Life and Times – No.50 The Deutz

Built by Deutz at their works near Cologne in Germany, No.50 was delivered new to the West Kent Main Drainage Board, Long Reach Sewage Works, Dartford, on 23 May 1931. This locomotive represents the very earliest applications of diesel engines to rail transport. It is fitted with a horizontal single cylinder diesel engine and is a memorable sight when running. The loco spent its entire working life at Long Reach. The photos at Long Reach were taken in 1972, after the railway system had ceased to be used. The Deutz is seen in company with three Rustons (164346, 166028 and 175115). The late Rich Morris preserved the loco in 1974, and 1978 saw it moved to Gloddfa Ganol (near Blaneau Ffestiniog) – the legendary “Scrapyard in the Sky”. John Lucas bought the loco from Rich and moved most of it to the Cadeby Light Railway on 13 April 1996. “Most of it” because Rich kept finding bits, including notably one of the missing side panels which turned up some time later in use as a drain cover in his yard. One of the biggest issues with the loco was the terrible state of the wheels, with very bad grooving, making operation over pointwork somewhat hazardous. Removal of the wheels allowed them to visit a man with a big lathe, which sorted that problem. John also paid a visit to the Deutz archive in Cologne, which finally resolved the correct works number for the loco. The loco moved to Apedale on 22 April 2006, but suffered a big end bearing failure in 2008, which resulted in some time out of traffic. However, this was repaired, and a significant amount of further restoration work carried out. In 2018, the loco suffered another problem – this time a cracked flywheel. This was repaired – at great expense – by a specialist contractor, and the loco has now been returned to service, hopefully having now suffered more than its fair share of problems post-restoration. The wooden box on the roof is not an original feature; it was added to resemble a feature applied to German military locos during the First World War.