There are plans to restore No. 3170, the surviving NER petrol electric autocar. This was the first non-steam powered railcar in the world and the ‘great grand-father’ of today’s passenger trains. The Trust responsible for this project has made significant progress at the planning stage and is now launching a formal appeal for funds. Their aim is to raise £25,000 in the next six months.

Whilst the Trust has passed phase 1 for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to cover much of the cost of restoration, they still need to raise balance funding and finance initial expenses. The first of these is the engineering drawings the Trust intends commissioning. These will provide a detailed assessment of the technical aspects of the restoration and establish that the project is practical. The assessment will also provide a full breakdown of costs for the mechanical and electrical elements of the restoration, firm quotes for the necessary materials and work, a timescale and critical path. Together with Railway Inspectorate approval, these will all be required before active restoration of the autocar and its trailer autocoach can begin.

The urgency is due to the timescale of the project, as the Trust has until December 2010 to submit detailed plans to HLF and raise the balance of funds. Whilst HLF has been supportive of the project, failure to raise matching funds for any grant they may award would result in the application being rejected automatically.

The Trust would welcome any donations readers can offer, either from cheques or postal orders or by setting up a Standing Order or Direct Debit. For donations, further information and membership applications, contact us

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