The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

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The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby johnthefireman » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:56 am

The end is nigh for Chiltern’s ‘Bubble cars’

57 years old and still in daily revenue-earning passenger service, at least for one more month...
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby David Benton » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:41 pm

They could trundle along at quite a decent clip, at least it seemed like it riding them.
Are these the ones that sound abit like a tractor , changing gears at fairly low speeds?.
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby philipmartin » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:03 pm

What kind of bubbles? Soap bubbles? They certainly are singular looking with the exhaust pipes draped over the front of them
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_121
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby george matthews » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:26 pm

David Benton wrote:They could trundle along at quite a decent clip, at least it seemed like it riding them.
Are these the ones that sound abit like a tractor , changing gears at fairly low speeds?.

In the late 1950s and later they were ubiquitous and found all over the system. I think there were several versions. They replaced various types of steam and were much cheaper to run than steam - as well as less polluting. They needed less labour, as one driver was enough at the front end, eliminating the second man (fireman). I can remember when they were introduced on the GW mainline to Paddington, and how much cleaner they were than the steam, both inside for the passengers and outside for all the neighbours. Of course as time passed and the engines emitted black smoke too Paddington still persisted nearly as polluted as before. They have nearly all been replaced by cleaner and more modern diesels, and now with electrics.
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby johnthefireman » Sat May 13, 2017 12:07 am

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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby johnthefireman » Sat May 13, 2017 5:00 am

philipmartin wrote:What kind of bubbles? Soap bubbles?


I'm not sure, but I suspect they got their nick-name because they were small single vehicles, akin to the bubble car on the roads (in principle if not in looks and size).
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby philipmartin » Sat May 13, 2017 1:34 pm

Thank you, John. Now if someone would tell me what a bubble car on the road is..... A VW Beetle, perhaps?
Never mind. I Googled it. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_car
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby george matthews » Sat May 13, 2017 2:05 pm

philipmartin wrote:Thank you, John. Now if someone would tell me what a bubble car on the road is..... A VW Beetle, perhaps?
Never mind. I Googled it. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_car

The German micro-cars are generally believed to be the result of using war time technology that had produced the fighters and then applied to road vehicles. It was one of the tools that caused the rapid development of German industry in the 1950s.
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby David Benton » Sat May 13, 2017 7:48 pm

I always thought the bubble nickname came from the large windows at the front, and the large side windows. it doesn't look like it from the outside , but if you sit up the front, t does kinda feel like sitting in a bubble, especially when compared to a carriage without forward facing windows.
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby johnthefireman » Sun May 14, 2017 12:32 am

As I said, I really have no idea where the nickname came from - I just assumed it was from the (road) bubble cars which George has now described and Philip has googled.

Classic traction enthusiasts in the UK have a lexicon of strange names for diesel motive power - thumpers, rats, growlers, whistlers, to name but a few that I can remember - which probably make sense to them but not necessarily to the rest of us mortals. They refer rather dismissively to steam locomotives as "kettles".
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby philipmartin » Sun May 14, 2017 9:56 am

I noticed somewhere that a certain type of diesel in Germany i think it was, is called a doodlebug. That's what we, in North America, call the old gas electric railcars.
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby george matthews » Sun May 14, 2017 11:57 am

philipmartin wrote:I noticed somewhere that a certain type of diesel in Germany i think it was, is called a doodlebug. That's what we, in North America, call the old gas electric railcars.

"Doodlebug" was the contemptuous name given in Britain for the Flying Bombs - these days called Cruise Missiles - that attacked Britain in 1944. I can remember them all too well. In fact they led to my first long distance rail journey when my mother took me away from the London area to near Glasgow. The V1 weapons could not reach Scotland as their range was too small.
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby kato » Mon May 15, 2017 1:06 am

george matthews wrote:The German micro-cars are generally believed to be the result of using war time technology that had produced the fighters and then applied to road vehicles.

That from BMW's history - which lost its car factories located in the Soviet Zone, and hence had to retool its no longer needed fighter engine factories in Bavaria to produce vehicles instead, starting with motorcycles. They weren't particularly successful until they hit the niche market of enclosed vehicles that could be driven with a motorcycle license - which they didn't design themselves but only license-built with the design bought in Italy from a company that previously built fridges.

philipmartin wrote:I noticed somewhere that a certain type of diesel in Germany i think it was, is called a doodlebug.

The East-German V180 diesel locomotives had that nickname.
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby philipmartin » Mon May 15, 2017 3:30 am

Heinkel bubblecar.
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Re: The end is nigh for 57-year old ‘Bubble cars’

Postby philipmartin » Tue May 16, 2017 4:13 am

kato wrote:
philipmartin wrote:I noticed somewhere that a certain type of diesel in Germany i think it was, is called a doodlebug.

The East-German V180 diesel locomotives had that nickname.

Below is a photo of a Deutsche Reichbahn V180, diesel hydraulic. Thank you for the tip, Kato.
Also a Wiki article on the topic. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/DR-Baureihe_V_180
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