Push Gathers Steam to Restore a Historic Loco
J515 Updates from the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre
Rare Arnott's biscuit van restored
The last few days of December have not been idle. Although there has been a holiday or two in the weeks just gone, some good progress has been made.
At the end of the pictures and current commentary you will find a quick snapshot of the year just gone and a little of what should happen during the year to come.
Those who like to play with rails have continued to assemble track. With sleepers previously laid and rails roughly placed there upon, the next task for 15 and 16 tracks on Wednesday 19th was to assemble the short section up to the turnout site.
Although this is a short section of track a close examination reveals that the first few sleepers actually project under the adjacent track. Getting the sleepers in correct line required hand digging and a lot of pushing of the sleepers with a track bar. ________________________________________________________________
The following Saturday, rails have been placed through the site of the turnout and the vee crossing has been placed. Beyond the vee, rails have been placed for 15 track.________________________________________________________________
Now on top of the turnout site we see the rails supported on blocks. This is to enable the alignment to be fully checked. It is also to enable work to continue on 15 and 16 tracks without the half sets and timbers being available. ________________________________________________________________
With the sleepers in 15 track now accurately aligned the first two rails of each leg sitting on the pads clipping up will be next.
A final view for the day. A small curve in 15 track beyond the vee leads up towards the site of the new shed where the track will be parallel with 14 track where the van protrudes from the shed. The sleepers for 16 track are not yet to the correct line for the curve that will lead up to the shed.
Between Christmas and New Year a bit more work was done. 15 track has been joined to the vee crossing, clips have been fitted to the middle section and a roadway constructed from the 14 track side extending the truncated level crossing. With a roadway in place four 13 metre rails from the main stockpile have been dragged in for 16 track.
With the first left hand rail jointed to the turnout area and the matching right hand rail lying in the "four foot", the next pair of rails are as dumped and about to be swung around into their relative positions.___________________________________________________________________
Not quite sure of the exact specifications for the paint job but understand it is a bit of a quickie to eliminate the remnants of the ELZ orange and replace with blue. Significant body work is not part of the program at this stage apparently._________________________________________________________________________
Shane (representing the owning group) and Robbie in the role as a volunteer are discussing either the weather (which was hot) or something to do with the job. Your guess is as good as any!_____________________________________________________________________
Although obviously caught sitting down on the job, Robbie seems happy although the next shot which we have chosen to not publish has some gestures that suggest the photographer was being told to ********** ************.________________________________________________________________
Next day being Saturday was somewhat cooler so two crazy trackies decided to have a go at assembling 16 track. Most sleepers needed to be moved to get the correct alignment for the curve and the rails joined to their predecessors and then clipped up.
It would appear that the crazies have achieved!__________________________________________________________________
Moving down to the "head of steel", there is not yet room for any more rail. The foliage and the heavy spares just beyond and out of site will need to be relocated or removed as appropriate before 15 and 16 tracks can be extended towards their full length.___________________________________________________________________
A roadway has been prepared so the fork lifts can gain access to the storage area to collect and remove all the stuff. In due course the roadway will be dug out when the track in the foreground which is 17 track is dismantled for converting to standard gauge._________________________________________________________________
A final shot of the track works for the year shows the curve in 16 track which is not quite to spec just yet. When the big excavator returns next the curve will be pushed around 100 mm to the left in the middle length of the curve. A little tweaking at each end will then have the line where we what it. When the shed is erected this position will be around 10 metres inside.________________________________________________________________
In the tender of J515 the coal space is getting filled with all sorts of stuff. The shovel looking thing to the left is the baffle plate that extends into the firebox from the fire hole. When in position the curve faces down. To the right are the large centre and further back the small side bricks from the firebox brick arch.
All this stuff is being extracted to the grate can be partially dismantled to give access to the front lower section of the inner firebox where significant metal replacement is needed.________________________________________________________________
Turning around and looking in to the firebox the only thing obvious is the cushion used to make the uncomfortable circumstances inside the firebox a little more pleasant._____________________________________________________________________
Now looking directly into the firebox we see most of the grate is still in position but note that most of the brick arch has been removed.
Across the front of the vertical front firebox plate low down can be seen a brown coloured section extending along each side. Horizontally through this brown area can be seen a chalk line. Bellow this line for about 150 mm the steel plate work needs to be cut out and new material put in. The cuts will go around each corner. On the left the cut will extend about 500 mm whilst on the right it will extend about 300 mm.____________________________________________________________________
By rotating the camera we see a taller view showing most of the front tube plate . The portion of the grate removed can be seen but most of what can be seen in this shot needs to come out to enable the repairs to be undertaken.
