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This blog started with the intention of dealing with a bit of turnout construction. Well time has moved on and we are alarmed to see it is over five weeks since the last posting.
In that time there has indeed been some track work completed, various loco matters attended to and some carriage have also been in the shop. There are not photos of all things but we will try to at least provide some commentary on what has been going on.
To begin with the site of the shed extension over the new 15 and 16 tracks. This area has been a heavy parts storage area for over 30 years but the time has finally arrived (Tuesday 23rd April) to move the remaining large bits and pieces to the back paddock. We used Tenex with one of their excavators and a tipper, both seen in this view to move the gear.
The site is nearly cleared out and the excavator is moving in to recover a series of concrete slabs.________________________________________________________
With the mud bucket put aside and the 360 rotatable forks now on the boom one of around 24 slabs is effortlessly extracted to be placed in the tipper and then moved around the back. There is around 100 mm of dirt on top which is yet to be discarded.__________________________________________________________
Mid afternoon with moving of material and slabs complete, the old broad gauge turnout between 15 and 18 was dismantled. The turnout between 15 and 21 tracks which was in the foreground was dismantled a few days previously.
The excavator is now engaged in removing the bits and pieces of the 15 to 18 track turnout. Kevin is in the background removing the last fastenings.____________________________________________________________
A few minutes later and Kevin is now dealing with the last issues associated with the 15 to 21 track turnout. The rails from the dismantled turnouts are piled up on each side.
Days end and the 15 to 18 turnout is no more. It is dug out and when we come back tomorrow morning it will be time to start building the standard gauge replacements.____________________________________________________________
Now it is Wednesday and this is the state of play at lunch time. Timbers are in place for all of the 15 to 18 turnout and in the very foreground some timbers are in place for the 15 to 21 turnout with some rails in place.___________________________________________________________
Moviug closer, this is the 15 to 18 turnout with the vee crossing in place and now waiting for rails.
With the team refreshed with lunch, the goal was to complete timbers for 15 to 21, lay in all the rails for 15 to 21 and 15 to 18 and install all timbers under the 156 to 16 turnout that has the rails already assembled and has been sitting up on blocks.
This and the next few pictures were taken late afternoon. The goal was achieved.___________________________________________________________
We did not actually expect to lay out the two panels of track that are replacing the 15 to 22 turnout. But this picture shows the steel sleepers laid out, rails on and some clips in holding the track to shape.__________________________________________________________
The vee crossing for 15 to 21 is in place and it is bolted up to the stock rails for 15 to 18.
Now looking in the up direction we see the 15 to 21 turnout looking like a turnout with the rails in approximate position.
A close up of 15 to 18. It is a bit more of a jumble than indicating a bit more to be done here.
So finally for the day, this is the 15 to 16 turnout no longer supported on blocks. Apart from the right hand leg of the curve, it looks near complete.
The gang had Thursday off but were back on Friday. End of day shots show the curve replacing the 15 to 22 turnout almost complete.
Progress has been made with the 15 to 21 turnout. It is partly connected to 21 track.
Moving forward, in the shadows the 15 to 18 turnout is now looking more like it should.
Tuesday 30th Robbie has been able to get back on to P23 is well into preparing the long end nose.
Not seen in pictures because we were too busy to take some, is the routine work of undertaking annual examinations and re-certification on carriages Yarra, Mitta Mitta and 3AS. No problems were found and the carriages are now certified for another year.
There was also the need to re manufacture the head light lamp holder in one end of B74 after the existing assembly gave up the ghost and developed a short circuit depriving the B of an operational head light.
A number of shunts were undertaken to assemble carriages for exams and then place them back into the correct orders for upcoming operations. Some of the bogie wagons we have used for many years for storage of parts and materials have been emptied and are now surplus to requirements. A QR and a Q wagon are being surrendered back into the control of the Tourist and Heritage Railway Registrar.
One of the reasons for getting rid of the wagons is the need to free up space. With standard gauge conversion of tracks 17 to 22, the available broad gauge space has become somewhat restricted. Broad gauge wagons we don't need are just taking up too much valuable real estate. In coming months we have plans to be finished with around five 4 wheel wagons and another one or two bogie wagons. A bogie wagon or two 4 wheel wagons equates to about two thirds of a carriage, so it is just a number (or is it length) game._________________________________________________________
A couple of days later and the 15 to 21 turnout has all rails nor installed and spiked up. Apart from spreader bars and fitting the lever, it is complete.___________________________________________________________
We reckon that freshly built track is one of the most beautiful things. That is before any ballast is put in. But to run trains there needs to be ballast so here is the beginning of filling up 15 to 21.
Whilst 15 to 21 is being ballasted, only the points section of 15 to 18 is screwed up. The rest is a work in progress.
The day after is Tues 7th and now the turnout is complete. _____________________________________________________
A longer view which clearly illustrates the difference between broad and standard gauges. The turnout under our feet is still broad gauge. The up side leg is connected to the 15 to 18 turnout but the down leg is offset by 165 mm. No prizes for guessing which side of the BG turnout is moving in the conversion process. To see this you will have to wait a while as we don't expect to tackle this area until July._________________________________________________________
With a few major carriage restoration projects being discussed for later this year and into the next year, it has been determined to finish off some long term outstanding tasks. Elsewhere 26BE is slowly progressing, 3BCE and 5ABE were out-shopped a little while ago recently leaving the car shown above as the last of things to finish off. Which car is it?
