"Protected" 40 H.P. Simplex
The 40 H.P. types were built
for the Ministry of Munitions alongside the 20 H.P. for use by the War
Department Light Railways in the First World War and they were built with
varying degrees of protection for the driver to protect him from shrapnel and
The three variants were the “open,” the “protected” and the “armoured”. The “open” had just the end plates of armour plate and a canopy on height-adjustable pillars for protection, whereas the “protected” had this plus side doors and visors. The “armoured” on the other hand was completely enclosed with an armour-plated roof, which curved down at each end and had slits for the driver to look through - rather like a tank. It is reported that a .303-in calibre bullet shot at 50 yards range would make only a small dent in the armour.
The power unit of these locos
was the Dorman 4JO petrol engine, coupled to the two-speed Dixon-Abbott gearbox.
Many of the later-build W.D.L.R. locos never made it to France and were auctioned off after the war to various concerns that required cheap motive power. Also many locos, both unused and those returning from France, were “reconstructed” by Motor Rail and Wm. Jones under their pooling arrangement. Reconstructed locos varied in appearance from completely original to having new bodywork in the form of cast ends in place of the armour plate. Such locos were still listed in the 1932 Motor Rail catalogue but were designated “40/50 B.H.P.,” although no such designation was used in the order books, all being shown as 40 H.P. Two narrow gauge varieties were available, the 6-Ton (gauges 60-cm to 1-Metre) and the 8-Ton (gauges 2-ft 6-in to 3-ft 6-in). The 6-Ton used the old W.D.L.R.-style of loco frames whereas the 8-Ton used a new type of frame. Ex-W.D.L.R. locos were also reconstructed to standard gauge by Motor Rail and other companies such as Kent Construction. These locos varied from being a standard narrow gauge loco with new axles and a buffing block bolted across the armour plate ends to brand new frames and proper running gear with the correct buffer height.
Number Series (Narrow gauge locos only)
Built between 1917 and 1918 (Ministry of Munitions original locos)
Built between 1919 and circa 1930 (reconstructed and other new locos)
380-603, 1280-1386, 1952-1959, 2061-2074, 2120-2123, 2127, 2130, 2133, 2134, 2136, 2137, 2139, 2257-2259, 2261, 3655, 3656, 3706, 3707, 3813-3818, 3826, 3827, 3964, 4162-4164, 4168, 4185-4198, 4200-4202, 4209-4213, 4215, 4216.
Note 1: 480-489 are duplicated in the order books with different W.D.L.R. numbers, destinations and delivery dates.
Note 2: 1290 & 1291 were also numbers given to 20 H.P. locos.
Note 3: 3965 was a 6-Ton, 3-ft gauge loco and had the same appearance as a 40 or 40/50 H.P. loco but was actually supplied without an engine so that it could be fitted with a customer-provided Fowler diesel engine (H.P. unspecified).
Reconstructed Locos. (Narrow gauge locos only)
2176, 2177, 2230, 2231, 2233, 3658, 3659, 3662-3680, 3701, 3702, 3726, 3747, 3776, 3784, 3797, 3803, 3812, 3819, 3839, 3840, 3842, 3843, 3846-3848, 3853, 3856.