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Other wagon makers

Other wagon makers


This part of the website (new in 2021) is being developed by Bill Truin, Hans van Dissel and Malcolm Harrison


****  At this stage some sections contain initial illustrative material without fully developed explanatory text and captions, and at present the Illustration numbering is not complete  ****

Material below so far relates to Bond's, Goodchild, Gresham, Marmoss, Meersbrook, M.R.Co. (Miniature Reproduction Co.), M.R.C.H. (Model Railway Clearing House), Pealling, 'R' Models,  Super Scale Models, W&H (Walker and Holtzapffel), and Windsor Models.



The wagons made in relatively small numbers by various specialist UK model railway companies before the second world war are rarely mentioned in the modern literature about vintage 0 gauge trains. Yet there was a variety of firms competing with the larger commercial producers, and the small builders helped form part of what was a rich array of model railway engineers and craftspeople. Their presence was integral to the complex landscape of British engineering at a time when their professional skills and practices connected not only into the wider engineering industries on the one hand, but also with the many enthusiastic skilled amateurs working on table-tops or in private workshops. Unfortunately, while pictures may be found readily of rolling stock by Bassett-Lowke, Leeds/Stedman, Mills and Hornby in the books that have appeared since the 1970s, less can be seen from smaller makers. At time of writing (in 2021) there seems to be more interest than there used to be in the products of these small manufacturers, so it might be a good moment to start getting some material onto our site. Thus at least something systematic can be accessed more easily.

We will focus on a few of the better-known producers, and on those where we have some catalogue images to share.  We will mention Bond's although it was a bigger 'player', and W&H also, partly because amongst their activities they were agents or suppliers of products by other makers (including M.R.Co from Bond's, and Goodchild from W & H).  

A full account of the smaller firms' wagons is not possible, and will not be attempted here. An in-depth researcher might want to include Eastern Models, Gresham Models, Grosvenor, Meersbrook, Midland Model Co., Morgay (Ejaycee), MRCH, MRCo., Multi-Models, Normac, Parnell & Miller, Pealling, 'R' Models, Rye Models, Scale Products, Walker Fenn, and more. Unfortunately, none of us have the resources to attempt a full survey, and in many instances there would be little information to go on anyway. We will try our best, however, to refer to some of the makers, and to present some interesting material, and as usual our thanks are due to those enthusiasts who are providing informative insights and examples. 



A big firm in terms of scope and long-term impact, but had connections with smaller builders, and did not usually have a high profile or reach with what seem to have been its own directly-produced wagons.  Very important for parts.  Note:  M.R.Co. will be dealt with separately below. Difficult to draw dividing lines between things Bond's might have made directly and items commissioned from other builders or suppliers.





Illustration OW12a.  A page from a Bond's catalogue, the 1931-32 2nd Edition, page72. 



Illustration OW12a1. Many thanks to William Whitehead for useful comments on Bond's vehicles, and for this photograph showing examples of the spring buffer styles.  






Illustrations OW12b-OW12e.  What we take to be a Bond's product. Note the 'Cast head stocks' fitted along with 'Channel Girder Brass' sole bars.






Illustrations OW12f-OW12i.   Many thanks to the enthusiast who sent me these expertly-taken photos of a superb Bond's wagon. Not only does it have opening doors, but the end shutters are also moveable.




Illustration OW12j.  Bond's Model and Experimental Engineering Handbook, 1956-1957 Edition, page 20.












Illustrations OW14a and OW14b.  A Goodchild SR box van, showing some of the key characteristics.








Illustrations OW14c-OW14e.   Goodchild advertising and review material from The Model Railway News.  See December 1934, 10, 120, page xi; June 1933, 9, 102, page 161; and December 1929, 5, 60, page 384.
















Illustrations OW14f-OW14r.  Cover and contents from a rare L.T. Goodchild catalogue.










 Illustrations OW14t1-OW14t6.  Examples of wagons by L.T.Goodchild.



Gresham Model Co.

Retailer for Pealling, etc.


Illustration OW15a.  An advertisement from The Model Railway News showing a wagon we understand was by Pealling ( *** To ADD biblio.details, March 1940).  We include a similar advertisement from 1940 below, in our section on Pealling.



Illustrations OW15b and OW15c.  Two pages from a Gresham Models catalogue showing wagons they could supply. Unfortunately the images of vehicles on page fifteen are too small to tell us much.



We have little information about this firm, and its products seem to be very rare. One possibility is that it was primarily a small retailer involved with model railways, and was producing and re-fashioning some items under its own label as part of its activities based around shop premises. Use was clearly being made of wagon components from more well-known companies (as well as Hornby tank locos). Perhaps production might have been in the postwar years, but if anyone has fuller information please let us know.