The clues are obvious (at least we think so). It is obviously a first class E and someone has chalked its number on the headstock. It is 2AE and is the last car in the operational fleet to receive external refurbishment. For us that means new stick-wood and repaint in our standard burgundy livery.
Considering the finish achieved on State 4, it has been determined that all wood cars will be sprayed in future using the same preparations standards._______________________________________________________
2AE was shopped early May for stripping of the external timbering. We have in stock a full set of stick-wood for this car that was prepared around 20 years ago. That reveals how long we have wanted to deal with this.
In the process of stripping, a few things have been noticed. In this picture we wonder if you can see want we noticed.
Have a look at the right hand side handrail. Now look at the left one. The left one has a distinct curve.which should not be there. The handrail stanchions are off set. In the case of the left hand side assembly, it seems that when last overhauled at Bendigo in the 1980s, they transposed the top and bottom stanchions leaving the centre orientated correctly. In due course all the hand rails will be removed for polishing and the curve will be removed when reassembled correctly._________________________________________________________
The stripping of the old tongue and groove stick-wood continues. On the compartment side against the right end door, the first few boards off reveal both the framing and the panels of the compartment. The arm rest assembly shows as the panel with the black leather folder around. _________________________________________________________
A little while later and much more is revealed. The sloping panels are again the arm rest mounts but this time we have two sets as we are effectively looking at a inter compartment wall. ______________________________________________________
Now a closer look at the condition of the lower stick-wood. Like every other car we re-timbered, the bottom of the sticks are heavily rotted under the bottom cover strip. This strip is not an original feature but a much more recent VR addition to buy more time between attention.The idea may well have been "if we can't see it it does not matter"._______________________________________________________
In this more general view it can be seen that we try to start in the centre of each section and work towards the ends.Along the lower beam many of the screws that held the sticks can be seen. They are almost impossible to undo so the boards are split around them. With the timber gone vice grips can remove some although many shear off. The remains are then ground down to leave a flat surface ready for new wood.______________________________________________________
Shunting to make up the Traralgon train late Wednesday afternoon enabled this image to be captured.
Early Saturday morning 4th May at 0430 hrs, locos are alive and the train is being readied for Traralgon in a couple of hours or so.
Locos A60, A62 and A70 are in storage at South Dynon having no further use to VLine. Some time ago in response to an invitation to express interest in one or two of these locos, we indicated we were indeed interested.
To date there has been no formal decision on their future and we understand that because of other heritage matters being a bit more pressing, VicTrack have not determined the final outcome. With most of the Pacific National A class locomotives now scrapped, every time one sees these locos, it makes one a bit anxious. _______________________________________________________
Jumping forward to May 14th, Max has finished destroying the stick-wood on 2AE below the window level and is now working between the windows. Boards are being split and levered apart and out.___________________________________________________________
With the bit between windows now cleared, a comparison to an earlier shot shows more of the arm rest panel with the internal stick-wood above.________________________________________________________
Zooming in on a mid window section the lower end of the cross brace is a little decayed. Some remedial attention will be required here.__________________________________________________________
Between some windows, the cross bracing has been renewed previously. We think this probably happened at Bendigo in the mid 1980s. A fair amount of the stick-wood between the windows was also fairly new but we decided to renew it as we could do better that as it was.________________________________________________________
When restoring carriage 1BE quite a few years ago we discovered that the door ways were narrower than carriages such as 14BE. With 1BE, 1 and 2 AE in our fleet, a bit of sniffing around at the time lead us to conclude that the first two or so BEs and AEs all had narrower doors with a different window layout than later builds. So this is the narrow version.___________________________________________________________
The standard width doorway this time as on 26BE. Window and proportions are noticeably different._________________________________________________________
A week further along and Bruce is also removing wood between windows. Not far to go now before clean up and repairs begin before re sticking can begin._____________________________________________________
A few weeks of quite unfriendly weather has held up track work but allowed some work on loco batteries amongst bother things to move along.
On Wednesday 5th June a small gang are assembling the 15 to 16 track turnout. Dean is inserting screws with the big tee spanner, Stewart has been distracted by Kevin while Robbie is head down with the electric impact gun showing how easy a power machine inserts the big screws.______________________________________________________
Towards early afternoon and the turnout is assembled. All is spiked and screwed. The little team then moved on to 15 track beyond the turnout and assembled the rest of the track that has been laid out. To the far left is 20 track with sleepers only._______________________________________________________
With 15 track now all clipped up there was still time left in the day. The engineering manager directed the gang assemble a panel of 20 track. The sleepers were first aligned with the little Kabota then two rails nearby were lifted in with the fork lift truck. Fish plates were fitted bolting up the rails to the previous section and most of the 15 sleepers clipped up before by general agreement, all had had enough for a day._______________________________________________________
Twenty track has advanced one panel closer. Beyond the crossing there are around 5 panels to assemble but that will wait for next time.
The last view for the time being of the 15 to 16 turnout now assembled. ______________________________________________________
End of day and for now end of blog. Track 20 from the crossing looking in the up direction.
The next couple of days are going to be filled with SRHC train operations as we will be involved in three operations on Saturday, on two gauges. Perhaps we will talk a bit about that next time.
This article first appeared on srhcblog.blogspot.com
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