Lister Auto Truck
Drawing: Roy Link. Photographs: Chris South
In the late 1920's a small, simple- almost rudimentary - light contractor's locomotive was put on the market by R.A.Lister & Co. Ltd. of Dursley, Gloucestershire. The power unit was derived from that employed in the 'Lister Auto-truck', a three-wheel rubber tyred tractor unit widely used at that time for local haulage, both by the 'Big Four' and the G.P.O. Production had reached the 500's by the early 'forties, and continued with few alterations to the basic design until 1970. In that year the English Electric Co. acquired Listers and ended production as part of a general rationalisation of their rail locomotive range.
A straightforward design comprising an underframe, built up from rolled-steel sections of channel substantially cleated and gusseted, it was available in rail gauges from 1'4" to 3'6". Cross members and supports to carry the engine itself were bolted and riveted to the rest of the structure, forming an entirely rigid structure. Combination cast-iron ballast weights cum buffing/coupling units were fixed to each end.
The power units were manufactured by JAP (J.A.Prestwich) and were either the 4-6hp 'R' type single-cylinder engine, or the 9.8hp 'RI" type twin-cylinder engine. The engine itself was located over the leading axle and drove the transmission - located in the centre of the frame - through a manual selection multiple disc clutch to a Lister two-speed gearbox, and thence by chains to each axle from the gearbox secondary shaft. Speeds were 2.5/5 mph for 'R' type units, with 3/6mph for 'RT' type units.
All up weights varied between 1 and 2 tons, depending on customers' requirements and gauge. All locomotives came with an engine cover, but cabs or shelters were an 'extra cost' option. Later, Listers produced their own power units, with ultimately a Diesel version becoming available in the late 50's. Typical 60cm gauge examples had the following leading dimensions:
'The British Internal Combustion Locomotive:
Brian Webb. David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1973 I.R.S.Publications, Industrial Railway Society 'The Narrow Gauge', Narrow Gauge Railway Society