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Cheap Wagon Ideas

Written by Andy Watkins, 2001-2015. Minor update: 2023

Kevin Steele asked...
I was looking at building some rolling stock (I haven't got a railway to run them on yet, but while I'm waiting to be able to lay some track I thought it would be a good start). I found in a back issue of SMT an article on building simple rolling stock, but it used commercial wheels, axle boxes and buffers. By the time you have taken into account the cost of these, the wood to build them from and the time to cut everything up and mark out the planks, etc, I wonder whether it's worth bothering. Looking at the IP wagon kit for about £25 which includes everything, and several white metal detailing parts. It seems the only way to build rolling stock cheaper than this would be to make everything yourself. Does anyone have any plans for building from scratch (not using commercial wheels, etc.) or any other general suggestions for budget rolling stock. I do have a reasonably equipped workshop to make them in.


Colin Binnie suggested...
Make your own wheels or look for the Binnie Engineering catalogue (update 2023: Binnie Engineering is online at peterbinnie.com). Wheels and axles to suit your gauge. Either use Binnie Engineering axleboxes or follow sketch herewith and use smallest size cable clips. Make body from wood or from plastic potting boxes (they are also available from Squires)
Graham Stowell has a rake of very convincing pressed steel wagons made from sardine tins with a scatter of coal to hide the dome in the bottom. Strapping if required, from card, plastic card, or metal to choice. Should work out at between £2 and £4 per wagon including wheels.

Colin B

John Angell suggested...
Butter tubs and cable clips (both black and brown clips are available - don't be fobbed off with white). A bit of stripwood, panel pins and glue. My own brass link & pin couplings.
I made a small rake of 'troublesome trucks' for my grandson.

A Simple wagon made of plastic butter tub