H220 Restoration

 
  VR_Steam Beginner

hi Folks, long time lurker, always been interested in VR Steam and have been a member of a few TRs. I've always heard the cons as to why H220 couldn't be restored to operational condition; primarily funds, track to run it on and turning etc. given the historical significance of H220; largest loco in Australia, largest non-articulated loco on Australian Railways, worlds only remaining three cylinder 4-8-4, not to mention it's proven achievements during service, is it not worth considering restoring to operational condition? I mean the state deems it significant enough to put the highest possible level of heritage significance on it (which, despite what some have in the past suggested wouldn't be a hurdle to restoration). Sure it's going to take lots of money but has anybody explored what condition it's in etc? My understanding, given the comparatively low miles, it's not in too bad condition but I'm happy to be corrected. I'm interested in a constructive conversation around this topic. Obviously there'd need to be support from lots and lother ts of stakeholders - local, state and, probably, federal government etc.

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  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

:lol:Valvegear, you have the staff!!!
  VR_Steam Beginner

I'm not wanting a roasting Michaelgm - albeit I get the feeling that's what I'm going to get
  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
Hope they convert it to standard gauge.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
H220 needs to be under a roof first. The Victorian State Government owes it that much at the very least, as it does towards the other unique heritage artifacts stored out in the open at the North Williamstown museum.

I look at it this way: every dollar put towards restoring H220 to operating condition is a dollar that could (and should) be spent helping move the ARHS North Williamstown collection under cover.
  VR_Steam Beginner

Are there no sheds with rail access that could accommodate the collection which are currently unused?
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
I look at it this way: every dollar put towards restoring H220 to operating condition is a dollar that could (and should) be spent helping move the ARHS North Williamstown collection under cover.
LancedDendrite
Yes and if you consider the rail preservation movement as a whole then I look at it this way ; every dollar put towards restoring H220 to operating condition is a dollar that could (and should) be spent helping restore historically significant locomotives that could actually be run on the network now while we still have one to run on!

BG
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
I'm with Lance on this one (I'm a bit thrilled when I agree with someone I usually disagree with.)

If there is even the slightest whiff of a bit of rail heritage grant money, three things have to be done before anything else.
  1. Get that stuff out of the salt air.
  2. Get that stuff under cover.
  3. Get that stuff properly curated. Not just expert curation and preservation plans for the engines, but professional curation for everything right down to ephemera like brochures. The volunteers have done an incredible, wonderful job, but there's a limit to what unskilled people can do. There's a real need for a pro to run their eye over all the collections and organise things in a way that will grab the public's imagination and ensure that it will all be well preserved.
Where to move it to? Initially just truck the stuff into half a dozen agricultural sheds in a paddock on the outskirts of a country town around an hour from Melbourne. Then grants can be sought to gradually upgrade it to a properly organised and run museum.

But I have digressed. Embarassed H220 is a great locomotive, but what's the point of spending decades raising funds for an engine that will be unable to run much and won't be able to run anywhere without installing the biggest turntables everywhere it goes? Better to spend half the money on getting a more useful engine like an A2, R, K, J or even the D4 going.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Are there no sheds with rail access that could accommodate the collection which are currently unused?
VR_Steam
There's a 'shed' right next door to the museum, but someone shoved 150-something W class trams inside it first.

Yes and if you consider the rail preservation movement as a whole then I look at it this way ; every dollar put towards restoring H220 to operating condition is a dollar that could (and should) be spent helping restore historically significant locomotives that could actually be run on the network now while we still have one to run on!
BrentonGolding
Restoring extra locomotives to running order is the least deserving use of a hypothetical railway historic preservation dollar; we've already got plenty of them. Covering their maintenance costs is already high enough without adding more to the pool!
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Restoring extra locomotives to running order is the least deserving use of a hypothetical railway historic preservation dollar; we've already got plenty of them. Covering their maintenance costs is already high enough without adding more to the pool!
LancedDendrite
The VGR is currently trying to raise $$$ to get K160 back up and running to relieve some of the burden from J549 and the loaners that we are lucky enough to get from Steamrail at the moment. With the number of trains that we run continuing to rise a third loco in the pool would come in very handy - in the last couple of weeks the VGR ran steam hauled trains every day bar one from the 8th till the 17th, J549 was doing most of the heavy lifting until she broke a spring and K153 was called back into service. In the future with more main line running planned out of Castlemaine there will be more days when the VGR are running trains on the main and the branch on the same day which will require more rolling stock.

