This freelance model of a Ballast Tractor of the nineteen forties has been adapted from the instructions of a Road Sweeper published in the Meccano Magazine in 1952. I thought it could easily be adapted to a heavy haulage vehicle and decided to give it a try before the parts were returned to their boxes.

I have added a new rear body, towing hitch and strong crash bar at the front. The model is built using dark blue and yellow plates produced by Meccano 1978-79 my favourite colour scheme after red and green.

The model is driven by a 1950's E20R Meccano electric motor I bought this new in 1958 after saving up my pocket money for a long time . I had gone along to my local Meccano dealer Shaddicks to purchase the then new E15R motor but it was not in stock. I was offered the E20R at a discount because it was no longer made, it turned out to be a good buy as the newer motor was inferior in both power and quality.

I used the picture above and a few others as a guide to build this type of tractor the picture is an Atkinson :ballast tractor , at the Torbay Steam Fair taken on 5 August 2007 .

Ballast tractors are usually a short wheel based powerful unit for hauling heavy drawbar trailers such as low loaders logging trailers and fairground rides. My model is a freelance design based on the type of vehicle that was fairly common in the nineteen forties to sixties. These were built as ballast tractors by specialist builders but often were adapted from longer wheelbase vehicles or converted from semi tractors or articulated prime mover units. The tractor would often have heavy weights on the rear body, hence the name ballast tractor, the weight would give extra traction to the drive wheels. The crash bar carries a tow hitch to enable the unit to be coupled to the rear of a heavy trailer with another tractor at the front, or perhaps two coupled together. These vehicles were and are often used by Showmen to haul fairground rides and sometimes carry a diesel generator unit in the rear .

Picture taken by Tim Trent This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


Original Road Sweeper model.

December 07 2012 revised April 27 2015

. Back to link