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The White Rabbit

NER 1903 Autocar

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ive been following it on the website from the start, some fantastic work, well done.

Edited by sir douglas

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What a great project! Too many of the preservation railways have just become focused on "Joe Public" riding behind steam locos (usually in poorly-maintained Mark 1 carriages). I know that has to be done to pay the bills but this project is what railway preservation should really be about. I hope the NER autotrailer gets some time with a push-pull steam locomotive as well.

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What a great project! Too many of the preservation railways have just become focused on "Joe Public" riding behind steam locos (usually in poorly-maintained Mark 1 carriages). I know that has to be done to pay the bills but this project is what railway preservation should really be about. I hope the NER autotrailer gets some time with a push-pull steam locomotive as well.

 

The trailer/autocoach is to be dual braked. I'm not sure that the controls in the coach will be compatible with a push-pull fitted steam engine, but at the very least, it should be able to work as an ordinary loco hauled carriage. There'll be the opportunity for some photo charters, perhaps with the G5? 

 

Both the autocar and autocoach are likely to visit other lines. I believe only one formal request for a visit/loan has so far been received, but I suspect the NYMR, Wensleydale, Beamish, Kirby Stephen East, Middleton and the Great Central are all places you are likely to see us. Several people (including GWS members) have mentioned the possibility of holding a railcar gala and/or putting the autocar alongside the GWR Railmotor. I think it's probably when rather than if. But I anticipate - let's get it finished first! 

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Several people (including GWS members) have mentioned the possibility of holding a railcar gala and/or putting the autocar alongside the GWR Railmotor. I think it's probably when rather than if. But I anticipate - let's get it finished first!

Hi White Rabbit,

 

It's always either the first or last question you get asked isn't it? When is it finished or when can we have it for a ride / gala / photo charter / main line run (delete as applicable)!?! At least you don't have to worry about a boiler certificate with this one...

 

On a serious note though, it's a great restoration project you have there and I look forward to seeing it run. I hope we do get to see them both at 81E one day in the not too distant future lined up with Nos. 93 & 92. It will be a few days of auto working from the old school! Please keep posting updates.

 

All the best,

 

Castle

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The trailer/autocoach is to be dual braked. I'm not sure that the controls in the coach will be compatible with a push-pull fitted steam engine, but at the very least, it should be able to work as an ordinary loco hauled carriage. There'll be the opportunity for some photo charters, perhaps with the G5? 

 

Both the autocar and autocoach are likely to visit other lines. I believe only one formal request for a visit/loan has so far been received, but I suspect the NYMR, Wensleydale, Beamish, Kirby Stephen East, Middleton and the Great Central are all places you are likely to see us. Several people (including GWS members) have mentioned the possibility of holding a railcar gala and/or putting the autocar alongside the GWR Railmotor. I think it's probably when rather than if. But I anticipate - let's get it finished first! 

 

Excellent news that they will be seen in various appropriate locations in the North and North East. G5 plus the autocoach is a "must", so typical of NER branches.

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This is another truly magnificent job of restoration. My congratulations to all involved.

 

The Scarborough operations are of great interest to me; I seem to recall that the Forge Valley line to Pickering saw the railcars; do we know if they also ran on occasion to Whitby along the coast line from Scarborough?

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Nice to see something happening with that trailer car, it sat at Levisham festering for long enough,

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This is another truly magnificent job of restoration. My congratulations to all involved.

 

The Scarborough operations are of great interest to me; I seem to recall that the Forge Valley line to Pickering saw the railcars; do we know if they also ran on occasion to Whitby along the coast line from Scarborough?

 

Thanks. If anyone would like to give us a hand, you'll be welcome. We do have someone who commutes from the NE about once every three weeks, it's a long journey for him but we appreciate the help. It is a small team, so one or two extra people could make a big difference. 

