S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Ford BTH Survivor Boxcab Page keywords = boxcab Ford BTH British Thompson Houston ALCo GE IR I-R American Locomotive Company General Electric Ingersoll Rand EMD Electro motive oil electric diesel engine rail road museum Dagenham Kent Sussex Hunslet Barclay

Updated:   04 May 2013; 17:30 ET
[Page converted 06 Jan 2014/04 May 2013; page created 12 Sep 2000;
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
Update info on the top on ALL pages for your convenience.

URL:  http://sbiii.com/boxcfbth.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/boxcfbth.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet service effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

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S. Berliner, III's


Ford BTH
Survivor Boxcab


I-R 60-ton Demo

A new type of locomotive!
Ingersoll-Rand 1925 Demonstrator #9681
(later CNJ #1000)
(ALCo builders photo S-1484 - source uncertain;
possibly from 1980s AAR flyer)




Oil-Electric ("Diesel") Locomotives

(American Locomotive Company - General Electric - Ingersoll-Rand)

INDEX to Boxcabs Pages:

note-rt.gif   The primary Boxcabs Index has been moved to a separate page, together with links and credits.

Boxcab Help - A service for boxcab afficionados,
posting reasonable questions (at my sole discretion).

There are now more than seventy-five (75) BOXCAB pages;
see the full INDEX, now on a separate page.

[A new "bugaboo" has reared its ugly head - complexity of organization -
see COMPLEXITY on my main index page.]

1932 Ford BTH #1

Oil-Electric ("Diesel") Locomotive

(British Thompson-Houston)

(and a few other British boxcabs or
reasonable simulations thereof)



This page is unindexed (to date), except for the 5" Ford BTH model, the 1989 Hunslet-Barclay "Blue John" boxcab, and 1938 Simplex Caravan; please scroll away!

On the Survivor Boxcabs Roster page:



On the succeeding Survivor Boxcabs Continuation Page:

NOTES (by item number per listing) - specific notes about each survivor.

The page of NOTES was split off from the Survivors Roster page and the engine listings renumbered on 10 Sep 99.

There will now be separate pages for each surviving boxcab.  This unit is Item "B" on the map.

This site has now been visited times since the counter was installed.

B.  1932 Ford BTH #1

Survivor Boxcab

Shunting (Switching) Locomotive

An American-style 44-ton, 150HP boxcab is preserved in England at the Kent and East Sussex Railway, Rolvenden, Kent:

32 Ford BTH at Kent & East Sussex
(info. and photo courtesy of P. Excell, 02 Aug 00 - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image; click on the picture for a larger image.]

This diesel-electric switcher was built in 1932 by British Thomson-Houston Company for use at Ford Motor Company's plant at Dagenham, Essex* (near London), in the United Kingdom.

I am indebted to, and thank, Prof. Peter Excell in England for this information.

I hope to dig up more on this unusual survivor and welcome any contributions.

LATE BREAKING NEWS! - a member of the railway "involved with the railway's museum/archives" advised (05 Apr 2001) that the engine, delivered to Ford as their No. 1 (one of three), is not only alive and well but "has just been overhauled and was in service at the Diesel Weekend last month" (emphasis mine)!

He further advised that the railway has "a web page with a recent photo and full technical details".

There is so much there that I will content myself (for the nonce) with the link, above, and some minor additions and corrections to this page, as noted.  Be sure to click on the link; it is a fascinating account [and there were two sister locos built - wonder (and I asked) if they survive?].

As to the last musing, the two sister locos apparently went to the breakers (scrapper) shortly after #1 went to the K&ES, first as their #16, later being renumbered to their #40.

Further, the engine in No. 1 (40) was replaced whil(e)(st) still at Ford(s) with the one from No. 2; it was originally equipped with American-style "buckeye" (knuckle) couplers, long since replaced by British screw couplings.

My sincere thanks to my correspondent, who (i)(e)nquired of photographer John Liddlel and got gracious permission for me to reproduce his photo of No. 1 (40) as restored; the photo was taken originally for the K&ES magazine, the "Tenterdon Terrier":

32 Ford BTH #1 as Kent & East Sussex #40
(Cropped from original photo by John Liddlell, reproduced by specific permission - all rights reserved.)

