Definitions for handcarˈhændˌkɑr
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
a small railroad car or platform on four wheels propelled by a mechanism worked by hand.
Origin of handcar:
a small railroad car propelled by hand or by a small motor
A light railroad car propelled by a hand-operated pumping mechanism
A handcar is a railroad car powered by its passengers, or by people pushing the car from behind. It is mostly used as a maintenance of way or mining car, but it was also used for passenger service in some cases. A typical design consists of an arm that pivots, seesaw-like, on a base, which the passengers alternately push down and pull up to move the car. Handcars have been normally used by railway service personnel for railroad inspection and maintenance. Because of their low weight and small size, they can be put on and taken off the rails at any place, allowing trains to pass. Handcars have since been replaced by self-propelled vehicles that do not require the use of manual power, instead relying on internal combustion engines or electricity to move the vehicle. Handcars are nowadays used by handcar enthusiasts at vintage railroad events and for races between handcars driven by five person teams. One such race, the Handcar Regatta, was held in Santa Rosa, California from 2008 to 2011 and other races are held in Australia. See the section on racing below.
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