H220 Restoration

 
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Thanks Lad Porter for your comments about H220.

But; you've just made an old man weep again by mentioning the wanton destruction of the S class Pacifics. I saw them run; I've been on board one of them in steam at North Melbourne Loco, and they were magnificent machines. If only . . . . . .

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  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
Whilst it would be fantastic to have H220 back in service, any suggestion has to be tempered by the enormous restoration costs and the provision of turntables at several locations. The real issue is that it just wouldn't stack up commercially because of the limited routes - apart from the rail enthusiast fraternity, the general public wouldn't give a toss about the matter. To most people, the class of engine is meaningless and we already have a supply of locos in service that can handle the fairly low demand.
Unless a cashed up benefactor came up with the funds, it would be unrealistic to expect Government to contribute. From what I have seen, the bureaucracy is no fan of rail heritage (with the exception of Puffing Billy or Kuranda). If a notional estimate of $5m for restoration and supporting turntable capacity was used, the bureaucracy would argue that money would be far better spent on improving visitor attractions on the Great Ocean Rd or Phillip Island, where there would a almost guaranteed and measurable return on the investment. It would be almost impossible to argue that H220 would ever deliver a major return to Government.

Imagine if a not for profit like Steamrail got that sort of money to provide international-class tourist and special event capacity?

On the other hand, a case could be made for creating a State rail museum of the quality of the National Railway Museum at York.
It is a crying shame to see the fleet at Newport largely out in the elements.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Restore H220 to operational condition? It would probably be cheaper to build a 'new' S class steamer. At least you could build it on SG and run it to several locations.

The reality is neither is acheivable. I wouldn't say it is impossible, I hate to consider anything impossible, but it is certainly improbable, and definitley impractical. The current landscape sees there is just no money for it.

Also important to remember when considering restoring any loco to running condition, just look at A2 986. The team from Steamrail have done a marvelous job, but it has taken a long time, a lot of unpaid hours, and a lot of money to finally get that thing in its fantastic running condition (Its offical 1st trip is coming up, running to Warragul on May 13th by the way). So with that work finally done, and a major overhaul to begin on K160 its a bit much to really be suggesting H220 could happen.

We currently have the following VR Steam locomotives available for mainline use:
R707, R711, R761

A2 986

K153, K190 and K160 currently undergoing an overhaul

Y112

D3 639

J549

That is a fair number of steam locomotives ready for mainline use, another big loco like a H class will just cannabilise possible income from the running of the above locos. There are only so many people who will spend money to travel on mainline trips with steam, run too many trips and you start to run out of paying passengers, that will mean less money coming in to the pot, with more locomotives to maintain. Best to keep it to what we have.

IF another loco is to be restored (and that's a big IF), make it something more realistic, like an X or a C. These would be just as interesting to see on the tracks and cost a lot less in the process.




As for Lance Dendrite's idea of a world class rail museum to keep these beautiful old locos protected from the elements, I think that is a much more acheivable goal.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
We currently have the following VR Steam locomotives available for mainline use:
  • R707, R711, R761
  • A2 986
  • K153, K190 and K160 currently undergoing an overhaul
  • Y112
  • D3 639
  • J549

That is a fair number of steam locomotives ready for mainline use, another big loco like a H class will just cannibalise possible income from the running of the above locos. There are only so many people who will spend money to travel on mainline trips with steam, run too many trips and you start to run out of paying passengers, that will mean less money coming in to the pot, with more locomotives to maintain. Best to keep it to what we have.

IF another loco is to be restored (and that's a big IF), make it something more realistic, like an X or a C. These would be just as interesting to see on the tracks and cost a lot less in the process.

As for LancedDendrite's idea of a world class rail museum to keep these beautiful old locos protected from the elements, I think that is a much more acheivable goal.
Gman_86
In that loco list you also forgot J515 over at Seymour (currently undergoing an overhaul but apparently still mainline-certified) and J541 (a possibility for mainline service depending on how long it takes to get back to the YVR).

