Question about Dickens' A Christmas Carol - What is a locomotive hearse?

This is a pretty obscure question, but perhaps someone here has an answer.
Almost every year I read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and there is
one part of the story that has always puzzled me. On Christmas eve, Scrooge
goes home and after entering, starts up the stairs to his room. As he starts
up the stairs, he thinks that he sees a “locomotive hearse” on the stairs. What is
a “locomotive hearse”? I’ve never heard of this anywhere else except in
Dickens’ story. Here is the paragraph in question:
“You may talk vaguely about driving a coach-and-six up a good old flight of stairs,
or through a bad young Act of Parliament; but I mean to say you might have got a
hearse up that staircase, and taken it broadwise, with the splinter-bar towards
the wall and the door towards the balustrades: and done it easy. There was
plenty of width for that, and room to spare; which is perhaps the reason why
Scrooge thought he saw a locomotive hearse going on before him in
the gloom. Half a dozen gas-lamps out of the street wouldn’t have lighted the
entry too well, so you may suppose that it was pretty dark with Scrooge’s dip.”
Please don’t tell me it’s a vehicle for hauling dead railroad engines. I’ve been
building model trains for years and know there isn’t such a thing!

Thank you Dopers and a merry Christmas to all!

Dickensis using locomotive as an adjective meaning “c. Of things; esp. of a vehicle or piece of machinery which moves in any direction by its own mechanism.” (sense 2c in OED). In other words it simply means the hearse is moving under its own (supernatural in this case) power.

Here’s a quote from Hawthorne using the same sense:

N. Hawthorne Fr. & Ital. Jrnls. I. 283 She looked like a locomotive mass of verdure and flowers.

And a Merry Christmas to you!

Wow that was fast! Thanks aldiboronti for the quick reply.

Well, the description preceding the term in question is clearly referring to a horse-drawn hearse. The splinter bar is the piece of a carriage or cart that the traces attach to. (Traces are the lines that the horses actually pull the vehicle with.)

Given that, I would take “locomotive hearse” to mean that he thought he saw a regular old (horse-drawn) hearse, only without the horses. It was “locomotive” in the sense that it was moving on its own, rather than being pulled by something. That usage is archaic today, but it was probably still current for Dickens.