'Middy' wins award for restoration of Shredded Wheat locomotive
- Credit: Tony Goff
The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway has picked up a prestigious award for its work on restoring a historic locomotive.
The Middy, as it is known, was awarded the Morgan Preservation award earlier this week at the Heritage Railway Association's awards for its restored Shredded Wheat diesel mechanical locomotive.
The 1934 0-4-0 locomotive was built for the Shredded Wheat Company’s Welwyn Garden City factory by Fowler of Leeds.
Years after falling out of use it was eventually bought at auction in a completely derelict state by Tony Goff.
Mr Goff offered it to the MSLR, but the locomotive was not in a good state; it was seized solid and immovable, so the Middy couldn’t take it straight away.
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In order to try and get it going again Mr Goff then contacted brothers Neal and Nigel Davis at their works near Attleborough in Norfolk.
Neal and Nigel are both members and volunteers at the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway and are in charge of the Middy’s diesel fleet due to their enthusiasm and expertise for all things internal combustion.
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The brothers took on the challenge and set to to work to return the rusting hulk into a working locomotive again.
After only six months work and with the support of Mr Goff, ‘Shreddie’ was delivered in full working order to the Brockford headquarters of the Middy, where it has remained ever since as a valued member of the railway’s motive power complement.
'Shreddie' is now usually to be found heading the works train whenever help is need on track or trackside maintenance and, more recently, engaged on the MSLR extension project to double the length of the line.
It has also now been fitted with vacuum brakes and can be used on passenger trains, although as Neal said: "It is so low geared it might be quicker to walk".
To scoop the award 'Shreddie' had to fight off competition from the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Society, the Great Central Railway, and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.
Mr Goff is absolutely delighted that his engine has become an award winner, but quick to give credit to the Middy team for their skill and the opportunity for proper work the railway provides for ‘Shreddie’.