0-4-2 Side Tank Locomotive

Karen was built in 1942 by Peckett of Bristol for the Selukwe Peak Light Railway in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). This railway was constructed in the 1920s to carry chrome ore from the Rhodesia Chrome Mines Ltd. workings to the railhead at Selukwe.

Karen had two sister locomotives, Ivy and Mary. The three locomotives were well suited to the task of hauling 70 - 80 ton trains over a six-mile railway with 1 in 45 gradients. The design is closely similar to an equivalent Peckett standard gauge tank engine design: Karen and her sisters have outside frames, whereas the standard gauge versions have the wheels outside the frame. However, the frames and many other parts are common across the two designs.

Having been imported from Africa, Karen was bought by a consortium of Welsh Highland Railway members in 1976, arriving at the WHR two years later.

Restoration was completed in 1983 and the first public steam service was hauled in that year.

After a decade of reliable service, the boiler became due for major overhaul. Karen was withdrawn in 1993, and is presently stored out of service as a static museum exhibit, awaiting its turn for boiler overhaul.


Builder Peckett and Sons, Bristol  
Built 1942  
Works number 2024  
Type Side tank  
Wheel arrangement 0-4-2  
Driving wheel diameter 30½" 775mm  
Tank capacity 440 gallons 2000 l  
Heating surface -    
Boiler pressure 160 psi 1.10MPa  
Cylinders Two off, 10" x 15" 254mm x 381mm  
Tractive effort 6300 pounds 28.0kN at 85% boiler pressure
Weight 21 tons in working order
Maximum axle load 7 tons  
Arrived W.H.R. 1978  
Owners Consortium of W.H.R. members  
Karen: green steam locomotive
Karen in Rhodesian SPLR livery, circa 1983.
green steam locomotive
Karen in a 'new' livery outside the big shed, circa 1989.
green steam locomotive
Karen out in the open air for a change. 2005.
Karen in The Museum
Karen in The Museum. 2012.