And personally I'd much rather see locos out and about hauling passenger trains than sitting under a tin roof.

BG
  VR_Steam Beginner

Completely understand, and appreciate, the thoughts and input! Completely agree that the collection needs to be undercover and properly curated - I, personally, think the museum would be better suited to a location like Ballarat (again that's my personal feelings). We've mentioned about restoring, potentially, other locos in classes that already have operating examples - does the significance of the H class not warrant consideration? Sure it would be limited where it could run, there would need to be some infrastructure put in place i.e. Larger turntables - but would it not be better in steamable condition as the only example of the H class? I agree too that the coll cation needs professional oversight - the volunteers have done an amazing job but there's only so much work they have enough hours to do.
  David Clarke Beginner

H220 needs to be under a roof first. The Victorian State Government owes it that much at the very least, as it does towards the other unique heritage artifacts stored out in the open at the North Williamstown museum.

I look at it this way: every dollar put towards restoring H220 to operating condition is a dollar that could (and should) be spent helping move the ARHS North Williamstown collection under cover.
LancedDendrite
LancedDendrite i have heard a while ago that there are plans that they are going to be erecting a roof to shelter all of the north Wiliamstown Museum so don't know if it has been started yet or when they plan to start it
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Start with X 36 or even C 10. Far more potential use.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
If there is even the slightest whiff of a bit of rail heritage grant money, three things have to be done before anything else.
  1. Get that stuff out of the salt air.
  2. Get that stuff under cover.
  3. Get that stuff properly curated. Not just expert curation and preservation plans the engines, but professional curation for everything right down to ephemera like brochures. The volunteers have done an incredible, wonderful job, but there's a limit to what unskilled people can do. There's a real need for a pro to run their eye over all the collections and organise things in a way that will grab the public's imagination and ensure that it will all be well preserved.
Bogong
I completely agree.

Where to move it to? Initially just truck the stuff into half a dozen agricultural sheds in a paddock on the outskirts of a country town around an hour from Melbourne. Then grants can be sought to gradually upgrade it to a properly organised and run museum.
Bogong
This is where most people in the preservation community start getting into bunfights. Location is incredibly important both in terms of visitor catchment size (cf. NSWRTM Thirlmere) and the site's historical significance within the context of the Victorian Railways. Putting the collection 'out in the country' will discourage many potential visitors, so it needs to be considered very carefully.

There are many people (myself included) that are of the opinion that the only proper place for the collection is somewhere within the Newport Workshops complex. Settling for any other location will require significant 'compensation' to make it worthwhile. That's not to say that there aren't worthy potential locations around. Geelong Loco? Ballarat East? Castlemaine? Any other ideas?
  VR_Steam Beginner

Would the likes of Ballarat though have more draw than, say, Newport? Given Ballarat is already considered a tourist draw card - Newport is very specific to train enthusiasts and wouldn't necessarily draw the non-train enthusiasts
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Not being a Mexican, quite unfamiliar with geography, in Melbourne only once for GP, at the very least, items should be under cover. Not slowly rusting away. Not trying to ignite a Smeg storm, but Dorrigo?

In terms of restoring a big engine, 5711, might be a better option, however, I don't expect that or H220, in steam in my lifetime.

