Drewry Car Co.

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Drewry railcar used in Argentine Comodoro Rivadavia Railway in the 1940s.
A Baguley-Drewry inspection car (right) on the 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway in Wales
NZR RM class (88 seater) under restoration

Drewry Car Co, strictly speaking, was a railway locomotive and railcar sales organisation for most of its life. Only at the start and the end of its life did it build its own products, relying on sub-contractors for the rest of its time. It was quite separate from the lorry-builder, Shelvoke and Drewry, but it is believed that James Sidney Drewry was involved with both companies.


Drewry & Sons ran a motor and cycle repair business in Herne Hill, London, and started building BSA engined inspection railcars. A ready market was found in South America, Africa, and India. Drewry Car Co Ltd was registered on 27 November 1906. In 1908 BSA (of motor-cycle fame) took over building the railcars at Small Heath, Birmingham. In 1911 building was taken over by Baguley Cars Ltd, Burton-on-Trent. From 1930 a lot of Drewry locomotives were built by English Electric companies.

In 1962 Drewry acquired a controlling interest in what had become E E Baguley Ltd, and formed Baguley-Drewry Ltd in 1962, thus once again building its own locomotives, in Burton-on-Trent. The company closed in 1984.

Shunting locomotives[edit]

From 1936 a number of shunting locomotives NZR TR class were supplied to the New Zealand Railways; the 1936-41 locos were originally powered by Parsons or Leyland petrol engines.

In later years Drewry offered a fairly standard range of industrial shunting locos, and from 1952 supplied 142 0-6-0 diesel shunters to British Railways, with Gardner 8L3 204 hp engines and Wilson epicyclic gearboxes. These were BR D2200 - D2341, British Rail Class 04.


In 1927 the Southern Railway purchased a 50 hp petrol railcar from Drewry to test its operating cost and reliability on lightly used branch lines.[1] It was tested on various branch lines in Southern England but found to be too small for most purposes. It was sold to the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway in 1934 and broken up in 1940 when that railway was sold to the Great Western Railway.

In 1954-55, 35 Articulated Railcars NZR RM class (88 seater) were supplied to New Zealand Railways. Known unofficially as 'articulateds', 'Drewrys', or 'Fiats' or 'twinsets', they were powered by troublesome FIAT diesel engines.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Locomotives of the Southern Railway. Part 1, Railway Corresponce and Travel Society, 1975.


  • "The Drewry Car Company:1906-1970". Industrial Railway Record. Industrial Railway Society (40). 1972.
  • Marsden, Colin J., (2003) The Diesel Shunter, Oxford Publishing, ISBN 0-86093-579-5
  • The Railway Products of Baguley-Drewry Ltd and Its Predecessors, Civil, A, and Etherington, R, (2008), The Industrial Railway Society, ISBN 978-1-901556-44-5

External links[edit]