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Keith Watson served as an IBLS Secreary over the Western Australia Region.
- Western Australian Region
- 10 Scarp Terrace
- Willetton, Western Australia 6155
WATO Miniature Locomotive Works
- Keith Watson was born in the UK and migrated to Australia as a young man. He is very passionate about live steam and narrow gauge locomotives in particular. Being British he was influenced by LBSC and his design principals derive from this. After building a couple of smaller 3-1/2 inch gauge locomotives he built two small narrow gauge 7-1/4 inch gauge live steamers. After seeing Roger Marsh’s large scale ride in 7-1/4 inch gauge locomotive “Tinkerbell” on a visit to the UK he returned to Australia and built a similar locomotive.
- The philosophy behind these large scale models was to recreate the experience of riding in a locomotive, rather than build a fine scale model of a particular prototype. Keith went on to build similar 7-1/4 inch gauge locomotives but of American outline in appearance. He was particularly influenced by two foot gauge locomotives exported to Australia and Hawaii.
- Keith’s designs carried over some British practice such as non equalized suspension and mounting cylinders and other parts off the frames rather than the boiler. He also became an advocate of the Briggs dry firebox boiler design after some Australian state government authorities restricted the operation of model boilers and he helped a volunteer group write an acceptable boiler code around the Briggs type.
- At some point Keith began selling plans and drawings of his locomotives, particularly his Stuart No 9 and one of his smaller locomotives based on a German prototype under the name “WATO”. Later he added a smaller 2-4-0 locomotive name Lil Lima. Keith developed his designs to be easy and quick to build in a home shop.