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Historic Commercial Vehicle Society: Steam Wagons

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Steam Wagons

Steam Wagon and Onlookers
Getting Up Steam

Always a very popular attraction are the steam wagons (or waggons, if you prefer) and tractors that make it to Madeira Drive. The steam-driven road vehicle is an exotic branch of motor history. A road vehicle with a chimney bellowing dirty smoke, or a driver clambering under the vehicle raking out ash is a curiosity which attracts a lot of onlookers.

The golden age of the steam wagon was the first half of the twentieth century, a time when road surfaces were improving, and when the internal combustion engine was still in development. In contrast, steam technology was well established.

The two most successful builders of steam wagons were Sentinel and Foden. There were two main types of engine. The so-called overtype which had its engine mounted on top of the boiler and could achieve speeds up to 30 mph. And the undertype which when fitted with modern, pneumatic wheels (as opposed to wheels with solid rubber tyres) could reach 60mph.


Two Steam Wagons
Two Steam Wagons


1924 Foden C type dropside wagon
R191: 1924 Foden Dropside Wagon


Pile of ash removed
Clearing the ash
Cleaning out the Ash: an awkward job


For more on the HCVS Run, click below
K148, the overall winner
J144, a 1915 bus
L163, a 1911 double deck bus
Fire Appliances
The Outspan Orange Car
J134, 1909 Commer car
Southdown bus, reg UF1517
Steam wagons


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