The Moseley Railway Trust is delighted to announce that they are the recipients of a PRISM grant from Arts Council England.
The grant, for more than £13,000, will be used to fund the restoration of a historic diesel locomotive in the Moseley Railway Trust collection. The locomotive was built by the Motor Rail & Tramcar Company Ltd of Bedford in 1918 as their number 1320. It was built as a 40hp locomotive intended for operation by the British military light railways which served the front lines of the First World War. No.1320 was a “protected” locomotive – that is, the bodywork was intended to give some protection to the crew from enemy fire. However, No.1320 did not leave Bedford until September 1918, and hence was too late to see any active service in the First World War (which ended in November 1918).
As with so many such locomotives, it was sold second-hand (having probably never been used by the military!) to a Hertfordshire gravel quarry, where it had a hard (but productive) life in industry until it was preserved in 1978. It is now owned outright by the MRT following a bequest by its late owner in 2012.
When new, this locomotive would have been fitted with a Dorman 4J0 petrol engine. However, when at the quarry, it was heavily rebuilt with the current Dorman 4DWD diesel engine. At, or around this time, the bodywork was changed to give the loco its current appearance.
The locomotive will be sympathetically restored to the condition in which it worked at the gravel quarries. The history of the locomotive that is the subject of this appeal typifies the whole history of narrow gauge railways in industry; it was built for military use, but spent its working life in civilian hands. The quarry company rebuilt and adapted the locomotive to meet their own needs.
When complete, loco 1320 will form an interesting contract with another 40HP Motor Rail locomotive in the Moseley Railway Trust collection – no.1369, which is still in “military specification” condition.
It is planned to complete the restoration of No.1320 during 2017, which will allow the locomotive to be demonstrated at the Moseley Railway Trust’s 2018 Tracks to the Trenches event, which will take place in July 2018.
Phil Robinson, Chairman of the Moseley Railway Trust, said We are really grateful to Arts Council England for their support. This restoration project will be delivered by our volunteer members, so not only will the loco be restored, but our members will be able to learn new skills and pass experience to our younger members.