Reunited after more than 60 years

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Original works and number plates back on locomotive

A Motor Rail & Tramcar Company No. 461 works plate dating from 1917 and a War Department 2182 identification plate which were originally fitted to 40hp Armoured Simplex LR2182 have been reunited with the locomotive after some 60 years. The locomotive, a unique example of its type with its armoured bodywork and original engine is owned by The Greensand Railway Museum Trust (GRMT), which completed its restoration to operation in 2019.

The restored locomotive carried works and number plates which were known to be reproductions made some time after it first entered preservation in 1971 having been saved by Michael Jacob, who as a teenager had recognised it was the only surviving example of its type. At that point the original plates were long gone, along with the original distinctive upper parts of the locos bodywork which were removed during its years in industrial service post-WW1.

In mid-September Michael Jacob visited Leighton Buzzard Railway’s annual gala event and was delighted to see the fully restored LR2182 running in the yard at Stonehenge Works, not having been aware of what had happened to it after it had left the Museum of Army Transport at Beverley, where it had been displayed in non-operational condition, which closed in 2003.

Later that afternoon Mr Jacob returned to Leighton Buzzard Railway’s Stonehenge Works and presented these original works and number plates to GRMT representatives. It transpired he had spotted both plates at a GW Railwayana auction a year ago and duly purchased them.  Enquiries with the auctioneer did not clarify where they had been located, only that they had come up for sale from an estate in Derbyshire.  Having seen the restored locomotive, Michael had not hesitated in wanting to see them reunited with the loco, “finally back where they belong” as he put it.

“This was a totally unexpected and very welcome surprise,” commented GRMT Chairman, Cliff Thomas.  “We are very grateful to Michael Jacob for this donation.  He not only saved 2182 from scrapping all those years ago but has been instrumental in returning important elements of its history to their rightful place.”

GRMT Trustee Tony Tomkins (left) holds the works plate and 2182 restoration project leader Tim Ratcliff holds the number plate donated to the Trust by Michael Jacob at Stonehenge Works on 17 September 2023. Photo: Simon Ratcliffe

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