Battery railcar (Lab 16 'Gemini')

A contemporary account of the vehicles
The battery railcar consists of two vehicles semi-permanently coupled together and designated: Motor Coach RDB975003 and Driving Trailer RDB 975004.

The two coaches cannot be separated in service as each carries one half of the battery, but together they may be coupled to other air braked vehicles subject to the approval of the C.M. & E.E. The two coaches are connected by a standard screw coupling, three main power cables, traction control jumper, compressor jumper, heating and lighting jumper, voltage scanner jumper, brake control jumper and two air hoses.

Normal screw couplings and air hoses are provided at each end of the train. Charging sockets are provided at each end for
connecting the train to the charging plant. The two traction motors, traction control equipment and motor generator are
carried on the motor coach, and the air compressor on the driving trailer.

The coaches are of the open saloon type with road motor omnibus style seating, arranged to face the driving cab. First Class accommodation and a toilet are provided in the driving trailer and a guard's and luggage compartment on the motor coach.

Each coach is heated by warm air from two Smith's oil combustion heaters carried on the underframe. Standard 24 volt coach lighting is fitted, the 24 volt supply being obtained from the motor generator set. The train is fitted with a single pipe air brake controlled by a Davies & Metcalfe E.70 electrically operated control unit. A handbrake, which applies the blocks on the nearest bogie only, is provided in each cab.


First day of operation at Ballater in 1958 complete with pipers

BR official

Battery railcar Gemini

The unique battery railcar Gemini (Lab 16 RDB975003 and RDB975004) was used exclusively by the Train Control Group and is shown just west of the Mickleover depot site heading towards Egginton Jcn, sometime in the late 1970s.

It was originally BR Sc79998 and Sc79999 and was used on the Ballater branch where it began its working life in 1958 and was acquired by the R&DD in 1966. It is now at the Deeside Railway where its restoration is being completed having been originally undertaken on the East Lancs Railway. For more information look on the Deeside Railway site.

Author's collection

Derby Lightweight battery railcar Gemini at Friargate

BR official

Derby Lightweight battery railcar Gemini passing Dennis Wheaton the head platelayer at Etwall. Taken near Sutton Lane Etwall in 1970

Gerald Anthony


A nice colour shot of the 2-car set Gemini at Bury on the ELR on 5th October 1991 during its restoration

Simeon Gaskell


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