Wednesday, 23 May 2012


I've been putting this one off for a while but the eve of Bron Hebog's last exhibition appearance of 2012 seems as good a time as any to wheel out the 'Mother of all Garratts' on Model Of The Week.

Our K1 is built from a Backwoods Miniatures kit and is pretty much put together as Pete intended.  One of the most obvious alterations is the extended railings around the coal bunker at the back.

The loco has also been through wired connecting the motors on each bogie which has transformed the performance of the machine which was previously prone to sticking on points with its relatively shortly four coupled bogies.

Himself is, justifiably, proud of the lining job on this model which took weeks to complete.

The two colours were applied separately and included small areas like the panels on the back of the front water tank which you can see in this shot below.

If anyone needs any introduction to K1 the story is it was built, in Manchester, for the North East Dundas Tramway in Tasmania in 1909, retired in 1929 when the line closed and shipped back to the UK for display at Beyer Peacock in 1947.

It was bought by the FR in 1966 'for future use' according to the official stock book. Not being around at the time it's a decision which has always intrigued me.

It strikes me there was either a top rate clairvoyant on the Board who foresaw the FR reopening the WHR one day or they were prepared to butcher any locomotive to within an inch of its life to make it fit for service on the FR.

(The third explanation, that it was bought for the sake of preserving an important landmark in articulated steam locomotive design seems frankly perverse for a railway that did not have a shortage of things to spend its money on closer to home in the 1960's.)

Whatever, K1 was bought, and ten years later was punted off to the National Railway Museum for 18 years before an eleven year overhaul, and a new boiler, saw it return to service on the WHR in 2006.

It hasn't seen much use in recent years as train loadings on the completed line have got beyond it, but volunteers are currently tinkering with it at Dinas and we're being promised it will appear in service again.

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