Rails of Sheffield is working in association with Heljan to develop a ready-to-run ‘OO’ gauge model of the pioneering North Eastern Railway (NER) petrol-electric Autocars which were built in 1903.
Two were built to a design by Vincent Raven and were the world’s first passenger carrying railway vehicles to use an internal combustion engine which drove a dynamo to power electric motors on the axles. The two Autocars, 3170-3171, saw service between West Hartlepool and Hartlepool, Scarborough and Filey and latterly on the Selby to Cawood branch in Yorkshire, with the two vehicles being withdrawn in 1930 (3171) and 1931 (3170).
The body of 3170 was converted to a holiday home, but was found by carriage restoration specialist Stephen Middleton in the early 2000s. He bought the body in 2003 and it has since been restored over a the last 15 years returning to full working order in October 2018.
Rails new ‘OO’ gauge model is available to pre-order with the full price set at £199.95. In a press release Rails of Sheffield stated: “Our ‘OO’ gauge models celebrate these historic vehicles. Models will feature fine detail and a host of features for the collector and operator to enjoy.”
The NER Autocar models are being designed and manufactured by Heljan with full support from Stephen Middleton and the 1903 Electric Autocar Trust. Three versions are planned modelling 3170 in NER red and cream (Cat No. RL3171), 3171 in NER red and cream (RL3172) and 3170 in LNER brown (RL3173). Release is anticipated in 2020.