GWR Steam Railmotor

Railways have always faced the problem of how to work their most lightly used routes cheaply. One solution that found much favour in Victorian times was the steam railmotor, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.

In the early years of the 20th century, British railways faced increasing competition from other forms of transport. In urban areas trams were creaming off many of the short-distance passengers while in more rural districts motorised road transport was beginning to establish a foothold. At the same time, costs were rising sharply, adding pressure.

As a result of such competition, ways of cutting costs were sought, with particular emphasis placed on the efficient use of locomotives and rolling stock, which at that time often spent much of its time unproductive. A particular issue was branch line trains which typically travelled only a few miles before their locomotive had to be run around its coaches, a lengthy and time-consuming business.

PDD47N The  Railmotor heads towards Glyndyfrdwy on the llangollen railway on 20.4.13

Want to read more?

This is a premium article and requires an active Key Model World subscription.

Existing subscriber? Sign in now

No subscription?

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all Key Model World content
  • Exclusive product reviews, latest news, builds and highly detailed layouts
  • Read 5,300 articles, in a fully searchable archive of modelling content growing daily!
  • Access to read the official Hornby Magazine and Airfix Model World online, brought to life with video and additional imagery
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below