What’s in the Shops: British Railways Conflat A wagons

Bachmann releases new versions of its Conflat A wagon in N and OO gauge, writes Nigel Burkin.

Flat wagons designed to carry door-to-door containers have been a feature of the railways for many years. The Big Four railways operated wagons capable of carrying interchangeable containers, although standardisation was not common. Some records state that the first true standard door-to-door container services commenced around 1926 – a fact that is difficult to verify. As demonstrated by the addition of a ‘Pickfords’ furniture container to Bachmann’s latest BR Conflat A wagon releases, the use of containerisation was regarded as more suitable for valuable loads such as removals services.

Conflat A No. B507115 is an eight-shoe braked wagon currently preserved in excellent condition with the Scottish Railway Preservation Society at Bo’ness. This design of Conflat A could be modelled using the Bachmann model as a basis for a simple conversion to eight-shoe clasp brakes and the fitting of Oleo buffers.

BR inherited a large number of container-carrying wagons and containers – most of which were life expired at Nationalisation. New wagons were desperately needed to continue operating a reliable door-to-door service using traditional container designs including the large BD and BA type and smaller A type containers. There’s little scope to cover all the different types of container in this edition of What’s in the Shops – a little research will soon reveal how varied traditional door-to-door container operations were.

Of the BR wagons built to carry traditional containers, the Conflat A design was the most numerous of the traditional designs, being constructed to six diagrams between 1951 and 1958 (Diagrams 1/061, 1/062, 1/065, 1/067, 1/069 and 1/070). All six types were broadly similar with a flat deck on a 10ft wheelbase underframe equipped with vacuum brakes and special storage pockets for the chains used to secure containers to the wagon. Differences between the six diagrams of Conflat A included different axle box covers, buffers and either four- or eight-shoe clasp brakes.

After traditional container operations ceased following the introduction of standard ISO containers, many Conflat A wagons were transferred to departmental use and could be found with varying modifications including concrete mixing equipment; adaptations to carry coach and wagon bogies together with use as runner wagons.


For the full article, see January’s edition of Modelling – available now!

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