Stock Boxes from The Works

When I got my new stock boxes out at a (late 2019) garden railway meet, and explained they were from The Works, one of the other members asked me if I’d got the idea from the current* Garden Rail. In fact I hadn’t read it, but it seemed The Works boxes were all the rage, so in case my approach adds anything to that in Garden Rail I thought I’d better blog about it…

My stock has typically suffered being carted around in cardboard boxes – or in the case of locos, in plastic toolboxes padded with foam. These aren’t ideal – they’re not necessarily a good match for the size of the stock, and since I often have to travel with just a rucksack, I’m loathe to waste any space. I often cram a few wagons in with my locos. Packing and unpacking can become quite involved.

The works boxes are unfinished and somewhat rough around the edges, to put it kindly, but they’re cheap and they’re a lot more solid than a cardboard box. So I thought there was a potential upgrade for me there…

16mm scale slate wagons in a wooden box
Stripwood between the wheels locates the wagons

My starting point was the ‘Large Wooden Box‘ (3 for £10, I wasn’t kidding about cheap). My approach was to take 28mm wide stripwood and glue it to the floor. This should mean that if I’ve got my back to backs right, stock push fits onto the strip, and all I need is some foam under the lid to push it down and it won’t move around. Before I glue in the foam the box gets several coats of varnish, since it arrives with no finish and needs some protection.

I worked out that the box would hold 6 slate wagons (Binnie/Coopercraft) if I ran 3 strips lengthways. This arrangement also works for 6 Coopercraft coal wagons. 3 strips the other way work nicely for PS Models Welsh coal wagons (again, I could get 6 in). 2 strips that way work for a range of open wagons, such as the IP freelance four plank, or the HGLW open wagon OW1.

16mm scale skip wagons in a wooden box
The frames and the skips are in separate compartments

Then I started experimenting with adding in partitions from 3mm ply. After extensive experimentation, I figured out a way I could get 12 Binnie tippers in a single box. Since I only have 5 currently, this has actually proved the most expensive of my boxes, since I now need to buy another seven skips!

Live steam loco in a wooden box
The Konrad has its own compartment, and there’s room for a Padarn guard van. The long thin slot can hold a gas canister and water bottle, or more narrow wagons.

The partition approach has also worked well with the ‘Extra Large Rectangular Wooden Box‘ to create a compartment for my Regner Konrad, plus space for a Swift Sixteen Padarn guard’s van plus either a couple more small vans or bottles of gas and water. The same size box should also hold 3 vans using the stripwood method with the strips set out widthways.

I have a ‘Rectangular Wooden Box‘ which is an intermediate size and much less useful, but it might be suitable for wagons such as my Jurrasic tool wagon which is fractionally too big for the ‘Large Wooden Box’.

Meanwhile I’m putting my thinking hat on to try to figure out the best way to convert a The Works wine box into a bogie van…

* This post was written in October 2019, but for various reason, not all pandemic related, I have fallen behind with my blogging, including hitting the ‘publish’ button on this draft. There have been several developments to update on since then, I just need to find time to do some blogging!

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Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See for more...

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