Nothing New Under The Sun?

This is from a new company as per its promo video.


Lets go back to the 1930s. Rail vehicles that worked much like a bus with a driver and a diesel engine, began to spread throughout the world’s rail networks.






and, slightly more recently than any of the the above …


The Uerdingen railbus is the common term for the multiple units which were developed by the German firm of Waggonfabrik Uerdingen for the Deutsche Bundesbahn and private railways after the Second World War. These vehicles were diesel-powered, twin-axle railbuses of light construction. The diesel motors were built into the chassis underneath the vehicle. The Class 795 Class 798  in particular, are associated with this concept. These vehicles were employed in passenger train duties on branch lines where steam or diesel train operations were less profitable. Including the units built under licence, a total of 1,492 power cars were built from 1950 to 1971.

The railbus, much loved by passengers, was also nicknamed the Rote Brummer (Red Buzzer) because of the loud noise it made when driving. In North Germany the railbus was also often known as the Ferkeltaxe (Piglet Taxi). Amongst railway fans it was also called the Retter der Nebenbahnen (Branch Line Saviour).

They tended to run with an unpowered trailer to give extra capacity.

So why did the railbus idea succeed in Germany but was a dismal flop in GB?

1. Weak Technology – The GB railbuses didn’t actually work very well. The German Red Buzzers were reliable if a bit noisy.

2. Weak Finances – When fbb ran a coach company, folk would seek a booking for “twenty five people”. fbb had to point out that the cost of running a coach was the same for 25 as for 55. Most GB rail buses served staffed stations and that meant at least two staff and two shifts seven days a week. Very expensive and no saving using the rail bus.

3. Inflexible – They were not capable of hauling a trailer – even if they could be upgraded, no trailers were ever ordered.

GB rail buses arrived in 1958 and by 1966 they had all gone. It was later that the Eastern Region of BR pioneered the “Paytrain” concept serving unstaffed stations and selling tickets on the trains..

fbb’s Favourite Railbus

The above is seen outside Bedford Midland station operating a service to Northampton. It was built by Park Royal and, in fbb’s humble estimation (fbb, humble?), was the best looking of the panoply of rail buses
To his utter shame, fbb never took a rail bus ride despite the service being local. They did not last long. Most moved to Scotland but didn’t last long there either; here is one on the Craigendoran service.
Soon after marrying Mrs fbb, your cheery blogger decided to rejuvenate his model railway interest. Money was extremely short so the idea was to buy an Airfix (now Dapol) Railbus kit …
… and using easy to understand instructions …
… glue the bits together …
… and fit a motor.

It would be a simple to and fro “shelf” layout, somehing like this:-

While fbb gave the problem some thought, the unmade kit languished on a drawer. fbb still has the drawer but the kit evaporated or was transported to the planet Zog. The sad fact was that such a gargantuan motorising task was well beyond fbb’s capabilities – then as now.

So our readers can imagine the excitement when the old blogger spotted an item on Hattons web site …

… advertising an Airfix (now Dapol) second hand Park Royal rail bus all made up and motorised..
So fbb took a close look at the detailed description of this model. He had bought a couple of second hand duds before; and did not want to waste his pension money on a failure, mirroring the full sized originals.

More on this tomorrow.

And A New Feature From fbb

An eye opening video showing what is in a Railbus kit.

But not how to make it. We must wait for part two!

Meanwhile : How Much? 

Coaches At Over £120 each.

O.K. one of the coaches has a motor in it. Note that, if you want electronic digital control and sound, the cost per coach rises to £138.

You can see why fbb buys second hand. Even if it doesn’t work very well it can be parked in a siding as a static exhibit of a work in progress.

It happens in real life!

More, as they say, on ths story later.

The Intruder Sleeps

Big Ginge, who pops into fbb mansions occasionally to pinch Mr Tubble’s grubbles, has begun to make himself a bit more at home. As he is often locked out of his home residence at night, he has begun to take a short nap (e.g. 2300 to 0600) c/o the fbbs.

He usually leaves when discovered.

Two nights back he slept soundly in the front bedroom.

He is nothing if not persistent.


P.S. “Nothing new under the sun” is a direct quote from the Bible book of Ecclesiastes, not a book for Biblical beginners.

 Next Railbus blog : Tuesday 31st October 

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