Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Evans’ Auto-Railer: Bus That Runs Across the Road and Railway Tracks in 1935

The 1935 “Evans’ Auto-Railer” was designed by the Evans Products Company of Plymouth, Michigan. The Company was headed by Edward S. Evans, who was a contemporary of William B. Stout. Evans’ manufactured parts and equipment for: the automotive, railway, freight, and aircraft industries. The company designed, patented and produced a number of products used for shipping new cars by rail, and according to Stout, built the first retractable landing gear used on an airplane.



The “Auto-Railer” (aka Hi-Rail) was designed for commuters to take advantage of both the use of roads and the rail. It consists of front and rear steel pilot railroad wheels attached to a conventional type of bus or truck. The pilot wheels are raised for operation over highways but can be let down when the vehicle reaches the tracks. The vehicle runs on its own tires over the rails with the pilot wheels guiding it along the track. This would be a great way to avoid traffic for public transportation.


Streamline Bus and Car, Evans Motor. Washington, D.C. or vicinity, 1935.

Advertisement from an August 1936 issue of LIFE Magazine.

Fairmont Railway Motors (now Harsco Rail) is often given credit for coming up with the road-rail technology that created "hi-railers" (they spell it "HY-RAIL") in the 1940s, but the various versions of the Evans product had already been in production for years. The car-like one above was known as the M2.

Their largest Auto-Railer (above) was only one of over a dozen diverse products they made for the war effort during WWII.

(via Shorpy)

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