Private Owner Wagons
Shell BP Tank Wagon 1540
I always fancied having a tank wagon running on the railway and as at the time, a family member worked for BP, I thought one of their tanks would be nice. One of those silver ones with red solebars. Then I did a bit of research! The colour scheme for class A tank wagons (carrying highly flammable liquids) was laid down by the Railway Clearing House (RCH) in 1907 as light buff all over with a broad red stripe right round the tank. The company lettering usually in red was above or below this line. The buff colour was replaced by silver in 1939 but was not widespread until after WWII. The red band was gradually replaced by red solebars by the 1950s. These colour schemes were an early form of hazard markings and all oil/chemical companies had to comply. These standards were in force in Ireland as well as the UK.
In 1932 Shell Mex and BP merged their distribution operations in both the UK and Ireland, being marketed as Shell Mex and BP Ltd. Early class A tanks and road tankers carried 'SHELL' on one side and 'BP' on the other. The two companies went their separate ways again in the mid 1970s. As the TBLR is set in the mid 1930s, historical accuracy demanded that my tank wagon should be buff in colour with a red stripe and carries both BP and SHELL lettering. If you want to know more on the topic of tank wagon liveries, oil companies etc. go to this excellent website Tank Wagon Liveries.
The Irish American Oil Co. (Pratts Spirit [Esso from 1935]) and Shell & BP had some 7 ton 3 foot gauge tank wagons built by Midland Railway Carriage and Wagon Co. Birmingham in 1923 for use on the County Donegal Railway and the L&LSR (the L&LSR also had some of their own tanks). These wagons were used to convey fuel from Derry to Killybegs (CDR) and Burtonport (L&LSR) for the fishing fleets at those ports. These tanks are the inspiration behind my model used to supply fuel to the fishing fleet at Bunagee Harbour. The product carried in the tank wagons was probably Tractor Vapourising Oil (TVO) or petrol as diesel engines were not yet widespread in the 1920s. and early '30s.
The model, built in June 2011, uses the Bachmann 'G' scale 'Thomas' tank wagon as the starting point. This is quite well detailed for what is intended as a child's toy. Although it is not an accurate model of the Midland RCW wagons, the overall proportions are quite close. The main modifications were removing the original buffers and coupling hooks, cutting down the sides of the false floor to reveal the well detailed solebars and adding extra detail to the brake gear (brake levers, vacuum cylinder and linkages). Brake pipes and narrow gauge chopper couplings were also added. I made my own transfers for the red stripe, numbers and safety notices etc. The SHELL and BP lettering is from a gauge 3 transfer sheet by Garden Railway Specialists.