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Nostalgia & History > Motorized RR Scooter - Info?

Date: 01/16/22 15:35
Motorized RR Scooter - Info?
Author: WMF7A

I found this photo of a motorized railroad scooter in a bunch of photographs I purchased at an auction last fall. I'm curious if anyone knows anything about such a contraption, who made it and so forth? It looks like she's front wheel drive with a small engine and fuel tank. I have done some looking around on the computer and have found zero information on it. The back of the photo is labeled: Long Island City, 12-3-18. This photo was with a bunch of NYC RR company photographs, although that's not saying for sure that it was used on the NYC.

Wouldn't it be quite a prize to own one of these!


Date: 01/16/22 17:54
Re: Motorized RR Scooter - Info?
Author: Sp1110

I read somewhere that in the 1910's, there were some people that worked near Wall St. In Manhattan, people on the IRT would drive their own private speeders and railbikes between Lower Manhattan and Uptown and the Bronx. They could get home faster by driving around the subway trains on the express tracks. This is why you can sometimes see gaps in the columns in the tunnels where a track used to connect to the adjacent track. Many of the crossover tracks are still there.

If they got stuck behind an express train, they would switch back over to the local track and go around it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/22 17:57 by Sp1110.

Date: 01/16/22 18:42
Re: Motorized RR Scooter - Info?
Author: webmaster

Looks kinda of scary, three wheel rail vehicles are know for derailing.  I wouldn't want to be going very fast on this thing or risk losing your teeth when you fly off the track.

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA

Date: 01/16/22 20:21
Re: Motorized RR Scooter - Info?
Author: GN599

I want one. At least the engineer is on the correct side! Or would he be a motorman?😆

Date: 01/17/22 08:40
Re: Motorized RR Scooter - Info?
Author: Evan_Werkema

Date: 01/17/22 09:15
Re: Motorized RR Scooter - Info?
Author: Hoosieroad

Todd, looks like your son Mason could come up with a prototype in short order. Limit the speed and prevent derails, you could have a winner for all the scooter folks who use them in big cities. 'Handcar and Scooter Tours'.
Interesting to see early designs for something as seemingly low tech like the below Light Inspection Car made in Hagerstown Indiana. The company went on to become Perfect Circle Pistons and started with their own gas engine for the rail inspection vehicles before becoming an established part of the automotive industry. In the 1950's, one of the founders grandsons, Ralph Teetor, who was blind from a early age, invented the modern day version of cruise control in use today among many other patents while leading Perfecr Circle.

Date: 01/17/22 09:15
Re: Motorized RR Scooter - Info?
Author: WMF7A

I'd say you're right. Thank you for the great detective work. Now I have an answer.


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