Like them or loath them, the unglamorous DMUs combined with the “Pay Train” system of conductor/guard operation saved many branches and secondary routes from closure under the “Beeching” Plan. Who can forget the thrill of finding that the end compartments of the Derby Lightweight units gave either a driver’s or Observation Car view of the track?
This booklet gives a useful potted history of diesel railcars, from the GWR “Flying Bananas” to the “Inter City” units mentioned above. The contribution of Ireland is not neglected, from the days of the County Donegal 3ft gauge railcars. Unusually, the booklet was commissioned and published by a component supplier – Self Changing Gears Ltd. The manufacturer of an ingenious device called the “Wilson Epicyclic Gear Box”, which was not without its foibles. In the late 1940s, my father owned a large pre-war Talbot saloon car (called “The Hearse” by his fellow RAF officers). This had a Wilson gearbox, and one night, while jolting over a badly maintained level crossing on the LMS main line near Wigan, it decided to select two gears at once, bringing the vehicle to an abrupt stop. The combined efforts of my father, and of the crossing signalman, failed to move “The Hearse”, and help had to be summoned… rail traffic was disrupted for some hours.
PREVIEW BELOW – MAY TAKE A WHILE TO LOAD.