14-ton tank wagon. 14-ton tank wagon. 14-ton tank wagon.
14-ton tank wagon.

GF651 Shell Electrical Oils.
14-ton tank wagon.
Dark brown with cream lettering.


A significant element of goods traffic on the railways of Britain, from the Victorian age through to the modern era, has always been oil in its many varieties. The rail system allowed oil to be transported quickly and economically in bulk, using tank wagons of much greater capacity than would have been possible with the road vehicles of the day. Although the railway companies were happy (for a price) to lay on their own wagons and vans to carry most other forms of freight, they tended to draw the line at tanks, so the customer usually had to provide their own. This led, happily, to a proliferation of privately-owned tank wagons in the distinctive liveries of their operators. When the 'Big Four' companies were absorbed into British Railways in 1948, BR carried on the long and honourable railway tradition of telling oil companies to bring their own wagons to the party. And so the tank wagons escaped being absorbed into BR's so-called 'wagon pool' and ran on into the post-war era, a rare splash of colour and individuality in the otherwise all-encompassing post-nationalisation drabness. Shell would have used tanks like ours from the 1920s to the early 1960s, transporting specialist electrical oils from the refinery to one of their many depots right across the UK. Larger industrial customers with their own rail connection might even have had bulk delivery by tank to their own premises. From Plymouth to Aberdeen, and from Big Four steam to green diesel, one of these tank wagons will be right at home on your layout.

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