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admin | Category: Shipping Container Dimensions | 22.06.2014
Containers are not new, coal containers were used on the Bridgewater canal before the railways existed, and there have been a great many different types used (see Fig ___). Peco offer the BK furniture or bicycle container in their range, this can be modified to a general purpose container by scribing on side-door detail. There were also shorter `A' types, such as the insulated container in the Fleetline range and there was an article in the N Gauge Journal some years ago on making up general purpose A type containers from postcard. There were also open containers, the C's and D's which can be made up from postcard or Slaters 10 thou plasticard. Containers were also used for fish traffic, the Midland Railway built some containers for shipping live fish at about the time of the first World War and the GWR used what appears to be the same design of container for dead and possibly frozen fish in the 1930's. Containers used for fish traffic were insulated to keep the fish cool and fresh and in the British Railways insulated 'meat' container (type FM) was sometimes used for fish up to the late 1970's. The old style railway containers were usually carried on specially modified or purpose built flat wagons, to which they were secured with turnbuckles or bottle-screws.
De-mountable tanks have been used since the late 1930's to carry various liquids, examples include the rum tanks illustrated in the section on Rolling Stock Development, the beer and glue tanks shown in the section on Freight Operations and the acid and chemical tankers in the section on Livery Information (all further discussed under Kit Bashing). British Railways introduced a number of container types, modelling the L type cement container is discussed in the section on Kit Bashing. The original Graham Farish freightliner wagon uses small pins to secure the containers to the chassis, the basic dimensions are as shown below but note these may change if Bachman updates the model. There are a great many different ISO container types in use, including half-height open containers (used for shipping aluminium ingots and other jobs), flat containers with full height ends but no sides at all, boxes with a canvass top and tank containers often consisting of a standard cylindrical tank in an open framework. Note that not all containercan be stacked, the photos below show - Top- a half height container with top mounted lifting points, this type can be stacked.
Open containers with just the floor and ends are used for shipping tractors and the like and today coils of steel are sometimes exported in 20 foot open `boxes'.
Some ISO container `tanks' are standard looking boxes lined with plastic but there are many firms using conventional cylindrical tanks with domed ends which sit on a floor and are encased in a steel framework. There are also containers with canvas (actually plastic) roofs which can be top-loaded with powders and the like, and containers with canvas sides which provide access for fork lift trucks to load pallets. Making open and tank ISO container types is not difficult, the models shown below are from my early days in N Gauge modelling and are somewhat crude but they do not look out of place mixed in with commercial models. My tank container lacks detail, it was based on a small photo in a trade magazine when I was on a ship, the photo below shows an actual example of the type, note the walk-way on the top and the slight dome showing through the end (which can be ignored if the container is sandwiched between two others). Some of the large Metropolitan boroughs use reinforced 'Easidispose' containers for rubbish traffic (London &Greater Manchester and Bristol all do and possibly others). Since the 1990s there has been a move in Europe to using a European standard size for all packaging and the containers to carry them, euro-pallets will not fit neatly into ISO containers (nor would the older style pallets) but they do stack properly in these new containers which are slightly wider than the ISO 8 foot standard. Containers shifted in Speedlink and more recently Enterprise trains are generally not built to ISO specifications, they are built to suit the British loading gauge when running on standard height wagons. Farish offer the wagon with a closed 'box' and Taylor Plastic Models offer the same chassis with both Type 1 and Type 2 open containers, Mr.
Steel shipping containers are manufactured with certain measurements, volume and specific exterior and interior specifications to meet ISO standards. The sole purpose of a steel shipping containers is to secure freight while in transit and to avoid damage by water, wind and movement while being transported to its destination.
It is best to use the kit for this, rather than a more expensive liveried model, as you will have to re-paint the box and add markings. Personally I would probably go for the ready-made A types as loads as I tend to be a bit ham fisted and making more than one of anything I find difficult. These can (with some difficulty) be folded up from a length of wire, but in N it is easier to use a length of 10 thou plastic rod with either a slip of paper glued to it or two short pieces (3 mm is about right) of microrod cemented either side to represent the turnbuckle. Fleetline offer a demountable tank used for sulphuric acid as a kit and a couple of these can be mated with the tanks from a W&T twin oil tank kit to supply you with a pair of tanks for anti-knock agent. Originally designed to a US Department of Defence specification these are intended to be built to a standard size and consist of a solid floor with square section corner supports which enable the boxes to be stacked on top of one another. Low sided containers are used for dense loads such as bricks; the container crane will have a standard capacity and a full size container full of bricks would weigh too much. Below left - A half height container with no top lifiting points, this type cannot be stacked. The coils are usually covered with tarpaulins so they can be easily represented with a short length of something cylindrical covered with tissue paper soaked in PVA glue and painted.

