Gently swaying 'flying banana' railcars are remembered by many as a leisurely way of travelling by rail in Dorset looking out the window at beautiful scenery.

The picture above shows one of the first railcars in Weymouth Station with the tower of the later demolished Christ Church in the background.

Although the diesel locos 10201 and 10202 are thought to be the first diesel locos on Dorset railways, they were in fact pipped to this distinction by the Great Western Railway nearly 20 years earlier.

In 1933 the Great Western introduced the first of 40 railcars which it was felt would cut costs on rural branch lines.

They were built in a number of batches and totalled 40, the last series being built to a more angular design from 1940.

The first series which were streamlined were nicknamed “Flying Bananas” and were striking in their chocolate and cream livery.

They ran on most areas of the Great Western and my father recalled travelling on one at over 60 miles per hour on the beautiful railway line to Tenby in about 1938.

They were introduced on a fast service between Cardiff and Birmingham which became so popular that they were replaced with a more conventional loco hauled train.

I remember going to Weymouth station in the mid 1950s to say goodbye to my grandparents who were returning to Cardiff and watching a three car set, disappearing with a gentle swaying motion which was a characteristic of the type.

A colleague who came from a railway family once told me that he remembered being taken to Weymouth station about 1935 to await the arrival of the first of the new railcars into Weymouth which was driven by a relative.

Weymouth to Bristol was an early route and one railcar was shedded at Weymouth in the 1930s.Three have been preserved and one of the first series no. 4 is part of the National Collection. The last one in revenue earning service was withdrawn in 1962.