Help to keep K1 running - Appeal.
This page covers the steps from K1's first movements under its own power to its entry into regular passenger service at WHR (Caernarfon).
At about 7pm on Sunday August 22nd 2004, as the light was failing and with about 160psi on the dial, K1 moved under its own power for the first time since 1929. K1 was coupled to the Hunslet diesel as a safety back up in case of a failure, and about half a dozen short runs were completed within the confines of Boston Lodge yard, using the High Pressure cylinders only.
K1 took a first trip out on to the Cob at 9.15pm on Tuesday August 24th, reaching about halfway across before returning to Boston Lodge by 10pm, on discovery that a bearing was running warm on a coupling rod journal, which will have to be eased. Other minor faults were also found, including a piston rod gland which was not seating properly; this type of "snagging list" is entirely normal for a steam loco following a major overhaul.
Apart from these minor problems the loco was reported to be running well on all four cylinders, and was operated in both Simple and Compound modes.
The faulty lubrication splitter reported earlier, having been "bodged" as a temporary measure to allow testing, was later replaced using spares kindly sent from the spares stock of our partners the Sandstone Heritage Trust in South Africa.
K1 ventured out onto the Cob again on the evening of Friday September 3rd, as seen in Andrew Goodwin's pictures below.
Video - 15 seconds, MPEG format, 1.4MB.
It was found that some remedial work was needed on the motion, and this was put in hand. The loco was demonstrated in steam for visitors on Sunday September 12th, to make up a little for its absence from the WHR(C) Super Power Weekend.
It had previously been thought that K1 would have to be removed from the FR via Harbour Station, as it was believed to be too large to reach Minffordd, but following careful measurements it was found that there is - by the tiniest margin - horizontal clearance for the loco to pass Rhiw Plas bridge and thus reach Minffordd. It was known that there is clearance for it to be shunted between the FR main line and the yard at Minffordd as this was done in 1995. However this movement required removing not only the chimney but also the dome and cab.
The necessary components were removed at Boston Lodge over the weekend of September 18-19th, as seen in Colin Hill's picture below.
The loco was successfully moved to Minffordd Yard on September 22nd. The move went well, with no scrapes, though clearances were found to be tight - as expected. At Minffordd, the loco was stored out of public view, down in the "coal hole" sidings.
The dismantled sections of the cab were moved to Dinas the day before the loco itself; the other removed parts stayed with the loco.
K1 was moved by road to Dinas on Saturday October 2nd. Conway Castle and a B wagon were coupled to K1 for its first contact with WHR metals, and Upnor Castle later performed a shunt via the bay platform to release Conway Castle and then the wagon, before shunting K1 into its new home in the Goods Shed. For the first time since leaving Zeehan in 1947, K1 had found a permanent home after its long and distant wanderings.
The following weekend K1 Group volunteers were at work on the loco, with further painting in hand on the cab panels before their later reassembly. By this point all parts and stores for K1 had been delivered to Dinas.
In addition to reassembly of the parts stripped for transport there was still some work to be done on the loco before WHR line trials, such as final rectification of the coupling rod bearing which ran hot in trials on the Cob. The necessary rods had been removed from the loco when it was seen below (left) on October 17th; the steam dome and cab were back in place, and volunteers were refitting associated components.
The motion and other parts were back in place by the end of October, and the loco made its first excursion from Dinas on November 2nd, propelled "cold" up the line as far as Castell Cidwm for gauging tests. It was reported as "a bit tight" in one or two places, especially Castell Cidwm Bridge. After this trip K1 was returned to the loco shed rather than the Goods Shed, fully fuelled and watered ready for steam testing.
K1 was first steamed on the WHR on Thursday November 4th, prior to an HMRI inspection to confirm the loco's Type Approval for entry into service; approval in principle was granted back in March 1997. The HMRI visit took place on Monday November 8th. The photos below show the loco on both dates, and also the intervening weekend.
