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Standard ISO container liveries
NB The colours used were obtained by sampling colour pictures, they may however vary from the true colour, use as a rough guide only
In Britain ISO containers are owned by either Freightliners Ltd or by private owners. The Freightliner liveries are discussed in detail in the Operations - Freightliners section. The majority of containers were private owner types by the mid 1980's with widely varied liveries, including interesting variants such as the tank and flat containers. As yet none of these odd container types are available in model form. Graham Farish produce unpainted twenty and thirty foot ISO containers (the thirty foot type are rather rare in practice), and transfers are available from commercial sources. The range of modern image rolling stock kits from Bernard Taylor includes modern steel open-topped coal containers. Many of the containers operated by leasing companies are painted in a plain overall colour so that hiring firms can apply self adhesive company markings as required. Every international container carries three codes which identify it, there is a four letter code to identify the owning company, a seven digit number which identifies the container itself and the third code consists of two letters and four numbers, the letters identify the country in which the container is registered (IT for Italy, FR for France etc.). Containers used for international work also display the TIR plate, which is used to indicate that the container has been checked by customs at the point of loading and need not be checked at the border (if not it will be checked by a customs official closer to its final destination). The plate is white and the lettering is black, Freightliner containers, intended for purely internal use did not have the TIR plate. If the TIR system is not being used a small metal bar is swung across the plate to indicate that the rules do not apply.
Fig ___ Basic ISO Container Markings
One company that has been associated with the ISO container from its introduction is Seawheel, specialising in European and Irish traffic this company has consistently been at the cutting edge of container technology and is one of the major player in the European market today. The sketches below were taken from photographs, the earlier examples were sketched from photographs on Paul Bartlett's web site (see App 7 Useful Links) but I am trying to confirm the exact colours used for these early containers. The lower sketches show current Seawheel liveries, I believe these more modern containers are built to the non ISO European standard, designed to take the standard Euro-pallet.
Fig ___ Seawheel ISO and non ISO Container Liveries
Tank containers are comparatively rare, looking at aerial photographs of container handling ports you will see perhaps one tank type for every hundred or so closed box types. In traffic however they often travel in two's and three's in Freightliner trains. Most tanks are rather plain, usually white sometimes silver, but the frame might be blue, red or grey in colour. The tanks have the registration numbers and capacity details on their ends, the registration codes are displayed on the sides but most tanks do not have the capacity information on their sides.
Fig ___ ISO Tank Container Markings
One new development in the late 1970's was the movement of compressed waste from London to the landfill sides for disposal. In the 1980's other large conurbation's also introduced similar operations, Bristol and Manchester certainly introduced such services and possibly others. These trains use Freightliner type flat wagons but the container flat wagons are all privately owned or leased. London, Greater Manchester and Bristol (Avon Metropolitan) all operated such systems at the present, and other towns are considering the idea. Although resembling Freightliner trains, being `block trains of containers on flats', these waste movement operations fall under the control of Railfreight Construction sector.
The 'easidispose' containers used on the prototype operations have distinctive external ribbing, but these could be made up from Graham Farish unpainted containers or the kits of containers available from America. The Greater Manchester examples were initially painted in the county colours (pale cream and an indescribable orange, the result of a competition amongst school children I believe), with GMC painted in black towards the upper left in letters about 12 inches (30 cm) high. The London based containers were yellow with GLC either centrally on the side of the container, or in a vertical line (G at the top) in the last bay on the side. In the early 1990's there were still a large number of waste containers in these original liveries but following experiments with a white and yellow scheme Manchester at least has opted for all yellow with black lettering.
Fig___ Manchester Waste Containers showing original 1980's and later 1990's livery