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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Hockley Station: gwrhd675b

Close up showing a three wheel 'mechanised horse' adjacent to a standard lorry and horse-drawn vehicle

Close up of image 'gwrhd675' showing a three wheel 'mechanised horse' adjacent to a standard lorry and horse-drawn vehicle. These three wheel articulated lorry cabs were developed in the 1930’s with the intension of modernising distribution. In order to use motor vehicles in the compact goods yards designed for the horse and dray, it was necessary to find a vehicle with a small turning circle. The three wheel mechanised horse depicted here was built by the Karrier Motor Company of Huddersfield and called the Cob. It had a two-cylinder 7hp engine with chain-drive reduction gearing. A similar design was built by Scammell lorries of Watford with a direct-drive four-cylinder engine. Scammell had also developed and patented a coupling system, which allowed the trailer to be coupled without the driver leaving the cab, but in 1934 all four main railway companies made a joint agreement with Scammell, which allowed this coupling gear to be used on all their vehicles irrespective of the builder.

In the late 1930’s the Great Western Railway introduced a new fleet numbering system whereby an initial letter indicated the vehicle type (in this case C – Mechanical Horse). The following number indicted the carrying capacity (in this case 3 – Mechanical Horse were normally either three ton or six ton capacity). The remaining number was the unique vehicle number. The white paint on the mudguard, the underneath edge of the cab and bumper were safety features to help make the vehicle more visible in the blackout. It is assumed that the white painted shafts on the horse drawn vehicle alongside the lorry was for the same purpose.

Robert Ferris