3. KS4415 on the Festiniog Railway
Early in 1929 KS4415 was fitted with chopper couplings and vacuum brakes to allow it to be used on the thrice-weekly passenger service from Dinas to Beddgelert.
Kerr Stuart drawing 33736 shows the modifications required to fit the brake gear. The exhauster is a Blackburne 500cc engine ‘complete without timing gear & other external fittings’. The project would really like to acquire one of these engines, as it is intended to re-fit the vacuum equipment to allow it to work passenger trains. According to the designers’ son, Jack Willans it only ran on this duty for three or four weeks before being transferred to the Festinog Railway.
On the Festiniog it was used on the ‘bottom shunter’ duties between Minffordd and Portmadoc. To do so, the cab needed to but cut down, to allow the locomotive to pass through the (then) very low bridge at Rhiw Plas. This work was carried out by the Glaslyn Foundry.
Little is recorded of her time on the FR, but the epithet provided by Willans of this period perhaps says it all ‘there is little to say about her, except that she was most successful and did all that was asked’.
The photos of KS4415 in Minffordd yard capture her doing ‘real work’, unlike the posed shots at Dinas.
Jack Willans proudly poses with KS4415 in Minffordd yard. Note the chopper couplings, side chains & vacuum pipe fitted for her brief period on the Dinas- Beddgelert winter trains, together with the cut down cab. The cylindrical silencer was another early modification, replacing the previous ‘double chimney’ arrangement.
KS4415 shunts the wharves at Minffordd, on the site of the recently erected Waggon Tracks shed