The Weitzer-De-Dion-Bouton petrol electric railcar was the first European serially produced railcar. It was developed and constructed by the engineers from the Johann Weitzer factory from Arad.
Powered by French engine producer De Dion- Bouton, the railcar was first tested in 1903 and entered in running from 1906. The solution proposed at that time by the Weitzer factory was an ingenious one. At the front of each railcar was a four-cylinder gasoline engine with a power of 70 horsepower. It has the role of generator and supplies two electric motors of 30 horsepower each, located under the wagon floor. The electrical components were produced by the Siemens – Schuckert factory.
The producer claimed that the railcar could not reach a maximum speed up to 60 to 70 km per hour. However, we cannot confirm if it was even used at such speeds, or if it could reach such speeds at all. The skepticism comes from the fact that this railcar wasn’t fully developed, it was a relatively new invention and that’s why it had a lot of problems.
The traction power was transferred to only one bogie. This was a major disadvantage especially on the uphill sectors. Noticing this shortcoming early in the first years of its use on the Arad – Podgoria rail, the rail owners realized that the Weitzer railcar will not be a long term solution.
Although its electric motors could be powered directly from the power line, in 1913 when the rail was electrified, the Weitzer railcars were sent back to the factory and transformed into the second class tow carriages, equipped with a luggage compartment fitted in the place where the petrol engine was before. This type of railcar received the identification code BF while the original carriages from 1906, those that have never had an engine, were labeled/noted B.
Unfortunately, very few photos were kept with Waitzer railcars that circulated on the Arad – Podgoria line were preserved, all black and white. So, in the absence of a description, the color of the motors remains a mystery, at least for now.