Push Gathers Steam to Restore a Historic Loco
J515 Updates from the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre
Rare Arnott's biscuit van restored
After the relatively long summer followed by a short autumn, we are not particularly enjoying the short days associated with winter. It has been quite cold in Seymour but there has been many days of fine weather to compensate.
This all means that in the shed each morning it has a slow start as we try to stay warm. Outside when the sun is out the days have been pleasant.
Last time we left off by mentioning a three train day. Murphy has a way of interfering with well laid plans even more so if one boasts in advance!
The plan for Queens Birthday Saturday was for B74 & S303 to haul the Royal Train from Castlemaine to Bendigo and return; X31 and T378 to lead our day trip form Southern Cross to Echuca and return, and for a standard gauge train to Yarrawonga. Bendigo and Echuca activities went fine but Yarrawonga never made it. The standard gauge plan utilised available rail motors laying over at Seymour while the passenger who had come from Sydney travelled on our train to Echuca. On the day the rail motors were a failure at Albury with the passengers being bussed to Seymour. Our intending Yarrawonga passengers missed out but most chose to go to Echuca. Sometimes that is just how it goes.
The standard gauge project has one medium term disadvantage! It cuts into storage space as broad gauge tracks are converted leaving limited space for the remaining broad gauge fleet. We have been consciously been thinning out the fleet over recent years. Quite a few carriages have moved away along with a few wagons. In recent times more wagons have been handed back to the Registrar. Still more needs to be done to get to where we want to be.
The last couple of months have afforded us an unusual privilege in that with seven carriages and two locomotives away on special duties, we have enjoyed space to move. Very shortly that bubble will burst when the Royal Train returns home. The only thing to be done was to make more space.
A review of storage arrangement showed that a further four 4 wheel wagons could be released by clearing out junk, re-stacking and using space more intelligently.
So; for the picture. Thursday 20th June and a spare engine which has been taking up one wagon is lifted and reloading into the carbody of S310 which funnily enough is built just the right shape to take an engine and a generator. End result - another wagon finished with.____________________________________________________________
During shunting wagons into the right order to be reloaded and consolidated using the crane, the contents of one wagon is plain to see. A mixture of loco wheels to suit B, S & X classes and another that suits a T class.
A few days before the crane works above, the various wagons required were shuffled (perhaps that should be shunted) around to get everything in the right sequence . In a rare movement T342 is doing the honours._____________________________________________________________
A couple of days earlier a section of track that has been under the observation of the track supervisor for a while had some attention in that half a dozen timbers were replaced.____________________________________________________________
In the shed the repainting of P23 continues. The mornings have been such that it has been quite challenging to get moving. Then there is the exhaust form the air sanders that completes the freezing of ones fingers where the ambient temperature has not quite done so!
More bog is being put into the sides of the running boards by the cab on the fireman's side. 25th June.____________________________________________________________
A more general view of the same area with some sections finished and the lower cab sides nearly ready for priming and hi-fill.
On the adjacent track to the P, T378 is in for attention to a noisy radiator fan bearing. On these small locos the cooling fan is directly driven from the engine via a shaft. Behind the fan itself is a pillow block type bearing on a stand. The fan is on the far side of the fixed van arrangement and can sort of be seen. The presence of a big hammer tells us that some effort has been needed to drive the fan off the shaft to be able to get at the bearing. To the left of the bearing in the middle of the picture is the portion of the shaft where the fan was mounted. ______________________________________________________________
Now to the other side of the P in 3 track we find 2AE. Don't get diverted by the word "ON" on the underframe as this is the label on the handbrake.
What we do need to notice is the couple of chalk ticks where the diagonal cross brace meets the bottom sit and vertical frame member. All wood cars are built in a similar arrangement but over a 100 years or so (in this case 113 years) the movement in the body frets away timber making the cross bracing loose and much less effective.
