Early in the 20thc Britain’ s railways found themselves under financial pressure from two sources, competition from electric urban tramways and rising costs due to increased wages and shorter working hours.
Almost alone of the major English companies, the North Eastern never flirted with steam railcars to reduce operating costs, preferring instead “push-pull” working using a small steam locomotive and one or two “Autocoaches” fitted with driving compartments. The NER did however experiment with some internal combustion rail vehicles ranging from a standard Leyland bus fitted with flanged wheels, to a pair of quite sophisticated (for the time) bogie petrol electric “Autocars”. None were an unqualified success, and were eventually replaced by steam trains.
The company fared better with feeder services of steam and petrol lorries for freight and steam and petrol buses linking selected villages to their nearest station. One of these, between Beverly and Beeford proved good enough for the NER to abandon construction of a light railway, for which powers had been obtained, saving considerable expenditure. Unfortunately, the NER had just taken delivery of a number of ceramic tile maps of the system, which showed the line as completed. An example can still be seen today at York station.
This book deals with an often overlooked aspect of railway operation, and was researched over many years by North Eastern Railway expert, Ken Hoole.
A donation of 50p towards the restoration of the North Eastern Railway Petrol-Electric Autocar of 1903, will be made for each download of this pubication. http://www.electricautocar.co.uk/index.html
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