Incidentally, it has devolved that British Thompson-Houston's American parent built the 1893 GE #1 which was exhibited at the Chicago Columbian Exposition in that year (she survives at the Museum of Transport in St. Louis, Missouri).

* - I owned and drove two British Ford Anglias ('54 and '57) and have "always" known that the plant was in Dagenham, Kent.  A resident thereabouts, who certainly should know, advised 27 Dec 2002 that Dagenham is in Essex, the county on the north side of the River Thames east of London; Kent is the county immediately south of the River Thames east of London.  So much for MY memory!

NEWS! - from Old Blighty comes news (on 25 Mar 2004) that the "April 2004 issue of the magazine 'Railway Bylines', has an article on the Ford plant and its railway system, with photos of many of the locos (mostly British 0-4-0 tanks, of course).  But the pictures also include all three British Thomson Houston 150 bhp boxcabs.  The photos date from the 1950s/60s on the occasions of works visits by specialist enthusiast groups (Railway Correspondence & Travel Society, etc.), so the locos appear to have been 'buffed up' for the visit, everything looking smart and polished, wheel rims freshly painted white, etc.  And the engines have been carefully positioned for the benefit of visiting photographers."

"- - - the stylised 'Ford' name on the sides of the boxcabs was not merely sign-painted, but seems to have been a cast or stamped metal plate.  There is no question that it stands an inch or more {beyond} the flat sides of the loco."

"The magazine is devoted to the celebration of 'small is beautiful (and interesting!)' in British railways, focusing on small branchlines, light railways, industrial railways, narrow gauge, etc.  It is A4 format and generally uses only top quality photos (albeit black-and-white), mostly two-to-a-page, occasionally full page, each comprehensively captioned.  Articles are well-researched, well-written and backed-up by tables, diagrams, etc.  There is a full-page map of the Ford works and its railway system."

" - - - up to now we have accepted that BTH boxcab Ford #1 went to the K&ESR under its own power, but the article says that it was shipped by road, and there is a photo of the body being lifted from the underframe and bogies (trucks) prior to being placed on a road trailer alongside."

There were side and end view drawings of these BTH locos, which might interest modelers, in another magazine, 'The Railway Gazette' and was published when the locos first entered service, back in 1932.  I will try to get them for us.  The drawings show the truck centres were 18' 0" apart and truck wheelbase was 7' 0".  "That is pretty close to the 18' 9" and 6' 10" of the GE-44 ton switcher which is modeled by Bachmann in their Spectrum range."

Even better yet, I now have the Railway Bylines magazine for April 2004; the article ("Focus on Ford" by Ian P. Peaty) and photos on pp. 233-243 are outstanding!  Railway Bylines is a publication of Irwell Press in the U.K.  To top that off, there is an article, "British Box-Cabs!", about the BTH in the April 2003 issue of Satellite 1:87#, "The Journal of the British 1:87# Society"; it includes a general arrangement drawing (side and end views).  It seems (per Peaty) that the BTH "coachwork" was done by Metropolitan-Vickers of Sheffield.

{# - whatever happened to the remaining 0.08571428571428571428571428571428571---}?

Ford BTH Boxcab on 5" Gauge!

Along comes Barry Loraine on 25 Feb 2005 from the Winchester area in England with news that he's building a 5" (!!!) gauge model of the Fords BTH unit!  one thing led to another and Barry sent me photos of the model in progress.  Be it understood that all this started with a pair of power trucks from another (experimental) project:

B Loraine Fords 3bx B Loraine Fords 5ax
(enlarged and enhanced from photos courtesy of B. Loraine - all rights reserved)

Barry is not terribly interested in modeling the boxcab to some weird scale to match the gauge, like 1:11.3, but rather is working to approximately 1:12.  The 5" trucks (power bogies) don't have a lot of detail but Barry is thinking of making some overlays with a vacuum forming machine.  The trucks use hand drill gears and car radiator fan motors.  The body is of MDF (Medium Density Fibre Board - like Masonite) and is slowly taking shape.  Barry reports that "this project has been on the go for at least 18 months, being an occasional lunch hour task at work".  He feels that if you squint, it sort of looks as if he's got the shape about right.  he's run the chassis at his local club ("club", not "pub"), the renowned Canterbury and District Model Engineering Society (for whose Website he is responsible) but as only two wheels on each bogie are driven, "there was a lot of speed but also a lot of wheel spin, so the next task is to drive all the axles"  So, slightly cropped and artificially lightened in some cases (backlight shooting against a sunlit window does create some problems with black paint, eh?), here are the above truck/bogie shots in full with the chassis, the assembled chassis with trucks, the preliminary fit-up of the body on the chassis, and, finally (so far), the roughed-out body mounted on the chassis:

B Loraine Fords 3b B Loraine Fords 5a

B Loraine Fords 1a B Loraine Fords 5

B Loraine Fords 3
(modified from photos courtesy of B. Loraine - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image; click on the picture for a larger image.]

