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Rails announce NER electric autocar in OO


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NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY ELECTRIC AUTOCAR 

 

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EXCLUSIVE 00 GAUGE PRODUCT FOR 2020 DESIGNED AND MANUFACTURED IN ASSOCIATION WITH Heljan PRE-ORDER NOW @ www.railsofsheffield.com/exclusive  

 

NER ELECTRIC AUTOCAR - A WORLD FIRST 

 

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Around the turn of the 19th and 20th century, many railway engineers were increasingly interested in the potential of electric traction. The initial focus was on urban transport, using trams and multiple units, but Wilson Worsdell and Vincent Raven of the North Eastern Railway saw even greater potential for electrically-powered rail vehicles.

 

In 1903, a pair of unusual railcars was unveiled by the NER, pioneers that would pave the way for future generations of self-powered passenger trains both in the UK and around the world.

 

Vincent Raven, the Assistant Chief Mechanical Engineer of the NER, was a forward-thinking designer who recognised the advantages of electric traction, The modern electric tramcars taking over the streets of Britain at this time showed that electric power provided superior acceleration and hill climbing ability over steam. Raven used this technology in his autocars but went a stage further, Instead of drawing electricity from overhead lines, as trams did, without the expense and inconvenience that installing these involved, the autocars carried their own power plant - a petrol engine driving a dynamo which supplied power to the electric motors.

 

It was the world's first use of an internal combustion engine in a passenger carrying rail vehicle, but at the time the petrol engine was in its infancy and reliable diesel engines would not emerge until the mid-1930s. The two autocars, Nos. 3170 and 31712 were also fitted with electric track brakes, another first for the railways. 

 

The pre-order price is £199.95 secured with a £30 deposit and three versions are available as shown below.

 

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Wow! This one has caught me by surprise, thought that even with the revival of the thing it would be too niche to be produced by a manufacturer in RTR. Delighted to be proven wrong though and will start saving pennies to place an order!

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Only two made—and only two liveries. (I assume that 3171 stayed in NER livery until withdrawn.) It looks as if preservation is now an important factor in choosing a prototype to commission. But it's an iconic train, even if its survival wasn't even known about till recently. Might be interested in the LNER version...

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Why?? 3 liveries 

 

I wouldn't have thought this would tick many boxes or suit many layouts so I hope it doesn't lose money for it's backers.

Why would you think that? .

 

Attractive liveries and looks, and ran in NER and LNER periods, and its prototype is up and running now. Perfect for any NER based area branch line .The Sentinel Railcar its replacement is high polling this year again on the latest Wishlist thread as well.

 

 

I have ordered the LNER version.

Edited by micklner
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Those of us who have been crying out for more "Heritage" EMUs didn't really have this in mind...

Joking aside and despite it being most definitely the wrong side of the country for me it is a very interesting subject and I can see it being a star of a number of "Rule 1" layouts.  Only snag I can see is that the rebuilt prototype features a modern Cummins diesel engine which I would bet sounds completely different to the original petrol engines.  I wonder how the DCC sound engineers will sort that one out?

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It was a bit disingenuous of the NER to call it an Electric Autocar though!

 

Why?

The motive power was electricity.

After all we do not call a steam locomotive a coal engine.

I do accept though that we lazily do simply call some diesel electric locomotives as just a diesel.

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Nice to see but I would have thought a sentinel railcar would be a better seller

 

 Why? the prototype for this is alive and kicking, They can scan it to help production and it's in the railway press giving it publicity.

 

 The sentinel polled well but which version do you produce?

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Only two made—and only two liveries. (I assume that 3171 stayed in NER livery until withdrawn.) It looks as if preservation is now an important factor in choosing a prototype to commission. But it's an iconic train, even if its survival wasn't even known about till recently. Might be interested in the LNER version...

 

Three liveries - originally in NER lake, but only for a short time, as per the bottom picture in the OP.  I think you are correct that 3170 retained NER livery until withdrawn.

 

Probably best described as a petrol electric autocar.

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Many thanks for all the initial comments and the huge amount of orders placed so far.

 

The Autocar really is a fantastic looking locomotive and we are sure we can do it justice in OO scale with a fantastic looking model!

 

I was lucky enough to be one of the first to take a ride on the restored Autocar at Embsey last month during brake testing and it really is a thing of beauty. Stephen Middleton and the whole restoration team have done a brilliant job restoring this important piece of history.

 

I found an interesting series of videos which shows various stages of the restoration:

 

 

When work first began

 

 

Testing of the underframe and engine

 

 

Fitting the body to the chassis

 

 

Initial testing

 

 

Completed restoration

 

A real interesting watch. Videos are courtesy of the BBC and the Electric Autocar trust.

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Only snag I can see is that the rebuilt prototype features a modern Cummins diesel engine which I would bet sounds completely different to the original petrol engines.  I wonder how the DCC sound engineers will sort that one out?

 

No bet...  One possibility might be to step away from heritage railways and look at heritage tanks and/or marine engines, either originals/replicas or audio from old film footage? There's a debate about whether the third engine is from a WW1 tank (probably a Ricardo engine for a Mark V** tank?) or a marine motor launch engine. Either way (or if you wanted sounds for the original Napier engine or the Wolseley (1903-23) engine) it does seem like a tricky task. Would you be able to get a good enough sound from old footage? I don't know about such things but I'm sceptical. From memory I think I was told one of the Cinerail DVDs has a little footage of an autocar in York station but have no idea what the sound's like. 

 

 

 (I assume that 3171 stayed in NER livery until withdrawn.) 

 

As far as we know, it was never repainted. 

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Wow! This is extremely tempting, and good on Rails for doing something very left-field. Rule #1 applies I think. I think Rails are wrong with their profile of the fleet, I’d read somewhere that they had been cascaded to work branch lines in East Anglia and had lasted until very early nationalisation...

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