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Restoration of a WW1 40HP Simplex in 3 months!

Restoration of a 40HP Simplex in 3 months!

Simplex 1369 in France.

The Channel 4 television program, Salvage Squad, in association with the Moseley Railway Trust and supported by Leeds Museums & Galleries, have fully restored former WW1 Motor Rail loco – LR3090 in just 3 months.

In what is thought to be a first for television, Salvage Squad and Moseley Railway Trust, supported by Leeds Museums & Galleries, have undertaken the full restoration of former WW1 & Leeds Knostrop Sewage Works narrow gauge ‘Protected’ Motor Rail (MR1369 of 1918) locomotive. The hour-long programme, due to be screened in early 2003, will follow the full restoration process over a 3-month period.

The petrol-engined machine, on long-term loan from Leeds Museums & Galleries, had not operated since the early 1960’s when it was withdrawn from service. In 1980 this loco, in remarkably original condition, passed to Leeds Museums & Galleries where it spent a further 15 years on static display. Acquired on loan for eventual restoration by the Moseley Railway Trust, the machine arrived in 1995 in time for display at a Military Gala. Following the Moseley Railway Trust’s removal from the Cheadle site, this project was classed as low priority. The Trust’s current Buxworth restoration base is tackling more practical equipment in preparation for a move to a new site.

In early 2002 the Moseley Railway Trust were approached by Wall to Wall television, makers of the Salvage Squad programme, to provide a suitable project. This resulted with the former WW1 locomotive being selected over 2 other Trust engines.

Although in substantially original condition, the locomotive was canibalised for spares to keep its sister engine running whilst at Knostrop Sewerage works. Amongst other things, this has resulted in the whole of the ignition system (carburettor, magneto, etc) having to be replaced with the correct pattern parts.

Restored to original WW1 condition, this locomotive took part in an Armistice Day special event on 11th November 2002 on one of the few surviving remnants of the WW1 light railway system in France; CF Cappy-Froissy-Dompierre (APPEVA) and was accompanied here by Leighton Buzzard Railway locomotive “Festoon”.

Having arrived back UK again, the locomotive will be returned to its berth in the Mosley Railway Trust’s Buxworth workshops following a brief stay at the Leighton Buzzard Railway. Hopes are high that the restored locomotive will make several working visits to UK Heritage railways in 2003. For more information go to: or

Posted by Gareth Roberts on