Evlution - Getting Bigger
Tuesday 27 September 2022
Contain Yourself 2
What we now think of as containers were in use in the USA in the late 1950s and were beginning to appear on ships. But the decision to move hesitantly into bulk and trainload freight was inspired (if that is the right word), by the much maligned Dr Richard Beching.
Beeching did a pretty good job of identifying the hopelessness of the business case of British Railways THEN. There were flaws in some of his statistical methodology but, even if he had allocated more inbound takings** to the much missed holiday branch lines, it is doubtful if most of them would have broken even even then.
What Beeching also recognised was that that archetypical BR branch freight train ....NEVER be efficient! It was as plain as one of these ...it had to be accepted for carriage at a reasonable price.
Once the common carrier tag was removed, the railways could be selective in what freight they carried. Services like Speedfreight soon died which left Beeching's baby free to grow.
His report proposed "Liner Trains" And we know what happened.
They didn't happen!
The Unions blocked their introduction because they had no guard!
But soon all was sorted and the first Liner Train (dubbed "Freightliner") rolled off the wagon production line.
Into this world of big boxes made, not of ticky tacky, but of hard wearing steel, come the model railway manufacturers. Triang Hornby were well ahead of their time with three standard containers on a long wheelbase wagon ...
Bachmann followed with a higher quality wagons including 40 foot "boxes"
... or container "boxes" or both!
Which is where fbb's tank wagon obsession enters the fray. Here are some 20 foot container tanks (sometimes called "tanktainers" - yuk - horrible word).
Whether fbb's model is a realistic confection must be in doubt. But it consists of three tanks on the obligatory spindly chassis.BIG!
The wagon is very spindly and, set vertically, it looks a bit line the plain pikestaff illustrated above.
** Beeching's passenger business report was based on takings at each station. Some of the holiday branch lines had few local passengers and few travelling away from the resort. But, in the summer, they had oodles travelling to the sunny seaside. Beeching knockers say that a heap of this inbound revenue should have been allocated to the branch.
We will never know whether it would have made a difference.
In the end the Government chickened out on implementing his report in full and as a result he went off in a sulk back to ICI. Whatever our retrospective views, we might feel glad that the Government did not go as far as the Good Doctor proposed?
But the railways still did not pay, and never have done in recent times!do not pay".
Thankfully, political priorities have changed.
Next Magical Mystery Tour blog : Weds 28th Sept