DONEGAL RAILBUS No 4 

BUILD IN 2.5” GAUGE

By Julius de Waal

Some time back, MEWS readers were asked to help identify and find details for an Australian rail bus project, based on a single drawing. It transpired that it was, in fact, Irish and ran on the County Donegal Railways extensive 3’ narrow gauge system serving the County between 1906 and 1960.

The CDR were pioneers in the use of diesel traction. The first diesel railcar was built in 1930 (the first diesel railcar anywhere in the British Isles), although two further petrol-engined railcars were built before standardization on diesel traction in 1934. Eight articulated diesel railcars were constructed by Walker Brothers of Wigan between 1934 and 1951, by which time virtually all passenger services were operated by diesel railcar.

The railcars were capable of hauling trailers or freight wagons. A diesel locomotive named Phoenix, converted from a steam locomotive, was also used.

However, before the CDR changed to diesel it used petrol engined buses, including two bought from the Derwent Valley Light Railway  in 1926. The DVLR had purchased them in May 1924 at a cost of £1,070 each. They were built on a Ford 1‑ton truck chassis with bodywork by C.H. Roe Ltd of Leeds. Rated at 22hp, they weighed 2 tons 7 cwts, and were fitted with 17 seats.

The CDR paid £480 for the pair, arriving in Londonderry on 7th August 1926. Conversion to the 3ft gauge increased the total cost to £314 each. They were successful and lasted until 1934 when they were withdrawn from service.

This article has drawings for the 2.5” gauge version of the CDRJC No 4 rail bus. Builders can adapt to suit their choice of power unit. A 45mm version can be found here.

CLICK ON DRAWINGS TO DOWNLOAD. FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY.