Pioneer North Eastern Electric Autocar rolls again

THE culmination of one of the most remarkable restoration project’s came to a conclusion on October 19 when North Eastern railcar No. 03170 was relaunched into traffic by Stephen Middleton, chairman of the NER 1903 Electric Autocar Trust, and Sir Ron Cooke, chairman of Yorkshire and Humber Heritage Lottery Fund Committee.

The petrol-powered autocar – a forerunner of more modern diesel railcar and multiple units –
was inspired by Wilson Worsdell, the restored No. 3170 being one of two built in 1903.

NER petrol autocar No. 3170 and trailer No. 3453 approach Bow Bridge ground frame on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway on October 19 with the train’s second VIP run.

Power came from an 85hp Napier engine, which energised two bogie-mounted traction motors.

The railcars worked first on Teesside, then moved to Yorkshire, mainly on lines around Scarborough,  Harrogate and Selby. No. 3170 was withdrawn in April 1931 and the body became a holiday home at Kirkbymoorside in North Yorkshire for 70 years. It was bought Mr Middleton – founder of Stateley Carriages – in 2003.

A trust was created to spearhead the extensive restoration back to as close to its 1923 condition as possible, as well as surmounting the challenge of creating a suitable chassis on which to mount the body, but also adapting the Edwardian technology to be suitable for 21st century railway operation.

Read more in the November issue of The RM – on sale now!

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