The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 7 (December 1, 1932)
The New “K” Class Locomotives — Greater Power And Economy In Operation
The New “K” Class Locomotives
Greater Power And Economy In Operation.
The success of the New Zealand Railways Department in reducing expenditure in line with the fall in trade due to the present difficult economic conditions is well worthy of study. It indicates that this Department of State is functioning in a most efficient manner. One phase of this “efficiency campaign” is found in the Locomotive Department.—States the “Evening Post” (Wellington).
Two years ago, the mechanical engineering staff of the New Zealand railways undertook a complete survey of the available locomotive power, and as a result it was decided that the time had come when a comprehensive policy of replacement was essential if costs of operation were to be reduced.
It has to be remembered that locomotives have a maximum useful life, and after this life is reached the cost of maintenance increases out of all proportion to the service obtained. Apart from this factor, development is continually being made in design to forward efficiency in both boiler and engine.
The New Locomotives.
The Department decided gradually to replace obsolete locomotives with locomotives embodying all modern development in design, and at the same time to develop such power in each unit as would reduce the present necessity for “double-heading” many of the existing services. Such a development could be given effect to, as the bridges on the main line which previously had limited the permissible axle-loading had, during the past few years, been replaced with structures permitting heavier locomotives to be used.
The mechanical designing group of the Department was, therefore, put to the task of developing a type of locomotive which would meet the conditions laid down, and this group has been actively engaged on this work for some months past. The work required is of a highly-specialised and technical nature, and every portion of the locomotive has to be drawn out in detail so that the shops, can manufacture and erect the parts, required without any hitch.
The designers were compelled to adopt the arrangement of eight-coupled driving wheels in order to keep within the permissible maximum loading for one wheel set, but the distribution of weight has been so made that, whilst the required adhesion is obtained for the power developed, the heavy weight of the locomotive will not limit its use to just a certain area, but will enable it to operate over the whole of the main track in the North Island. The power developed without the “booster” is slightly more than 50 per cent, greater than that obtained from the standard general purpose locomotive (plass “Ab”) now used to operate the Department's main liner services.
Almost Doubled Power.
With “booster” in operation the power of the locomotive will be approximately 85 per cent, greater than the power of the “Ab” class locomotive. The “booster” referred to is a complete two-cylinder engine which is supported on the rear of the trailing bogie framing and which, through gearing, develops power to the trailing bogie wheels. When this “booster” engine is brought into operation, these wheels, which normally are “carrying wheels,” do useful work in page 54 propelling the engine, or, in other words, are temporarily converted into an additional pair of driving wheels. The “booster” engine is directly controlled by the enginedriver, but, as speed increases and the enginedriver shortens the “cut off” of the main valves, the “booster” engine automatically “cuts out” at a predetermined speed point.
It will be seen from these figures that a big step forward is being undertaken by the railways and, as the job is completed, the withdrawal of obsolete type engines will result in greater working efficiency with its resultant lowering of cost per unit of work done.
The work on the first group of “K” locomotives, as the new type is called, is well under way, the major portion of the work being undertaken at Hutt Shops, whilst Hillside (Dunedin) Shops are assisting on certain details. As far as is possible, no manufactured parts are being imported, as it is the Department's desire to carry out the maximum amount of the work involved locally.
Designed And Manufactured In New Zealand;
(Rly. Publicity photo.)
Locomotive “K” 900 recently completed at the Hutt Valley Workshops. Wellington. The following are the chief particulars of the locomotive:—Type, 4-8-4 with double bogie tender; water capacity, 5,000 gallons; coal capacity, 7 ½ tons: total weight in wortang order (exclusive of “booster”), 136 tons; total weight in working order (including “booster”), 139 tons; tractive force, 30,815lb.; tractive force, including “booster,” 37,285lb.
Mr. G. A. Parsons, who is well-known to railwaymen all over New Zealand through the years he spent as an Audit Inspector on the system, in writing from England to a New Zealand friend recently, had some interesting comments to make regarding the trains in the principal countries of Europe. His train run from Cologne up the Rhine to Weisbaden took 12 ½ hours, but the 400 miles from Weisbaden through Somme to Berlin was covered in 10 3/4 hours—somewhat faster than our “Limited,” but, of course, through much easier country. The high speeds of the principal trains in Great Britain were remarked on, but, in Mr. Parsons' opinion, “the through express trains in New Zealand can compare very well with English trains.”’page 57
“Book of Beginnings, Story without End,
Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend.”—Longfellow.
Our Children's Gallery.—(1) Tommy and Colin Gall; (2) Teresa and David Garty; (3) Kathleen and Molly Powell (Arthur's Pass, South Island); (4) Avis Cushen; (5) Joyce, Monica, Willie and Noel Hawkins; (6) Betty McCallum; (7) Lorna and Fred Ericson and Brian McKeown; (8) June and Shirley Parris; (9) Ron, Jean and Leslie Harris (Springfield); (10) Malcolm Wylde (Wellington); (11) Helen and Majorie Watson—twins (Waitotara); (12) Daisy, Doris and Wally Murdock (Henderson).