 

Robin Lidster is the author of a book recently published by Amberley about the Forge Valley Line and kindly sent us a copy of an old postcard showing the autocar on a FV service, to add to our [small] collection of contemporary photos. As far as we know, the autocars ran on the FV line, westwards towards Malton and southwards to Filey. We have not yet found evidence of them running north on the coast line, though I don't know if that's an absence of evidence or evidence of absence... I know the LNER used the line as a testing ground for Sentinels and other railcars, but I don't know whether that was established practice in the early 1900s (in which case it's quite possible) or something that was introduced later, after the autocars moved to Selby. (If anyone would like to take on the role of researcher, we may be able to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge).  

 

This is a 'photofit' of your suspicions... 

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Thanks to Robin Taylor for scratchbuilding the [7mm scale] model of the autocar and posing it on the Keighley Club's 'Runswick Bay' layout for me. 

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Hi White Rabbit. Thanks for replying. Yes, the coast line to Whitby was well known for test run purposes, but as yet I've not come across any confirmation that the railcars were tested over it either :( . Will keep looking though.

 

That model is gorgeous; I do like the Runswick Bay layout :)

 

Best,

Mark

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I've not seen evidence of testing, but there are photos of them in service on that line pre WW2, they also appear to have run a Goathland-Whitby shuttle as well as a Whitby-Beck Hole shuttle.  Either Martin Bairstows book or Benhams book spring to mind but don't quote me on that.

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Thanks, Boris. Looks like another model to add to the 'to do' list then :)

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I've not seen evidence of testing, but there are photos of them in service on that line pre WW2, they also appear to have run a Goathland-Whitby shuttle as well as a Whitby-Beck Hole shuttle.  Either Martin Bairstows book or Benhams book spring to mind but don't quote me on that.

 

Looking at Martin Bairstow's Railways round Whitby Volume 1, page 16 has a picture of an autocar on the Beck Hole shuttle - but it's a steam autocar (an autotrain) - the NER used the term for more than our type of vehicle. I didn't buy a copy of Mr B's OPC History but will see if I can look at one later this week. 

 

 

Thanks, Boris. Looks like another model to add to the 'to do' list then :)

 

 

The autocars spent four years based at Scarborough and we know they spent a lot of time on Scarborough - Filey services and worked out to Ganton on a regular basis. Even if it turns out that the petrol-electrics did not run on the pre-preservation NYMR and/or the coast line, there should be very few eyebrows raised if you showed them doing so in model form. It's much less of a stretch of the imagination than some modellers ask of us. If anyone quibbles, tell them Mr. Phillips is navigating/driving and he confused his left with his right...

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(I did have a look at Philip Benham's book, but didn't see a photo). 

 

 

The autocar chassis is now in the shed at Loughborough, having various bits attached. There was a bit of a delay because of the work the GCR has done for Brush on the rebuild of the class 73s. But over January, February & March, we hope the chassis will be turned into a working locomotive, albeit one with no sides or roof... There will be static testing and then some running out on the GCR.  

 

The following pictures are courtesy Peter van Houten, one of our engineering team:

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The engine housing is very prominent at the moment but of course this DEMU is like the GWS's railmotor, with the powerunit above the chassis rather than below. These two courtesy of Alan Chandler, another of our volunteers. 

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At Embsay, work on the autocoach is going well and we're hopeful it'll be operational after Easter. There will be some bits to finish off after but the plan (fingers crossed) is to have the autocar back at Embsay soon after Easter and we'll need to work on that. So bits like floor lino and lining the paintwork could have to wait a little while while we get the autocar operational. I can't say whether or not the coach will run in service this summer but it is something we are looking at. 

 

We're now on Facebook - I'm not a member myself but it's part of many people's lives these days so one of our number who is, produced a page for us. https://www.facebook.com/nerelectricautocar  

 

We are due at York show (which is one of my favourites) with the publicity stand at Easter. If you're interested, do drop by and say hello and catch up on the latest news. 