As for restoring X36 or C10, I think the business case wouldn't stack up. They're both essentially mainline-only locos so they can't be sent off to say Maldon to earn their keep and they're of limited use on suburban shuttles. Also just as you noted for H220, they'd also be competing with 3x Rs and an A2 for the limited number of mainline runs available each year.
Now, if there were a couple more tourist railways with mainline connections, 70' turntables and track heavy enough to take an X or a C then they might be worthwhile... But we don't have that ecosystem in Victoria yet.

And as always, a world-class railway museum would be a much, much better use of any money.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

You forgot to mention the forthcoming V and N Class loco projects.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Any sensible person would forget the V and N class projects.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
In that loco list you also forgot J515 over at Seymour (currently undergoing an overhaul but apparently still mainline-certified) and J541 (a possibility for mainline service depending on how long it takes to get back to the YVR).

As for restoring X36 or C10, I think the business case wouldn't stack up. They're both essentially mainline-only locos so they can't be sent off to say Maldon to earn their keep and they're of limited use on suburban shuttles. Also just as you noted for H220, they'd also be competing with 3x Rs and an A2 for the limited number of mainline runs available each year. Now, if there were a couple more tourist railways with mainline connections, 70' turntables and track heavy enough to take an X or a C then they might be worthwhile... But we don't have that ecosystem in Victoria yet.

And as always, a world-class railway museum would be a much, much better use of any money.
LancedDendrite
I didn't mention J515 or J541 as I was unsure about their current status or location, so thanks for clearing that one up for me. I was even hesitant of mentioning J549 as I am unaware of its current status regarding Mainline accreditation, but as Maldon is currently connected to the mainline, I figure it is part of the network in its own unique way, unlike say for instance the groups at Healesville or Daylesford which are completely isolated from the mainline network.

As for suggestions towards X36 and C10, I mainly was referring to them being a more realistic prospect than Heavy Harry, I personally know very little of both the X and C classes, and know even less about these specific locomotives. I have no knowledge on whether these locomotives would even be able to be returned to running order. All I do know is that at least compared to H220, there would at least be somewhere to run it.

Essentially we come to the same point, better to use what limited funding there is to maintain the current healthy steam fleet, and if there is any interest, build a decent museum for the rest.



On a seperate note, With a larger percentage of the state going over to SG, and A2 986 having its official return to service, is there any prospect that Steamrail may gauge convert one of either R761 or R711? Or are there too many issues with housing an SG Steam loco? An overnight steam ride to Mildura would surely get a few people interested.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

In that loco list you also forgot J515 over at Seymour (currently undergoing an overhaul but apparently still mainline-certified) and J541 (a possibility for mainline service depending on how long it takes to get back to the YVR).

As for restoring X36 or C10, I think the business case wouldn't stack up. They're both essentially mainline-only locos so they can't be sent off to say Maldon to earn their keep and they're of limited use on suburban shuttles. Also just as you noted for H220, they'd also be competing with 3x Rs and an A2 for the limited number of mainline runs available each year. Now, if there were a couple more tourist railways with mainline connections, 70' turntables and track heavy enough to take an X or a C then they might be worthwhile... But we don't have that ecosystem in Victoria yet.

And as always, a world-class railway museum would be a much, much better use of any money.
I didn't mention J515 or J541 as I was unsure about their current status or location, so thanks for clearing that one up for me. I was even hesitant of mentioning J549 as I am unaware of its current status regarding Mainline accreditation, but as Maldon is currently connected to the mainline, I figure it is part of the network in its own unique way, unlike say for instance the groups at Healesville or Daylesford which are completely isolated from the mainline network.

As for suggestions towards X36 and C10, I mainly was referring to them being a more realistic prospect than Heavy Harry, I personally know very little of both the X and C classes, and know even less about these specific locomotives. I have no knowledge on whether these locomotives would even be able to be returned to running order. All I do know is that at least compared to H220, there would at least be somewhere to run it.

Essentially we come to the same point, better to use what limited funding there is to maintain the current healthy steam fleet, and if there is any interest, build a decent museum for the rest.