The repair work is a specialised task that will completed by a contractor. With a lot of activities on our plate at the moment that includes standard gauge track and rolling stock conversion, along with all sorts of carriage activities, funding availability ultimately determines priorities and rates of completion.
For this reason we have decided to open a GoFundMe campaign to raise up to $22,000 to complete the works on J515. The specific tasks to be completed include:
It is our wish to have the works on the loco completed in May ready for return to service in June. Whether this can be achieved or not rely depends on available funds.
So we are at the end of the current report. It is now timely to review the year just closed.
Train OperationsAn increasing number of passenger trains have been operated. Some as self promoted activities and other as charters.
Locomotive hire has for all practical purposes ceased and the loss of revenue from this option has necessitated a more conservative financial approach.
Locomotives -X31 - Had a scheduled heavy maintenance exam and had the number one end drag box rebuilt.
T357 - Had a scheduled heavy maintenance exam and was gauge converted.
P22 - Had the damaged radiator and cooling fan assembly rebuilt, it was repainted into traditional VR blue and gold and was gauge converted.
B74 - Had a scheduled heavy maintenance exam, an ICE radio system was fitted and both ground and powering faults were diagnosed and rectified.
C501 - Received new batteries and was re-certified to be taken to Goulburn in NSW in conjunction with a C class locomotive event.
T378 - Had a bogie swap.
J515 - The smokebox was removed and replaced by a new construction.
Carriages –1BS - Has had the external paint work fully buffed and polished. It was also gauge converted.
4AS - Was gauge converted.
11BS - Was gauge converted.
3BCE- The drawn out refurbishment of this car was completed.
5ABE- Repainting and bogie correction was completed.
30AE - Various matters were attended to and the car re-entered traffic.
Dining – Electrical rebuild was completed, the water system rebuilt and various modifications completed in the kitchen area.
State 4 – Was withdrawn for reconditioning works mainly concerning external panelling and repainting.
26BE - The roof renewal was completed and the car has exited the workshop for completion.
BS cars – Two of the BS cars purchased from Vline, 216 and 219 BS, were made roadworthy by fitting couplers and associated hardware, making brakes operational and transferred to Seymour.
DT319 – Has beef returned to traffic and reclassified as 92BP.
Surplus locos and wagons have been identified and arrangements made for their disposal. Loco F202 was transferred to 707 Operations at Newport and various wagons not required have been relocated ready for removal. Vehicles for disposal are two CP brake vans, one ZL brake van, two VLBY bogie vans, and one VLCX bogie van.
Infrastructure & other-The rearrangement of storage particularly at the front of the repair shed was completed.
Various amounts of junk and other non-useful material were disposed of.
The old brick building beyond 14 track was demolished, the site cleaned up and preparations made for future track works.
Following advice of success in a grant application, detailed design has been commenced on shed additions and track configuration.
Standard gauge tracks 21 and 22 along with a new turnout were completed.
A new broad gauge turnout in 12 track to connect to 14 track was completed and 14 track connected via 12 track.
Turnouts between 10 & 9 tracks and between 10 & 11 tracks were partially re-timbered.
New 15 & 16 tracks construction is well under way.
20 track was dismantled and is being rebuilt as standard gauge.
As well as the detailed list above, various small tasks to many to mention have been completed on locomotives, carriages, infrastructure, plant and facilities.
Most activities have been completed by volunteers supported by our two and later one employee to all who credit for what has been achieved is due. ____________________________________________________________________
So what about the coming year?
Some of the things on our agenda for the 2019 year include the following. It should be noted though that this is the intention rather than a definitive statement. From month to month issues arise, opportunities present, and plans are varied. The list is not meant to be comprehensive but is indicative.
Gauge conversion will remain as a very high priority with plans calling for two more carriages being converted.
Tracks 15, 16, 17 , 18 , 19 & 20 will all be altered to standard gauge.
The new carriage shed over new tracks 15 and 16 will be completed.
Train operations will increase with up to 15 charters and around 12 self promoted operations currently on the program.
Repairs to J515 will be completed and it will return to the main line.
P23 will be repainted and reactivated.
C501 is planed to be returned to traffic.
Carriages 4 State, 26BE & 1AS will be released to traffic following refurbishment or overhaul. Carriage 16ABE will be fitted with retention toilets. Further carriages will have refurbishment commenced. Conversion of a new power van will be commenced. _____________________________________________________________
So that's it for now.
We think it has been a good year just past.
Next year should be exiting in a different way. Make sure you stay with us for the ride.
This article first appeared on srhcblog.blogspot.com
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