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Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri
Welsh Highland Railway Society

Society Projects
1910 image of K1 assembled at Zeehan in Western Tasmania, the official TGR photo

The Project:

The K1 group are responsible for the general upkeep of the locomotive. They look after winter maintenance and any improvements to its operation.

The Original Garratt - Maintenance and Support

K1 has its place in history as it was the pioneer of this type of articulated locomotive, to become known as the 'Garratt'. Two locomotives were built by Beyer Peacocks for the North-East Dundas Tramway in Tasmania, in 1909 and these were designated K1 and K2. They proved the worthiness of this type of articulated locomotive for use on the narrow gauge with tight curves and steep gradients. Further designs for railways of all gauges worldwide followed to ensure that the Garratt became one of the most successful types of articulation for steam traction.

Both locomotives eventually fell out of use but neither were scrapped at that time. Instead their unique nature was appreciated and so K1 (with K2's boiler and a few other parts) was offered to Bayer Peacocks for preservation. On the closure of Beyer Peacocks the Loco was acquired by the Ffestiniog Railway and subsequently put on display at the National Railway Museum in York.

With the prospect of the reopening of the Welsh Highland Railway becoming more likely an opportunity was seen to restore and use the loco when that line opened.

The K1 group was set up with the intention of being responsible for its restoration to working order. This was started at Tyseley near Birmingham, and later moved to Boston Lodge on the Ffestiniog Railway before finally arriving at the WHR in 2004.

The group then helped in finalising the Loco for revenue earning service that commenced three years later in October 2007. This involved numerous trials to remove the last few snags such as that with lubrication. When K1 entered regular service it was running the train service from Caenarfon the Rhyd Ddu when the railway was only open that far. With it in regular service the K1 group moved responsibility to caring for its general well-being and upkeep, although the company looked after day to day maintenance whilst in revenue earning services.

In 2014 K1 boiler certificate expired and so work commenced towards stripping the loco down in order to receive its 10 yearly examination. However before it was withdrawn K1 provided the traction for the Ffestiniog Railway's Trustees train on the 8th October 2014. The picture below shows it Boston Lodge hauling the railway's vintage stock.

K1 on the Trustees Day train - 8th October 2014

During that day a leaflet was made available giving a potted history of K1. It is made available here and is titled as  'A note from the K1 Group Committee'. 

Much more detail is available about the locomotive and its restoration and this can be found on the WHR Projects pages. The links to the left will direct you there.

If you are interested in becoming more familiar with the locomotive then please consider  joining the K1 Group where you'll be made very welcome and more so when helping out at working parties. The more hands there are available then the quicker its 10 year overhaul will be and the sooner this historic loco will be running again. Full details are available on the Group's details page.

Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri is a Registered Charity, №1094938

All content webmasters or as indicated - This page updated 9th December 2014
 by Laurence Armstrong