Lucas Aerospace Workers Road Rail Bus at Crich, 16 August 1980 :: Shared Description

This was a project by the Lucas Aerospace Combine Shop Stewards Committee to develop a socially useful project to combat redundancy. (It was not backed by the Lucas company).

The idea of creating a vehicle capable of combining the energy efficiency of railed traction with on-road flexibility was not new, but the project sought to do it with more modern technology.

The Crich tramway was chosen as a suitable place for a test run because of the ease of switching from road to rail mode, and an initial test run was carried out on Saturday 15th August 1980.

The bus used was a former Hants and Dorset Motor Services Bristol LH. The traditional front axle was replaced by a bogie with two road-wheel axles either side of an axle with two rail-profile steel wheels. This axle could be lowered hydraulically when running in rail mode to provide rail guidance, the pneumatic tyres still carrying most of the load. There was a similar guide axle behind the normal rear axle of the bus.

The bus made a return trip between Town End and Wakebridge, but the test was not without incident, as the vehicle derailed on the sharp curve entering Wakebridge. As the location is in a narrow rock cutting, restoring the bus to the rails was not entirely straightforward. A significant factor in the derailment was that the profile of the rail wheels was intended for use on a normal railway profile rail, rather than the traditional grooved tramway wheels at the museum. A further trial in September, which was attended by a number of industry professionals was concluded without any problems.

The vehicle later made further test runs on the West Somerset Railway, but the project never made any progress beyond that.
by Alan Murray-Rust
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6 images use this description:

SK3454 : Road-rail bus at Crich, 1980  1 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK3455 : Road-rail bus at Crich, 1980  6 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK3455 : Road-rail bus at Crich, 1980  4 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK3455 : Road-rail bus at Crich, 1980  3 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK3455 : Road-rail bus at Crich, 1980  5 by Alan Murray-Rust
SK3454 : Road-rail bus at Crich, 1980  2 by Alan Murray-Rust

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Created: Fri, 17 Jul 2020, Updated: Fri, 17 Jul 2020

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2020 Alan Murray-Rust, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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