Videos (QuickTime .mov format). Large files, right-clicking
to save/run locally suggested:
Running through Dinas Station (68 seconds, 6.3MB)
Shunting two B wagons (46 seconds, 3.2MB)
Runs for HMRI inspection (45 seconds, 3.6MB)
The result of the November 8th inspection was a "partial pass". This means that upon completion of a few small jobs specified by HMRI the loco is considered passed for test trains, and if wanted, to double-head service trains. A further HMRI inspection following completion of a further small "snagging list" will be required to certify K1 to enter service as sole motive power on passenger trains. Given that K1 is a complex and unique locomotive, these further tasks can fairly be regarded as "par for the course". There will also be a gauging trial over the full line prior to the next HMRI inspection.
The loco was then moved back to the Goods Shed for volunteers to work on the remaining items needing attention.
K1 hauled its first trains out on the line on Tuesday November 30th, at the start of a programme of weekday tests between Dinas and Caernarfon. On the first day the loco notched up 15 miles, hauling four carriages (the tests are being done without passengers as the loco is not yet cleared for solo passenger haulage), nos. 2020, 2021,2022 and 100. A further tests took place on Wednesday December 1st, when carriages 26 and 24 were added; only one morning return trip was done in the owing to a hot axlebox on the rear engine, but otherwise K1 proved at ease with the load of six carriages; the climb up out of Caernarfon includes some of the steepest gradients on the Railway. After the bearing had cooled down over lunchtime a light engine run was made to Bontnewydd and back (seen in the last picture below); the bearing ran hot again and thus required attention.
Videos (QuickTime .mov format):
Caernarfon (approaching station, taking water) - large (1.2MB) or small (557KB)
Passing Pant Farm - large (1.5MB) or small (690KB)
Arrival at Dinas - large (1.2MB) or small (564KB)
Further tests took place on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th December, and included the loco's first powered run to Waunfawr, running light engine on the 9th. The hot axlebox problem recurred. In January 2005 K1 was moved into the Carriage Shed, as the Goods Shed was required for work on diesel Castell Caernarfon.
K1 was due to run daily line trials between February 14-20th, but in the event only ran on those two dates. The first run, on Monday February 14th, was done (almost) light engine, with diesel Conway Castle taken along as insurance (which was not needed); The pictures below by Ian Butters and Peter Jones pictures show the pair at Waunfawr, near Salem, entering Snowdon Ranger, and then approaching and standing at Rhyd Ddu. There was recurrence of the hot box problem from the December tests, which led to the return run terminating at Dinas.
It was decided to make a full investigation of the problem axlebox at this stage; previously it had been hoped that it might bed in with use and additional lubrication. Therefore K1 was jacked up in the following days to drop the axle, and repairs were made; fortunately it was not necessary to re-cast the whitemetal liner.
K1 was thus ready for further trials on the afternoon of Sunday February 20th. After runs up and down Dinas loop to get early indications that all was well, the loco ran its first full trial with carriages over the whole line. A run down to Caernarfon crossed with the last service train of the day after returning to Dinas, and then proceeded to Waunfawr - with a stop at Tryfan Junction to check all was well - and then on to Rhyd Ddu as dusk fell (as did a little snow). Although some items still required attention, on the move K1 gave a very lively performance indeed, and amply demonstrated that the loco is capable of hauling a useful load at line speed.
Also during February, the plan to name K1 as Herbert William Garratt was dropped, in the interests of keeping this unique and historically important locomotive in as close to original condition as possible. The following press release was issued on February 28th 2005:
The board of the Ffestiniog Railway Company resolved at its last meeting on 18th February that K1 would not bear a name but that it would be dedicated at an appropriate ceremony to all the work carried out by all at Beyer Peacock in recognition that it was the first Garratt built.
The board took advice on the proposed naming of the engine from the Heritage company which is responsible for monitoring the heritage fleet. The unanimous advice of the Heritage company and its archivist was that on account of the engine's historical significance being the first of its kind there was a responsibility to keep the appearance of the engine as original as possible. So, K1 will also be painted in its original livery.Michael Whitehouse (Chairman, Festiniog Railway Company)
Gareth Williams (Chairman, Ffestiniog Railway Heritage Limited)
K1 Group press release, March 8th 2005:
The K1 project has steamed along since late 1995 and is nearing completion. For virtually all of these past nine years our project leader has been Colin Hill. He has led the team through every high and low point of the project with great determination and the results are for all to see, a restored K1 almost ready for service on the WHR. Colin has now decided that the time has come to hang up his overalls and retire from the project. We thank him for his tremendous energy and time devoted towards restoring K1, and his friendship to all. We wish him well in the future.
