Wickham of Ware in Hertfordshire built over 600 Wickham trollies between 1948 and 1990. British Railways used the trollies as the type No.27 Gang and Inspection trolley. As the first mechanised tools used by permanent way track gangs, the Wickham trollies revolutionised track maintenance.
The track maintenance crew (track gang) would load up a small trailer loaded with tools, sleepers, rail chairs, keys, fishplates and any other part which might be needed. The trolly would then haul the crew and the trailer to the section of track in need of repair. Once they had arrived on site, the trolly was light enough for the gang to lift it off the track. This allowed the line to re-open as soon as possible.
25 of the trollies went to the Ministry of Supply / MoD between 1954 and 1960. What’s more, the 1966 film ‘The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery’ (filmed in part on the Longmoor Military Railway) even featured one of them.
Some versions did away with the rear passenger carrying area and used this section for tools and even a diesel generator or air compressor. It had the capability of pulling a trailer wagon with tools but was then restricted to a two-man crew.
On later models a standard four-cylinder motor car engine, e.g., the Ford Anglia car 100E engine, provided power through a standard three-speed gearbox to a final chain drive transfer gearbox which included the forward and reverse selection.