The development of the early container handling systems utilised by the railways is outside the scope of this article, suffice it to say that it should not be confused with the modern international container systems.
British Railways built large numbers of flat wagons designed to carry their containers, based around standard 10ft 4w chassis, vacuum braked and classed as XP: they were known universally as 'Conflats'.
The two wagons in the collection are however special. As container traffic reduced, spare wagons became available and two were selected to act as barrier or match wagons to go between conventional locos and emus or dmus fitted with knuckle couplers, such as those on the Southern and Scottish Regions. They may have been used for delivering new sets from works - e.g. from BREL York - or when sets had to be moved to a depot away from the power system. These two wagons ended up in Scotland, hauling ScR sets from Shields depot to St Rollox for attention.
These two wagons were converted c./1975, and included removing the buffers and drawhooks at one end for a 'Tightlock' coupler to be installed, de-commissioning of the vac brake system (hand brake only remaining) and through pipe substituting. There was concern that an empty wagon, sandwhiched betwen a loco and an emu, might be too light in the event of an emergency brake application at speed, resulting in a derailment or override of the buffers. Consequently some tons of 'ballast', in this case old bullhead rail welded and bolted to the floors, had to be added and the vehicles were limited to 40mph.
Aquired from the SRPS at Bo'ness, the two wagons arrived at Peak Rail in October 2015: after servicing, reflooring, painting and sundry other works, they left under contract on 2nd December 2015 to Arriva TrainCare, Eastleigh. On expiration, they returned to Darley Dale in late December 2016.
Wagon numbers & names B503515 (1958) "Louise" B506322 (1959) "Thelma"