The February tests led to a "snagging list" of items still requiring attention before the loco can be considered for service. In the interests of ensuring the loco's reliability, it was decided to remove the other wheelsets (in addition to the one dealt with in February) for careful examination of the axleboxes, and any rectification work that may be needed in light of the previous problems. The axleboxes were supplied by an external contractor at an early stage of the overhaul, replacing the originals which were beyond repair. This was be the most substantial single piece of work, but there are many other items, smaller but important, and the K1 Group is also paying close attention to the cosmetic details.
Over Easter and for a time afterwards, K1 found itself living outdoors, in the carriage release road at Dinas; at this time the Goods Shed was occupied by the Funkey diesel under overhaul, and both roads in the loco shed were needed for the working NGG16s.
With the Funkey back in service, K1 was moved back into the Goods Shed, where volunteers are seen below at work on April 16th. Another area receiving attention was the oil firing system; the panplate (right) had been removed to allow attention to the burner, and fitting of the firebrick walls in the firebox, which were not yet in place for the earlier tests.
The K1 group spent the weekend of May 21st-22nd preparing the engine units ready for dropping the axles to inspect all of the axle boxes. A plan was devised in conjunction with Boston Lodge Works to manufacture beams that would lift the whole engine units, together with the boiler unit, up three feet or so, using Dinas's ex-Channel Tunnel jacks. With this method all axles can be rolled out for inspection at the same time. With this work in mind the volunteers removed all the coupling and connecting rods together with remaining brake gear to leave complete clearance under each engine unit. Preparations were also done to make the refractory brick walls for the firebox. Boston Lodge delivered the lifting beams in late July; they have been designed by Clive Briscoe of Team Wylfa, and they will also be capable of lifting an NG15 off its wheelsets. Before K1 could be lifted they had to go to a test house near Wigan for proof loading and certifying.
The loco was jacked up on the beams by August 4th, with all the wheelsets out for inspection of the bearings. It was found that there had been no damage to bearings or journals other than the one instance rectified in February. It was found however that the oilways on the other axleboxes were "as machined", and had not been hand-finished to eliminate sharp edges onto the surface of the whitemetal bearing liners; these sharp edges can prevent oil being drawn smoothly out of the oilway by the rotation of the axle. Fortunately, rectifying these sharp edges and providing a neat transition between oilway and bearing surface is a fairly straightforward job using scrapers. Other minor modifications to the lubrication system were being carried out at the same time.
The loco is seen below up on the jacks and beams during the August 20th-21st working party. The axleboxes were being modified to provide underfeed lubrication (as found on the NGG16s) in addition to the existing feeds from the top of the bearings. The loco was back down on its wheelsets by August 24th. Re-assembly of brake gear etc was then required in time for K1's visit to the "Great Gathering" at Crewe in September.
With the refitting of the loco's plates, the opportunity has been taken to add a K2 plate on one side of the hind engine, and a K1 plate on the other. This reflects the fact that the loco is a mix of parts from the two locos; not only is the boiler frame from K2, its works number (5293) has also been found on some major motion components. As explained on the K1 in Tasmania page, it now seems clear that the boiler units were swapped between K1 and K2 while still in service (and not in 1947 as once thought); it is nevertheless possible that some parts from K2 (such as the motion parts) could have travelled back to the UK and formed part of Beyer Peacock's reassembly work, when much is known to have been done to the motion.
The plates on the front engine are not works plates but Garratt's patent plates, an interesting parallel with the "Fairlie's Patent" plates carried by the FR Double Fairlies. For security, all the plates are fitted in such a way that they cannot be removed from outside the tanks.
K1's public profile was raised considerably in September 2005. First, it paid a visit to the highly successful "Great Gathering" event at Crewe Works.
The following weekend it appeared in light steam at Dinas as one of the Super Power Weekend attractions, making demonstration runs within the yard.
