R A Lister and Company

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere

R A Lister & Company was founded in Dursley, Gloucestershire, in 1867 by Robert Ashton Lister to produce agricultural machinery. The family was originally from Yorkshire but Ashton's father (George Lister) relocated to Dursley in 1817.

The company started producing petrol engines early in the 20th century, mainly to power sheep-shearing equipment. In 1929, the first of Lister's own design of "CS" (cold start) diesel engine was made in Dursley. The CS is a slow running (600 rpm), reliable engine, suitable for driving electric generators or irrigation pumps. Lister engines were usually painted Green.

Production of these engines in England ended in 1987 but a number of Indian manufacturers have since continued production of "Listeroids" or clones copied from the CS design. These engines are used in India and also exported to other countries, including Australia and the USA. Recently there has been an upsurge in interest in these engines and their unique capabilities for long-term elecrical generation or pumping. They are becoming increasingly popular for "off grid" or "remote" uses, partially because of their ability to use a large variety of alternate fuels and ease of maintenance and repair.

Lister also built light trucks fitted with their engines, for use around factories. From 1926 to 1968 they built light narrow gauge railway locomotives, weighing as little as 1½ tons, typically used by small brickworks and on peat bogs. The locos were often characterised by a total lack of bodywork; sometimes they had the luxury of an all over roof supported by four corner posts.

R A Lister & Company was taken over by the Hawker Siddeley Group in 1965, and merged in 1986 with Petter Diesels to form Lister-Petter Ltd.

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