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Motor Rail Ltd

Motor Rail Ltd

Alan M. Keef

152 pages. 275x215mm. Printed on gloss art paper, casebound with printed board covers.

ISBN13 : 9781911038092


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The Motor Rail & Tram Car Co. Ltd was registered on 20th March 1911, an offshoot of the East India Tramways Co. Ltd which had been formed in 1884 to build and operate a tram system in Karachi, in what is now Pakistan. This book explains the history of Motor Rail under the Abbott family, from the design of the original ‘Simplex’ gearbox giving two speeds in either direction, through the supply of light railway tractors during the First World War and the expansion of the locomotive business with worldwide sales (and the subsequent problems in South Africa after the Second World War). It then records the attempts at product diversification under new owners after 1965 and the eventual winding up of Motor Rail in 1987, when Alan Keef Ltd bought the company’s remaining rail assets. Finally, it looks at the histories of some of the extant locomotives. The volume is illustrated with over 200 photographs covering the full history and product range of the company.

Motor Rail Ltd - Sample Images

sample book illustration
Photographs of the armoured version of the 40hp tractor seem to be a little bit rare so this one MR 463 of 1917 is useful. Apart from a glimpse of the inside, with the water pump and magneto prominent, it shows the heavily armoured roof with mere slits for the driver to see through. These had a shutter on the inside so that they could be closed off. Thus although not protected from artillery fire the driver stood a reasonable chance with something less destructive. courtesy Industrial Railway Society
sample book illustration
The hand-written caption is barely decipherable but prominently states: ‘The first petrol tram in the world – Karachi, 1910. 46-seat open type. 8 miles to the gallon with petrol at 7 annas per gallon, weight unloaded 3 tons. Designed by John Abbott, Chairman, with J.R. Abbott, his father. Lucas Valveless engine and Dixon Abbott Patent Gearbox.’