The Moseley Railway Trust have just taken delivery of a former WW1 narrow gauge railway watertank. This water tank wagon, currently devoid of an underframe and bogies, was originally classified in military service as a “Class H” for use behind the trenches during the First World War on the extensive 60cm trench railways built by the British.
The French, American & German armies too used similar 60cm gauge systems, and these short-lived “supply lines” helped preserve the bloody stalemate in that conflict, bring supplies up to the front line, shells to the guns and taking wounded to the rear. Water tanks such as this one would have been used to provide potable water for troops and animals, as well as water for cooking, washing, steam engine boilers etc in the dryer areas of France and Belgium. After WW1, this tank wagon was purchased by W Dennis & Sons along with much other material for the extensive 60cm rail system at their farming estates in Lincolnshire. The tank, devoid of its underframe and wheels saw out it’s days as a large water butt for fire fighting purposes, and its recent delivery to MRT represents the culmination of over 4 years work and negotiation.
Utilising a pair of standard WDLR bogies acquired on behalf of MRT several years ago and the construction of a new wagon mainframe, it is intended to reconstruct this historic piece of rolling stock which will be unique in the UK. Of all narrow gauge military railway rolling stock in WW1, these watertanks were the only known vehicles to carry camouflage livery!