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My steam fleet consists of K909, K907, J1221, J1214; Jb1213 and soon to be completed Ja1277, Ab717, Ab738, A423, Bb635, Wf386. I was fortunate enough to source two Ajin K locos marketed by Sunlander in the early 90s. I also believe these locomotives are still the best ever NZR locos ready to run or kit ever produced for this market and will remains so for a very long time. I have them based on the fact that Ks did venture out to Paeroa from time to time, however not up the gorge. I use a little bit of modelers license and don’t run them that often on the layout tending to run J,A and Ab hauled trains mostly. Both have had modifications to the ladders on the sand domes and north yard gear boxes fitted, repainted and weathered to represent the period modeled. K909 was chosen as it was the locomotive heading the train which left Frankton in 1954 with Waikato rugby supporters heading to Christchurch for the 1954 Ranfurly shield challenge. Waikato drew 6 all with Canterbury on this occasion. The other significant fact was my grandfather was the guard on the train when it departed Frankton 26th August 1954. Interestingly the supporters traveling from Frankton disembarked at Wellington directly onto the overnight ferry to Littleton arriving on the day of the game. Watched the game and returned via the next overnight ferry to Wellington and train back to Frankton, no accommodation required. One notable omission from the K909 prototype on that day was the red, yellow and blackstriped tender I haven’t quite got that game as yet.

K907 on Rotorua express passing through Claudelands.

K907 was chosen as it was the first locomotive my Dad rode in the cab on the main line as a young boy J1221 was the first loco he fired on the main line. Jb1213 was the last Steam locomotive to travel the Karangahake Gorge in revenue service driven by Dad and followed by Keith Cullen, Trev Terry and Richard Armstrong.

Model Railway Express Issue One December 2016  
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