Preserving the commonplace

A loco which has not previously graced this page is Motor Rail 8669 of 1941 – Apedale fleet No.21.  This is an utterly bog-standard 20/28 Simplex design – at one time, no self-respecting industrial railway would have been complete without one. Assuming, of course, that the dastardly Ruston sales rep hadn’t got there first. No.21 was built with a Dorman 2DWD engine, but is now fitted with a 2HW unit. This type of engine uses indirect  injection. The loco was ordered by the War Office and was despatched on 14 October 1941 to an unknown location. It was returned to Motor Rail, reconditioned, and sold on to a contractor, John Cochrane & Sons Ltd. It was despatched on 16 June 1947 to Beauly station, Invernesshire and employed on a hydroelectric scheme contract in the Scottish Highlands.  In 1952, the loco was noted in the Hayes yard of George Bungey, a well-known loco dealer. Bungey sold the loco on to Preston Corporation at their Spade Mill reservoir at Longridge, Lancashire. The loco spent the rest of its working days at Spade Mill, transferring in due course (with the site) to the North West Water Authority (NWWA). In 1987, the loco moved to storage at a NWWA yard at Ormskirk. Shortly afterwards, the loco arrived with the Trust.
The loco had fallen out of favour due to a persistent clutch problem; however, the CME spent a wet day tinkering and diagnosed the problem as excessive wear on the clutch release fingers. Fortunately, the necessary spare was to hand. Once fitted, No.21 was transformed, and has been seen demonstrating hill starts on the Trench Railway ski-jump. No.21 is a classic case of preserving the commonplace. As ever, get in touch here.