It is not generally appreciated that, in living memory, the production of locomotives for industrial and narrow gauge railways was BIG business in the UK. This week, we’ll have a quick look at the Ruston & Hornsby (RH) locomotives in the Moseley Railway Trust’s collection. RH did loco production on a massive scale – in total, 6500 locos were produced from 1931 to 1968 at their works in Lincoln. Their successors are still in business producing things like gas turbines and turbochargers. The locos were both standard and narrow gauge, of a number of standardised types. The vast majority of the production was for industrial railways – only a handful of (standard gauge) locos went to BR and its predecessors. The best known of these are the Class 07 Southampton dock shunting locos, of which a few are preserved. The production total dwarfs companies such as Brush (just over a thousand) and even the allegedly mighty North British.
The company has its roots in Hornsby-Ackroyd, who claimed to have created the world’s first compression-ignition engine in 1892; one Dr Diesel did not create an engine until 1897, but posterity chose him, rather than the UK team. Perhaps rather sourly, Ruston stated that its locomotives were fitted with “oil engines”.
The MRT has 12 Rustons on site at Apedale. These include examples of most of the major types. These include the large 48DL type (see top picture) and the second oldest surviving Ruston (see bottom left). You will have the chance to see all of these (and lots of other good things) at our open days on 13 & 14 September – contact us here.