When we first announced our wagons in 4mm scale, many customers told us they were pleased we were producing common, everyday wagons. Well, how much more common can you get than private owner wagons?

A major part of the UK’s railway scene from the very early days, private owner wagons could be seen beyond nationalisation just about anywhere in the country, with over half a million of various types being inherited by British Railways in 1948.

1907 PO Wagon Painted Samples - 5 Plank Line Up EDIT
PO Wagon Samples 7 plank variety
PO Wagon Samples variety 001
1907POWagonSamples004

In the early days, such wagons were not built to any sort of standards, leading to numerous accidents due to poor design, construction and maintenance, so in 1887, the Railway Clearing House set out the first set of standards for private owner wagon construction. These standards were updated several times, and we have chosen to model 5- and 7-plank wagons to the 1907 standards – the first time these wagons have been offered ready-to-run in 4mm scale, with several detail variations to suit the individual wagons modelled.

Many thousands of private owner wagons were built to the RCH standards and many lasted until BR started to phase out wooden-bodied wagons in the 1960s – making these wagons ideal for anyone who model pre-grouping, grouping and the early British Railways years. Those in industrial service continued to earn their keep until much later.  

PO Batch 2 First EP 001
PO Batch 2 First EP 002
PO Batch 2 First EP 003

EP sample for 7-plank with side doors only.

Individual coal merchants and companies might own as few as one wagon, up to several hundred, while collieries and coal factors could own thousands, which could be seen anywhere on the railway network that their product needed to go. It wasn’t unknown for Scottish colliery wagons to be seen in Kent!

Most owners would prominently display their names on the wagon sides as advertising, and while some wagons were fairly plain, others could be seen in bright, eye-catching liveries. We’ve tried to provide a variety to suit all tastes.

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Last call for our 2023 range:

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