Preserved AEC railcar No. 22
The interior of railcar 22
|Number built||38 cars|
|Number preserved||3 cars|
|Operator||Great Western Railway
British Rail (Western Region)
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
In 1933, the Great Western Railway introduced the first of what was to become a very successful series of railcars, which survived in regular use into the 1960s, when they were replaced with the new British Rail "first generation" type diesel multiple units.
The original design featured 'air-smoothed' bodywork, which was very much the fashion at the time. The rounded lines of the first examples built led to their nickname: "flying banana". The preserved W4W is an example of the original, rounded body shape. Later examples, such as No. 22 (pictured), had much more angular (and practical) bodywork, yet the nickname persisted for these too.
An odd feature of these units was the fitting of steam heating to them, which had the power to heat the railcar and another two to three coaches.
An unusual feature was the external cardan shaft drive from the gearbox on the rear of a horizontally mounted engine to road-vehicle style reduction boxes outboard of the two axles on one bogie. Later units had two such engine and drive combinations placed on opposite sides. Railcars 19-20 were fitted with a separate high-low ratio gearbox on the final drive side of the gearbox. This allowed a top speed of about 60–70 mph (97–113 km/h) in high and about 40–45 mph (64–72 km/h) in low. Railcar W20W retains this in preservation.
|Number Range||Introduced||Builder||Engine||Weight (long tons)||Seats||Withdrawn||Notes|
|1||1934||Park Royal||1 AEC of 130 hp (97 kW)||24 long tons (24.4 t; 26.9 short tons)||69||1955||Prototype railcar|
|2–4||1934||2 AEC of 130 hp (97 kW)||26.2 long tons (26.6 t; 29.3 short tons)||44||1954–1958||Buffet fitted|
|5–7||1935||Gloucester RCW||25.3 long tons (25.7 t; 28.3 short tons)||70||1957–59||Standard single car|
|8–9, 13–16||1936||29.5 long tons (30.0 t; 33.0 short tons)||70||1957–60||9 withdrawn in 1946 after fire|
|10–12||1936||29.9 long tons (30.4 t; 33.5 short tons)||63||1956–57||Lavatory fitted|
|17||1936||28.85 long tons (29.31 t; 32.31 short tons)||None||1959||Parcels car, capacity 10 long tons (10.2 t; 11.2 short tons)|
|18||1937||33.6 long tons (34.1 t; 37.6 short tons)||49||1957||Prototype, with buffers & draw gear for hauling vans|
|19–33||1940–41||GWR, Swindon||2 AEC of 105 hp (78 kW)||35.65 long tons (36.22 t; 39.93 short tons)||48||1960–62||33 rebuilt in 1954 to replace 37|
|34||1941||34.9 long tons (35.5 t; 39.1 short tons)||None||1960||Parcels car, capacity 10 long tons (10.2 t; 11.2 short tons)|
|35–38||1941–42||36.7 long tons (37.3 t; 41.1 short tons)
+ 37.6 long tons (38.2 t; 42.1 short tons)
|60 + 44||1957, 1962||Power twins with buffet and lavatory 35+36 and 37+38
37 withdrawn in 1949 after fire and replaced by 33
Three of the GWR railcars have survived into preservation, as follows:
|Vehicle No.||Builder||Year Built||Location||Comments|
|W4W||Park Royal||1934||Swindon Steam Railway Museum||-|
|W20W||GWR Swindon||1940||Kent & East Sussex Railway||-|
|W22W||GWR Swindon||1940||Didcot Railway Centre||-|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to GWR railcars.|