Budgie Toys No.252
British Railways Container Transporter
Issued 1961-1964 Length 128mm OO/HO scale (1:76)
During the early 1960's, long-distance rail freight began to be streamlined into containerised loads. Container depots were built at strategic stations where they could be transferred from rail wagons to lorries for onward delivery. For this, British Railways had a large fleet of Austin Articulated Trucks.
Budgie's model of the British Railways Container Transporter was built to OO/HO scale so it was an atttractive addition to electric train layouts. Coloured in the British Railways livery of crimson and cream, the cab was designed in two parts. The lower half and chassis were one section whilst the upper part, to which windows were fitted, was cream. On the roof was a 'British Railways' decal and the front grille had a strip of silver trim in the centre. The unpainted domed or spun metal wheels had treaded tyres.
The cab was connected to the trailer by a permanent coupling, a new development for Budgie who had favoured detachable trailers up to this point. Coloured a crimson red, the trailer had a plank-effect flat bed on which sat a separate container in the same colour scheme. Underneath the trailer and above the cab chassis within the coupling sat a set of unpainted twin 'dolly' wheels in the 'up' position. Because the cab and trailer could not be detached, these were merely decorative. Like the cab, the trailer wheels were unpainted domed metal with treaded tyres.
Externally, the container was cast with realistic representations of metal braces and doors on the sides and a corrugated front but sadly the equally well-cast rear doors did not open so the play value of the container was limited. The sides had 'British Railways' and 'BD2976' decals and underneath, the words 'Railway Container' were cast.
In 1964 the Container Transporter underwent an upgrade. The crimson and cream cab became all crimson and the colour of the container changed to light blue with different decals to reflect the new British Railways 'Door to Door' freight service. In addition a new box was created with a fresh illustration.
Issued first in a Morris & Stone box with a small number on the picture sides (A2), the box had a complete re-design to a new style when the model itself was upgraded. In particular the illustration was changed (and moved to the picture faces) to reflect the introduction of the blue container (B4).
Neither variations of the British Railways Container Transporter are easy to find in mint condition. On early ones, the cream coloured section of the cab is often seen with metal fatigue and with loose or broken windows and the second version with the blue container is not common and its special box is quite rare.
Budgie No.252 BR Container Transporter
1) CRIMSON/CREAM cab windows roof decal RED trailer RED container 'British Railways' decals A2 box
2) CRIMSON cab windows NO roof decal RED trailer BLUE container 'Door to Door' decals B4 box