Somewhere in a foreign field

This recently discovered photograph shows two 20HP Simplex petrol tractors undergoing maintenance at what seems to be an improvised workshop, believed to be somewhere in France during 1917. It shows the primitive conditions within which these sturdy little engines had to be maintained.


Thought not. But it shows what a few minutes with Photoshop can do! Falling back through a wibbly-wobbly hole in space time (or something) back to the present day, you may recall that MR1111 was extracted from the Heritage Centre museum a few weeks ago. The loco had not run for some years, and it was stopped with a low oil pressure fault. The owner has been cracking on and looking into the problem. The 2JO engines are actually quite good from a maintainability standpoint, and most of the key parts of the oil system can be accessed without massive dismantling. The oil pump is driven from a rather curious skew-gear arrangement, with the driving skew gear being an integral part of the centre of the camshaft (between the lobes for the two sets of cylinder valve push rods. A helpful inspection port allows this drive shaft to be seen fairly easily.

There seems to be some grounds for optimism that oil pressure is now returning to the engine, so hopefully this is a loco we’ll see running up and down at the Tracks to the Trenches event. As ever, get in touch here.