Work has continued on the many details needed to get the loco ready for further line trials and passenger service. Volunteers are seen below working on the loco over the carriage shed pit on October 16th. One task being attended to was the imperfect sealing of the smokebox door using the dart mechanism alone; this has been addressed by the same technique used on the loco in Tasmania, i.e. fitting additional "dog" catches around the door's edge - indeed the original dogs fitted in Tasmania were being put in place.
By November 6th K1 had been hauled cold for twelve miles, to test the axleboxes, motion and lubrication system, and all was found to be well with these previously troublesome areas. Also the refractory walls in the firebox had been cast, although one of them needed re-casting. The loco was tested under its own power on November 11th, between Dinas and Waunfawr.
On November 12th K1 was at the heart of a photographers' charter freight special organised by 30742 Charters, making runs between Waunfawr and points close to Rhyd Ddu; the station was blocked off under the permanent way possession for the programme to extend and complete the loop and platform. In light of this and K1's HMRI status a rather involved formation was required, leading to some unusual sights. K1's freight (four B wagons and one DZ) was topped and tailed by NGG16 no. 143 at the front, and at the rear, two carriages for the photographers and Upnor Castle to pilot the train downhill, and also to shunt the carriages out of sight for K1's runpasts. 143 ran ahead clear of the stretch used for runpasts (from Glanrafon to Clogwyn y Gwîn), and stood alone while they took place. Pairing 143 with K1 is particularly appropriate, as they are the last and first Garratts built by Beyer Peacock.
See also: Bruce
Brayne's photos of the November 12th specials.
Albums by charter participants: Martin Creese and Owen Chapman (35mm and digital).
K1 was reported to be steaming well, and almost all the leaks and other issues identified in the February tests had been eliminated; there was however steam leakage from the rear power unit, a feature visible in pictures of these locos in Tasmania, and possibly just an idiosyncracy of this prototype design. One bearing ran very slightly warm, but not enough to be a significant concern. It was also noticeable that, as in February, the paint had burned away from parts of the chimney - the heat-resistant paint applied since February was clearly not heat-resistant enough!
Trials which had been scheduled over the weekend of December 10-11th (K1 piloting one or more Santa Trains with an NGG16) were cancelled shortly beforehand owing to a faulty injector. K1 was then scheduled to pilot all six Caernarfon-Waunfawr Santa Trains the following weekend, and duly appeared on the first one on December 17th. During this run an axle bearing was found to be running warm enough to be a concern, and K1 was removed from the train at Dinas on the return working. A light engine run was then made south from Dinas, but on inspection at Tryfan Junction it was found that the bearing was no better, and a return to Dinas was made, crossing with the afternoon Santa before K1 went on shed. The footplate crew reported that K1 was running very well apart from the bearing problem. It was expected that the axle would have to be dropped again for investigation and rectification of the problem.
The February 2006 working party was spent looking at the errant axle box, the regulator and high pressure steam rotating joint. The brake gear was dismantled in readiness to drop the motion and then the axle. Lubrication problems were noticed on partial strip down. Alignments associated with the horn face and axle box were questionable. The regulator was known to be stiff when in steam, and although the brass valve was not picking up on the case, the shaft gland packing area was not good and the shaft may require replacement with one made of stainless steel. The high pressure steam joint required dismantling, and the clearances increased between the rotating plates as there was evidence of a steam leak.
Paid staff work on K1 resumed in May 2006, having been delayed by urgent attention needed to Castell Caernarfon. K1 was lifted off its wheelsets again on May 19th, and inspections were made of the axle box and springs. It was expected that there would be more to report on this axle box within days; it was believed that the problem was not now lubrication but the alignment of the bearing. The axlebox was to be taken to Boston Lodge for any re-machining required. The May 20th-21st K1 Group working party was spent checking the mechanical lubrication system; in particular the feeds to the steam ball joints on the receiver pipe and changeover valve. The injectors were dismantled to assess what work is needed to improve their reliability and to measure them accurately to make new cones. The main steam pipe was removed to attend to the flange that leaks large clouds of steam from the hind engine from time to time. The regulator stiffens in use and has been dismantled for attention to its shaft.