The solution is shims of timber individually fitted into every such connection that take up the slack. A small brad id hammered in to retain the shim before we can consider replacing the cladding.___________________________________________________________
Still with 2AE, above the window sill member a few of the horizontal lower backing pieces are beyond re use. The cross is the condemning mark meaning this piece will be removed and replaced with new timber.______________________________________________________________
On one end there is some deterioration of the main side sill timber such that although the cross brace is sound, it is not effective as it should be. The side sill is only poorly right at the end where water is thrown up against the end of the car by the wheels of an adjacent vehicle. Perhaps in retrospect mud flaps should have been fitted to every carriage wheel! Obviously that is not happening and a solution is needed to ensure strength is maintained in the corner.
The E type carriages that were altered to be air conditioned had the cross bracing removed and steel insert panels inserted into places like this. So that is what we will be doing. A steel panel of the identical arrangement to a air conditioned E car is being made to take the place of the lower portion of the brace. It will be fastened to the left and right verticals as well as lower and upper horizontals thus providing the rigidity and diagonal strength required without having to cut into the lower sill which even when jointed will not be as satisfactory. The chalk marks are the details of the cuts and fastenings._______________________________________________________________
Wednesday 26th, after an initial cold start turned out to be a pleasant day. Nice days are almost always "track days". So Robbie is out of the shed driving the little machine, and Dean with Stuart are assembling the lower end of the new 15 track.____________________________________________________________
With rails more or less in the right place on the sleepers the next thing to do is assemble the fishplates and bolts.
Next week and Tuesday morning sees progress on the P with the fireman's side and short nose finished and painted in hi-fill. The keen eye might have noticed that above the windscreen Robbie is yet to weld in new metal around the lower portion of the number box. This is almost always a problem due to water getting in around the sealing rubbers and laying inside the light box cavity.
On the cow catcher area Col is sanding away trying to remove 35 years of dents and stone chips. It is surprising how long it actually takes to get this back to a suitable finish.___________________________________________________________
With 378, the fan bearing saga continues. The fan has been partly removed to give room to get in and replace the bearing and pillow block.
Going around the other side of the loco and using the space made be ejecting the fan which can just be identified on the extreme left, here is the new bearing assembly.
The assembly is yet to be pushed up to the collar on the shaft to the right. And there is that big hammer again but this time being used as temporary packing to support the shaft.
The fan fits on the right end of the shaft and is secured with a key the slot for which is viable. A big nut on the end of the shaft holds everything together.
A few minutes later and the bearing assembly is now in position. The fan is now obvious. Once the pillow block is bolted down the fan will be refitted and adjustments to packing under the bearing will be made to ensure the fan is central within the vane housing.
While on the subject of 378, here is one of the number boards that has been replaced. The other side is in hand whilst the long end has already been completed. This is one of those things that has been on the list for a while but the chance to deal with it while the loco was in the shed for other pressing matter provided the incentive to get it done.___________________________________________________________
Meanwhile on the P we are running down the other side. A bit easier here with not as many issues to address.
Still Tuesday. It is fine so it is ....... that's right it is a track day!
Different combination of suspects on a different track this week. Brandon is with Stuart this time on the bottom of 20 track. This area has been left while more pressing areas were addressed but its time has arrived.____________________________________________________________
You will not doubt note that Brandon is sitting down on the job allowing Stu to do all the work. He claims that he is positioning the biscuits and clips while Stu uses to puller to fit the clips. A likely story.
Whatever the story, an hour or so later they had finished assembling 20 track. Ballast in next followed by tamping with the excavator and lining the curve to a more appropriate shape.______________________________________________________________
From the end of 20 track looking up the hill, the dips and swings can be seen but with the uniform appearance of naked concrete sleeper track, it is very 'sexy' to some of us.
We have suspected for some time that Robbie has been lying down on the job. Today (Wednesday 11th July) the evidence has been provided.
He claims that the only practical way to reach the upper parts of the cab is to assume this position. ___________________________________________________________
By seeking up it has been possible to get a picture of Steve and Max discussing progress with 2AE. The first of the stick wood has been fastened and a review of technique, finish and efficiency was under way.
