Centenarian makes it – just!

MRT fleet number 61 is Motor Rail 1320, which was new from the Bedford factory on 10 September 1918. This loco began life as a “protected” type 40HP petrol-engined loco, but – as you can see in the photos – has been heavily modified by industrial owners other the years. The loco worked at the Moor Hill Pits, Colney Street, near London. This location is now pretty much beneath the M25 and London Colney shopping centre, so bear that in mind as you queue for last minute Christmas shopping. In the preservation era, it has been at the Amberley Museum and Cadeby before coming to Apedale.
We have now completed a PRISM-grant funded overhaul of the loco. Although previously operational, the loco was pretty poorly. The wheels had been likened to pizza cutters, and the engine (a Dorman diesel) was four cylinder in name only. One cylinder was a very reluctant participant, and the fourth was really having nothing to do with the whole thing, thank you very much.
The overhaul has been extremely challenging, largely due to some nasties emerging from the engine overhaul process. However, some very clever engine people, and with PRISM’s understanding, we have finally managed to get the loco fully up and running. It is an important link in the MRT’s collection, since it shows how former World War One equipment was re-used and modified in industry after the conflict. It also provides a fascinating contract to the MRT collection of other World War One equipment, including an original-condition 40HP Simplex.
The Moseley Railway Trust would like to offer its particular thanks to the Amberley Museum for allowing us to re-fit an original plate from the loco – the phone shows Amberley’s Peter Smith (left) passing the plate to MRT’s Alan Fryer at Tracks to the Trenches back in July. T-shirt weather seems like a long way away at the moment.
The Trust has been working doggedly to complete this overhaul, and to ensure the loco makes its public debut during its centenary year. To mark this, we are planning to operate our last passenger train of 2018 using Motor Rail 1320 – this will be the 16:00 departure next Saturday 29th December at Apedale. The other trains on this day – the “Mince Pie Special” will be steam hauled. Obviously, this is subject to the usual caveats as we complete the last details on MR1320 – fitting the cab roof, for example!
MR1320 can be expected to play a starring role at the the Swords to Ploughshares event at Apedale on June 29 & 30. Hopefully, that WILL be T-shirt weather again!