Smoke Gets in my Eyes

The Moseley Railway Trust is gearing up towards its second and final public event of 2008, when we are open to the public on Sunday 9th November. The event is on Remembrance Sunday, which is of course 90 years since the end of the First World War. We have therefore been checking out the genuine WW1 items in the collection. One which has slumbered for longer than most is MR1320 of 1918. This loco was built as a 40HP petrol-powered “Tin Turtle” type loco (remembering that these locos came in the open, enclosed and protected variants). However, it was sold on into industry (as with so much WW1 railway equipment). The quarry fitters did not have complete respect for the historical artifact in their care. It was re-engined with a Dorman 4 cylinder diesel, which necessitated a fairly comprehensive rebuild to get the drivetrain to line up. It also acquired bodywork which can only be described as aesthetically challenged. Our first photo shows the loco at Inns & Co, Sawbridgeworth quarry, Hertfordshire, in September 1966 (photo courtesy Peter Excell). Fortunately, later generations did recognise its importance, and it was preserved, first at Brockham, then Amberley. After that, it had a while at a private site in Wales, then Cadeby. The loco was really a bit too large for the Cadeby line, and certain lineside trees had to be “sculpted” to allow it to pass! The loco moved to Apedale with most of the rest of the Cadeby fleet in 2006.


The loco hadn’t been run for some years at Cadeby – size and mechanical issues made it an unpopular choice – but the MRT has risen to the challenge, and it now runs reasonably well. The photo below shows the loco being coaxed back into life with the gentle assistance of a 48DL Ruston. It’s not perfect – it currently features a total-loss coolant system, and at least one of the engine cylinders sees its role more as an observer than active participant. It is also reasonable to assume that the emissions are some way short of Euro3 (hence the title of this week’s post). But it goes, and, barring disaster, it will haul demonstration trains on 9/11/08. Come and see us or contact us here.