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LMS Route: Nuneaton to Leamington

Kenilworth Station: lnwrk161

Coventry Pneumatic Railcar No 2 is seen passing through Kenilworth station on its way to Nuneaton via Coventry

Coventry Pneumatic Railcar No 2 is seen passing through Kenilworth station on its way to Nuneaton via Coventry. The first railcar was made by the French Michelin Company, and a further two were built under licence by Armstrong Siddeley Motors at their Parkside, Coventry factory in 1936-37. The driver sat in the raised 'cockpit', to the left of the which is the radiator air intake which had to be raised when running with the passenger compartment leading and the radiator at the rear. Below the driver's compartment a roller shutter door provided access to the luggage compartment. A similar door was fitted on the opposite side. Midway along the bodyside were the manually-operated double sliding doors into the passenger saloon.The Coventry railcars were put into store at the outbreak of the Second World War and were scrapped in 1945. A number of photographs of the Coventry Pneumatice Railcar can be seen in images 'lnwrns1732', 'lnwrlave1349', 'lnwrlave1349a' and 'lnwrlave1362'.

The history of pneumatic tyred railcars in this country is as follows. A 24 seat 'Micheline Type 9' railcar was tested by all of the Big Four railway companies in 1932 (see 'gwrwm421' for it being trialled by the GWR). The LMS alone seemed convinced by the possibilities of pneumatic tyred railcars. In March 1934 a larger, improved railcar was brought from France for testing. It seated 56 passengers and was similar in appearance to the railcar photographed at Kenilworth. Armstrong Siddeley Motors became interested in the Micheline principle, setting up a subsidiary, The Coventry Pneumatic Railcar Company, to build pneumatic tyred railcars under licence. An order was received from the LMS for two 56 seat vehicles. Although the railcars were French in design, Armstrong Siddeley emphasised that they were entirely British in manufacture.

Peter Barnes, Librarian, Coventry Branch of Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust