Beamish recreates early road-rail vehicle

EARLY steam market leader Beamish Museum has recreated a LNWR ‘Crewe tractor’ road-rail vehicle.

Based on over 130 vehicles adapted by the LNWR at Crewe works in 1916-17, the project at the County Durham museum is the first phase in a multi-part programme of restoration work on three Ford Model Ts.

The new Crewe Tractor. BEAMISH

The inspiration for the ‘Crewe Tractor’ is said to have come from the daughter of the LNWR’s Chief Mechanical Engineer, Charles Bowen-Cooke, who had become aware of a lack of powered transport on the lightly-laid tramways operated behind the trenches across France and Belgium in world War One.

The design saw the adaptation of a standard Ford Model T (manufactured in Trafford Park) complete with a lightweight utility body and kit-form railway chassis. Within one hour, they could be adapted from road trim to a 2ft gauge locomotive with load space.

Read more in Issue 225 of Heritage Railway – on sale February 9

Enjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.