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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 2 (May 1, 1940.)

Increased Use of Railcars

Increased Use of Railcars.

Railcar movement of passenger traffic is everywhere on the increase. In Britain we have railcars of many types in daily service, and on the Great Western system considerable use is made of Diesel units. Prior to the outbreak of war, the G.W. Company had 18 Diesel railcars in traffic, covering a route mileage of 747, in an area enclosed by Birmingham, Weymouth, London and Swansea. To-day, the first of a further 20 cars ordered some time ago is being introduced into service. The first G.W. car, working in the Reading-Slough district, was fitted with a single six-cylinder oil engine. It seats 69 passengers, and has a maximum speed of 60 m.p.h. July, 1934, saw the introduction of two express railcars between Birmingham and Cardiff. These have twin engines with a maximum speed of 75 m.p.h. Some 44 passengers are carried, and the cars include buffet accommodation. In 1935, three more cars similar to the first, but with twin engines, were introduced in Oxford and Worcestershire. In the following year, ten similar cars were acquired, nine for passengers and one for parcels movement. Of the two cars completing the original stock of 18, one—introduced in 1937—had a lower gear ratio and standard buffers and drawgear, enabling it to handle a trailing load of 60 tons. The new batch of twenty cars now being acquired embody in their design the experience gained from the running of the trailer-haulage unit. It is the intention to replace the cars at present in the Birmingham-Cardiff service by two twin-car Diesel sets with remote control, enabling one man to drive the two cars. Buffets of improved design will be incorporated, and there will be seating accommodation for 104 passengers. Maximum speed will be 70 m.p.h. Incidentally, these Birmingham-Cardiff vehicles pass en route through the famous Severn Tunnel, and to provide warning of their approach to the tunnel maintenance gangs the cars are fitted with four horns at each end.