Plans to restore the surviving petrol-electric autocar received a boost recently with the arrival of a motor bogie at the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway where the project is based. As previously reported, this railcar was the first in the world to use this technology and the restoration is the subject of a Lottery grant application.
The bogie is an ex-BR Southern Region from a class 416. Originally the autocar was fitted with a Fox power bogie, however, none of these have survived. The Trust’s engineers examined a Fox heavy duty bogie at Beamish but decided reluctantly that it could not be used. This bogie had longitudinal inside members and there was not enough space to fit motors between them. Enquiries about the feasibility of adapting the bogie or using different traction motors revealed that this would be both difficult and prohibitively expensive.
One advantage of using this ex-BR bogie is that it and its motors are compatible with modern diesel generators and control equipment. It received a major overhaul in 2003 and has seen little use since. Similar EE507 traction motors are still in service, so spares would be obtainable should they be needed. The other three bogies for both the autocar and its trailer will be authentic Fox lightweight ones – enough of these survived for the Trust to secure some for the restoration.