Kerr Stuart 4415

History - Design - Restoration 


2. The trials at Dinas, 15th November 1928    

Fifteen shillings changeKerr Stuart's unique selling point was that the diesel loco was far cheaper to run than either steam or petrol locomotives. To emphasise this they coined the phrase “Fifteen Shillings Change” which highlighted the fact that out of every pound currently spent on loco fuel (coal) with a Kerr Stuart diesel you would get fifteen shillings change. This became their marketing slogan and indeed became the title of the booklet published to help with the promotion
of the machine.

The Welsh Highland was chosen by Kerr Stuart for proving trials because the curves and gradients would prove to be a severe test for this new locomotive It arrived at Dinas in July 1928 accompanied by a young engineer by the name of Tom Rolt.     

On 15th November 1928  it was demonstrated to the press at a carefully choreographed press day. The engine performed faultlessly and as a result received rave reviews both in the specialist magazines and the national press.
KS4415 on trial
KS4415 at Dinas

Contemporary press reports:

“Several startling features obtruded, which suggested that today’s demonstration, in the mist enveloped highlands of Caernarvonshire, might easily become historic and result in something revolutionary and far-reaching in the industrial world.”
Liverpool Post and Echo Nov 16th 1928
“On the arrival of the party at the Station the Locomotive was found in its shed, quite cold. For the purpose of the test a fuel gauge had been fitted to the main fuel tank. After a preliminary look round the Locomotive - and an explanation of its salient points, a reading of the fuel gauge was taken, and starting up was then demonstrated.”
Quarry Manager’s Journal
"The locomotive demonstrated is for 2ft gauge. It was run out and attached to a train consisting of a buffet, saloon coach and brake van. The ease of shunting and reversing was obvious; and another uncanny effect was the silence which perhaps does not matter much at Dinas, but would be an important feature in city working"
Oil News 16th Nov 1928
"Our train, engine, saloon, buffet and brake van stands in South Snowdon station, beneath the admiring gaze of us its passengers, and of the station staff and the natives. One feels that our engine, on such an occasion, to be puffing softly with a sense of its own importance – but it is not. It is silent. It cannot puff or make any other fuss appropriate to the scene. It has no steam to puff with.. It is the first Kerr-Stuart Crude Oil Engine Locomotive……".
Industrial Daily News Nov 16th 1928
"The extremely satisfactory way which the Locomotive behaved greatly impressed all those who saw the test carried out, and it was generally felt that the new Kerr Stuart Diesel Locomotive marks a distinct step forward in the triumphal onward march of the Internal Combustion Engine operating on the Diesel principle
After starting away with the train the Locomotive was operated on its top gear and kept up a good speed despite the heavy gradients which were encountered. Some of the party rode on the footplate, and were extremely impressed with the splendid way which the Locomotive negotiated the track, and the smooth riding.
When we came to rest at Dinas Junction the engine was closely inspected by a driver and fire man from one of the steam engines destined to be superseded. The engine driver's only comment was “The thing smells a lot” The young fireman said, “It< looks too simple to be true. Personally I like to feel that I have something to do when I’m on the footplate”

Liverpool Post & Echo
A feature of this design is that these locomotives
may be driven by steam of by Diesel
engines, without any substantial change in the
frame, wheels or brake gear. Thus an important
advantage is gained whereby users who
have in service locomotives of each type are
saved the necessity of carrying a large
number of duplicate spare parts

A further desirable feature rests in the fact
that a large number of different gauges can
be accommodated by one size of locomotive
frame. It is thus possible, simply by having
an extra set of wheels and axles, to adopt
the same locomotive to all gauges between
60cm and 3ft 6 inches.
The Machinery Market 23rd November 1928

“The Locomotive, of which the example shewn was for 2ft. gauge, was then run out and attached to a train consisting of a Buffet and Saloon Coach belonging to the Welsh Highland Railway, and a Brake Van. The ease with which it was shunted and reversed was very noticeable, and the silence was remarkable, in fact, the machine made very little more noise than an ordinary Steam Engine.”
Quarry Manager’s Journal