Sludge’s Busy Day

Simplex Mechanical Handling (SMH) were the successors to Motor Rail, who built so many of the Moseley Railway Trust’s locomotive fleet. In 1979 they turned out their number 40SD516 – so called because it’s a 40Hp Simplex with a Deutz engine. This loco worked for Severn Trent Water at Minworth, near Birmingham. This was a vast sewage works, treating the outpourings of millions of Brummies. A fleet of of locos were employed on a 2’0″ gauge railway system. When the railway closed, 40SD516 joined the MRT fleet and acquired the name “Sludge”. I imagine a good wash was also something of a priority. Sludge has always been a popular loco, being electric start and powerful. It’s spent the day as the main shunt loco at Apedale. Following our recent successful visit from ORR, considerable effort is being put into training crews for the Apedale Valley Light Railway’s passenger operation. The building operations which can be seen in the first photo mean we currently cannot run round in the loop at the Apedale Heritage Centre station, so Sludge was kept fully employed acting as “shunt release” loco to allow the training runs to reverse. Hence the rare sight of the passenger stock in the loop road. Later on, Sludge returned to more work it would be more familiar with – hauling skip wagons. These were moving materials to assist in the construction of an improved walkway to the Aurora North shed. This will form the focal point for the September 18th & 19th Grand Opening weekend. Fortunately for the MRT Chairman, these skips were filled with railway ballast rather than (errrrr) Sludge. If you want to know more, get in touch here.