Motorail Simplex 20hp

Motorail Simplex 20hp Petrol Locomotive

This small 'bow-framed' petrol driven locomotive was supplied to the War Department during World War One. Later, it worked at Porton Down (the infamous Nuclear, Biological & Chemical (NBC) Research Establishment), before being bought for preservation. The locomotive's original petrol engine had been replaced with a similar one at some time before it came to Wales.

Having arrived in 1997 (J.121), restoration to full working working order began in 1998 (J.126).  The locomotive engine became operational once more in July 2009. By October 2009, the locomotive was able to move under its own power again, managing to haul eight tons on test, and has a surprising turn of speed... “it goes like a bat out of hell”, said one observer.  “Maybe that’s to help it escape German gunfire?”

A similar 'bow-framed' locomotive, albeit a 40HP version, was used in 1941 on the Welsh Highland Railway demolition train.


Builder Motorail Simplex  
Built 1916  
Works number 264  
Type 20HP 4W PM  
Wheel arrangement 4 wheel  
Driving wheel diameter 17½" 444mm  
Engine 20hp 15kW 2 cylinder petrol
Transmission mechanical, 2 speed  
Final drive chain  
Weight 2.5 Ton  
Arrived W.H.R. May 1997  
Owners W.H.R. Member  
Previous owners Porton Down NBC Establishment

End-on picture of rusty MRT264
Side-on picture of rusty MRT264
MRT264 shortly after arrival at Gelert's Farm.
Gleaming paintwork on the frame of MRT264
Substantial progress on the restoration of MRT264.
Gleaming paintwork on the frame of MRT264
MRT264 on display at the Anniversary Gala.