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BNPS_WarHorse_015.jpg (01202 558833)<br />
Pic: ChrisGrimes/GRMT<br />
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Before the restoration 2182 was in a sorry state.

The last surviving armoured locomotive used to pull munitions to the front line in World War One has been painstakingly restored a century later.

Volunteers at the Greensand Trust based in Leighton Buzzard have spent the past decade bringing the historic Simplex 40HP engine back to full working order as part of a £20,000 project.

The 8ft high, 10ft long loco, resembling a tank, was built in Bedford in 1917 and encased in full armour plating to protect it's plucky driver from enemy shell fire on the Western Front.

It's petrol engine made it more discreet to use at night close to the front line than larger, noisier and more visible steam trains, which were easier targets for the German guns.

In a world before health and safety the brave driver sat on the noisy engine, with the petrol tank and a radiator next to him in a fume filled cabin - but despite these privations he was infinitely safer inside than out.