Playcraft Railways was launched at the 1961 Toy Fair with the first sets being available by the following Christmas and it seems that Playcraft models were sold in Jouef boxes for a while.
Their main ploy was to sell through toyshops and department stores, in particular F W Woolworth Ltd., whose stores were low cost and widespread at the time. The advertisements of the time all stress the low cost of the models. They also drove home the idea of buying train sets rather than individual items and hence marketed a large number of sets considering the relatively small range of models they offered.
But by the middle of the 1960's the range had stagnated and no further British prototypes were made after 1964 and by about 1969, only models of French prototypes were being offered.
Perhaps the downfall of Playcraft was twofold. In the first place, apart from two locos, a number of coaches and a few wagons, they did not include enough British prototypes and the British models were poor compared to their continental stablemates. The idea of putting BR Type logos and other labels on continental stock didn't really fool anybody. Secondly they were basically to HO (3.5 mm to the foot) and not OO (4 mm to the foot) scale, which (unfortunately) was the preferred scale/gauge ratio in the UK.
The models including the Class 29 Bo-Bo survived the downfall of Playcraft and continued to be produced by Jouef well into the 1970's, but by then they were fitted with their own couplings.
Nowadays Playcraft Railways items can be picked up at swapmeets for very little but there are also some rarer items, such as the piggyback freight cars, the crane and some of the locomotives which are more expensive, but by no means in the same league as Hornby Dublo.
Find more info on Playcraft Model Railways on www.playcraftrailways.com or here.
For sale on eBay USA. To change country, click on flag:
Southport 9 Pool Table Style Drop Pocket$2,795.00
Playcraft Southport 8 institutional slate$2,795.00
RARE PLAYCRAFT MODEL RAILWAYS TOY CATALOGUEends in 17h$3.34
HO PLAYCRAFT 0 4 0 GREEN DIESEL SHUNTER$32.78
Bulk Mixed Lot HO Playcraft Rolling Stock$437.03
PLAYCRAFT CATALOGUES AND PRICE LISTS FROM THE2 bid(s)ends in 19h$9.67
3 OO HO Gauge Jouef Playcraft Railways 6571$116.82
JOUEF PLAYCRAFT 6390 PRIMAGAZ TOTAL FUEL1 bid(s)ends in 23h$1.66
JOUEF PLAYCRAFT HO AUTORAIL PICASSO SNCF$83.00
3 Assorted OO HO Gauge Jouef Playcraft$66.40
061 JOUEF PLAYCRAFT WAGON POSTES$1.38
playcraft ho international model railways$21.01
062 JOUEF PLAYCRAFT WAGON TOMBEREAU$1.38
PLAYCRAFT OO HO GAUGE RAILWAYS CATALOGUE 4TH$16.79
063 JOUEF PLAYCRAFT WAGON COUVERT$1.38
WAGON CITERNE SHELL HO JOUEF FOR PLAYCRAFT$16.60
Jouef playcraft open coach$23.53
072 JOUEF PLAYCRAFT WAGON RESTAURANT WAGONS$1.38
936 I JOUEF PLAYCRAFT FRANCE 5122 VOITURE 1$13.84
PLAYCRAFT BRITISH HO B R SNCF FLAT WAGON$12.61
Jouef Playcraft British Loco Shunter D2705$37.74
HO SCALE JOUEF PLAYCRAFT BLUE GREY LIVERIED$8.39
6 Assorted OO HO Gauge Jouef Playcraft$83.20
PLAYCRAFT RAILWAYS 1x P688 STRAIGHT RAMP$8.39
VINTAGE Playcraft B70 LAMP AN SWITCH kit 001 bid(s)$1.66
935 I JOUEF PLAYCRAFT FRANCE 5122 VOITURE 2$13.84
Model Railway Jouef Playcraft 009 HOe Narrow10 bid(s)$10.17
Playcraft Railways Catalogue 2nd Edition$12.61
5 OO HO Gauge Jouef Playcraft Railways 652$66.40
Model Railway Jouef Playcraft 009 HOe Narrow4 bid(s)$7.06
937 I JOUEF PLAYCRAFT FRANCE 461 VOITURE 1$11.07
Model Railway Jouef Playcraft 009 HOe Narrow5 bid(s)$33.62
Job Lot of Mainly Jouef Playcraft Wagons$100.84
Model Railway Jouef Playcraft 009 HOe Narrow5 bid(s)$26.89