7-plank salt wagon 7-plank salt wagon 7-plank salt wagon

PW020 Falk Salt
7-plank salt wagon
Green with unshaded white lettering.


The County Palatine of Cheshire, in the north-west of England, is today a peaceful place of small towns and rural villages. But beneath the farmland lie vast deposits of rock salt, laid down in the shallow salt marshes of the Triassic era 220 million years ago. Extracting the salt has been a profitable business since the time of the Romans, and by the nineteenth century it was a major industry. The three major salt towns of Northwich, Middlewich and Winsford were churning out refined salt in vast quantities for the tables of Britain, with the finished product being shipped out on the new-fangled railway system which covered the country. Local businessmen could see there was easy money to be made, and countless small and medium-sized enterprises sprang up to turn salt into cash, making the men who ran them very wealthy indeed. Safety standards weren't always a priority though, and when the vast underground caverns left after the salt was extracted began to collapse then subsidence of the towns above them became a major problem. The industry in Northwich declined significantly when much of the old town started to sink into the mine workings, and most of the production moved to greenfield sites around Winsford.

The economy of the late Victorian era went into something of a decline, and all the independent salt producers were forced into cutthroat competition with each other in order to survive. This didn't suit the owners, of course, who reckoned that the time was ripe for a spot of gentlemanly co-operation to keep prices stable. In 1888, sixty-six local salt companies banded together into a price-fixing cartel, and the Salt Union was born. One of the largest and most influential members was Falk Salt of Winsford, which was run with an iron hand by its chairman and founder Hermann Eugen Falk, a salt broker originally from the Prussian port of Danzig. The company's distinctive green wagons became a familiar sight on the railways of the area, and would on occasions have been seen almost anywhere on the British railway network.

Falk Salt and all their contemporaries are long gone now, swallowed up in a century or more of corporate mergers and acquisitions. But salt is still mined in Winsford, where the largest salt mine in the UK reaches 150 metres below the Cheshire countryside down to the dried-up remains of a vanished sea. They don't send it off to the customer in the old wooden peak-roofed railway wagons any more, of course, but you can bring back the good old days on your layout with our Falk Salt wagon.

To buy this wagon along with our Clayton Aniline tank wagon, please go to our 'N' Sets page.

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