A K1 team of two, Martin Page & Andy Rutter, worked on K1 over the weekend of June 17-18th 2006. The high pressure steam pipes and ball joint assembly were assembled and fitted up to the locomotive. This assembly had been leaking on previous steam trials, so attention was given to skimming the face of the loose flange plate giving an even clearance around the ball joint assembly and improving the amount of oil that resides in the oil bath within this housing. Joints in the pipes were also refurbished and resealed. All axle boxes were dismantled and inspected. The two from the problem axle were being rectified at Boston Lodge Works, and were expected back at Dinas shortly. The remaining six were substantially OK, and well oiled, but were to be inspected by workshop staff. The safety valves had received some attention to their seats to reduce steam leakage, and the regulator housing had been removed to Boston Lodge for the fitting of a bearing bush for the shaft. The original bearing hole in the casting had become oval - this was sticking when hot, making K1 quite exciting to drive!
K1 was back on its wheels by July 15th, with motion being reassembled. The regulator was not yet back in place.
With motion and regulator back in place, further trials could be undertaken. The loco was put into light steam on July 31st, although this revealed a cracked body on the boiler blowdown ball valve. With these items attended to, K1 was steamed on August 4th, and ran light engine tests in Dinas yard, and a trip down to Caernarfon and back. The loco performed well, with only a few minor steam leaks and adjustment of the injectors still requiring attention, and no causes for concerns were found with the axleboxes.
Following the August 4th run it was however found necessary to replace the blowdown valve completely, and this was done using a valve imported from Poland and previously intended for use on no. 134. K1 was then given an "early bird" light engine test to Rhyd Ddu on August 8th, with departure from Dinas planned for around 0730, and the loco was observed on its way back from Rhyd Ddu before 0900.
See Stewart Macfarlane's complete album.
K1 ran more light engine trips between Dinas, Waunfawr and Caernarfon between service trains on August 9th, before taking an evening light loaded run from Dinas to Rhyd Ddu, hauling the tool van and carriage 1001, crossing the last two returning service trains at Dinas and Waunfawr. The loco's performance was felt to be very promising, the main remaining concerns being the injectors; only one of the pair was functional, and its operation remained a little temperamental; it was also recognised that the injector overflow pipe would need adjustment to avoid melting tarmac platforms! Further running-in turns were envisaged.
K1 was due to run double-headed with an NGG16 on a number of passenger turns on Thursday August 17th, but the loco was failed before departure when it was found on inspection that it had lost the cap from the leading right-hand crankpin on the front power unit, and that the cast iron crosshead slipper (which fits between the crosshead and slidebar) had cracked on the same corner of the loco. A new crankpin cap was being machined the same day, but the crosshead slipper would take a few days to replace. The affected corner is shown below on the 19th with the motion down, and the crosshead and slidebars removed.
Following reassembly of the crosshead (with new slipper) and motion, K1 went out on test southwards from Dinas on September 4th.
The loco was then subjected to testing (with two wagons) by HMRI on September 5th with a view to certifying it for solo passenger working. The outcome was successful. There would be modifications needed in due course to the injector drains (see above under August 9th) so that they discharge behind the steps; the boiler frame (ex-K2) bears some evidence of a similar modification having been done previously in Tasmania.
With clearance in place, the K1 supporters' special - long promised as its first solo passenger run - took place on September 8th. K1 had received a fresh coat of gloss black paint, and the buffer beams had been repainted in full red at the last minute - the previous yellow stripes on the edges indicated its status as not passed for solo passenger trains.
Tasmania was represented not only by its flag but also by Michael De Bomford, secretary of the Tasmanian Association for Tourist Railways. The Association are producing a commemorative plaque for K1.
The message below was read out to supporters on the occasion of the special, and also at the WHRS AGM the next day:
A message from Charles Smith, the retired Chief Engineer of Australian National Railways, Tasmania (formerly Tasmanian Government Railways):
I congratulate all the dedicated people who have contributed to this momentous occasion. For the very first locomotive of such an important type to be still in existence after ninety-seven years and to be re-entering revenue service must surely be unique. I consider K1 to be the most important Garratt in the world.
