Push Gathers Steam to Restore a Historic Loco
J515 Updates from the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre
Rare Arnott's biscuit van restored
It is customary to celebrate milestones and birthdays. As this is SRHC Blog number 100 we had contemplated some sort of special event. In fact we have hung back on publication looking for something to "crow" about.
In the end, although operation of the Royal Train is something different, and in some ways something to "crow" about, the considered view was it is best to just continue showing what we do and how we do it.
So after a bit of a rest to recuperate after six very intense weeks prior to the royal train, and then another two weeks rushing to finish off two extra cars and arrange other movements, we are back to normal whatever that really means!
So for blog number 100 we start with the last preparations for the Royal Train, the big day in question, the second movement back to Castlemaine and then back to the usual.__________________________________________________________
Friday 15th March. This may not be the bast way to open a blog but things must be in order. Although Quentin can be accused of lying down on the job he defends himself by saying "you told me to touch up the bottom of the door; how else did you expect me to do it? This is the kitchen end door of State 5 which is receiving the last touches. _____________________________________________________
Out in the yard the final touches include cleaning loco windscreens which gave the cleaner this view. Prominent on the roof of B74 are the six antenna associated with the ICE radio system.____________________________________________________________
State 4 has broken cover for the first time. Late on Friday afternoon the sun is not in the best quarter for a portrait but what the heck!
From the other angle, the sun still does not help so the portrait will have to wait for another time and place.
A few minutes later and after setting back into the other track, State % is also out in the world.
With the two state cars out of the shed and placed in 8 track along with the rest of the Royal Train for the next morning, T378 rests out of the way in the void.
We arranged for some contract cleaners to come in on Friday afternoon as we expected that as soon as the cars were out-shopped the debris of six crazy weeks would need to be taken care of and we were sure none of us would have that much enthusiasm.
On the end platform of State 4 the cleaners are wondering why they are the cleaners and not royalty! David is fully absorbed in placing the South Australian Adlake side lights.___________________________________________________________
Last thing Friday as the sun sets, B74 and S303 have been added to the front of the train and all is finally ready for tomorrow.
Saturday morning 16th March and the locos have been fired up, staff are beginning to appear._____________________________________________________________
It is always fun to ride on the end platform of State 4 or Yarra. As the sun rises it is a perfect morning viewed from Yarra having just left Wandong. The sun is not high enough to leave shadows but the exhaust haze is low in the sky. What a beautiful start to a day!!!______________________________________________________________
Soon enough we are in Southern Cross on platform 2. B74 has been cut off and S303 will follow shortly. The end platform of State 4 is the uniting factor._____________________________________________________________
With the locos heading off to the other end, the carpet and ribbon suggests something is afoot.__________________________________________________________
With events in Christchurch New Zealand the day before taking away some of the intended dignitaries, one of the local MPs for the Bendigo area makes the speech and launches the Royal Train.
As we are into trains and not speeches etc, we will move straight on.
After a rather slow trip to Bendigo because of pathing restrictions, The train laid over in platform 2 for a few hours. B74 leads S303 followed by Yarra and 30 AE.
From the footbridge at Bendigo the balance of the train trains away. 30 AE in in the fore-ground, followed by Mitta Mitta, Dining Car, State 5 and State 4 on the rear._____________________________________________________________
So now an opportunity for a portrait shot. State Car Number 4 enjoys the sun in platform 2 at Bendigo.
State 4 with the blinds down to keep the inside cool looks just fantastic. _____________________________________________________________
State Car Number 5._______________________________________________________
And again. ___________________________________________________________
Mid afternoon, when the line north to Echuca was clear the now empty train headed off. Somewhere towards Echuca the B and S power onward.___________________________________________________________
Still in the same general area the view from State 4._________________________________________________________
The last picture for the day sees the B on the left and S on the right in the process of swapping positions as part of running around in Echuca._________________________________________________________
With the return of the Royal Train to Seymour late on Saturday night, one day of rest was declared.
Both State 4 and 5 needed various little things finished off. Dining car Avoca was put in the shop along with 3BS both of which were due to join the train for the upcoming three month program. Mitta Mitta, Dining and 30AE retired to the car shed waiting for their next assignments.
The plan was for the royal set along with T333 and three wagons to return to Castlemaine on Thursday 25th March. The one way transfer will leave the royal assembly based at Castlemaine for the balance of the train operations associated with the Tudors to the Windsors exhibition in Bendigo.____________________________________________________________
With the passenger cars assembled in the depot, T378 shunts in the loco depot to extract three louvre vans for adding to the Castlemaine train. It is now around 06.00 on Thursday 25th.___________________________________________________________
It is another of those sun rise times. In the distance is B74 leading S303. Dead attached is T333 followed by the royal set with the three louvres at the rear._____________________________________________________________
As the sun comes up we are waiting for time to set back to the platform before heading off to Echuca.____________________________________________________________
Out along the track heading for Echuca, the B leads 303 and 333 as seen from Yarra.
