BLOG: On board the dynamometer car

Photo: 1946 condition LNER Dynamometer car decoration profile.


As you may have gathered, I’m naturally inquisitive when it comes to the hobby and love the opportunity to see behind the scenes of the prototype railway, whether it’s inside a signalbox, locomotive depot or, most recently, the interior of the National Railway Museum’s (NRM) North Eastern Railway (NER) Dynamometer Car.

The opportunity to inspect this superb vehicle in the National Collection came about as part of the launch of Rails of Sheffield’s new ‘Rails Exclusives’ range of models at the NRM on April 13, of which the Dynamometer Car was to be the first new ‘OO’ gauge addition.

The dynamometer car is positioned with LNER ‘A4’ 4468 Mallard in the NRM.

This historic vehicle was built in the early 1900s for recording the performance of steam locomotives and was famously used to document the London and North Eastern Railway’s ‘A4’ 4-6-2 4468 Mallard on its record-breaking run, when it achieved 126mph on the East Coast Main Line in 1938.

Inside overlooking the main desk in the dynamometer car.

On setting foot inside the Dynamometer Car you get the sense of something very special, with the vehicle fitted out with all manner of brass-cased instrumentation and equipment together with a few creature comforts including cooking facilities, fold-up bed, a toilet and ash trays at every window. Above the large desk in the centre of the coach was a large metal horn which acted as a speaker to/from the locomotive footplate while a large roll of paper recorded the performance of the locomotive every step of the way across the desk below. Much use was made of moquette on furnishings, including exposed overhead storage shelves – presumably to prevent injury. You could almost imagine the exhilarating sensation of this vehicle travelling at speed as it rocked even with a handful of visitors on board while stationary!

Built in the early 1900s, this vehicle is maintained to the highest possible standards in the NRM today.

Check out the June 2017 issue of Hornby Magazine for more details on Rails of Sheffield’s exclusive new ‘OO’ gauge model of the NRM’s NER Dynamometer Car, including a 3-D mock-up with fully detailed interior.

The large white wheel is used to measure speed accurately.

Just one of the many recording devices onboard the dynamometer car.

Meanwhile, in a few weeks-time the Great Central Railway’s (GCR) Model Event takes place in Leicestershire on June 16-18 and offers the opportunity for you to see behind the scenes of a full size preserved railway, as well as a large display of 70 model railway layouts and an impressive selection of traders and displays too. The main focus of the event takes place within the yard at Quorn and Woodhouse station, but there will also be stands at other stations along the line including Loughborough Central and Rothley. In addition, you can also visit the line’s locomotive workshops at Loughborough and carriage shed at Rothley, inspect vehicles at close quarters, visit the authentically-restored buildings and immerse yourself in nostalgia. Not only that, you can travel to and from the model railway exhibition on the full-size railway too which is also Britain’s only preserved double-track main line.

If you are planning to visit the show, come and meet the Hornby Magazine team and see our latest ‘OO’ gauge BR Western Region exhibition layout, Grosvenor Square, in operation. You might even bump into me taking photographs of prototype vehicles along the line… if I’m allowed out from behind the layout that is.

For a full preview of the GCR Model Event, see the June 2017 issue of Hornby Magazine – on sale from Thursday May 11 2017.

I hope you enjoy this latest post and if you have anything you would like to comment on, drop us a line to

Hornby Magazine Assistant Editor Mark Chivers’ next blog will be live on June 1 2017 and you can expect more from Editor Mike Wild on May 19 2017.






Posted in Blogs, Mark Chivers


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