I have a special interest in K1 as I had a role in its preservation. As a junior assistant engineer I went to Tasmania's west coast to initiate feed water treatment for steam locomotives subject to boiler corrosion from the acid feed water of that region. In the workshop was K1, complete, just as it had ceased operation 15 years before. At this time I was unaware of its existence. I took photos for my own information that later proved helpful towards preservation.
K2 was outside in the yard separated into three units. I found that the Tasmanian Government Railways had tried to sell the Ks without success and scrapping was being considered.
About this time Beyer Peacock wrote to TGR asking if the nameplates of K1 were in existence as they would like to purchase them for their museum in the works at Manchester. There seemed no possibility of preservation in Tasmania and I saw this as a possible way of saving this important locomotive. I discussed the situation with the chief draftsman, Douglas Wherrett, and we went together to the chief engineer, Mr. George Mullins, who gave us permission to write a letter to Beyer Peacock, for his signature, offering K1 for purchase at scrap value and enclosing my photos to show its completeness.
Beyer Peacock purchased K1 and arranged shipping through the Emu Bay Railway Company.
I have followed restoration progress with great interest by means of your website. When I saw K1 in 1945 I could not have anticipated that it would rerturn to service 61 years later. What a marvellous achievement this is, which I am sure will draw enthusiasts from all over the world. Once again, my congratulations to all concerned.
Charles Smith, OAM MIE Aust, CPE
The loco entered public service the next day, working shuttles at Super Power Weekend. The shrill whistle previously fitted was replaced with a Stanier hooter between the special on the 8th and the loco's weekend duties.
Following Super Power K1 was receiving attention to a hot box on the front engine, and the front water tank was removed for attention to a leak.
K1 Group announcement, September 20th 2006:
The K1 group are delighted to announce that they are to receive a Transport Trust grant of £500 towards the cost of replicating the original Acetylene Gas Headlights for K1. The K1 Group thank the Transport Trust for this grant, which will help finish the locomotive with its distinctive headlamps. The lighting circuit within the headlamp casings will be new-fangled electricity, derived from a steam turbo generator soon to be restored. Also, The Ffestiniog Railway Company have already agreed to fund the cost of the final livery of K1 when ready.
A full size mock-up of one of the lamps is shown below.
The following summarises the tasks in hand on K1 as of mid-October 2006:
K1 is a candidate for early conversion back to coal firing, as part of the programme prompted by dramatic rises in the cost of fuel oil, and which started with the FR's Taliesin and Earl of Merioneth. This is expected to be relatively straightforward. The oil bunker will be lifted out of the coal space, which will give the opportunity to lift the rear water tank complete, to replace the fixing bolts with studs in a similar fashion to the modification on the front tank (see above). The oil firing panplate and burner will be replaced with a grate, and side ash pans like the originals will be made and fitted; the long receiver pipe between the engine units precludes a bottom emptying system. The firehole door will be modified for coal shovel use, and there may be changes to the refractories within the firebox. Coal capacity may well be increased by adding coal rails around the bunker, reproducing a modification made in service in Tasmania.
K1 is seen below on October 29th 2006, with the front tank back in place but with the top still removed, offering an unusual chance to peek inside.
The tank was repaired in time for a weekend charter on November 11-12th 2006 which had sole use of the Waunfawr - Rhyd Ddu section, and also ventured out for a distance along the extension, making K1 the first Garratt to run to the summit of the line and beyond, to the bottom of Pont Cae'r Gors cutting. K1 ran with B wagons and the SAR van. Like Palmerston at Super Power two months before, K1 was watered at Rhyd Ddu via the supply which was not yet connected up to the south water tower.
See Martin Creese's fotopic album from the charter.
All axleboxes ran cool throughout the weekend, and were regularly checked with an infra-red digital thermometer. The previously troublesome fireman's injector was now completely reliable. The loco had been fitted with sanders from a Class 08 diesel shunter which were working extremely well, and were considered far better in operation than than the sanders on the NGG16s. The loco was pulling well, and using its compounding effectively, with use of the simpling valve unnecessary with the wagon load, even starting in reverse on the 1 in 40 in Pont Cae'r Gors cutting. There was however room for improvement in how well the engine steamed.
