A narrow gauge Wickham trolley. The subject is ex-MOD and is based at the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre, Sussex
Some versions did away with the rear passenger carrying area and used this section for tools and even a diesel generator or air compressor. It was capable of pulling a trailer wagon with tools, but was then restricted to a two man crew.
On later models a standard four cylinder motor car engine, e.g. the Ford Anglia car 100E engine, provided power through a standard three speed gearbox to a final chain drive transfer gearbox which included the forward and reverse selection.
Early products and services provided by D Wickham & Co included castings (e.g. manhole covers), brewery equipment and car repairs. Wickham built their first railcar, for the 3 ft 6in gauge Taltal Railway in Chile, in April 1922.
Their last was outsourced in 1991. Including a few railcars built by their successors in the 1990s, nearly 12,000 vehicles of many varieties were produced to their designs.
There are two extant railcars based on the Isle of Man Railway, one of which is in operational condition and based at Douglas Station, used for annual transport galas; the other vehicle is stored out of use at Castletown Station. These two examples are both 3 ft 0in gauge. Further examples were used on the Snaefell Mountain Railway by the Civil Aviation Authority to access masts at the summit (of 3 ft 6in gauge) and one version with toastrack seating from the Queen's Pier Tramway in Ramsey which was to 3 ft 0in gauge. This particular vehicle had open sides and was used in addition to a Planet petrol locomotive which remains extant at the Manx Transport Museum in Jurby whilst the railcar was relocated to the Isle of Man Railway in 1975 to provide transport when the lines to Peel and Ramsey were lifted. It was later scrapped by the railway in 1978.
Dennis Wickham founded the company in 1886 as Motor Car and General Engineers. He came from a brewing family and an early product was machinery for breweries.
The company operated as D Wickham & Co. Ltd of Ware & Stevenage (Hertfordshire, UK), Wickham Rail Ltd of Suckley & Bishop's Frome (Worcestershire, UK) and Wickham Rail Cars of Goodyear (Arizona, USA).