 

There's a newsletter due, as soon as I finish here, I'll be putting it together. I hope it'll be arriving in inboxes next week and landing on doormats early March. As well as news and reports, there's a piece on the autocars' 'cousins' and photos of a 7mm model. In fact it's likely to be a struggle to fit it all in!  

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Just a quick update:

 

The engineering progresses, the team down at Loughborough are fitting the brake gear and the bits and pieces that turn a chassis into a working vehicle. The traction motors are now linked to the engine housing and our engineers are linking the engine housing to the control desk locations (there will be three driving positions in the twinset, two in the autocar and one at the guards/driving end of the autocoach). The next job is the air brake valves and pipework and the fitting of the control desks. 

 

The autocoach is coming on nicely, with one headstock replaced and the work on doors, locks and droplights continuing but with the end in sight. Unfortunately the angles and the light in the shed are not conducive to good photography, but hopefully these give you an idea:

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The seating has made a big difference to the appearance of the coach. On the downside, we now have to be much more careful with our painting! 

 

The hard copy newsletters should have arrived about a week/10 days ago. 

 

And just to remind you, we have a stand at York this Easter, up on the second mezzanine. Do feel free to stop by and say hello, catch up on the latest news and photos, maybe join up? 

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Just a quick photo post today:

post-16840-0-39422700-1429520226_thumb.jpg

Thanks to Wendy Anderson for the photo, taken during a 'reshuffle shunt' in the shed. 

 

Thanks also to all those who came and talked to us at York, it's good to see the level of interest and support. 

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Oh wow - that is looking very nice indeed. Thanks for posting the pic, Mr Rabbit - and thanks to Wendy Anderson for taking it  :sungum:

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Thanks Mark. Yes, it's really coming together. The running boards have been primed and are ready to go on. The 'other' old headstock - at the left end as viewed in the photo - has been removed and its replacement has been drilled for at least some of the holes needed for it to fit. Plenty of measuring and double checking! 

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Work in progress... (taken by me this time). 

 

Cheers,

 

Simon / WR. 

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Great stuff, Simon. Thanks again.  Will be great to see it all together.

 

Then, of course, wouldn't it be nice to see the G5 paired with it, but with the G5 turned out as a Class 'O' in full NER lined green...

*starts saving the pennies...*

 

Mark

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You've got to admit that this is one hell of a project, and being done to a very high standard too.

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Time for an update...

 

The autocoach is looking rather good, with very little left to finish off. It's been lifted and the bogies and brakes worked on. There are a few loose ends to finish off but the end really is in sight, as Alan Chandler's photo below shows: 

 

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The engineering is also proceeding apace but unfortunately some illness amongst key personnel has delayed things somewhat. Let's just say the chassis now has lots more parts attached and in working order than it did four months ago. There's two photos from Peter van Houten below, showing some of these, courtesy of the GCR's pit at Loughborough. 

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(This might also be a good chance to say thankyou to all those GCR members who have helped with the project, whether it's making drivers' seat cushions or simply applying some muscle power when we need a few extra pairs of hands to lift something heavy... ). 

 

The next newsletter is scheduled for early October and there'll be a full report in there, with the latest news. We'll also be at the Leeds exhibition 31st October/1st November with all the latest news and photos, if you visit, come along and say hello. 

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Great progress, looking forward to the completed project. Fantastic project

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Fascinating stuff, which I've been following from afar for a good while.

 

Techie question:

 

Is much known about the original control arrangements? I'd really love to understand how the engine-generator-motor combination was operated, was their field control on the generator, for instance?

 

Superb project!

 

Kevin

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Yes, he has also kindly written a couple of pieces for our newsletter. 

 

 

Re Kevin's question about control - one of the problems we have is as this vehicle is older than many others, finding original material is as challenging as sourcing the proverbial hen's teeth. There's an awful lot we just don't know. On the plus side, it does mean many articles are out of copyright! 

 

This is an old article from when the autocar was first introduced:

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