Doodlebug (rail car)
In the United States, doodlebug was the common name for a self-propelled railroad car (multiple unit). While such a coach typically had a gasoline-powered engine that turned a generator which provided electricity to traction motors, which turned the axles and wheels on the trucks, versions with mechanical transmissions also existed.
Doodlebugs sometimes pulled an unpowered trailer car, but were more often used singly. They were popular with some railroads during the first part of the 20th century to provide passenger and mail service on lightly used branch lines, obviating the need to operate conventional trains consisting of a locomotive and coaches. Several railroads, mostly small regional and local networks, provided their main passenger services through doodlebugs in a cost cutting effort.
While interest in self-propelled cars did exist before the late 1910s in the form of the electric trolley and streetcar as well as a few other examples, the better portion of doodlebug usage in the United States can be traced to this time period. Electro-Motive, then in the form of the Electro-Motive Corporation as the General Motors purchase had not yet occurred, began the large scale production of self- propelled railcars using bodies manufactured by Pullman and the St. Louis Car Company. By the 1920s the gas-electric car had become one of the main providers of branch-line service.
Origin of term
The term "doodlebug" is of uncertain origin. Most likely it is used in a number of unrelated ways, often as a nickname applied to diminutive types, such as small airplanes or cars. In the railcar usage of the term it may have been derived from the phrase "doodling through town" that may have been applied to reference the function of the coaches themselves.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Edwards Rail Car Company — located in Montgomery, Alabama, specializes in the manufacture of self propelled rail cars patterned after original Edwards designs dating from the mid 1920s. Edward s also restores and manufactures other types of rail cars, including… … Wikipedia
Doodlebug Disaster — Details Date July 31, 1940 Time 5:58 pm Location Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio Country United States Rail line Operator Pennsylvania Railroad Type of in … Wikipedia
Doodlebug — or doodle bug may refer to: Zoology: Antlion Woodlouse Armadillidiidae, the pill bug family in the woodlouse suborder Ground vehicles: Doodlebug (rail car), a self propelled railroad vehicle Doodle Bug scooter, a motor scooter produced during the … Wikipedia
Glossary of rail terminology — Rail transport Operations Track Maintenance High speed Gauge Stations … Wikipedia
McKeen Motor Car Company — McKeen car Roslyn of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The McKeen Motor Car Company of Omaha, Nebraska was a builder of internal combustion engined railroad motor cars (railcars), constructing 152 between 1905–1917. Founded by William McKeen, the … Wikipedia
List of rail accidents (pre-1950) — For a list of 1950 1999 rail accidents, see List of 1950 1999 rail accidents.For a list of post 2000 rail accidents, see List of rail accidents. notoc Pre 1830 1815 * 1815, exact date unclear ndash; Philadelphia, Co Durham, England: 16 people,… … Wikipedia
Self-powered car — Self powered cars generally refer to rail vehicles that are not exclusively locomotives and can operate under their own power without the use of external power sources . An example is the RDC (Rail Diesel Car). These commuter cars had their own… … Wikipedia
Railcar — A railcar (not to be confused with a railway car) is a self propelled railway vehicle designed to transport passengers. The term railcar is usually used in reference to a train consisting of a single coach (carriage, car), with a driver s cab at… … Wikipedia
Tractor — This article is about a vehicle used in agriculture or construction. For the power unit of a semi trailer truck (articulated lorry), see tractor unit. For other uses, see Tractor (disambiguation) … Wikipedia
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway — ATSF redirects here. For the unrealized European aircraft, see Avion de Transport Supersonique Futur. Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway ATSF system (shown in blue) at the time of the BNSF merger … Wikipedia