Wickham trolley

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Standard gauge Wickham trolley, at Locomotion museum, Shildon

The Wickham trolley was a railway engineering personnel carrier, used on British Railways as the type No.27 Gang and Inspection trolley. It was introduced in 1948 and over 600 were built between then and 1990, of which 25 went to the Ministry of Supply / MoD between 1954 and 1960. One was featured in 1966 film The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery, filmed in part on the Longmoor Military Railway.


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.

In New Zealand, two 4 man trolleys were built primarily as track inspection trolleys, one dedicated to each island.[1]


Early models of the permanent way maintenance ganger's trolley used a vee-twin JAP engine. This drove through a large flat flywheel and a friction drive.[2]

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.

Other products and services[edit]

General engineering[edit]

Queen's Pier Trolley

Early products and services provided by D Wickham & Co included castings (e.g. manhole covers), brewery equipment and car repairs.[3] Wickham built their first railcar, for the 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) 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.

Railcars built for British Rail included:-

Isle of Man[edit]

Wickham Railcar, Laxey

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 (914 mm) gauge. Further examples were used on the Snaefell Mountain Railway by the Civil Aviation Authority to access masts at the summit (of 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge) and one version with toastrack seating from the Queen's Pier Tramway in Ramsey which was to 3 ft (914 mm) 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.

The company[edit]

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.[4]

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).


  1. ^ "Wickhams in Australia & New Zealand". Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "Wickham Motor Trolley". South Devon Railway. 5 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Ford, L. G., Wickham of Ware, The Rockingham Press, 2003, page 10, ISBN 1-873468-40-7
  4. ^ Ford, L. G., Wickham of Ware, The Rockingham Press, 2003, page 9, ISBN 1-873468-40-7

External links[edit]