HEA 360320 at Duddeston in October 1985. ©Steve Jones
The HAA wagon successfully filled the role of delivering coal to power stations. A new design of wagon was also required for other coal traffic, to replace the large fleet of mineral wagons and hoppers. In 1975 the prototype 32.5 ton HBA (360000) was unveiled at Shildon Works. It was fitted with manually operating discharge doors. The hopper body was painted initially in Bauxite. The HBAs and HEAs usage was widespread across the country and could be seen in use in mixed and short block trains, delivering household coal to terminals in urban areas. By the latter half of the 1980s, the traffic that the HBA/HEAs were designed for was declining. New roles for the fleet of wagons had to be found and an early example was carrying rock salt, while another was scrap metal. Many HEA wagons were converted for other uses and the conversion process increased in pace and therefore number of HEAs declined steadily throughout the 1990s.
(Information provided via Dapol)