At the opposite end of the carriage portion of the train State 4 is coupled to a VLCX van.
Arriving up the last hill into Bendigo it is now possible to see the full train.
After running through Bendigo station non stop (that probably does not happen very often for a "passenger" train), a stop was necessary at Kangaroo Flat to wait for a down regular train to clear the single line section.
A few days later, B74 is in the shed. But this is not our shed. This is the Victorian Goldfields Railway's carriage shed at Castlemaine. In between royal activities, the train is living in this shed safe from the elements and other things.
Back to our more usual activities now. With the royal train "done" it was back to all those projects that had been suspended in early February.
The repaint and return to service of P23 is one of the restarts. On Friday 5th April the steel skin has been cut from a number of the engine hood main struts. The tell tale bulging of the skin has hidden the drain duct full of cinders trapping water and creating this mess.____________________________________________________________
Saturday after a shunt extracted the QR and Q wagons from 5 and 6 tracks the two wagons are outside the signal box awaiting unloading. With the three louvre vans gone from the loco depot, theses two wagons are to be unloaded to make space. They will the be moved into the vacated space in the loco.
The running of yet another standard gauge charter train for Cruise Express International on 10th April enabled this picture of an un-occupied 21 and 22 tracks. On the right 22 track has been partially tidied up whilst 21 still awaits attention.
With these tracks being occupied most of the time, the final tidying up will have to wait. When the turnouts at the up end are rebuilt to standard gauge (details a bit further on) and 15 and 16 tracks commissioned, this area will not normally be covered by rolling stock and the finishing will be dealt with._____________________________________________________________
Another of those things suspended whilst tackling the royal train issues was the installation of pre-lube equipment to three locomotives. This is the pre-lube oil filter assembly just mounted on the the side of the loco's main lube oil filters of Y119. An electric pump and pipework are in hand and will soon be finished.
The other locos getting equipment are P22 and P23. Because of the weight of the crank shaft in the diesel engines, oil is expelled from the crank shaft bearings when ever the engine is stopped. Standard practice is to externally pressurise the lubricating system if the engine has been shut down for more than 48 hours. In normal railway operating environments this situation hardly ever happens and when it does maintenance personnel are required to pressurise the system before starting the engine. For us though, locos are often shut down for much longer that 48 hours.
On locos not fitted with a pre-lube system we connect an external pump and pressurise before starting. This can be quite inconvenient so we fit our locos with an on-board pump operated by a push button which makes the pre-lube exercise a comfortable and speeds function.____________________________________________________________
Back on to P23 the rusted main hood struts have had the drainage channels cleaned out, treated, painted and a new skin has been fitted. Onto the skin the fixed portions of the hood doors have been welded on and the doors are being checked for fit.____________________________________________________________
Six days after the picture of 21 and 22 tracks un-occupied, we are at the other end. The first thing to notice is the blunt end of Parlor in 22 track and the carriages being back a bit from this end of the tracks. In the foreground the turnout between 21 track and 15 track (the lead that goes down the left had side of T378 in the mid distance) has been dismantled and the bed dug out. To the left the half sets comprising the stock rails and blades have been put aside.
Next week we have machinery coming in on Tuesday and Wednesday to achieve two distinct tasks. First will be the clearing out of the old storage area in the way of the full length of 15 and 16 tracks. The next stage is to dig up the existing broad gauge turnout through the roadway leading to 15 - 20 tracks and to lay in new timbers for both that turnout and the turnout between 21 and 15 tracks and place the rails and major components back on top to suit standard gauge.___________________________________________________________
The following day (Wednesday 16th) steel sleepers have just been laid from the gate to the site of the 21-15 track turnout. On Wednesday next week rails will be in as well as the basis of the turnout.___________________________________________________________
Back to P23 and Robbie is engaged in stripping the existing paint from the long end nose. Although the paint on this loco is pretty sound, the big flat areas have some signs of potential problems. So these big areas will be stripped back to metal and then prepared for repainting. The other areas of the loco look like they will be fine when sanded and lightly filled.____________________________________________________________
Brandon has now been conscripted into helping. A moderate coating of paint stripper is proving more than suitable.__________________________________________________________
By moving around to a different angel we can see Robbie scrapping away with the debris pile increasing on the deck.__________________________________________________________
So that is the end of Blog Number 100.
What do you think? How have we done since number 1?
We have alluded to works coming up on Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th and probably overflowing into Thursday 25th April. Is this a good opportunity to come along and both see and help in some exciting?
On the list is
We will be on site at the depot from 07.30 each day and look forward to welcoming you.
This article first appeared on srhcblog.blogspot.com
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