Illustrations   OW16a-OW16f.  Pictures of three wagons, together with underside details and an image of a full goods train.  Note the use made of boxes from other items.


Meersbrook Model Co.

This maker was a model engineering company based in Sheffield, but with additional premises in London. It offered to supply locomotives 'in all gauges' with as much or as little detail as was required. Locos could be made in steam, clockwork or electric, and bodies were of 'steel plate'. The firm's catalogue shows numerous accessories, and also lists locomotive parts. 'Handmade' wagons were available, and were apparently scale model wood rolling stock, made from high grade materials. We show relevant catalogue pages for these below.  Notably, the firm offered vehicles not only in Gauges 0 and 1 but in two-and-a-half inch as well. This could suggest that the catalogue drawn on here was from the earlier inter-war period, and the firm was certainly advertising in the 1920s (see for instance The Model Railway News, May 1927, 3, 29, page iv). The company offered its own patented automatic coupling device for wagons.  We cannot say whether there were practical and commercial links with Mills Brothers, but it seems possible.  An earlier owner of the catalogue featured below has written in pencil on the title page the name Scale Products, and put with it an address as a substitue for the Cliffe Field Road one printed there by Meersbrook. When time allows we may be able to do some basic research to find out a little more on the history.



  (N.B.  We include a catalogue illustration of Meersbrook coaches in our website section on Coaches by Other Makers.)

MeersbrookCatWgnsREV4 MeersbrookCatListsREV2



 Illustrations OW17a-OW17f.  Catalogue cover, and pages explaining and illustrating the wagons range.


M.R.Co.  -  Miniature Reproduction Co.

Text here is provisional only.

Bond's referred to themselves as 'Sole Agents' for the Miniature Reproduction Co.  See 1931-32 catalogue, page 1.  Note that M.R.Co. is not referred to by name in the titling for the catalogue pictures in the 1939-40 Bond's Handbook (see below). Not sure when the sole agents relationship was in place, or when M.R.Co. supplied wagons outside it, but this company certainly did market their products directly as well as via Bond's.

We are grateful to a knowledgeable enthusiast - Bob Burgess - for confirming the survival of what must be a very rare catalogue from M.R.Co. Its plain cover simply carries the firm's name ('Miniature Reproductions Company'), and it seems to be the second edition. The text inside indicates their functions as light engineers and makers of high-grade scale models; apparently of all kinds, to all specifications and for all purposes !  The comments give the impression that the firm planned to add to the catalogue by issuing new pages depicting their latest products, and the existing catalogue seems to have been pinned together from the outset, rather than stapled. Thus it could have had a loose-leaf character and be enlarged by its owner as time passed. Certainly, customers could order items directly from the firm. We show some of the pages below our Bond's catalogue reproductions.

We then feature some M.R.Co. wagons made for Keen, and presumably bought by arrangement with M.R.Co rather than supplied through Bond's.




Illustrations OW18a-OW18b.   Bond's catalogue extracts from 1931-1932 2nd Edition, pages 50-51.





Illustrations OW18c-OW18e.  Wagon pictures from Bond's Model and Experimental Engineering Handbook, 1939-1940, pages 73-75. 





Illustrations  OW18f-OW18h. Many thanks to the owner of this catalogue for these pages.








Illustrations OW19a-OW19e .  Many thanks to the enthusiast who sent us these photographs of two M.R.Co wagons made for Keen's railway.  These vehicles are clearly in the top rank for their period. Note the way the buffers push against a flat piece of flexible metal, as in the van shown in our Bond's section above.




Illustrations OW19f-OW19g.  An MR Co. open wagon with 'dropside doors', as noted in a catalogue example above. Thanks to the photographer for showing the arrangements.






Model Railway Clearing House





(As can be seen from some of the illustrations, this firm sold Leeds items, including litho wagons. For the catalogue page describing its own locos, see our website section on Other vintage locos and motors.)




Illustrations OW21a-OW21e.  We are grateful to David Bower for the two photographs shown above.  The van that is pictured appears to match the M.R.C.H. catalogued one very closely, although it has had some alterations since it was made (and the couplings are a later addition). The owner has successfully restored this very unusual vintage vehicle which came to him as a wooden shell without any underframe, axle boxes, etc., and with a few minor other changes that he has put right. To protect the hand painted lettering it has been given a protective coat of varnish. The solebars it came with are made of brass, perhaps unsurprisingly given that the firm also offered wagons made of that material. The roof is of thin tinplate. This is very likely to be an M.R.C.H wagon 'as catalogued', and we have not yet seen another.  Some other firms offered similar wagons, but in the absence of any additional information this does seem to be the M.R.C.H. one.




Illustrations OW21f and OW21g. Catalogue extracts showing the range and prices of what was on offer. 


