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Article posted on Wednesday, 16th October 2019
We have a special interest in 7¼"gauge Beyer Garratt 5928 Mount Kilimanjaro. Kili, as we call him, is a miniature version of one of the 34 EAR 59 Class oil-fired locomotives supplied to East African Railways in 1955-56 by Beyer, Peacock & Co. Ltd of Manchester.

With a 4-8-2 + 2-8-4 wheel arrangement and weighing 252 tons, they were designed to haul 1,200 ton freight trains up long and gentle gradients of about 1.5% between Mombasa and Nairobi. They maintained this service until 1980 when Mount Gelai, 5918,, the last surviving 59 Class, was retired.

Mount Gelai was driven by Kirpal Singh for 16 years and was maintained by him and his crew in immaculate condition. The boiler face was adorned with polished brass work, embellished with mirrors, clocks, silver buckets and a linoleum floor. On being retired, Mr Singh drove Gelai to the Kenyan railway museum and retired himself the same day. Later he reportedly had a full-size Type 59 back head installed in his living room. Now that is commitment. His brother Charan Singh who know lives England is seen in the pictures below putting our Kili through its paces (Row 5 left, Image courtesy of Trevor Heath).

A Garratt is a type of steam locomotive that is articulated in three parts. The boiler is mounted on a centre frame, and two steam engines are mounted on separate frames at either end of the boiler. Articulation permits larger locomotives to negotiate curves and lighter rails which would not be possible for large rigid-framed locomotives of similar power. 

Kili's sister loco, 5901 Mount Kenya was once owned by The Who's Roger Daltrey and is now resident at the National Railway Museum in York. Kili, after a summer of remedial works, will be hauling Santa Specials at the Rugby Society of Model Engineers in December. Why not pop along for a ride behind this most distinctive locomotive. In the meantime, enjoy a few images of 7¼" gauge Mount Kilimanjaro 5928.

In 1975 Kili was introduced to royalty. At the opening of the National Railway Museum in York their Royal Highnesses HRH Duke of Edinburgh and HRH Prince of Wales attended the opening and met Kili who was on display outside. (Image bottom right)

Further information can be found here. With many thanks to our friends at Station Road Steam for allowing us to use some of their images.

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