Rebuilt Simplex locos still at work in Malaysian palm oil industry

MALAYSIAN United Plantations Berhad’s (UP) use of rail transport meant it became the first palm oil producer to gain a sustainable palm oil producer certificate. 

UP uses a fleet of 700mm-gauge modified Motor Rail Simplex locomotives, originally built in Bedford, which have had their original Dorman engines replaced by more powerful ones made by Deutz, Ford or Perkins. 

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Modified Simplex LMSC No. 13 seen heading towards the ‘Optimill’ on UP’s Ulu Bernam estate in Perak with a loaded train on July 13, 2018. MARK HAMBLY

Some retain their original mechanical gearbox, while in others this has been replaced by a hydrostatic transmission. 

UP transports several thousand tonnes of fresh palm fruit bunches to their four oil extraction mills and associated refineries each day by rail. 

Read more in the July 2019 issue of The RM – on sale now!

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About the Author

Sam Hewitt