On a seperate note, With a larger percentage of the state going over to SG, and A2 986 having its official return to service, is there any prospect that Steamrail may gauge convert one of either R761 or R711? Or are there too many issues with housing an SG Steam loco? An overnight steam ride to Mildura would surely get a few people interested.
Gman_86
R700 is the next R-class lined up for restoration.  A few jobs ahead of it in the queue though from what I understand.  I wonder if R766 will ever end up in Vic?

Given the increasing congestion on Melbourne lines these days (and ongoing gauge conversion elsewhere), I think you'll find more and more broad gauge mainline steam tours will originate from Castlemaine.

Remember too that X36 and C10 as goods locomotives were designed more for low-speed grunt work - excellent tractive effort at slow speeds, but less power compared with an R-class at the speeds mainline tours operate at.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I am going to stick by what I said about the R and the J's  being obsolete.............................
according to the wikipedia article on "Operation Pheonix".............................

"By 1953 the new mainline diesels were running 3,000 miles (4,800 km) a week, four times as far as the best steam locomotives..An hour had been cut from long-distance passenger trains to Adelaide, Bairnsdale, Warrnambool, Mildura".

What put steamers out of favor was not there poor efficiency, but there poor range, the time taken to prepare and service them and the amount of infrastructure required to support them.  Mainly water points every 50 miles, this was a huge burden on the railways, when one considers a diesel can be fueled in under an hour and run for a couple of thousand miles before requiring to be refueled (Note 1).

I never have looked at individual railway management decisions, but only on the overall technical progress, this may be considered somewhat unfair, but I have always only ever looked at the technical side.of most things.

Note 1: This is exactly the selling point EMD was using in the 1940's when pushing there Diesel locomotives of the time.

woodford.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
'run for a couple of thousand miles before requiring to be refueled '
Not in Australia anyway.
  NSWGR 3827 Deputy Commissioner

Location: South of the Border
In that loco list you also forgot J515 over at Seymour (currently undergoing an overhaul but apparently still mainline-certified) and J541 (a possibility for mainline service depending on how long it takes to get back to the YVR).

As for restoring X36 or C10, I think the business case wouldn't stack up. They're both essentially mainline-only locos so they can't be sent off to say Maldon to earn their keep and they're of limited use on suburban shuttles. Also just as you noted for H220, they'd also be competing with 3x Rs and an A2 for the limited number of mainline runs available each year. Now, if there were a couple more tourist railways with mainline connections, 70' turntables and track heavy enough to take an X or a C then they might be worthwhile... But we don't have that ecosystem in Victoria yet.

And as always, a world-class railway museum would be a much, much better use of any money.
As for suggestions towards X36 and C10, I mainly was referring to them being a more realistic prospect than Heavy Harry, I personally know very little of both the X and C classes, and know even less about these specific locomotives. I have no knowledge on whether these locomotives would even be able to be returned to running order.
Gman_86
It is possible for anything to be restored to running condition if you have enough Money.
  t_woodroffe Assistant Commissioner

Woodford,

You are stating the bleeding obvious ......

Andrew Ahlston realised all this in 1947 if not before. The VR were fully aware of the success of DE operation in the USA and were especially impressed by availability, availability, availablity of a good DE fleet. When the B Class fleet was introduced to service the VR made better use of their DE fleet than any other Australian system with the possible exception of the Commonwealth Railways whose conversion steam to diesel was a no-brainer.

No VR DE could run a couple of thousand miles without refuelling. A rough rule-of-thumb for a T Class fuel consumption was a gallon a mile.

TW
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Woodford,

You are stating the bleeding obvious ......

Andrew Ahlston realised all this in 1947 if not before. The VR were fully aware of the success of DE operation in the USA and were especially impressed by availability, availability, availablity of a good DE fleet. When the B Class fleet was introduced to service the VR made better use of their DE fleet than any other Australian system with the possible exception of the Commonwealth Railways whose conversion steam to diesel was a no-brainer.

No VR DE could run a couple of thousand miles without refuelling. A rough rule-of-thumb for a T Class fuel consumption was a gallon a mile.

TW
t_woodroffe
Worse for a GM. They could not run Port Pirie Junction to Kalgoorlie (1,108miles) without fuel enroute.

