I have a few pieces of rolling stock that don’t have boxes, or came in boxes that are kind of flimsy. There are a few different products that I could use; some intended specifically for use with model railroad equipment, and some used for more general purpose storage or shipping. I decided to check out the Fast Tracks Freight Crate. It comes as a kit made from precision laser cut hardboard. It ships as a flat-pack in a pizza box (no, it’s not a used pizza box), and it goes together very easily and precisely. They come in different sizes to accommodate different lengths of rolling stock, and there are a range of Freight Crates for different scales. They’re sold in pairs, and I built my pair in about an hour. All you need to supply is some carpenter’s glue and a minimal amount of kit building skill. Anyone, even “beginner” skill-level, can assemble this kit. The most challenging part of the build, and it’s not much of a challenge, is to be sure not to use too much glue, especially when assembling the mechanism that locks the lid onto the box. I don’t have clamps that are large enough to hold the box together while the glue sets, but the finger joints are cut so precisely that I was able to simply hold the parts in place by hand while the glue set up. Each finished Freight Crate is a box that holds 8 models and a lid that locks closed. They can be interconnected like Lego to hold the two (or more) identically sized boxes in a stack. Models are held snugly in their own slot by wrapping bubble wrap around the model, and herein lies my only niggle with the product. The bubble wrap that’s supplied with the kit is slightly too thick and makes for a very snug fit with the boxcars I tried. It’s snug enough that it could potentially bend wire or fine plastic grab irons. Don’t let this dissuade you if you’re considering one of these. It truly is a very minor issue that may not even effect some models.
I’m going to experiment with different materials for wrapping models and holding them in place during storage. I’m sure I’ll come up with something suitable. Overall, the product is excellent. Its design is clever and it’s a pleasure to assemble. I’ll likely buy another pair at some point in the future.