The Mainline BR 16′ Brake Van – Retro review.

Mainline Railways

The Mainline BR 16′ Brake Van. Mainline Railways existed for barely 10 years but in that time they produced some excellent models. Prices nowadays are low and this is a good range to collect.

In the 1970’s the General Mills corporation of America was a producer of toys. As a result they user Kader of Hong Kong to manufacture them. Therefore, it was logical to use Kader when General Mills decided to enter the UK model railway market.

Mainline Railways began production in 1976. Consequently, the company chosen to market the brand was Palitoy. Palitoy already had plants in Hong Kong , As a result, Manufacturing was done there. The J72 locomotive was on show at the Harrogate toy fair, in 1976. The model was well received. More models were on the way. A class 45 appeared in 1981 along with some MK I coaches.

In 1981 Airfix also had a model railway system. Palitoy bough Airfix at that time. Consequently the Airfix range was merged with mainline.

By 1983 General mills had decided not to continue with model railway manufacture. As a result the assets were sold to Dapol in 1985.

Note the type A coupling with its tension spring.

The Mainline Brake van model 37-139

The The Mainline BR 16′ Brake Van model was an early adopter of separately fitted parts with vacuum pipes supplied for the user to fit. The couplings were also a point of note. They were similar to Hornby but with a tension spring that forced the hook down. The model was produced from 1976 – 1981.

Handrails were made of shaped metal and the wheels were also metal. Moulded detail is crisp and the printing is legible. The vehicle is all plastic, however the paint finish is good. The model is light but very free running.

The Box art is striking with bold lettering .


This is a collectable range and the models run well on modern track.