At a little ceremony at the Don River Railways workshops in Launceston, Tasmania on November 12th 2006, the plaque commemorating the engineering and historical significance of K1 which will be fitted to the loco was shown to Charles Smith, his wife Aileen and other members of the Tasmanian Association of Tourist Railways by Chris Martin, their President. Charles Smith was the instigator of the repatriation of K1 when, as a young railway engineer, he found the loco at Zeehan in 1945. He rose to become the Chief Engineer of Tasmanian Government Railways, retiring in the 1980s. His love of steam meant that many Tasmanian steam locomotives were saved from the cutter's torch for Heritage Railways in that State. So the TATR are grateful to him for that and the rescue of K1.
The plaque is on its way to Wales and the K1 group hope to hold a small ceremony when the plaque is affixed to K1. It reads, "Presented by the Tourist Railways of Tasmania in recognition of the Historical and Engineering significance of this locomotive."
Seen above are: Chris Martin (President of the Tasmanian Association of Tourist Railways - Redwater Creek Steam and Heritage Society Inc representative); Charles Smith (Retired Chief Engineer, Tasmanian Government Railways), and his wife Aileen; Michael DeBomford (Secretary of the Tasmanian Association of Tourist Railways - Mount Lyell Abt Railway Society); Tony Coen (Derwent Valley Railway); Peter Martin (Treasurer of the Tasmanian Association of Tourist Railways); John Binns (Launceston Tramway Museum Society); Bill Housego (Don River Railway); Meg Thornton (Ida Bay Railway); and Graham Hawes (Wee Georgie Wood Railway).
The K1 Group's December 9-10th 2006 working party worked on numerous small jobs. The cone in the vacuum ejector was changed for a smaller diameter, and there was further investigation into the problems with the injectors. A number of rattles in the cab were tackled, together with other minor cosmetic work. The axlebox oil pads received attention and an original metal baseplate was rewound with lubricating wool strands to form a new pad. This was to be inserted into a keep with a pressure spring, and tested in service to see if it is more reliable than the existing oil pads. Quite a lot of attention was given to improving the general oiling and greasing of the least accessible parts of K1. With the loco over the pit, most of the grease nipples under the loco were changed for hook-on types to make the use of grease guns a swifter operation. The operation and adjustment of the reach rod (the reversing rod between front and hind engines) was investigated. With the reverser in mid gear the valve gears of the engine units are not quite in the central position as determined from the links. As there is no adjustment for the hind engine, the reverser was positioned to place the hind engine in the correct position, and the reach rod required a reduction of a full turn of the yoke at the front end to bring the front engine to the correct position. It was out by a sixteenth of an inch or so. The position of the die block in one link at each end was then measured for each of the cut off positions provided. This was part of the ongoing checks to fine tune the valve event timings, the adjustments being quite small and critical.
In January 2007 work was progressing on converting K1 to coal firing. The oil supply, pipes, burner and associated equipment had been removed or were in the process of being removed.
With the conversion to coal firing of K1 in full swing the January working party re-fixed/re-assembled the cab and its fittings including whistle chains. The oil control valve and associated pipework was removed. The brick arch and associated carriers were removed without trouble though one of the bricks was cracked and came apart when taken down. The firebox doorplate hinge and catch fittings were removed. The driver's side injector taken off for attention, and further work done to the ejector.
The plaque from Tasmania (see above) was put in place during the working party, as seen below. The third picture shows modifications in hand to the bottom of the firebox as part of the coal conversion.
The pictures below show work in progress during the February 17-18th 2007 working party to grind off the studs for the brick arch, made redundant by conversion to coal.
The views below show items receiving attention as part of the coal conversion during the March 24-5th 2007 working party, most visibly (left) the coal rails; these reproduce fittings added in Tasmania to increase the coal capacity beyind that of the bunker, itself visible between the rear water tank filler and the cab backsheet, following removal of the oil tank.
