1. a small railroad car or platform on four wheels propelled by a mechanism worked by hand, used on some railroads for inspecting tracks and transporting workers.

Origin of handcar

An Americanism dating back to 1840–50; hand + car1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hand-car

Historical Examples of hand-car

Word Origin and History for hand-car

1846 in railroading sense, from hand (n.) + car.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper