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Ladies and gentlemen...

 

The autocar is now officially operational. Today saw the launch, with around 150 members, supporters, special guests and press attending. All the feedback I've heard so far has been very positive and we've had some very complimentary comments. It has been the culmination of around eight years of planning and preparation and another eight or so of practical work. The sun shone (most of the time!) and there were enough cameras and photographic equipment being used to stock a fair sized shop. 

 

As always with restoration, there are many people to thank. I'll not try and produce a list here, but they all have our gratitude, whether they are our generous members, hands-on volunteers, 'other' volunteers from Embsay and the Great Central or have contributed in some other way. Re the latter, Sir Ron Cooke, Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Lottery Fund Committee said today that to fund our grant, six million Lottery tickets had been sold. Six million reasons to be grateful. 

 

The photos below are courtesy of Alan Chandler, from yesterday's final test. I hope to have some more photos and maybe a video or two from today to post, once I've downloaded and sorted through. We'll have a special launch issue of our newsletter for next month.

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So where do we go from here? This winter will see some refinements and improvements - there's currently no heating in the autocar and as Embsay plan to run it next autumn, we'd be unpopular with the travelling public if we didn't do something to remedy that. There's no definite dates arranged for 2019 yet, but I expect the diary to fill up rather quickly in the near future. We're talking to various organisations about 'guest appearances', as soon as we have news, then it'll be posted online. Embsay and Bolton Abbey's timetable (https://www.embsayboltonabbeyrailway.org.uk/timetable/calendar) will show dates (and times) once decided on, for other railways, there's our web-site (https://electricautocar.co.uk/) and I plan to continue this thread, the one on the LNER Forum and we also have a Twitter account (https://twitter.com/1903_Autocar) - so we'll let you know. 

 

If anyone is interested in getting involved, they would be welcome. Whilst there may not be restoration work to do, there's still the maintenance, various improvements and odd jobs to do, we are also looking for 'hosts' to talk to passengers and the public about the autocar. We'd also like to fill in some of the gaps in our historical knowledge, so anyone willing to act as a researcher would be welcome. The publicity stand's booked for Leeds exhbition next weekend (http://leedsmrs.org/) so if you're there, drop by and have a chat. Meanwhile, thanks for all your support. 

 

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One of this winter's jobs is to do some work lining the trailer coach and adding some refinements, such as luggage racks. It will be dual braked, so it can run with either the autocar or steam engines. So if the G5 group provide an engine.... 

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I don't like to be disrespectful but could the desk have been a bit more retro as the current one uses a lot of 56 parts , and although the seat maybe comfortable but is a bit modern for it . most preserved railways are pretty short so I'm sure those who operate it could stand a bit of Edwardian discomfort for half an hour at most

Other than that it is stunning and a credit to the restorers.

Take it thebauto trailer is posed with it at present as I can't see any air pipes?

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I'd need to speak to the engineers about the choice of desk components/appearance but I know when working out the plans for the mechanical bits they did try and use as many parts which had a 'retro'/'vintage'/'classic' appearance as possible. Though for some things we didn't have much choice. The other thing is, we don't have a picture of the original cab-desk. Information on some things is sparse. 

 

The seat, originally the driver would have stood. I take your point but although the trips themselves might be short, combined they can add up to a full shift. At the launch, we ran a lot of shuttles and the driver had very little spare time. And if the driver sits, it's a better forward view for the passengers. 

 

The trailer coach has vacuum brakes, the fitting of air brakes is one of the tasks for over the winter, as is fitting the control desk. It can run (and is currently at the Elsecar Railway for their Home from the Front event) but as a loco-hauled carriage. 

 

One of the best photos I've seen so far of the two together, courtesy Mike Heath: 

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A southern region type swing out stool would look better, I'm a driver with over 30 years in, and I know those seats are pretty comfortable but it just looks wrong in there.

Its the equivalent of putting an air sprung 66 seat in a J27!

Not meaning to be derisory as its a great project keep up the good work

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Any chance of some photos of the interior of the trailer car? I remember that slowly dissolving at Levisham for years

Wasn't it in deviation shed in the 90s?

I remember working on 5061 in there and there was some other coach in there and some chap who I can't recall his name came up to us and said no welding or grinding on your loco as its next to Dr beets coach.

My mate said fu£k me, I used to dance to him a school discos in the 80s!

Edited by russ p
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A southern region type swing out stool would look better, I'm a driver with over 30 years in, and I know those seats are pretty comfortable but it just looks wrong in there.

Its the equivalent of putting an air sprung 66 seat in a J27!

Not meaning to be derisory as its a great project keep up the good work

When I visited the K&ESR a few years back I was invited into the cab of the ex Fords BTH locomotive. I don't know if it was the original seat but the drivers seat was of the fold down type and was quite comfortable.

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Wasn't it in deviation shed in the 90s?

I remember working on 5061 in there and there was some other coach in there and some chap who I can't recall his name came up to us and said no welding or grinding on your loco as its next to Dr beets coach.

My mate said fu£k me, I used to dance to him a school discos in the 80s!

No, that was an NER directors saloon that had been brought in for the NYMR Victorian weekend in about 1994 and stayed there for several years, not sure where it ended up - I think it was the one pictured below.

 

 

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Edited by Boris
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No, that was an NER directors saloon that had been brought in for the NYMR Victorian weekend in about 1994 and stayed there for several years, not sure where it ended up - I think it was the one pictured below.

 

 

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Isn't it the one that was in the Ribble Steam Railway's museum building with Dr Beet's Ivatt 46441?  The loco left earlier this year but the saloon may still be there.

Ray.

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Any chance of some photos of the interior of the trailer car?  I remember that slowly dissolving at Levisham for years

 

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Best I can do at the moment. I know it's an old photo but hopefully gives a flavour. Obviously the door lower panels have been top coated (I took time off from priming them to take this picture) and a lot of beading and strip wood attached. One big change will be if we can fit luggage racks, something on this winter's jobs list. Fair question, I've just realised we don't have any current photos of the inside... will try and remedy asap. 

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Surely the control desk would have been similar if not identical to the contemporary Tyneside electrics? Though I should imagine that using electrical equipment over 100 years old would be frowned upon.

 

There was quite a bit of technology and equipment common to both, so it is a fair possibility. I don't know for sure either way. (If anyone wants to be our researcher, to try and find out these sorts of details, it is a role we're looking for someone to fill).

 

Re the age, I suspect it'd be sustained finger-wagging and head shaking rather than frowning! 

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I'm sure the auto trailer was also at grosmont at some time possibly earlier.

There were all kinds of mad ideas for it at the time such as reopening the Beck Hole branch as there is a photograph of one there

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I'm sure the auto trailer was also at grosmont at some time possibly earlier.

There were all kinds of mad ideas for it at the time such as reopening the Beck Hole branch as there is a photograph of one there

It was for a while, but was a storage vehicles at Levisham from around 1992 onwards iirc

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