Ransomes & Rapier

The Moseley Railway Trust is proud to announce that it has added a 1938 diesel locomotive built by Ransomes & Rapier to its collection.

The locomotive was built in Ipswich as Ransomes’s number 84. The locomotive is a Ransomes & Rapier 20HP type; when new, it was fitted with a two cylinder Ailsa Craig diesel engine. It was delivered in October 1938 to Murphy Bros Ltd, a firm of contractors in Dublin. Latterly, the locomotive worked for Midland Irish Peat at their works in Rathowen. The locomotive has received a number of major modifications over the years. It now runs with a Deutz diesel engine and a redesigned transmission, although much of the original Ransomes transmission remains in-situ, including the reversing box. Most unusually for a diesel locomotive, it is now fitted with rubber tyres.

Phil Robinson, Moseley Railway Trust Chairman, said “We are delighted to accept the Ransomes & Rapier locomotive into our collection at Apedale. This is a very unusual locomotive, and it is a type not currently represented in the collection. Moreover, it shows how such locomotives were modernised and adapted by the owners to suit the harsh demands placed on the equipment used on industrial railways. We expect that it will be a key exhibit in our planned National Museum of Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways”.

The Ransomes locomotive was accompanied from Ireland by a number of peat carrying wagons. The locomotive is in a fully operational condition and was test-run within a few minutes of the arrival onto the Apedale site on Sunday 10th April 2011.

A conservation policy has yet to be confirmed for the Ransomes locomotive, but in the medium term it will remain in the condition in which it worked in Ireland. It will therefore form an interesting contrast to the only other surviving Ransomes & Rapier locomotive (number 80) which has been immaculately restored to as-built condition at the Amberley Museum in West Sussex.

Subject to the necessary acceptance procedures, it is hoped to operate the Ransomes & Rapier locomotive at a number of the forthcoming Steam & Industry Train weekends at Apedale. These are on the second complete weekend of each month, and see steam traction used on Apedale Valley Light Railway passenger trains, interspersed with demonstration industrial trains operated by the Moseley Railway Trust’s large fleet of internal combustion locomotives.

Passenger trains also operate on the Apedale Valley Light Railway every Saturday from April to the end of October, plus Bank Holiday Mondays. Check here for details, or contact us here.