The design of the frame seems to be fairly standard but the tanks come in a range of sizes. These are simple modifications to standard commercial containers but personally I prefer to mass produce the boxes using a length of 'half inch PAR' timber planed down to size with detail added from paper and scraps of post card.
The tank took about 15 minutes to make, based on a length of till roll supplied by a local shop, this was 16mm in diameter, which is a bit large, 15mm or 14mm would have been better (the smallest till roll centre I have so far found is 15mm in diameter).
These fell under the aegis of the 'construction' sector in BR days as the rubbish is used for land-fill. As I understand it the Euro containers are carried exclusively in 'pocket wagons' but there may be flats in use for these.
The early examples were all twenty foot long and they were originally carried in pairs on BR owned bogie flat wagons (Conflat E).
Taylor has also produced an open frame insert which can be fitted to the chassis to produce an unloaded wagon. However, storage containers are also being used for other personal uses, for instance building homes, storage facilities, residential houses, businesses including eateries, garages, barns, sheds, security huts, exhibition stands and much more. Find out how you can lease or purchase a container on a need be basis, for light but frequent storage needs. Unit 201 Pasadena, CA 91107Toll Free (855) 864-4695 Phone (626) 765-9446 Fax (626) 765-9447. The standard railway containers are fully discussed in the section on Rolling Stock Development under Containers.
I have produced some by cutting down Peco containers and adding strapping from 10x20 thou card, to avoid detailing the door end I added a tarpaulin (suggesting the container had a leaky roof) which obscures most of the door. There were also small containers coded H (short for Hod), generally about 4 planks high, slightly smaller than the type C and often fitted with a flat top or lid. Some of these can be fairly easily reproduced, I made a `bulk flour' tank container from a Peco 10 foot wheelbase chassis oil tank based on a photograph in Dave Larkin's book on BR standard freight stock. The boxes come in multiples of ten foot lengths and were originally designed as eight foot high by eight foot wide. Below right - close up of the H section metal side stanchions into which the side panels could be inserted. The examples I have seen used dark blue tarpaulins with white and yellow markings (very small so just use dots of paint) and they appeared to be sitting on some kind of square base, with the tarpaulin attached to this forming a rounded `tent' shape.
These can be made up from Plastruct tube and dome sections with plasticard or Plastruct sections forming the frames (I made one using a Minitrix oil tank and another with a Peco tank (from the 10 foot wheelbase chassis kit).
There are a number of prototype ISO container types illustrated in the section Unit Loads - Modern Containers, Road Railer, Piggyback and Swap Bodies, Freightliner specific containers and operations are described in more detail in the section Freight Operations - Air Braked Freightliner Container Services . I used solid ends for simplicity, rectangles of 30 thou card, and to allow fitting of brass wire securing pins I added a base plate (not really required for a modern 'beam tank' if you plan to glue it to the wagon).
These are tricky to model as they feature a body smaller than the standard 'box' with heavy external framing, and you need a train load (at least 15 twenty foot boxes). For more information on the history and development of container types see also Unit Loads - Modern Containers, Road Railer, Piggyback and Swap Bodies. Subsequently ex BR Zinc block wagons and ex PO tank wagon chassis were used, the latter being available from Peco.
The open topped containers carry coal, coke, rock salt for road gritting and a range of other materials usually minerals. All Overseas steel shipping containers have been fitted with 14 gauge steel construction, approximately 1 inch thick plywood flooring, and a set of heavy duty double swing cargo doors on one end. While some uses are aesthetic, other uses are very functional which makes these shipping containers an investment of a lifetime.
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These as their name suggests were used for shipping building materials such as tiles and the like.
BR also had a pretty successful `bulk cement' container (the L type) shipped three to a wagon which was a simple box shape. For the tank types, where this would lie well clear of the body, a length of wire threaded through the body itself and looped down to the chassis is more resistant to handling, the turnbuckle being suggested by a 3 mm length of microstrip super-glued half way along its length.
