The Railway Magazine

An Edwardian Gem

WHEN you first set eyes on the pristine North Eastern Railway (NER) petrol Autocar No. 3170, it’s hard to believe it was once a partially vandalised former holiday home which had sat in a North Yorkshire field 15 years ago.

The restoration to working order of this unique and historic vehicle is another remarkable tale in the history of preservation where ordinary people have proved anything is possible.

What is also remarkable is the fact the restoration of the Autocar has generally been under the radar, with little publicity in the mainstream railway press – until now.


Petrol Autocar No. 3170 and sister 3171 were produced by the NER at York works in 1903. Their 85hp Napier petrol engine drove a generator which provided electricity for the traction motors in what was a first for railway propulsion. They were the forerunner of self-propelled units in use today, but also electric and diesel locomotives.

Considering this was 115 years ago, such developments were incredibly advanced for their time, particularly as steam very much ruled the roost. Such was the vision of assistant mechanical engineer Vincent Raven (he was not knighted until 1915) in pioneering alternative traction, the original drawings for the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Railway Magazine

The Railway Magazine2 min readScience
Wagon Report
THIRTY years ago there were more than 400 German ferry tank wagons registered for traffic between Britain and the European mainland via the train ferries. A plethora of companies were involved, including BASF, British Petroleum, CIE Auxiliere IB (CAI
The Railway Magazine1 min read
WSR Services Resume To Minehead
WEST Somerset Railway steam services reconnected with Minehead on April 19 as the line reopened fully following its extended winter closure. The inaugural service was hauled by Hugh Shipton’s ‘64XX’ 0-6-0PT No. 6430, which detoured via the WSR from
The Railway Magazine2 min read
Mayflower Set For Busy Summer In The Capital
STEAM Dreams has announced a major expansion of its main line operation, with 56 additional trains from London planned between June and early-September. Steam Dreams will operate four trains from Waterloo every Tuesday for 14 weeks between June 4 a