The history of the Simplex locomotive is strongly tied to the evolution of the Dorman engines with which they were fitted. Early locomotives had petrol engines but the development of small oil engines in the late 1920s revolutionized their performance and economy and these soon became the norm.
Locomotives still fitted with their original Dorman engines can often be recognised by a characteristic “hunting” of the engine on tickover. No. 42 (opposite) spent its working life hauling trains of sand at Leighton Buzzard and is fitted with a 2DL engine delivering 42 Horsepower at 1800 rpm. It is seen here outside the workshop of the Moseley Railway Trust’s Apedale base in Staffordshire.
The video illustrates how the character of these little engines cannot be fully appreciated from a photograph or static display. That’s why the MRT aspires to be a working museum dedicated to demonstrating how this equipment served the needs of all kinds of industries. No. 42 (Motor Rail 7710) will be in action on our open days on 13th and 14th September, when we aim to show this and other preserved engines working in the former industrial setting of the Apedale Valley.
In the meantime we continue to use our engines in construction of the passenger railway that, from next year, will allow visitors to experience first hand the charm of the narrow gauge railway on a trip through the attractive surroundings of the Apedale Country Park. Do you want to help us build or run it? If so, contact us here.