Mech horse header

mechanical horse 01 
mechanical horse rear view

1945 5a  coverThis model 6.13 Mechanical Horse and Trailer  is from the 1945 5a manual. This was a reprint of the 1941- 42  manual series and showed the parts in the pre war finish of gold strips and yellow hatched blue plates. I originally  built this model in 1956 when I was a boy I liked it because it did not involve bending flexible plates. The model has a lot of play value, the trailer can be coupled and un-coupled just like the original  but lacks steering or a rotating trailer connection things that could easily be added.

The model is built  mainly with early post war red and green parts flexible red plates after 1954 had elongated slots.
original vehicle NRM
The three wheeled "Mechanical Horse" with it's trailer was a common type of vehicle from the 1930s until the 1960s delivering and collecting goods from railway depots and customers . During the early 1930s the cost to the railway companies of looking after thousands of horses and wagons that were used for local deliveries was becoming increasingly expensive.  An alternative petrol vehicle was sought that could haul a similar size trailer to that of the standard railway horse drawn delivery wagon but with much greater efficiency. 

The L.M.S. railway  developed with the Karrier company the "Karrier Cob"  powered by a twin cylinder engine this vehicle is shown above and could pull a 3 tonne trailer.  Many of the early trailers were in fact old horse drawn wagons with just the shafts for attaching the horse removed. These trailers could be easily coupled directly under the carts front axle due to the small diameter of the Cobs rear wheels fitted incidentally with solid rubber tyres. When the vehicles were first introduced the driver had to get out of the cab and use the long lever shown in the picture above to perform the uncoupling. In later versions the driver could perform this function without need for the driver to leave his cab.  A trailer could be left for unloading or loading whilst another was hauled by the same driver and "mechanical war Dinky

The Meccano model, as you can see in the picture above, depicts this vehicle very well,  and is almost identical to a popular Dinky Toys model introduced in 1936, see picture at bottom of the page.  The Meccano model first appeared the following year in the number 6 and 5a manuals. The Dinky Toys model outlived the Meccano version by many years the version shown on the right is from the late 1950s but used the same casting as when introduced  many years before.

The 1930s L.N.E.R. poster below shows what must have been at that time, "state of the art" handling of goods traffic in Manchester with Karrier Cob mechanical horse, overhead gantry cranes and mobile cranes at work. The Poster is on display at Mangapps Railway Museum Burnham on Crouch, Essex. June 08 2005

LNER Poster

I photographed the prototype "Karrier Cob" Mechanical Horse at The national Railway Museum York June 2004. The vehicle behind is the Hindle Smart Jen-Helecs battery electric mechanical horse.

Photograph of L.N.E.R. Dinky Toys version is courtesy of Jacques Dujardin


In September 2017 I built another version of the model using blue and gold parts this can be seen by clicking on this link there is also additional information about the Karrier Cob.

Page revised September 26 2017

Back to link