The restricted British loading gauge will not accept an 8 foot high box on a standard wagon chassis, so after some experiment with low-centred machinery wagons special 'Freightliner' wagons were produced with smaller than usual wheels providing a low floor.

The base may well have been something similar to the steel frame used to allow fork lift trucks to move the coils without having the handle the coils themselves, these are used on BAA open wagons as mentioned above.
To add the top rails I should have cut notches into the corners of the ends, I didn't and had to add a strip of card across each end to reinforce these. Modelling early coal containers and suitable wagons is discussed in the section on Kit Bashing.
They can be made from four layers of 40 thou plasticard but when I tried this I found I had to sand down the sides to the point where the 'plank' effect was lost and it is probably easier in practice to make them up from postcard or scribed 10 thou card. These latter are used in fixed rakes with only the outer ends of the end wagons fitted with a raised buffer beam and conventional couplings, the inner vehicles use a special combined buffer-coupling. A 20' long full-height open container could be used for cable drums, four drums six or seve fet in diameter and perhaps three feet wide would consitiute a suitable load, five could be lifted but four is an easier option for modelling. Livery can be applied easily using a paper wrapper.If you wish to make this a removable load however you can add a floor of 20 thou card, cut notches in the sides of this and add lengths of Slaters 20 thou brass rod, laid across the floor under the tank and bent down into the noteches, cut so 2mm extends below the floor, these will then engage in the sockets on the Graham Farish wagon.
The folding end or 'flatrack' container base is made from three strips of 30 thou card with notches in the centre strip for the 'fork lift points', this is a case of do as I say not as I did. In the late 1980's Bernard Taylor of Taylor Plastic Models worked in association with Graham Farish Ltd to produce a modern air braked wagon chassis suitable for a range of early air braked wagons and vans. The salt is poured in about the middle and the peak of the pile often shows above the top of the container.
There are 3 standard sizes in length of a standard shipping container with the width always at 8 feet wide.
These Hod type boxes were usually shipped in standard open wagons rather than on special container flats. Where a container wagon was not available they might be carried in low (1 plank) or medium (3 plank) open wagons. In practice the standard has proved difficult to maintain and although Europe initially adopted the 8 foot by 8 foot end size some American firms decided to make the boxes 8 foot internal height, producing 8 foot 6 inch high boxes. These would be chocked in position, probably on properly built timber frames, and secured with chains or ropes to the container base. The chemical tank is a little more difficult as you need to make up the framing from 20x20 thou strip but the tank body can be represented using a length of Plasturct tube, the filler can be a scrap of circular sprue, the platforms can be 20 thou card resting on 10x20 thou strips set into cuts on the top of the tank. You should sand all three pieces to size then assemble the top two strips and sand down until they are about 1.5mm shorter than the base. These chassis have also formed the basis of a series of container carriers which can carry a single thirty foot container, not to full ISO height however.
In the early 1980's even higher boxes appeared and nine foot high examples became relatively common. Add the base and then add the ends, when the ends are added glue these to the base and the ends of the top two strips, producing a very sturdy model. There is a drawing of a one plank open wagon which has been modified for use with containers in the livery drawings for the LMS.
BR had to build special drop centred wagons (called 'lowliners') to accommodate these as they are too high to ride on standard Freightliner flats. To make life much easier you can use solid ends of 20 thou card, this means you only need to accurately cut the two top rails and the side supports and diagonals, all from 20x20 thou strip. Mine has the ends glued to the top of the base with 30x30 thou reinforcing strips, they are not very visible but if I had added a load these would have been hidden (another job that has been waiting for twenty years). The modification simply involved adding securing points along the top of the wagon sides and something very similar can be made using a Peco single bolster wagon as a basis. More recently nine foot six inch high containers have appeared on international trades which present problems for the British railways requiring very low floored rolling stock, usually these are moved on purpose built four wheeler wagons or in special 'pocket wagons'. Half height containers are very easy, just sand the sides and ends of a Farish container flat, cut the thing in half and add side detail from strip.
Adding a tarpaulin to these saves having to make a load, I have four from the bottom end of the Farish containers with lengths of Plastruct tube in them to give some shape to the supposed 'load'. You can add the fork lift sockets to the Farish based half height boxes using a laundry marker pen.

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