Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – L & Y Railmotors

The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway

‘Dolly – Tubs’ By Casey Jones.

From the early years of the20th century an interest has been shown by the railway companies in the possibility of working semi-rural branch lines with rail motors.

Very few of the designs evolved proved satisfactory in service, one snag being that if either the locomotive section or the carriage section had to be taken out of service for repairs, the whole machine was out of action, and this factor was rightly considered to be uneconomical.  With the possibility of excluding the L & Y R variant which proved quite good in service, most of these peculiar looking machines had been scrapped prior to Grouping, or had been converted into ordinary coaches and adapted for push-pull working.

The L&YR cars were powered by a miniature 0-4-0T unit which was welded to an ordinary coach body, carried on a four wheel bogie at the rear.  Accommodation was provided for 1st and 3rd class passengers with a small luggage/guards compartment.  Numbered 1 – 18 they were built as follows:

1906:  3 – 8

1907:  9 – 15

1909:  1/2/16 – 17

1911:  18

Dimensions were:-

Cylinders (2) 12” x 16”   Dr. Wheels 3’ 7½”  Height 10’ 5¼”

Length 20’ 2”    Weight 25 Tons 17cwt.   Grate Area 9.4 sq. ft.

Total Heating Surface 494½ sq.ft.   Tractive Effort 8080 lbs.

It is amazing that for many years when all other companies had abandoned this form of power for branch line working that the L & Y  railmotors continued to survive, nevertheless they did and were to be found tucked away between visits to Horwich Works on the Delph and other branches.  In some cases they worked with an ordinary coach attached at the rear.

The whole lot survived to be taken over by the LMSR in 1923 and were renumbered in order of building, 10600 – 17.  Quite a number were scrapped between the wars but several were still performing merrily when the Second World War broke out.  It is amazing that, despite strong competition from auto-fitted tank locomotives of greater power, the survivors managed to cling on for so long and it is a fact that one managed to survive into British Railways, although it never received a new number.

Most of the last survivors congregated at Bolton MPD and in their final hour were used on the workmen’s’ trains between that town and the works at Horwich.  A move to have one preserved was not carried out and unfortunately these unusual machines which were one attempt to make lightly populated branch lines pay their way cheaply and economically disappeared into the realms of railway history.

Withdrawal dates were:-

1927: 10602/3;  1928: 10615;  1929: 10604/5;  1931: 10611/13

1933: 10616;  1934: 10601/7/12;  1935: 10608;  1937: 10609/10/14

1943: 10606;  1947: 10600;  1948: 10617.

L & Y Dolly Tubs

The lower drawing is based loosely on a type built for the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (the livery shown approximates to that of the L & Y). Both these types, and the pre-1920 GWR steam railmotor, are available as kits from Langley.
Steam Railmotor
These machines were usually built to serve the more rural lines and there was often only a single door, usually about the centre. They were commonly equipped with a set of folding steps to allow level crossings to be used as a ‘halt’ without the expense of building a platform and shelter (in some cases the halt consisted of sleepers laid beside the track to form a ground level ‘platform’). One problem with steam railmotors of this type was that they tended to end up rather long, the GWR steam railmotor was about 70ft long, only useable on lines with generous clearances.
One of the advantages of the railmotor was the quick turn round at the terminus. Normally this required the loco to disconnect the brake pipe and possibly the steam heating pipe, uncouple and move round to the other end of the train where it had to be reconnected. The railmotor arrangement meant that the driver just walked up the platform to the cab at the opposite end.

3 responses to “Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – L & Y Railmotors

  1. I was an apprentice at Horwich works from January 1947 a nd traveled frpm Blackrod to Horwich daily on what was known as the Jerk which it did. I also saw it destroyed in the works also. i made a brass model back in the earlt seventies which still goes but was never really finished

  2. The small picture of i surmise you with 70013. i spent about four years at Norwich working has a fitter on the X scheme late 1950s where i believe we had 22 of the Brit’s those where the days. There are not to many Brit.s in the north of South Australia but there are a couple of small ones on the railway in the garage to reminds me of times gone by.
    Cheers Ernie

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