I have always found trains of tinplate wagons to be surprisingly realistic. This is somewhat strange since most wagons are little more than biscuit-tins on wheels. I think this ‘realism’ is largely derived from the very satisfying clatter (amplified by the tin boxes) and the general mass and uneven appearance of the mixed goods stock.


In 1909 Bassett-Lowke began marketing a series of tinplate wagons commissioned from Carette. First appearing in the catalogue of that year, these were available in gauges 1, 2 and 3. The range was extended over the next few years. The date of first manufacture can frequently be recognised as the wagon number on the sole-bar and sometimes, on the wagon itself.


As with the coaching stock, this series was almost exactly copied by Marklin who introduced a very similar range from 1910 onwards.


Carette Box Van, 1909 Series


Particularly in relation to The Carette series, the date of first manufacture can frequently be recognised as the wagon number on the sole-bar.

Carette Tar Wagon for Bassett-Lowke


A slightly battered but nontheless scarce, wagon made by Carrette for Bassett-Lowke as part of the 1909 Series.


Although rectangular tar wagons remained in use on British Railways until the early 1960s, it would appear that most were survivors from the late nineteenth century.

Carette Greaves Lime Wagon - 1909 Series


This Greaves lime or cement wagon is in the livery of the somewhat obscure East and West Junction Railway which ran from Stratford-upon-Avon and finally closed in 1902.

Gauge One and Gauge Two


Prior to World War 1, Gauge Two was the preferred scale of the tinplate railway modeller. After the war the popularity of Gauge Two waned as new-build housing became smaller. In consequence, Bassett-Lowke found himself with surplus stocks of pre-war, Gauge Two, goods vehicles. Catalogues from around 1920 show Gauge Two stock being offered for sale with Gauge One wheel sets at greatly reduced prices.


Strictly of course, I suppose mixing the two scales should be avoided. I must admit that at ‘Duck End’ I am quite happy to run mixed goods trains in both scales since I like the added variety. To me, the larger stock does not look out of place and surely the Gauge One tinplate modeller of the 1920s could not have resisted the temptation to acquire Gauge Two wagons at half price?

Carette Oil Tank Wagons, 1909 Series


A comparison of Gauge One (10mm: ft.) and Gauge Two (11mm: ft.) Carette petrol tankers


It will be seen that the differing scales make little practical difference to buffer height.

City of Birmingham Private Owner Wagon


A high sided wagon from the 1909 Series. Made by Carrette for Bassett-Lowke, but especially requested and also marketed by W.H. Hull & Sons, model engineers, Birmingham.

Bassett Lowke Private Owner Wagon by Carette 1914


Although matching the ‘1909’ Series, this attractive Carette wagon was not introduced until 1914. As Carette went out of business in 1917, it is fair to assume that the production run was quite short. Certainly, this wagon is not easy to find in Gauge One.

Bassett-Lowke Wooden Tarpaulin Wagons


After the demise of Carette in 1917, Bassett-Lowke manufactured a series of wooden wagons at their Northampton factory. These are clearly marked 1922 and 1920 respectively.


A mixed goods train which includes wagons of both Gauge 1 and Gauge 2 scales