During the July 21st-22nd 2007 working party, the existing fire brick moulds were used to create polystyrene "bricks" using expanding foam around blocks, allowing a trial run to be made of how the brick arch will fit in the firebox, with the "bricks" being trimmed as required. Making these allowed the moulds to be modified for the subsequent casting of the six fire bricks which will make up a suitable brick arch for coal firing. Consideration has been given to the bucket/cone arrangement for the injector drains, which have a long run, not conventionally below the cab, but in front of the firebox. If the drain is viewable within the cab it will make this "backhead" type of injector less frustrating to operate and safer to view. New cones have been made for the right hand (driver's) injector, which should make it more reliable once fitted. Also fitted during the working party were the six remaining oil pads for the axle bearings, using new redesigned pressure pads.
Vital steelwork for the coal conversion was being assembled by the start of August 2007. Brunswick Ironworks in Caernarfon were fabricating the ashpan (upside down in the following pictures) from components that had been profile cut by the supplier. The unusual shape is because the receiver pipe taking low-pressure steam to the front power unit passes close under the firebox, so the ashpan has to be in two parts.
Part of the rocking grate mechanism is seen at Boston Lodge, with the works manager's boot used to show approximately how it will look when in position.
Four of the K1 team assembled on Saturday August 18th 2007 to continue with the coal conversion of K1. The first job was to fit the four butterfly catches on the doors of the ashpan, which had now been delivered from Brunswick Ironworks (see above). These catches were duly fitted fairly readily, given that half were fixed into stainless steel. The ashpan was mostly complete and would be ready to be fitted to the bottom of the firebox once all internal work was completed within. The following picture shows the ashpan viewed from slightly below on the front right (driver's) side, with all flaps open, but before fitting the butterfly locking bolts. The larger openings without mesh on the inside are used to rake out the ash, and the dull red interior simulates the bottom of the firebox. The receiver (intermediate steam pressure) pipe connecting the two engine units will be between the two halves of the ashpan, hence the raised centre section. The design is in two halves that allow it to be fitted without removing this pipe.
The team then had a look at the fitting work required on the drop grate arrangement. The drop bars were offered up to be marked for the required expansion gaps within the firebox. This required a band saw cut to one set to give a clearance of 6mm. The second set were even harder requiring other mechanically aided methods to be used. Both sets were installed in the firebox to await approval. The picture below shows the new firehole door which had been fitted to the loco.
To further the project to give K1 headlamps, the lighting on the NGG/ 16 engines was looked at for the detail of the preferred lamp and reflector. K1's lamps within the replica lamp casings will be designed to use one rather than two of these, with a provision to carry a spare bulb.
K1 was lit up on coal on September 3rd 2007, and is seen below on the 7th, on warm-up and testing before the "Join-In Weekend". In addition to running within Dinas station limits, K1 took a freight rake down to Caernarfon and back.
The loco has been running further tests, and on September 21st 2007 became the first Garratt to reach Beddgelert.
K1 is seen below arriving at Dinas from Caernarfon on October 2nd 2007, on test with the F Set of passenger stock.
On October 4th 2007 K1 took the F Set to Rhyd Ddu and back as a loaded test of a passenger turn, in what would have been the second departure of the day during the two-train service - 143 was operating the actual passenger service, and K1's train did not carry the public. Water and coal consumption were acceptable, and performance with the five-car F Set was very acceptable; the set will not need to be shortened when K1 is rostered. Tasks remaining included fitting the in-cab controls for the dampers, and there were still some concerns about the injectors. A hot box was experienced, and dismantled the next day. At this stage it is felt that the remaining hot box is a question of running-in and improving lubrication - it should be noted that K1's bearing surfaces are very similar to those on a standard gauge "Pacific"!
At the same time, work was advancing on the replica acetylene headlights. Stuart Fletcher is seen below working on the in the reproduction lamp casings in his workshop in Worcestershire on October 8th 2007. They primarily comprise brass sheet and steel mountings. The lamps will be fitted with batteries and 24V spot lamps; the batteries allow for a continuous electricity supply if the turbo generator is not generating.
K1 was on test again when seen here at Dinas on October 12th 2007. The loco hauled its first regular trains a week later.
Help to keep K1 running - Appeal.