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Profiles - Automotive
Prior to the opening of the channel tunnel, most car-carrying wagons were numbered in the domestic series and were used to convey new cars to and from the major docks (for imports and exports) and between factories and distribution centres. At first the rolling stock used was basic flat wagons but the arrival of the first practicable double-deck car carrier (the Cartic-4) in 1964 allowed for huge gains in productivity. BR bought nine of the 4-car sets and used them on Motorail trains for a while before transferring them to new car movements. However, the private sector invested in no fewer than 149 sets and these dominated the sector until the mid-1980s. Other designs appeared in the form of the Procar 80 single wagon and the Railease 3-axle Autics, the latter also being developed into a single-deck version for the movement of larger cars and vans. All these wagons were affected by lineside vandalism and various modifications were made to protect the loads.
The opening of the channel tunnel and the decline of home production of cars had a considerable affect on this sector. The distinctive WIA sets of 5 fully enclosed wagons took over much of the traffic, while RIV-registered 2 and 3-axle designs could also be seen. Very few domestic types remain in service.

Image Type Built Qty Used Added Edited

FQA/PJA/XMA Cartic-4 car carriers 1964-1972 632 1964-2013 01/12/2006 01/09/2014
The tricky problem of efficiently carrying motor cars within the restrictive British loading gauge was definitively solved with the introduction of this revolutionary design in 1964. Made up of sets of four, double-decked wagons articulated across five small-wheeled bogies, the Cartics were not a huge success on Motorail services but came to dominate the transportation of new cars for the next 25 years.

PKA/PQA 3-axle Car Transporter Wagons 1981-1983 158 1981-current 23/12/2007 16/06/2008
The PKA was a three-axle articulated vehicle carrier of French design, built in the early 1980s. Coming in double-deck (later recoded PQA) and single-deck varieties, a total of 158 wagons were built, permanently coupled into 79 sets. They were hired to a number of different companies and wore a corresponding range of liveries. From the early 1990s, most were renumbered to permit operation on train ferries and later through the channel tunnel. In recent years the few remaining domestic sets have found alternate use carrying track-relaying equipment.

PLA/JLA Procor 80 Car Transporter Wagons  1979-1981 36 1979-c.1995 23/12/2007 19/01/2008
The Cartic-4 was well established as the main wagon type for domestic motor car movements by the 1970s. However, the introduction of larger cars and the inflexibility of the fixed Cartic-4 sets led Procor to develop a single unit car carrier in 1979. At 76ft the Procor 80 was one of the longest wagons to have worked on BR. 36 were built and were used by a variety of customers but all were stored out of use by 1995 and later scrapped.

Page added: 01/10/2007 Spotted an error? Got some additional info?
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Last edited: 16/06/2008