K1 is returning to Wales for Welshpool duo’s 120th birthday celebrations
K1 – the world’s first articulated Garratt – will shortly be returning to Wales for two spring events.
The 0-4-0+0-4-0 will feature in a special photographic charter weekend on the Welsh Highland Railway on March 26-27, along with Large England 0-4-0STT Welsh Pony.
The charters, which are being organised by David Williams, will feature multiple runpasts at scenic locations. The cost of taking part is £100 for either day, or £180 for both. Places are limited; to book, visit www.festrail.co.uk/photocharter-availablity-in-march
In 1909, two then-unique locomotives were built by Beyer Peacock in Manchester for the North-East Dundas Tramway in Tasmania, where they were numbered K1 and K2. They proved the usefulness of this type of articulated locomotive on narrow gauge lines with tight curves and steep gradients, and from their success, further designs for railways of all gauges worldwide.
Eventually, the pair became life expired and so ‘one good one’ was made out of them rather than scrapping both outright, with K2’s boiler and other components fitted to K1.
K1 was eventually offered back to Beyer Peacock for preservation, and when the firm closed, it was acquired by the Ffestiniog Railway.
Restoration to working order was undertaken by the K1 Group and completed at Boston Lodge Works in 2004, after which the locomotive entered revenue-earning service on the Birst section of the new Welsh Highland Railway.
K1 was withdrawn from traffic in 2014 and an overhaul began at Dinas, but because it was not a top priority on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways, a deal was struck with the Statford Barn Railway. In return for it being returned to steam, it would be loaned for operation at the Tamworth venue.
It moved to Statfold Barn in December 2019 and returned to steam on March 10, 2020.
On May 20-22, K1 will be displayed at the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, where the Beyer Bash will celebrate the 120th birthday of the line’s two original locomotives, Beyer Peacock 0-6-0Ts No.1 The Earl and No.2 Countess.
A further two visiting locomotives for the event are due to be announced.