HIA hoppers also built by Wagony Swidnica in Poland. The Cemex-branded livery featured blue on the lower half of the hopper sides with light grey (or off-white) above. The solebars and TF25 bogies were grey.

The new standards also affected the coding of wagons. UIC type codes were to be applied to wagons, in this case Fabfnoos. The logic of the TOPS coding system seems to have been a bit thrown by the change of numbering. UK-registered railway-owned hoppers with international numbers would be expected to be coded HIA, although that code had already been used for Freightliner's aggregate wagons. Curiously, the new wagons were instead coded IIA-B, a code that would latterly have applied only to foreign-registered wagons. They were also given design codes in the international series (IIE937) [12].

33.70.6955.099-0 is one of the first batch of IIA-B hoppers and carries debranded Cemex livery. It was seen at Acton Mainline when working to Cliffe Hill Stud Farm in a mixed rake with HOA wagons.

Around the turn of 2008/2009, a decision was made to remove the Cemex branding from the HOA and IIA wagons, no doubt to simplify the allocation of wagons to the various traffic flows. The white/blue livery was retained [13]. Trains are often formed of a mixture of HOAs in both liveries and IIAs.

Built straight after the EWS IIAs was a batch of 40 similar hoppers ordered by wagon lessor Nacco in early 2008. These were originally to be divided between 20 for Mendip Rail and 20 for speculative use [14], but this was soon changed with all 40 being taken by Mendip Rail [15]. Delivered in September 2008, a greyish-silver livery was carried, with MRL (Mendip Rail Ltd) branding at the left-hand end and NACCO at the right [16]. The wagons were numbered as 37.70.6955.100-139 with TOPS code IIA-B, design code IIE940 [17] and UIC type code Fabfnoos. A curious aspect of this is the duplication of the numbers xx.70.6955.100 and xx.70.6955.101 from the preceding batch of IIAs. The first two digits (the exchange code) were not thought to be part of the unique wagon identity, as they were liable to change. However, for these two pairs of wagons, the exchange code (and the check digit) is required to tell them apart.

37.70.6955.108-5 is one of the 40 NACCO-owned IIA-Bs hired by Mendip Rail. In September 2014 it was caught passing through Kensington Olympia on a Hither Green to Whatley working that also contained several Hanson (ARC) JHAs.

A further batch of 20 hoppers for use by Mendip Rail was ordered by VTG in 2009, constructed once again at Greenbrier's Wagony Swidnica works in Poland. These carried the same silver livery but with the VTG logo at the right instead of NACCO. Intended to carry sea-dredged sand from Dagenham to Acton and elsewhere, the wagons featured modified interior linings and door seals but were otherwise identical to the earlier batch. They were allocated the same codes (IIA-B, IIE940, Fabfnoos) and were numbered to follow on as 37.70.6955.140-159 [18].

VTG-owned sand hopper 37.70.6955.156-4 still looked new when seen at Acton Mainline in March 2010 heading for Dagenham.

Delivery of this batch took place in August and September 2009, the wagons being first sent to Knights Rail Services at Eastleigh where they were given anti-corrosive interior paint [19]. The wagons entered service on the Dagenham workings, replacing PGA 4-wheel hoppers. In June 2010 the rake was briefly trialled on sand workings between Peteborough and Goole, covering for PAA hoppers taken out of use following corrosion problems [20]. At any one time, 6 of the 20 wagons are assigned to pool 212, being used to bolster the small fleet of Brett-branded JHA hoppers on workings between Cliffe and Tolworth [21].

The bright red livery of DB Schenker started appearing on the HOA fleet at the end of 2014, when 320054 was repainted by Axiom Rail at Stoke [22]. Further repaints took place in 2015.

Queries: None.

References: 1. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 109 (June 2005), p.27
2. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 110 (July 2005), p.47
3. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 120 (May 2006), p.47
4. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 125 (October 2006), p.48
5. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 22 (March 1998), p.47
6. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 128 (January 2007), p.42
7. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 129 (February 2007), p.48
8. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 131 (April 2007), p.42
9. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 134 (July 2007), p.48
10. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 143 (April 2008), p.54
11. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 149 (October 2008), p.50
12. ^ TOPS list on WWWagons forum, February 2012
13. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 155 (April 2009), p.48
14. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 143 (April 2008), p.54
15. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 149 (October 2008), p.50
16. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 150 (November 2008), p.52
17. ^ TOPS list on WWWagons forum, February 2012
18. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 157 (June 2009), p.55
19. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 160 (September 2009), p.57
20. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 170 (July 2010), p.51
21. ^ TOPS lists on WWWagons forum, 2012-2014
22. ^ Rail Express magazine, issue 226 (March 2015), p.103

Links: Astra Rail Industries page detailing the HOA. Includes dimensions and a rotatable 3D model

Greenbrier webpage detailing the IIA. Includes a downloadable PDF with dimensions and diagrams.

Updates: 10/05/2015: DB Schenker repaints noted.
For more pictures see the Links section at the bottom

Page added: 15/10/2014 Spotted an error? Got some additional info?
Please e-mail me at tom (at)
Last edited: 10/05/2015