…because Pluto lives! After some considerable trials and tribulations, Ruston No.31 – known as 189972 of 1931 to its builders, and Pluto to the team rebuilding it – has finally burst back into life. The project suffered a serious set back a while ago with the discovery of a fractured engine cylinder liner, and also certain critical components were absent. However, thanks to a real team effort (special thanks to Paul Jarman at Beamish) the engine (a 2VTO twin diesel) has now advanced to the point where it can be test-run. The engine was craned from its stand (where it was rebuilt) into the loco, and lashed-up fuel and cooling systems added. Turning the handle showed a very healthy oil pressure, so the handle was turned a bit harder – and away is went.This was to the considerable relief of the Safety Department stood nearby, who have seen this sort of thing happen. The loco has a little way to go yet; it’s not self-mobile, requiring an engine-to-gearbox coupling and a set of drive chains fitting. The front tank (which is in place of the radiator on most Rustons) has had the tinworm replaced largely by MIG weld, and will be able to go on in the near future. The rest of the bodywork is best described as “variable”. As you will note from the photo, the exhaust after-treatment system is also yet to be added. Project Pluto has been largely undertaken by the Apedale Apprentices, who are now vying within their number for who gets first drive. Too late lads, it’ll be after your bedtime. As ever, get in touch here.