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Thursday 26th March 2020 19.00 Rothley Station, Station Rd, Leicester LE7 7LA

An evening shoot using unique North Eastern Railway Autocar at the GCR’s gaslit Rothley Station.

Join us for an evening of photography using the unique and colourful North Eastern Railway Electric Autocar No.3170 of 1903 vintage in the Edwardian gaslit splendour of the Great Central Railway’s Rothley Station


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About this event

One of the most remarkable pieces of railway history to be returned to operational condition is the North Eastern Railway Electric Autocar which has recently returned to action following fifteen years of hard work by owner Stephen Middleton. We are therefore delighted to be able to offer a dedicated photography day with this unique and colourful vehicle during its short visit to the Great Central Railway this Spring. No.3170 is painted in the attractive red and white colour scheme which the Autocar carried in its earlier years prior to the takeover of the North Eastern Railway by the LNER at Grouping in 1923 (from 1923 until withdrawal in 1931 the vehicle carried LNER brown livery) and is therefore an ideal subject for photography.

At dusk and after dark as we will pose 3170 in and around the superbly-restored gaslit station at Rothley. This is essentially a continuation of our daytime shoot, but is being offered as a stand-alone event for those who may be working during the day but would still like the chance to photograph the Autocar at night.

When introduced in 1903, the Electric Autocar was a truly pioneering vehicle. Designed by Vincent Raven, the Assistant Chief Mechanical Engineer of the North Eastern Railway, two of these railcars, 3170 and 3171, were introduced and initially used between Hartlepool and West Hartlepool; they later worked between Scarborough and Filey and then on the Selby to Cawood branch line. No.3170 was later paired with a trailer to increase passenger carrying capacity and received a more powerful engine and generator to enable it to haul this additional vehicle. Both autocars survived into the 1930s though were withdrawn early in the decade, upon which 3170 was sold out of service for use as a holiday home, a transaction which ultimately ensured its survival.

The Autocars were the first railway passenger vehicles in the world to be powered using an internal combustion engine. They carried a Diesel engine which drove a dynamo which in turn provided power to the electric motors. They also had the first electric track brakes used on railways. In its restored guise, 3170 is powered by a more modern diesel engine though in all respects its outward appearance represents the ambiance and aesthetics of the 1900s. For this evening session, we aim to use a number of appropriately-dressed period passengers (in terms of appearance rather than age!) and will include a number of cameo scenes in and around Rothley Station.  Start time circa 19.00 hours.

We would like to thank both the vehicle’s owner, the 1903 Electric Autocar Trust, and the Great Central Railway for allowing us to use Autocar No.3170 for this special charter. A unique survivor in a hugely photogenic livery, this is a rare opportunity to use the vehicle on a photographic charter amid the Edwardian splendour and gas lighting of Rothley Station. A truly unusual opportunity and an evening we are sure you will want to join.

Please note images are for illustrative purposes only and at the time of publicising the event no after dark images were available. 
Images courtesy of Simon Smiler & The NER 1903 Electric Autocar Trust

Event requirements


  • Spare batteries
  • Camera
  • Lenses
  • Tripod


  • All levels welcome


  • Low

Other essentials

  • Sturdy outdoor shoes
  • Torch
  • Warm clothing
  • Wet weather gear

Event location

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