Motor Rail

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Two models of Simplex locomotive at Alan Keef's, 1999

Motor Rail was a British locomotive-building company, based in Bedford. Formed in 1911 as The Motor Rail & Tramcar Co Ltd, they built petrol- and diesel-engined locomotives, mainly narrow gauge. During World War I over 900 locos were supplied for use on temporary military supply railways. The trade name Simplex was used from the early days; in 1972 the company was renamed Simplex Mechanical Handling Ltd.

In 1987 loco manufacture ceased, business being transferred to Alan Keef Ltd of Ross-on-Wye, who continue to provide spares and have built several locos to Motor Rail designs.

Preserved locomotives[edit]

Many Motor Rail products survive in preservation, and they are probably the most common make of narrow gauge locomotive still in existence in the United Kingdom.

Heritage railways with Motor Rail locomotives include:

See also[edit]


  • Hall, D.R. and Rowlands J.A.S. (2001). A Guide to Simplex Narrow Gauge Locomotives. Moseley Railway Trust. ISBN 0-9540878-0-1.