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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

Tyseley Shed: gwrt2424

GWR Railcar No 4 is seen standing outside on one of the entrance roads of Tyseley shed in 1934

GWR Railcar No 4 is seen standing outside on one of the entrance roads of Tyseley shed in 1934. Its believed that the photograph was taken shortly after it had been delivered to work the recently introduced Birmingham to Cardiff service. The success of Railcar No 1 prompted the GWR to place an order with AEC for a small series of six railcars in February 1934, the same month that Railcar No 1 entered regular service. A number of improvements in the design was made on this series, the largest of which was the instalment of two AEC 8.85 litre diesel engines raising the maximum speed to 80 mph. The first three units, numbers 2 to 4, were to be fitted with a buffet bar for use as an express businessman's service between Birmingham and Cardiff, but no decision could be made on the body of the last three and so construction of these bodies was held over for the time being. The underframes and power units were again built at AEC under the direction of CF Cleaver with the bodies built by Park Royal. To assist with oil temperature control, the sumps of the engines were enlarged and fitted with cooling fins.

Unusually, the bogie's were both gear-driven and directly-driven in that only one gearbox was fitted that powered both bogies at one end of the railcar, while the other engine directly-drove just one bogie at the other end. The fluid flywheel provided on this engine was designed to slip until full throttle was required in top gear. The interior design of these three railcars moved away from the bus inspired design of Railcar No 1, especially with the inclusion of a buffet and removable tables. The buffet could provide hot and cold drinks and wines and a small amount of hot foods and snacks. A gas-heated boiler fed the coffee and milk boiler and toaster, while nearby was a small toilet with hot water heated by the engines exhausts. The first of the series was delivered in early July 1934 and underwent several trail and press runs before entering service with the other two members on the 16th of July. This service was the first regular diesel working to be run to a fast schedule in this country and the 117½ miles between Birmingham and Cardiff were covered in 2 hours 20 minutes. Fares were charged at the normal 3rd class pricing but bookings were limited by the number of seats on the railcar. Courtesy of 'The Great Western Archive'.