The Alan Keef Years

Several locos derived from Simplex designs have been built in the years since the locomotive side of the business of Simplex Mechanical Handling Ltd. was sold to Alan Keef Ltd. These designs are still available today. Click Here for the AK website.


The last locomotive to be built to an order placed with Simplex Mechanical Handling was a 40SD for Butterley Building Materials Ltd., for use at their Cherry Orchard and Star Lane Brickworks near Southend in Essex. This loco was built by Alan Keef for SMH but was given a number in the SMH series - 40SD530. It was identical in appearance to the SMH-built locos. This locomotive was built entirely at the new works at Lea Line near Ross-on-Wye.

In 1987, Alan Keef received an order for another 40S loco (Alan Keef w/n 26) from Butterley but this time the frame was extended rearward in order to fit a modern and roomy driver's cab. Alan Keef's own style of bodywork was also fitted. Other innovations were a hydraulically operated clutch and with the extra space in the cab, the old style brake wheel was reinstated in place of the lever. Another of the type was built for the same firm in 1988 (Alan Keef w/n 28) but this time the frame was lengthened in both directions to make it appear more evenly balanced.


60SD757 was built to an order from Simplex Mechanical Handling and work commenced at Alan Keef's Cote site but was completed after the move to Lea Line in 1986. This loco was destined for Ghana Bauxite, was 3-ft 6-in gauge and weighed 6-Tons.

Three other locomotives have been built to the basic 60S design although the appearance of the first two of these was unlike any 60S before, having full length running boards, wide bodywork and buffer beams that were wider than the frames. Both were 3-ft 6-in gauge locos for Nigeria, w/n 29 of 1988 and w/n 36 of 1990. The third and latest 60S type to be built was w/n 43, which was exported to Guyana for use by the Guyana Sugar Corporation. All had Perkins engines.  

AK 43 (Alan Keef Ltd.)


This type was based on the old 9-Ton frame types which were latterly known as 85S. Only one of these locos has been built by Alan Keef Ltd., this being w/n 37 of 1990, built for Chemicals & Fertilisers of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. It was fitted with a Perkins 6-354 engine although an Alan Keef sales leaflet of the time quoted a Ford BSD444T of 90 B.H.P.


Two of these were built (AK 24 & 25) in 1988 for Kyung Dong Coal Mine in Korea. Both had Deutz F6L912(W) engines of 90 H.P. with hydrostatic transmission and weighed 10 Tons.  

AK 25 outside the offices at Lea Line (Ken Scanes).


As well as building new locos of Motor Rail and their own designs, Alan Keef Ltd. continue to overhaul and rebuild old Motor Rail locos for various customers and have dealt with many types over the years including two T-Series locos that were purchased from British Coal and overhauled and sold for use in the building of the Channel Tunnel. One of these locos, having been bought back by Alan Keef, was rebuilt in 2000 for use as a passenger loco on the Leighton Buzzard Railway. It was given works number 59R.