Moseley Railway Trust to rebuild unique Great War watertank wagon

The Moseley Railway Trust is pleased to announce that it has secured a PRISM grant to support the rebuilding of a unique narrow gauge railway wagon.

During World War One, 60cm gauge light railways were used to carry men and stores to the front line. One of the most pressing requirements was water for men, horses & locomotives. The “Class H” bogie tank wagons were built in 1917 and 1918 by Robert Hudson of Leeds and the Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Company. The wagons used a 1500 gallon water tank mounted on a steel underframe. After the end of the war, much of the equipment was disposed of for further industrial use. A small number of the watertank wagons eventually went to the Smiths Potato Estates Railway in Nocton, Lincolnshire. The Moseley Railway Trust managed to acquire the sole surviving artefact from these wagons, a tank section. The Trust has managed to also acquire two suitable bogies, which ended their days on a timber railway in Bulgaria; they were returned to the UK via the Frankfurt Feldbahn Museum. The PRISM grant will assist with the construction of a reproduction underframe, which, when combined with the restored tank and bogies, will result in a unique and authentic recreation of an unusual and historic railway wagon.

Gareth Roberts, the Moseley Railway Trust’s project manager said “The watertank wagon will be the perfect complement to the Moseley Railway Trust’s collection of historic narrow gauge equipment. In particular, the Trust has in its care Simplex locomotives, which would have worked with these wagons both at Nocton and during WW1. This project illustrates the Trust’s commitment to restoring historic narrow gauge railway equipment”.

When completed, the watertank wagon will eventually be moved to the Moseley Railway Trust’s new site at Apedale, Newcastle-Under-Lyme. The Trust is continuing to develop the Apedale site, and donations are still being sought to allow this work to continue. The Trust plans to construct a major museum of narrow gauge industrial railways at Apedale, and the reconstructed watertank wagon will form a key exhibit in this museum when its opens.