The first steam railmotors date back to the mid 19th century, but the idea came of age in the early 20th century, when a vehicle capable of being reversed quickly, and designed for local trains making frequent stops was required.
Since then a succession of railcars and multiple units, powered by steam, diesel and electricity, have come to dominate the branch line and local services of our railways.
Railmotor No. 93 was originally built at Swindon in 1908 to Diagram R Lot 1142. Diagrams O and R represent a group of thirty five virtually identical railmotors ordered by the Great Western Railway in four batches between September 1905 and February 1908.
No. 93 was initially allocated to Southall shed and from then on spent time at many other depots including Bristol, Croes Newydd, Chalford, Gloucester, Stourbridge, Taunton and Yatton.
No. 93 was condemned as a Steam railmotor at Swindon on 19th November 1934 and was converted into Auto Trailer No. 212 in which guise it appeared in May 1935 to Diagram A30, Lot 1542.
The Auto Trailer was itself condemned in May 1956. However, the vehicle was not scrapped but converted into a 'Work Study Coach' with a British Railways internal user number of 079014, this ended up in use as an office in Birmingham.
When British Railways wished to dispose of the vehicle, it was acquired by the Great Western Society and brought to Didcot Railway Centre in 1970, becoming the sole example of the Great Western Railway's original fleet of 99 steam propelled railcars to enter preservation.
In 2011 a major Heritage Lottery funded project to return it to a working steam railmotor was completed when it ran successfully for the first time in 75 years.
More Information can be found on the Steam Railmotor Website
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