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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 5 (September 1, 1927)

Gas-Electric Cars For Branch Lines

Gas-Electric Cars For Branch Lines.

The economic operation of branch lines is to-day one of the most perplexing problems with which railway managements everywhere are confronted. Many interesting experiments some more or less successful, have been made to solve it. One of the latest of these-an experiment for which an entirely successful outcome is claimed-is that of the Rock Island Railroad of the United States Middle West, which has recently introduced, on its branch lines, a new type of gas-electric cars.

The cars use as fuel, a cheap petroleum distillate, and are reported to be proving efficient units. Running at standard steam train-speed, each car can haul a train weighing 200 tons, and at less than half the operating cost of steam haulage.

The motive power is derived from a 275 h. p. Winton engine (placed in the front part of each car) driving a generator which feeds two direct-current motors mounted on the front truck. Each car-which is equipped with a smoking and baggage compartment-has accommodation for 77 passengers, and such is the design of its control mechanism that it can be operated without difficulty by any driver of a steam locomotive.