Dick Kerr petrol electric Locomotive
MM16 • by Neil Sayer Scale Models
009 locomotive kit complete with chassis.
These locomotives were ordered by the War Department in November 1916 for use on the 60cm railways being built for transporting munitions and other supplies on the western front. As built they were intended to be able to run powered by a 45hp petrol engine linked to generator and motor unit and also by picking, via trolley poles, traction current from overhead wires.
The locomotives were ordered in two batches to speed up deliveries. One hundred were ordered from Dick Kerr Ltd and another hundred from British Westinghouse. There must have been a change of mind here, as all the supplies to construct the overhead trolley wires were cancelled. It makes you wonder quite why they even considered the notion in the first place due to the vulnerability of the wires and poles. The outcome of this cancellation left the locos with only parts of the trolley pole when delivered.
There was also the facility to use the locos as mobile generators supplying 500 volts, and could therefore be used to power up one or two of the unpowered vans of the mobile workshop train or a mobile sawmill. They were a popular loco but had one fault that the drivers disliked and that was the slow speed. They had been fitted with very low gearing to presumably increase their haulage power but in a crisis no speed to get you out of trouble.
The Dick Kerr and the British Westinghouse locos were practically identical internally but very different externally.
Light railways of the First World War by WJK Davies, The Light Track From Arras by T. R. Heritage, Plateway Press
Narrow Gauge at War and Narrow Gauge at War part 2 by Keith Taylorson, Plateway Press
All these contain photographs which may be useful. Please be aware that the photographs in plate 55 of W.J.K. Davies’ book are of prototypes and differ from the production machines in a number of respects.
Please note this is a scale model for adult collectors, and not intended for children under 14 years of age. Prototype and unpainted model photos © Alex Duckworth.