NSWGR Railway Carriage Group
Light Rail Inspection Car
By Peter Goodman
The idea of the recreation of a NSW rail bike (correctly named Hartley and Teetor) came about from discussions between Ken McCawley and myself in about 2004.
I started looking on the internet for information and found a number of articles from the USA, one of which gave a brief outline of the company history of Hartley and Teetor.
These first rail cycles were built in 1894 by Charles Teetor in his bicycle shop, in response to a request by Charles Hartley, Superintendent of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.
Hartley and Teetor expanded with the increased demand for their product and the company became the ‘Railway Cycle Manufacturing Company’ incorporated in Hagerstown Feb 16 1895. In 1900 due to further expansion, the company changed its name to the ‘Light Inspection Car Company’. By this time one cycle car per day was being shipped all over the world.
All gauges could be catered for in the design of the cycle car and cars were built in one or two man configurations.
Cycle Cars in NSW
Very little hard evidence can be found of these cycles in NSWGR service. However, a few word of mouth reports from retired and unfortunately deceased railway engineers and workers recalled these cycles in service with the NSWGR.
The two man version of the cycle is believed to have been the basis of the ‘Rotameter’ which was used to measure and mark track lengths in NSW until the 1930s.
It is believed that a ‘sample’ single seat car was imported in 1898 with an order for more cars arriving between 1905 and 1914. (It is not known if they were single or two seat versions).
Existing Cycle Cars
Two known cycle cars exist in 3’6” gauge in Australia. One is at the Swanbank Railway Museum, between Brisbane and Ipswich Qld, and the other is in Broken Hill at the Silverton Museum NSW. A standard gauge light inspection car is also located in the Whippany Railway Museum NY. USA.
Queensland rail bike.
(Picture by courtesy of Swanbank Railway Museum)