Push Gathers Steam to Restore a Historic Loco
J515 Updates from the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre
Rare Arnott's biscuit van restored
Maybe it is the pleasant autumn days, or was it the pep talk from management (ha ha), or is the stars aligning. Whatever the reason, more good things have been happening.
To begin this time. T378 has had a wash and is now over the pit for a good look around, lubricating and the formality of the annual inspection. Lubrication means the axle boxes, the traction motor suspension bearings on the axle between the wheels and the heavy "crater" grease in the traction motor gear cases.___________________________________________________________
While looking at 378, with J515 temporally out of the way we can see the length of the second side of 4 State. Priming of the lower section has progressed. At this stage the star mirror glass panels have not been removed for attention.________________________________________________________________
Outside in the rain that fell on Saturday, the first of the commonwealth bogies now has both wheel sets free of the horns. Bits of the brake rigging are laying about waiting transfer to the workshop.______________________________________________________________
Early Monday morning the excavator was again available. The task had been determined the previous week to be digging out 21 track completely, and laying sleepers and rail. The idea being that this task would be completed before Kevin C headed north for his winter central Australia jaunt. A prompt start saw the digging out almost complete by morning tea.____________________________________________________________
As the digging reached opposite the curve at the bottom of 22 track, the gravel being dug out was directly dumped in the voids adjacent.____________________________________________________________
With digging complete and a couple of biscuits consumed, the big fork delivered bundles of concrete sleepers. Kevin is ready to direct placement. The 'shiny' spots in the foreground are not water but the top of a concrete slab that would seem to to be the foundation of the toilet block that was part of the cyclic gang camp facility that was once remembered to be on this part of the site._____________________________________________________________
The first sleeper is a brand new timber from the batch of point timbers that were delivered late last week. Using timber here makes the transition to concrete easier and the interlacing with the adjacent sleepers in 22 track._______________________________________________________________
Progressing up the hill, neatly laid sleepers always look the part. The keen eye will see that the plastic pads have already been placed between the pandrol lugs of the sleepers anticipating the rail to come._____________________________________________________________
Getting closer to the top the excavator is in amongst the existing track transferring one sleeper at a time from the fork to the track bed. Although this is much slower than using the spreader devices that take five at once, it suits us as the sleepers in the stack are not necessarily up the correct way.____________________________________________________________
Just love that symmetry of the uniform shape of every sleeper when all laid out in line. Mind you this is probably a sign that we are on the autism spectrum somewhere, but it does make it easy to fit the rails!__________________________________________________________________
The sleeper head on the excavator can grab one sleeper at a time. With the rotating mounting, the operator can swing the sleeper any way you please. This means that when Kevin indicates a bit this way or that way or twist a bit right, it is just a sec and it is done.___________________________________________________________
So one at a time the excavator takes a sleeper from the stack on the forks. At around 900 mm spacing we used about 55 sleepers for this section. The good news being that the big pile in the background behind the fork is starting to reduce.__________________________________________________________________
Nearing the end of sleeper laying, T357 arrived from Melbourne. It will shortly set back into the head shunt before finally ending up beside the signal box on the track currently occupied by the excavator. It had been on hire to SSR since the beginning of the year but is needed home to haul a charter passenger train on Sunday.________________________________________________________
So a little later a similar view but this time with the rails sitting roughly in position. There is a gap to fill when the track in the immediate foreground is gauge converted later in the year.___________________________________________________
Dropping back down the hill to look at the bottom end there is a rail on the left ready for cutting to the correct length to fit. An economical length is yet to be pulled from the stock pile for the other leg.______________________________________________________
Turning around, the junction fishplates to unite the 47 kg rail of the turnout with the 40 kg rail of the plain track are lying in the "four foot".__________________________________________________________________
With the mechanical work to assemble 21 track finished at lunchtime, the question is what now? When planning the days work last week we thought that if things went well we might start on the next task before the end of the day. With half a day free, it was decided to jump right in. With T357 now in front of the signal box, it is time to rip!_______________________________________________________________
Before the track rearrangement between 4 and 11 tracks a few years ago now, there was a turnout beginning right where the rail is missing. The last bits were still in track and the timbers were life expired.
The particular turnout was a bit different in that it arrived on site in only two pieces. It came from the up end of Seymour yard between 7 and 8 tracks It was lifted out in two pieces, placed on a VFLX wagon, and our Y133 shunted it via a pre planned course into the depot. The planning was such that a couple of point levers were disconnected and the loading carefully placed lop sided so that the signal posts did not get clobbered by the massively over width load.
