7823 - Container Crane Depot
As an addendum to the sets of the third wave from 1985, LEGO released another 3 stand alone Trains sets in 1986. These were the last sets for of the grey era, and this container crane depot is one of them.
The main attraction of this set is the huge container crane, beautifully executed in gray with a red operator cabin and lifting system, and several yellow-and-black stickers. The crane is fully functional and uses some technic bricks for sturdyness. The crane is placed on a then new-styled baseplate with additional cycle lanes, as this was introduced in 1986 for classic town sets. The metal hook used by the crane was also introduced that year, and was first used in this set and in set 6361.
This is the second of three "depot" sets of the grey era, together with 7838 from 1983 and 7839 from 1986. Like the other depot sets, it comes with an additional freight wagon, in this case a container wagon. Furthermore it features 2 containers (that can be placed on the wagon simultaneously) and a container truck designed to transport a single container. The containers are 2 studs longer then the one from 7727. The set even came with conducting rails.
With almost 500 pieces, this is one of the bigger sets of the grey era. And it just works. The set was available from 1986 all the way to the end of the grey era in 1990.