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About this eventWe are delighted to offer the opportunity of an evening of photography using the superbly-restored North Eastern Railway Autocar at the Great Central Railway’s Rothley Station which has been restored beautifully to its Edwardian period appearance.
Initially there were two railcars built to this design which first appeared in 1903 and for their time were quite revolutionary, featuring a petrol engine driving a dynamo supplying power to the vehicle’s electric motors. This was the first use of an internal combustion engine in a passenger-carrying rail vehicle anywhere in the world and also the first use of electric track brakes. The idea was that of Vincent Raven, the Assistant Chief Mechanical Engineer of the North Eastern Railway, who recognised the superior acceleration and hill climbing ability of trams and applied that to railways but without all the inconvenience and expense of installing overhead power lines.
Numbered 3170 and 3171, they carried the red and cream livery in which 3170 has been completed up until Grouping in 1923, after which the LNER modified 3170 with a larger engine and generator, which allowed it to pull an additional coach, outshopping the vehicle in LNER brown livery. No.3170 lasted in traffic until 1931, one year longer than No.3171. The usual haunt of the vehicles in their latter days was the Selby-Cawood branch in Yorkshire. In many ways, these two vehicles foreshadowed those diesel and electric multiple units which were to become an everyday part of the British railway scene from the 1950s onwards.
Upon withdrawal, No.3170 was sold to a local landowner and converted for use as a static holiday home near Kirkbymoorside in North Yorkshire. It remained in this condition until 2003 when it was rescued by preservationist Stephen Middleton who commenced the task of putting the Autocar back on the rails with its original appearance and new replacement engine, partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
We have arranged to feature No.3170 in and around the station at Rothley as its Edwardian ambiance complements the Autocar, carrying the livery it appeared in up until 1923. We will have use of the Autocar from 16.30 until 21.00 hours and plan some late afternoon shots near Rothley prior to our lengthy evening session.
Rothley Station has been restored as much as possible to its appearance of 1912 just prior to the First World War. The station lighting is provided entirely by gas, both in the station buildings and on the platform itself. There was no electricity on the station in either the days of the Great Central or in later years with British Railways, electricity only becoming a feature in preservation days. The signal box is a traditional Great Central structure originally located at Wembley, so has all the ingredients necessary to make an atmospheric recreation of the immediate pre-World War I years.
We hope to include some period passengers in some of our scenes, but do shots both with and without people to cater for all tastes and types of photography.
We would like to thank the host Great Central Railway and the owners Stephen Middleton and The 1903 Electric Autocar Trust for their help in facilitating this event. Although not a ‘mainstream’ shoot, it will hopefully appeal to enough of you to allow our event to proceed, showcasing an early pioneer of electric power in a fitting and beautifully-restored setting.
*Images for illustrative purposes only
- Spare batteries
- Camera protection - rain covers etc
Other things you should bring
- Bottled water
- All levels welcome
- Sturdy outdoor shoes
- Warm clothing
- Wet weather gear
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