GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line
Yardley Wood Platform: gwryw668a
Close up of image 'gwryw668' showing an unidentified motor
fitted GWR 517 class 0-4-2T locomotive which has been sandwiched between two
GWR Autocoaches. The driver would be sat in a driving compartment at the end of
the front coach and via a basic control system controlled the braking and
acceleration of the train. The fireman had to anticipate the needs of the
driver to ensure that he had enough steam nor, equally as bad, too much steam.
When running 'autocoach first', the regulator is operated by a linkage to a
rotating shaft running the length of the locomotive, passing below the cab
floor. This engages (via a telescopic coupling) with another shaft running the
full length below the floor of the autocoach. This shaft is turned by a second
regulator lever in the cab of the autocoach.
The driver operated the regulator, brakes and whistle from
the cab of the autocoach whilst the fireman, in addition to firing, also
controlled the valve gear settings. The driver could operate, by stamping on a
pedal on the floor, a large mechanical gong which was mounted high on the cab
end of the autocoach to warn of the train's approach. The driver, guard and
fireman would communicate with each other by an internal electric bell system.
Internally, the passenger section of the coach was divided into two open
saloons originally for 'smoking' and 'non-smoking' with a lobby
in the middle separating the two. There was usually a small guard's and luggage
compartment at the locomotive end of the coach.
The seating layout was similar to the lower deck of a
modern-day bus, with a mixture of normal seating and inwards-facing bench
seats. Passengers accessed the coach via a door to the lobby which was also
equipped with retractable steps which were extended if the train stops at rural
'halts' with either low or non-existent platforms. These steps, controlled by
the guard using levers in the lobby, folded tight against the coach underframe
to keep them clear of lineside obstructions when the train was moving.