UP'S 4014, is under restoration, so MOST things are possible, SHOW ME THE MONEY,

As posted above, X 36, better option.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Would the likes of Ballarat though have more draw than, say, Newport? Given Ballarat is already considered a tourist draw card - Newport is very specific to train enthusiasts and wouldn't necessarily draw the non-train enthusiasts
VR_Steam
Newport is much, much closer to the centre of Melbourne than just about any other potential site; by that virtue alone it has a comparatively massive potential visitor catchment.  It's also right next to Scienceworks (Spotswood) and Seaworks (the maritime museum in Williamstown). The RAAF Museum at Point Cook isn't too far away either.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Would the likes of Ballarat though have more draw than, say, Newport? Given Ballarat is already considered a tourist draw card - Newport is very specific to train enthusiasts and wouldn't necessarily draw the non-train enthusiasts
VR_Steam
In the current economic environment you may well stand a better chance of getting Gov't funding to relocate the collection to a regional area such as Ballarat. The Rat has a direct link to the old VR, not as great as Newport but still a long rail history. The gov't may even be interested in selling off the land at Williamstown to fund it, there has been talk for years that some or all of the land at Newport was earmarked for development by previous governments.

As for visitor numbers, you only need to look at the success of the Bendigo Art Gallery with it's recent exhibitions to see what a bit of "outside the box" thinking can do. And many of the visitors to BAG are from Melbourne and travel by VLine train!

BG
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Now, kiddies; listen very carefully.

Every few years someone tries to re-invent the wheel by suggesting restoration of H220, despite the fact the subject has been done to death many times.

1. H220 is the subject of a Preservation Order and is not be touched other than for cosmetic purposes.
2. it would cost a horrendous amount.
3. Where would you run it and where would you turn it?
4. Don't suggest converting it to Standard Gauge because it can't be done.

If you care to go back to late 2008, you will find a massive thread on this subject, and I do not intend to go through it all again.

No amount of comments, reasons, talk of "lack of will" or any other such remark will alter the fact. . . .

H220 CANNOT BE RESTORED OR GAUGE-CONVERTED.

As t_woodroffe, a very knowledgeable former VR man once wrote, "The world wonders why this keeps cropping up."
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
... Where to move it to? Initially just truck the stuff into half a dozen agricultural sheds in a paddock on the outskirts of a country town around an hour from Melbourne. Then grants can be sought to gradually upgrade it to a properly organised and run museum...
Bogong
When I wrote that I deliberately didn't mention a town. But land is very cheap on the outskirts of small-medium towns (say, around the three pub size).

The advantage of a three pub sized place is that they already has basic things like cafes, accommodation and other amenities. Many could do with an economic boost. Just look at what the book festival thingy has done for for Clunes. In a dozen years the place has gone from being a sad little town with derelict shops on the main drag to a prosperous place which appears to be doing very well economically.

So looking at similarly sized places and thinking that access to a nearby tourist railway might be a nice adjunct, might I suggest Trentham or Maldon? There is vacant land just to the north of both stations and both museum sites would be within walking distance of the town shops.

If you don't need to be near a tourist railway, the list of towns that size close to Melbourne that could do with an economic boost increases, places like Heathcote and Meredith could be considered.

In my ideal world, most of the initial cost of a basic but under cover rail museum could be funded by selling the current site. If terrace house size blocks of 155 sq metres were sold for around $600,000 each, tens of millions would be quickly raised.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
I really like your thinking Bogong although IMHO a location with RFR access would be a must to maximise the tourism potential. Castlemaine stands out as a logical alternative to Ballarat however there is already a fair bit planned for that precinct over the next 5 > 10 years so there may not be the room.

There has been a heap of development recently of the old Victoria Carpets Mill at the north end of the old railyards (B Box end), to wedge the ARHS museam between that and the VGR would create a magnificent heritage rail precinct (the mill was once the site of the sale yards and was served by it;s own siding). It is also Victrack land so would be a good fit with their heritage operations, may even be able to tap into some of their heritage funding program!

BG
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Now, kiddies; listen very carefully.

Every few years someone tries to re-invent the wheel by suggesting restoration of H220, despite the fact the subject has been done to death many times.

1. H220 is the subject of a Preservation Order and is not be touched other than for cosmetic purposes.
2. it would cost a horrendous amount.
3. Where would you run it and where would you turn it?
4. Don't suggest converting it to Standard Gauge because it can't be done.

If you care to go back to late 2008, you will find a massive thread on this subject, and I do not intend to go through it all again.

No amount of comments, reasons, talk of "lack of will" or any other such remark will alter the fact. . . .