A few days later local Seymour driver Terry Parsons when having a close look, pointed out a bent rain and some gouge marks. He proudly remarked that he did that when driving an S class diesel that derailed on that turnout some years earlier.___________________________________________________________
The excavator is ripping out the last of 10 timbers to be replaced eliminating the last bits of Terry's turnout. Another bit of history has faded.______________________________________________________________
The following day and the works in the turnout are complete. The timbers are all "dogged up" and the ballast tidied. And yes the T class loco is a different one as this is T382. _____________________________________________________________
To end the civils, these are the balance of the timbers delivered the other day. The figures are the lengths therefore 36 is 3.6 metres and so on. There are around 9 timbers for yet another repair job in the broad gauge yard whilst the balance along with some stocks elsewhere will be used for a new broad gauge turnout required for facilitation of the next stage of gauge conversion._______________________________________________________________
Next day more but different action. J515 is hauled out of the shed by T382 and transferred to the crossing in 10 track. It sure looks odd without the smoke box!___________________________________________________________
With a water tank resting on the long end hood of 382, the prime attention is the new smokebox sitting in position on the J. A relatively easy lift with a little juggling has the new barrel roughly in position.______________________________________________________________
Direct side on it now needs a funnel to restore appearances. Between the J and T is T378 out the front of the shed after being released from the pit._______________________________________________________________
Parked up for the night as T357 is now on the pit for its annual exam. In the morning the T will come out and the J go back in for the next steps.____________________________________________________________
A final look at the smoke box. There is a gap of around 15 mm between the boiler and smokebox. This will be closed up to about 2 mm so that welding can be undertaken. Not visible is the need to rotate the smokebox about 12 mm on the circumference to get the vertical centre line spot on.
Once back in the shed, as soon as the smokebox is pushed into the exactly correct position it will be tack welded. Then the fun begins. The holes for the 34 bolts that hold the smokebox the the saddle will be drilled, the internal strengthening plate fitted inside the box and then the bolts inserted and tightened. The the main welds will be completed.
After that? well we will have a bit of a pow-wow to decide if the steam pipes are first, the table plate assembly or the funnel alignment and fitting followed by the spark arresting grids and baffles.
A couple of weeks ago we showed you some pictures of the left and right steam delivery pipes and noted serious wasting. A couple of days later it occurred to us that the pipes from J512 were in stock and could be in much better condition. So these are those pipes and yes they are in good condition. The remains of the lubrication pipes are being drilled out ready for re threading.
There is no loss to J512 as gauge conversion requires the pipes to be a different shape due to the cylinders being closer to the centre line of the loco. This means that new fabrications will be needed.________________________________________________________________
With the J in the shed, a few views inside the smokebox. To begin, what we see climbing in through the front. The top of the exhaust combining pipe from the two cylinders is at the bottom. A tell tale white ring shows where light is coming in between the boiler and smokebox._______________________________________________________________
Once inside the smokebox, turning around is the weld along the edge of the angle that forms the join to the front face._____________________________________________________________
Now to the other end against the boiler. The gap has not yet been closed up but looking all around everything lines up as it should. That's a relief!_______________________________________________________________
The steam delivery pipes have had the remains of the lubricating pipes removed and the threads restored. The chalk cross is to remind the machinist that that is a plug that does not need to be extracted._______________________________________________________________
The two pipes are now on the bench refurbished and ready for the next step. ________________________________________________________________
Before the J gets back on the pit, T357 will have the second half of the underneath exam completed.______________________________________________________________
The dismantling of the commonwealth bogies has moved on with all the wheel sets now free of the horns and more brake rigging all over the place!_____________________________________________________________
T378 rests in the morning sun looking better for having a wash.___________________________________________________________
Meanwhile back in the shed, David (who happens to be a lamp nutter) wanted to try the South Australian lamp brackets on 4 State. The only way to do this is with a South Australian Adlake type side/tail light._________________________________________________________________
Well; what do you think? Perhaps one day we will put a pair of these on a train just for the heck of it. A few Victorian vehicles were fitted with the brackets set at 45 degrees in case they needed to operate into SA. ________________________________________________________________
Also going on around the depot has been recommissioning of the kitchen fresh air system for Dining. This has been quite a task and has been in the care of Frank and John.
Chris has been replacing the air fan assembly within the roof hatch of Parlor as a key step to achieving reliable and efficient operation of the air conditioning system in this car.
This article first appeared on srhcblog.blogspot.com
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