Motor coach (rail)
A motor coach (International usage) or motorcar (US usage) is a powered rail vehicle able to pull several trailers and at the same time transport passengers or luggage. With multiple unit train control, one operator can control several "motor coaches", possibly even combined with locomotives, efficiently in the same train, making longer trains possible. A motor coach is distinguished from a railcar or railbus by not being lightweight.
Motor coaches can replace locomotives at the head of local passenger or freight trains. Especially electrified narrow gauge lines on the European continent often saw this form of operation. Many of these railways closed down, many others changed to electric multiple units. But a few lines in Switzerland, Italy and Austria still work with train consists hauled by motor coaches. It can be expected that the Bernina line of Rhaetian Railway will continue for a long time to be operated with motor coaches pulling passenger and freight trains.
Examples of motor coaches
Two motor coaches of RhB in MU pulling the maximum allowed load of 140 t on the Bernina line
Metre-gauge electric twin motor coach ABDe 8/8 4004 of the MOB in Switzerland pulling two coaches and two cement wagons
A Czech diesel motor coach with a driving trailer
Examples of railcars
ARB BCFhe 2/3 6 in Switzerland, oldest operational rack railcar of the world, built in 1911
Soviet railcar AS1A at Museum of the Moscow Railway (Moscow Rizhsky station)
Czech railbus (now nicknamed Regiomouse)
Examples of multiple units not combined with other vehicles
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