It seems that A.W.H. Pealling started out by providing locomotive and rolling stock drawings, and these were mentioned in the Model Railway News as early as October 1926 (see the extract below). In the following year he advertised his catalogue, listing over 300 drawings of locos and rolling stock. A few months later, Pealling added the offer of scale model 0 gauge goods stock to his advertising, and referred specifically to an LMS 12 ton open wagon (at 5/-) and a GNR goods brake (at 7/6d). (See advertisements reproduced below.)

Pealling's work became well-regarded, and it seems that he produced models for retailers such as W&H and Tyldesley & Holbrook, as well as for private customers. This maker worked in wood and card, and created realistic wagons that for most of his production years featured brake gear made from card.  A very informative letter from C. Pealling, his son, was published in July 1977 in Model Railways ( add full reference, 'Wagon Identified', page 334). This correspondence was responding to an earlier article on models in the National Railway Museum, where Pealling items were on display. The letter detailed some key features of the maker's rolling stock, and noted that the 'Newbattle' coal wagon in pre-war Gresham Models advertisements was produced by him. It seems also from this letter that A.W.H. Pealling was still making wagons up into the 1960s, prior to his death in 1963, and we understand that a Pealling wagon sold on Ebay in 2017 was apparently made by him in the 1960s for a specific customer.

It may be worth noting that Ganderton's book on Beeson refers at page 53 to a 'fine piece of rolling stock, the work of A.H.Pealling'. This was a coach, part of which was shown to accompany a Beeson GWR tank loco in a photograph. This inclusion perhaps confirms the rolling stock builder's status within the upper end of commercial railway modelling. See Ganderton, R.A., James Stanley Beeson, 1906-1990, Faculty Publishing, Poole, 1999.



 Illustration OW30a. A report showing one of Pealling's activities (see The Model Railway News, October 1926,*** Biblio. details to add later).




Illustrations OW30b and OW30c.  These are from The Model Railway News of May 1927 (3, 29, page ix), and October 1927 (3, 34, page iv).  Note that in October Pealling seems to have been offering not only 0 gauge wagons, but perhaps unpainted coach sides for 00 gauge (although the description is not completely clear) .




Illustrations W30d-OW30f.  Three images of a Banana Van by Pealling. We understand from an enthusiast that before this van came into the hands of its present owner, an earlier operator had changed its axle guards and put fine scale wheels on it. 




 PeallingGWMicaEndREV2 B (2)

Illustrations OW30g-OW30i.  Three pictures of a GWR Mica Van.



Illustration OW30j.  A GWR open wagon by Pealling.







Illustrations OW31a-OW31e.  Two Pealling LSWR box vans.



Illustration OW32a.  This advertisement features a wagon supplied by Pealling for Gresham. (See The Model Railway News, April 1939 ???, biblio. details to add ***). A similar one from a different date is shown in our Gresham section.






Illustrations OW32b and OW32c.  A Pealling 'Newbattle' wagon, albeit most likely made in the post-war years, long after the Gresham Models advertisement had appeared. There are differences on points of detail, but the maker was the same.





Illustrations OW33a and OW33b.  Many thanks to the enthusiast who sent in these two pictures. As he points out, we can see here some of the difficulties of identification. The first of the wagons is certainly by Pealling, but although very similar the other lacks brake gear and has different axle guards. 




Illustrations OW33c and OW33d.  Another Pealling van.






Illustrations OW33e-OW33g.   Pictures of two large and distinctive Pealling private owner open vehicles.



Illustration OW33h.  A very attractive Lime Wagon by Pealling.



'R' Models of Cheltenham

Brief reference is made to 'R' Models in our section on Mills wagons, where an example of the firm's GWR rolling stock is shown. This is expanded on now by some more pictures, including a photo of an 'R' Models catalogue page, photos of examples of the two types of wagon shown there by the firm, and some additional advertisements and wagon photos provided by enthusiasts. To see a few illustrations of the card coaches the company made, see our section on Coaches by Other Makers.







Illustrations OW40a-OW40d. 'R' Models advertisements and reviewers' comments from magazine issues. (See The Model Railway News, August 1933, 9, 104, page ii; October 1932, 8, 94, page 260; December 1934, 10, 120, page xiii; and November 1935, 11, 131, page 294.)  





(A page from the company's catalogue.)



Illustrations OW41a, OW41b and OW41c.  These wagons are quite realistic for their period, although (as with some Mills wagons) the silvered card strapping has proved vulnerable. A previous owner has altered the underside of the timber wagon shown in OW41c by relocating the original wooden support pieces away from their usual positions behind the buffer beams in order to strengthen the wagon sides, and replacing these two pieces with narrower ones. This would be easy to put right, especially as the wooden sections that have been moved seem to match the thickness of standard track sleepers. I do not know if the buffers on the timber wagon are original or replacements. The catalogue page above features the same wagon types.




