Self-propelled carriages were a major innovation at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the GWR was quick to develop a large number of steam motor cars to link farms and scattered villages across the South West to the new branch lines. Their steam motor cars ran from 1903 to 1935, stopping during the war, and were so effective at making rural areas accessible they became victims of their own success. Wagons brought in to meet the high demand proved too heavy for the carriages and they struggled on hills. Soon the steam rail motor services were in decline. After its cancellation all ninety-nine steam carriages were eventually scrapped.
Engineer Ken Gibbs reveals the unique GWR carriages, a window into early twentieth-century transport, and the modern replica he helped build, now the only way of viewing these charming historic vehicles.