Canadian Northern Ontario
Gas-electric self-propelled car.
CNoR 500 Wason Mfg. Co. (sub. of Brill, Springfield,
Mass.) CGE 3718 October 1911.
This 60 passenger gas-electric 57 foot combine had an
open rear platform.
Belleville Circa 1912 Harold Reid
This car was a pioneer effort for the new Canadian National Railways and a long line of self-propelled cars by a number of builders followed and carried on for many years. Like many railways throughout North America these self-propelled cars were an effort to reduce operting costs on light traffic lines or runs. Potential savings were significant not only for coal and other costs to operate a steam locomotive pulling one or two cars but primarily crew wages would could be reduced from five men to two. The earliest cars were gas-mechanical and proved very unreliable. Steam and even battery-electric cars were built. Newer ones were gas-electric and oil-electric. They were often more successful but still were less reliable than a steam locomotive. It wasn't until 1949 and the Budd company's Rail Diesel Car ( R.D.C. ) that a really successful self-propelled car came along. Some still continue in use 60 years later thanks in part to their stainless steel construction.
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