As I was largely unfamiliar with the 'O' gauge trains, I looked on the net for information and discovered a great website with lots of background info. www.bigbigtrain.org.uk. Tucked away on the history page was a comment from an early newsletter, by Richard Lines:
Apart from revealing the re-use of various other toy brands such as Minic and Dinky, as part of the sets, he also mentions a deliberate act of piracy by an Australian company. This blatant theft of a design clearly illustrates why we have so many other knock offs and rebrands of Spacex and SWORD toys, as well as other successful Tri-ang toys, as a companies ability to police the copyright of its products on the other side of the globe became difficult, Hong Kong factories happily churned out copies of toys without any concern for recriminations.
The Big Big Freight Train, as my set appears to be is a fabulously robust little toy, with great detail. Lines also goes on to say that the train was designed to be used outdoors, with long track lengths enabling a child to run the line out from the house, into the garden and the automatic reverse switch mechanism would allow the little loco to happily run back and to, unattended. Needless to say, this cool addition to my collection has given me the Big Big Train Bug and now I need to find myself some track and more wagons, to run round my own garden!