Life and Times – No.7 “The Wade”

One of the unsung heroes of the MRT fleet – we present fleet no.7, Motor Rail 8663 of 1941 “The Wade”. The loco was ordered by the War Office and was ex-works from Bedford on 5 September 1941. It appears that it was stored by the War Office until the 1970s, when it was sold to a contractor, Z&W Wade based in Whaley Bridge. Wade placed the loco on loan to the Long Eaton Light Railway, near Derby, where it arrived in April 1974. This railway, also known as the Wilsthorpe Light Railway, closed in 1976. The black and white images show the loco at Long Eaton; curiously, they are dated 1978 – can anyone say with surety when the Long Eaton operation came to an end? Also, it’s not recorded who took the B&Ws – they are shown “MRT collection”.

It was transferred into the care of the MRT, arriving on 22 June 1977. It remains in “ex-industry” condition, and has been a stalwart of the fleet for many years, being relatively easy to start (even on a cold morning) and drive. This simplicity means that, for many MRT members, it was their first taster of driving Motor Rails. During the Cheadle School years, it was one of the locos popular for the passenger trains – one of the photos from July 1995 shows a typical Cheadle passenger train, thronged with visitors. The absence of air brake equipment means that it has stepped back from this glamour role at Apedale.