In the 1974/75 financial year, with an effective strength of 43 locomotives* the GMs ran 303 km per day. The 16 CLs ran 503 km a day.

* GMs 31.32 and 34 were on hire to the VR for the entire year.

GM 1 reached 3,000,000 km on the Eastbound Express near Mundrabilla on 30 June 1975 .
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I wonder what Woodford doesn't understand about Federal Government obstruction over US dollar purchases. A C Ahlston knew exactly what was what, but had his options severely restricted. I'm also glad to see that wikipedia has become a source of expert advice on the obsolescence of steam locomotives.
I will echo t_woodroffe's remarks; woodford you have 20/20 hindsight and it has repeatedly failed when you talk about 1940's and 50's VR.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
CR was fortunate in being able to obtain the GMs rather than an English based product. Every credit, however, must go to the SAR for their 900 class which were also highly successful and long lived. Far more so than numerous short lived early British diesel locomotives.

The GMs, which utterly transformed CR in 1951, were the result of the late P J Hannaberry's perseverance at Prime Ministerial level in pursuing the EMD product. P J was a 'politically courageous' character the likes of which either don't exist today or, at least, we never hear of them.

Presumably CR being a strategic Commonwealth instrumentality in a unique climatic location would have been advantageous over the needs of a relatively smaller (but more dynamic) system in a 'normal' climatic region.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
Thanks Lad Porter for your comments about H220.

But; you've just made an old man weep again by mentioning the wanton destruction of the S class Pacifics. I saw them run; I've been on board one of them in steam at North Melbourne Loco, and they were magnificent machines. If only . . . . . .
Valvegear
Yes, it would have been good to have preserved at least one of them.  I too have fond memories - as a boy I lived in Seymour (which was their home base, so there was usually one lurking in the old roundhouse), and a highlight of any evening was to watch the Down Spirit roar through at exactly 8.01 pm.  Seymour was also a good vantage point for observing Harry, who often stopped there on his way through with the fast goods.
  1553 Locomotive Fireman

Regarding the earlier comments re, "is there footage of H220"......there actually is.  I came across it a few months back, it featured H220 passing through Wangaratta with a goods train at speed.  The quality was quite good but no sound unfortunately.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

1553, is that footage on the WWW? If so, do you have a link ...... Please?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Yes please A link would be wonderful!!!
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I'll add my few bob's worth -a link would be fantastic.
  Boss Chief Commissioner

Location: Caulfield Line
I'll add my few bob's worth -a link would be fantastic.
Valvegear
Me too.
  1553 Locomotive Fireman

1553, is that footage on the WWW? If so, do you have a link ...... Please?
michaelgm
I came across it via one of my Facebook "historical/history" sites.  I spent an hour last night trying to search for it in "previous posts" on a number of these sites to no avail...but I haven't given up yet.  What I do remember is that it was footage held by a historical society (the one I believed it was and searched is "Wodonga Historical Society")......but it may also have been from Facebook page, "Lost Wangaratta".  I will post a link on here when/if I find it (I should have "saved" it at the time but Facebook was new to me then and I didn't realise how hard it is to track down posts months later).
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Appreciate your efforts. Good luck. Have some time later, today, you've supplied a few leeds, I'll have a look myself.
  1553 Locomotive Fireman

Appreciate your efforts. Good luck. Have some time later, today, you've supplied a few leeds, I'll have a look myself.
michaelgm
https://www.facebook.com/pg/lostwangaratta/posts/?ref=page_internal                 Video appears to have been supplied by Russell Garth
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
https://www.facebook.com/pg/lostwangaratta/posts/?ref=page_internal                 Video appears to have been supplied by Russell Garth
1553

That URL takes you to the Lost Wangaratta Facebook page, then you have to search for the video. This URL should take you to the Heavy Harry video directly:

https://www.facebook.com/russell.garth.5/videos/10203431573148919/

The video was posted by Russell Garth, but is attributed to Ian Garth. Stated as being shot 1954/55.

There is another video here:

https://www.facebook.com/russell.garth.5/videos/10202953896807309/

Edit: Looks like both videos ar the same but the second one seems slightly clearer.

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