Tasmanian Government Railways livery

2009 was K1's centenary year and to get the locomotive looking its best one of the first jobs was to paint it in the original Tasmanian Government Railways' livery. This had always been the plan for the loco however, with the loco being required for use on service trains throughout 2008 there was little opportunity to do so. However with NGG16 No 87 becoming available for the service trains in early 2009 K1 was immediately sent to Boston Lodge to be painted.

By the time K1 went to Boston Lodge on the 17th April 2009 the rebuilding of the Welsh Highland Railway had progressed to such an extent that there was now track down all the way from Caernarfon to Porthmadog where the connection to the Ffestiniog railway had also been completed. K1 therefore ran all the way to Boston Lodge under its own steam. In doing so K1 had the privilege of being one of the first locomotives to use the Porthmadog Cross Town Link (CTL) and Cae Pawb, the crossing of the Network Rail Cambrian line. Whilst it wasn't the first Garratt to cross that stretch, that honour went to NGG16 No 87 on the 23rd March 2009, it was certainly one of the few traverses of that new section at that time.

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K1 on its way to Boston Lodge for painting. Crossing Cae Pawb, left, and over the CTL, right.
Photos: Peter Johnson (right) & Ben Fisher (left)
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 K1 being pressure washed to strip off the old paintwork,
19th April 2009. Photo Andy Rutter

The following day the K1 team gathered at Boston Lodge to start preparing the loco for the painters. This involved pressure washing all sections of the loco that were to be painted. This enabled all the old paintwork to be stripped off as can be seen in the picture on the right taken on the second day of the preparation.

The other feature of K1 at Boston Lodge is the need to remove the chimney to enable the loco to fit into the works, again as seen in the picture on the right.

Once stripped of all existing paint, and after the loco had dried sufficiently from the pressure washing it was moved into the works ready for painting to commence.

Painting commences

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K1 in green undercoat, 30th April 2009.
Photo: Norman Bond
K1 now with two gloss coats applied,
6th May 2009. Photo: Norman Bond

The picture to the far left shows K1 at the end of April 2009 in its green undercoat state, part way through the painting process.

When seen a week later on May 6th 2009, in the near left picture, the second top coat of gloss black was nearly finished. Lining was due to start the next day, a job that would take four days. This was then to be followed by varnishing and replacing the various components removed in the course of preparation for the paint job, before the loco's return trip up the line to Dinas.

K1 emerged from Boston Lodge in its full 1910 TGR livery on May 13th 2009. With a pressing schedule the loco was duly steamed the following day, and not without serious concerns from the Norman Bond's team as the varnish was only just about dry enough.

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K1 in the full glory of its Tasmanian Government Railways livery,
13th May 2009. Photo: Roger Dimmick

Back in Service

The loco steamed back north to Dinas on the 14th May and is seen in the pictures below left setting out across Britannia Bridge. After a short stop at Hafod y Llyn the loco continued on its way to Dinas.

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K1 crossing Britannia Bridge on the way back to Dinas,
14th May 2009. Photo: Andrew Thomas
A break in the journey at Hafod y Llyn,
14th May 2009. Photo: WHRC Ltd

K1's first passenger working after its return from Boston Lodge was a special from Caernarfon to Hafod y Llyn and back on May 17th 2009. As the photos show, the weather deteriorated badly for the almost continuous 1 in 40 uphill run from Nantmor Bank to the summit. Seven loaded carriages proved a challenge on wet rails, particularly as the loco's sanders proved to be blocked, and slipping led to an unscheduled pause at Meillionen Halt to refill the boiler.

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K1 at Dinas preparing for the start of the
trip to Hafod y Llyn,
17th May 2009. Photo: Keith Holland
Coming down the hill from Nantmor,
17th May 2009. Photo: Peter Johnson
On the way back up the 1:40 to Rhyd Ddu
now in deteriorating weather,
17th May 2009. Photo: Andrew Thomas

With NGG16 Garratt №87 having then completed its overhaul and was now in revenue earning service K1 would not see as much use on the regular timetabled services trains as it did in 2008 before the reopening of the Phase 4 section to Beddgelert and Hafod y Llyn. However, with 2009 being K1's centenary year it was still a busy time for the loco with a number of visits around the country to be made as well as the special trains on the Welsh Highland .

MOSI's Great Garratt Gathering

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K1 on display in the main courtyard at Manchester's
Museum of Science and Industry. Photo: Andy Rutter

The first of those trips was to MOSI, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

This trip took place in August 2009 and K1 went on display in the main courtyard of the museum for an event known as The Great Garratt Gathering. In view of the significance of 2009 as being the Centenary of K1, and thus the Garratt locomotive as a type, an event was arranged to take place at the museum over 14th to 16th August 2009. This brought together a number of remaining Garratts and Bayer Garratts including the museum's own resident examples.

It was an excellent opportunity to see both the first of the type, K1, together with one of the largest of the type at the same time. The largest in this instance being the museum's own 1930 built T120 Beyer Garratt built for South African Railways.

The contrast in size couldn't be more apparent and illustrated how the type had advanced immensely over the 21 year period from the original concept.

K1 Visits its Place of Birth

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K1 in the former Beyer Peacock Boiler Shop in Gorton,
Manchester, 17th August 2009. Photo: MOSI(K1 Collection)

Following the Great Garratt Gathering, MOSI arranged for K1 to visit its birthplace as part of the Centenary celebrations. Before heading back to Wales, K1 was therefore moved out of MOSI on the 17th August and went instead to Gorton in East Manchester. Here it was put on display for a short time in Beyer Peacock's former Boiler Shop, a building that was still extant but being used for other purposes.

Warley National Model Railway Exhibition

As 2019 was coming to a close the last 'call of duty' for K1 in its centenary year was a visit to Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham.

This event, over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd November 2009, is primarily a model railway event, however in the recent years it has had a full sized, either standard gauge or narrow gauge locomotive on show in the entrance hall. In 2009 it was K1 that adorned the event as the centrepiece.

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 K1 as the centrepiece at the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition
at the NEC in Birmingham, November 2009. Photo Andy Rutter

As at MOSI the K1 group were in attendance and had a stand at the exhibition to answer any queries and to promote both the locomotive and the Welsh Highland Railway.

This therefore brought to a close a very hectic and exciting year for the locomotive.

With the Welsh Highland Railway now able to steam two NGG16 class Garratts the roll of K1 would become more of a special events and charter train locomotive and so would be unlikely to see 'front line' service train use in future. This being more so as the length of the WHR trains had become steadily longer as the line length increased and would now be too heavy a load for K1 up the 1:40 gradients in to and out of Beddgelert.