Perhaps if Barry ever gets it finished, he'll send some further pix; following this project is fun!

Oh, I say; if Barry enters the fan-motored model in contests, it will just blow away the competition!

1989 Hunslet-Barclay Boxcab

Although the focus of these pages is on the past, the early beginnings of dieseldom; boxcabs are NOT exclusively a thing of the distant past!  Prof. Excell came through for us again, advising of a "modern" boxcab built in 1989 by Hunslet-Barclay Ltd., of Kilmarnock, Scotland, for the Hope Cement Works in Derbyshire:

Hunslet-Barclay for Hope Cement
(cropped from photo courtesy of Hunslet-Barclay - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image; click on the picture for a larger image.]

Known as "Blue John", she (John?) is fitted with radio remote control, electro-pneumatic controls, Voith axle mounted gearboxes (mechanical drive), and tread brakes.

She is a 75-tonne diesel-hydraulic and is technically similar to a 67-tonne hood unit but with a full-width and -length body.

Predecessor company Hunslet Engine Company, founded in 1864, has been associated with locomotives since the early days of steam; their diesel line was introduced in 1928.  The firm acquired North British Locomotive Company, with its B-B designs, in 1962 and also bought the rail vehicle business of Volvo in 1991 (as well as several other rail operations).

My especial thanks to Peter Excell and to Messrs. Hunslet-Barclay, Ltd. for the lead, the information, and the picture.

[I was asked, "Is that not a boxcab with a vengeance?", but it is not; it is a boxcab with two separate center-flow cars.  I was also told it was "nearly brand new too!" but it is just brand-spanking-new; there isn't one iota of dirt or use on it!]  :)

Uh, oh!  Peter Excell's just excelled again!  Here's another boxcab {?} he's unearthed, a 1938 2-foot gauge Simplex loco at the Leighton Buzzard Railway in England, some 40 miles north of London (oh, if only I'd known!).  She's only minimally a boxcab, with precious little box and only one driving position (if THAT!) and only about 40HP (she could only manage about 3 or 4 skip wagons) but she's irresistible, eh?  Normally sold only for export, she was the only one of her breed sold domestically and was used at a brickworks near Bedford.

Brickworks Boxcab 2 Brickworks Boxcab 3 Brickworks Boxcab 1
[cropped from photos from (l.) Toru's Railway Page (Japanese site) and
(c. and r.) PPS Steam Models]

I had to balance lightening the two prototype photos between just enough to show some semblance of undercarriage and washing out the entire superstucture (what little there is of that); the Alan Whitaker's PPS@ model (available in 32 or 45mm gauge) is a true jewel!

The 1919 Leighton Buzzard Railway ("England's Friendly Little Line") is a narrow-gauge h{e}aven and seems to have more of such; I've asked for details/photos.

@ - I had gone into Alan Whitaker's site backwards and only just noticed that he does not make the Caravan model; he is the "main agent" for I. P. Engineering, which firm does make it.  Looking even more carefully at Alan's site, there is the Caravan without cladding (as "Atlanta"); revealing its innards even better:

Simplex Atlanta
[photo from PPS Steam Models - by permission - all rights reserved]

Notes on surviving ALCo-GE-IR (and just GE-IR or GE alone) boxcabs are on the Survivor Boxcabs Notes page.

Other surviving gas/oil-electric/diesel boxcabs (including +, @, and *, on map on Survivor Boxcabs page) are noted on the Other Boxcabs continuation page.

Other surviving electric (and any other odd) boxcabs (including e and ?, on map) are noted on the Odd Boxcabs continuation page.

Surviving boxcabs in Mexico should appear on these pages shortly.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.

There are now more than seventy-five (75) BOXCAB pages;
see the full INDEX, now on a separate page.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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