60 ”Lord Austin” Motor Rail 6035 of 1937

Lord Austin at Apedale, note the low seat and brake column

This is a rare example of the smallest and lightest petrol-engined locos built by Motor Rail. It was supplied new on 7/1/1937 to Midhurst Whites brickworks in West Sussex, at a cost of £240. The loco was built with an unusual configuration of the controls, to allow the driver to face the opposite way to normal. Therefore the gear lever and clutch pedal arrangements had to be changed, however at some point the cab was swapped to the more normal Motor Rail layout where the seat is on the engine side. It was also built with a low height cab and brake column, presumably to allow working in an area with restricted clearances.

At some time in its life, the original Austin engine of the ”Heavy” type, was replaced by a later version of the ”Light” type, probably obtained from an Austin 7 car. The railway at Midhurst closed in the mid 1980’s, and in 1986 the loco was preserved at the Old Kiln Light Railway at Farnham. On 5/9/1999, the loco joined the MRT collection, and the restoration started at Old Kiln has been completed, with the loco running for the first time in preservation on 30/8/2003. Recent years have seen the loco re-united with its cab – reminding 21st century drivers that “low height” comes with some comfort disbenefits! In 2017, the loco paid a visit to the Amerton Railway.

Lord Austin, now with its replicated cab, on a visit to the Amerton Railway along with fleet No. 84