Originally, D 1 was purchased for railcar type service but it was not successful. It had a White-Forster type boiler designed for a working pressure of 300 psi (2,068 kPa), had four vertical cylinders housed in the rear of the cab and was high geared. At a normal engine speed of 400 rpm, the unit was calculated to develop 200 horsepower (150 kW). The engine drove a central transversejackshaft through reduction gearing, the drive from the jackshaft being transmitted to the wheels through conventional side rods.
On arrival in New Zealand, D 1 was found to be more than 25 percent heavier than the specified maximum of 20 long tons (20.3 t; 22.4 short tons) and after trials in Wellington was allocated for use as a shunting engine at the Otahuhu workshops. However it never proved satisfactory and was written off in 1936 and scrapped and D 1 did not survive to be preserved.