Illustrations OW41d and OW41e.  Another wagon of the same type and with a similar load, but a slightly different painted number. Thanks to the person who let us have these photos.

The rectangular paper label seen on the underside seems to be a standard type for this firm, but there is at least one other form of labelling too, although apparently much rarer (see below).



Illustration OW41e1.  We are grateful to William Whitehead for drawing our attention to this variant of 'R' Models labelling on the underside of a wagon. It differs from the standard paper type. The number 1473 looks like something added for a sale or auction!


RModelsSR loadREV3

RModelsSR loadREV6

Illustrations OW42a and OW42b.  'R' Models container wagon loads could be purchased as separate items, and the Southern Railway one shown immediately above has been placed on an adapted Milbro wagon. 



Illustration OW43a.  An example of 'R' Models packaging. Many thanks to the enthusiast who sent this photo.





Illustrations OW43b and OW43c.  We are grateful to the two collectors who sent us these pictures. The wagons carrying the containers have different numbers painted on the sides.



Illustration OW43d.  This is a very convincing cattle van, again from 'R' Models. Thanks are due to the person who let us have the photo.



Illustration OW44. This GWR bogie Siphon must be a rather rare item, and would certainly be sought after by 'R' Models collectors. Thanks to the person who sent in the picture.



Illustration OW45.  The owner of some of the above vehicles also sent us this image, as he feels this wagon is also likely to be by 'R' Models (even though it is difficult to be absolutely certain). Perhaps the construction, lettering and paintwork of wagons from this maker are less easy to be sure about in individual cases than with Mills or Leeds (although where there is a paper label underneath that can resolve things).



Illustration OW46. Many thanks to the enthusiast who sent us this picture, which shows a large 'R' Models bogie vehicle. As with the Siphon above, this is probably a very scarce item.


RModels CrocoREF1


Illustrations OW47a and OW47b.  Another large rare 'R' Models vehicle, the 'Crocodile'. Thanks to the owner for letting us have these photos.



Super Scale Models





Illustrations OW51a and OW51b. 



Walkers & Holtzapffel (W&H)

This long-lived firm was important as a retailer, and it is uncertain how much was built 'in-house'. Neither do we have reports that tell us how far this might have changed over time in the pre-war years.  Although the firm advertised in 1936 that it had workshops building track, coaches, locos and buildings, it did not claim at that point to have a 'wagon shop' of its own (see our website section on Coaches by Other Makers; Illustration OC60a).

Note: there is a close match between the catalogue pictures shown in the W&H images below and the Goodchild catalogue photos featured above.

W & H advertised frequently in the model railway press, and items offered by them were often featured by the magazines. The press report below notes equipment in particular.



Illustration OW55a.  From The Railway Modeller, September 1936, 12, 141, page x.


The firm of Holtzapffel initially seems to have operated independently and had its own catalogue, having come into model railways in the 1920s (see the 1927 press report below). 


Illustration OW55b.  From The Railway Modeller, January 1927, 3, 25, page 31.

At some later point a retailing company was established under the joint names of Walkers and Holtzapffel.  It seems from the reports reproduced below that Walkers acquired the retail interest of Holtzapffel in 1936, after Messrs Holtzapffel had gone into liquidation, while another firm took over the manufacturing side of Holtzapffel.

WandHMRN 1936JunREV2

Illustration OW55c.  From The Railway Modeller, June 1936, 12, 138, page v.






Illustrations OW55d-OW55f.  Three items from The Model Railway News of May 1936, 12, 137, pages v, 140, 137. 


Although the firm's catalogues displayed numerous wagons known to be by other firms,  W&H may have built their own items from time to time.

The example below could have been 'ordered in' to meet a commision, or the wagons referred to could have been constructed 'in house'.



Illustration OW56a.   The Model Railway Constructor of 1940 described this Walkers & Holtzappfel wagon as an Argentine Railways Double-Decker, all-steel Cattle Wagon. It was one of a set of five made to special order. See 7, 80, November, pages 220-221.



We now reproduce some catalogue pages below which probably date from 1933-1934 or thereabouts.  The photos can be compared with those in the Goodchild catalogue we featured earlier, although W&H do not specify the manufacturer.







 Illustrations OW57a-OW57d. Catalogue extracts showing a large array of unattributed wagons from Goodchild.


Windsor Models





Illustrations OW65a-OW65c.  Many thanks to the enthusiast who sent us these photos. He has explained that the wagon is very likely to have come initially from the famous 'Sherwood' layout (see our website page that includes discussion of Windsor Models locos). He also drew attention to the 'painted impression of rivets on the underframe', which it seems is probably characteristic of this maker. The brake gear was added by a recent owner.