H220 CANNOT BE RESTORED OR GAUGE-CONVERTED.

As t_woodroffe, a very knowledgeable former VR man once wrote, "The world wonders why this keeps cropping up."
Valvegear
Staff, handed to correct driver?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
The advantage of a three pub sized place is that they already has basic things like cafes, accommodation and other amenities. Many could do with an economic boost. Just look at what the book festival thingy has done for for Clunes. In a dozen years the place has gone from being a sad little town with derelict shops on the main drag to a prosperous place which appears to be doing very well economically.

So looking at similarly sized places and thinking that access to a nearby tourist railway might be a nice adjunct, might I suggest Trentham or Maldon? There is vacant land just to the north of both stations and both museum sites would be within walking distance of the town shops.

If you don't need to be near a tourist railway, the list of towns that size close to Melbourne that could do with an economic boost increases, places like Heathcote and Meredith could be considered.
Bogong
Now here is where we are going to have a major disagreement.

Firstly, viewing the establishment of a new museum site simply as tool for regional economic development that can be plopped down anywhere in Victoria and nothing more is utterly cynical in a way that even I find distasteful. Doing such a thing would doom the museum.

None of those towns mentioned are particularly significant in Victorian Railways history, nor do they have any particularly interesting VR infrastructure (Meredith's very attractive bluestone station building and platform notwithstanding). Ideally you'd want to build a museum around somewhere like an ex-VR workshop or a mainline loco depot. At a pinch, a mainline-adjacent industrial site could do (as @BrentonGolding mentioned vis-a-vis Castlemaine) but it smacks of half-measures.

If the museum is to be run by volunteers or has a large proportion of work done by volunteers then you are going to be fighting an uphill battle to attract and retain them if it's located as far away from Melbourne (or indeed any significant population centre) as you seem to be proposing. That's not speculation, it's been proven. NSWRTM Thirlmere is hobbled by the tyranny of distance. Look at how many Victorian tourist railways have closed down in the last 20 or so years and where they were based.

Now, if you're proposing a world class, professionally run museum along the lines of the UK's NRM in York then it's going to be grossly oversized for those towns too. And make no bones about it, the collection at ARHS North Williamstown could easily be the basis of a world-class museum. For a museum of that scale I can think of maybe 3 locations that meet all of my criteria (site size, historical significance & potential visitor catchment):

  1. Newport Workshops - far and away the best choice. The West Block building is the perfect size for a world-class museum, the building itself has more historical significance than everywhere else combined and it's right next door to East Block with most of Victoria's mainline rail heritage groups within it.
  2. Geelong Loco - although the site is a shadow of its former self (what with the demise of the roundhouse and all that), it's easily the best regional location. It's soon to be vacated by V/Line in favour of a large Vlocity stabling/maintenance facility at Waurn Ponds. Geelong's railway historical significance is second in the state only to Melbourne. It's in the middle of town, there's excellent transport links to Melbourne by road or by rail... Oh, and if you're a cynic then there's a good 'economic stimulus in an economically depressed regional town' narrative to be spun as well.
  3. Ballarat East - if V/Line & Bombardier vacated their fairly new stabling yards then then there's a decent-sized site to work with. Aside from that, it's... OK I guess. The rail heritage significance isn't off the charts like Newport (and to a lesser extent, Geelong Loco), but it's still OK. Being nearby to Souvenir Hill is probably an advantage. Transport links are good (I'm sure Mike will attest to this).
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Being nearby to Souvenir Hill is probably an advantage. Transport links are good (I'm sure Mike will attest to this).
LancedDendrite
Bloody Spell Check! Sovereign Hill, of course.

The other site with possibilities is the existing Seymour Railway Heritage Centre location. There's good space, it's close to Melbourne right by Seymour station, and Seymour was a railway town.
Under no circumstances would I have such a museum run by the current SRHC Management, and there'd be a lot of admin work to go through, but the site has a lot going for it.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Staff, handed to correct driver?
"michaelgm"
You read me like a book! I saw the thread title and came out of my chair like a Polaris missile.

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