At the end of the day, good progress has been made. This is the first time that Max has done this type of work so there is a learning component here and therefore we expect the next session will be more productive.
To ensure that all the stick wood is even at the bottom a temporary board is fastened to the bottom sill as a guide and the verticalosity (that must be a work although the spell checker does not think so!) is checked against every upright member of the body frame. Slight corrections are made progressively to make sure the overall effect is just right._____________________________________________________________
We tend not to put many images of our trains out and about in this blog for two main reasons. First the blog was always intended to show something of what goes on behind the scenes and secondly because most of our train operations receive good coverage in other media.
But, (there is always a few "buts") this shot was taken by an engineering staff member as the last Royal Train between Castlemaine and Bendigo is prepared on Saturday 13th July. Besides that a bit of variety never hurt.
With the royal train now home, the locos have to go somewhere. What between than to line them up. Post shunting Monday 15th July.
The following day and the first of deliveries of quarry waste come crushed rock for ballasting the new standard gauge track has been delivered.
Big piles of rock need to be distributed along the track ready for tamping. Kevin loves playing on the little machine so he has been tasked with distributing the first loads. The upper end of 15 track near the gate is disappearing under the advancing rock face.___________________________________________________________
The man of the moment. Can you see that perpetual grin as he plays with what he calls his favourite toy? With more piles of rock in the background, he will be smiling for a while yet.
And so another load is discharged. While the machine does not have a bucket capacity like our old back hoe, with perseverance, a lot of rock can be moved very effectively in a remarkably short time. Which ever way you look at it, it is easier than a shovel and barrow.___________________________________________________________
Here then is some of the further piles of rock. The one to the distant left has been partly pushed around but the closer ones wait attention.
Kevin is in the background moving rock. When wandering around we now find that the three way turnout between 17, 18 and 20 tracks has had the rail of one leg moved over and is now connected to 15 track. It is not yet fastened though.
Swinging 180 degrees, the moved over rail can be seen to be for 20 track. There is still a gap behind the turnout to be tackled. That is waiting for its turn when the long timbers at the rear of the turnout will also be replaced at the same time.
In the distance Dean is clipping up sleepers unaided. A relatively recent new volunteer, he has taken to track work and is enjoying what can be achieved with a little skill and basic tools. Well and keep it up Dean! _____________________________________________________________
So what about Kevin. He has nearly reached the gate and is looking forward to the next piles.
Coming back half an hour later and the first of three plies near the 15 to 16 track turnout has been distributed and he is well into the last two piles in this spot._________________________________________________________
Robbie has awaken from his slumbers on top of the engine hood whilst doing the cab ends. Wide awake and the drivers side is nearing completion.
As he finishes off on the valance area, all the previous colours show through in different places. There were a few odd spots where the sanding went back right through to the blue from the days when this loco was a flat top T.
We said this side was nearing completion. The proof is that before the end of the day masking is under way.
Wednesday (17th) although showery became a track day because we could. The last bit of 15 track has been assembled and now needs ballast.____________________________________________________________
On the subject of ballast, apart from one pile in the distance, all has been spread. This series of deliveries was 100 tonnes. There will need to be some more once this area has been tamped as lifting the track always consumes much more than you would think.
With 15 track assembly finished, 20 finished and 16 progressing, around 150 tonnes more is what we think will be needed.____________________________________________________________
While some hardy souls were building track, Robbie was spraying hi-fill all over the driver's side of P23.
With the loco fully covered in hi-fill, a few days will nor be needed before it hardens off enough to have final sanding before top coating.
Now that 15 and 20 tracks are assembled, it is on to 16. Four more rails are on with sleepers aligned and ready for jointing and clipping. Out of view at the far end is the last of the earth works to bring the formation up to the correct level. Around 15 sleepers will be needed from the stock pile to achieve the full length.
This and the following three shots are all from Friday 19th July. The standard gauge train is out making the yard look big. It is bringing a tour group from Albury to Seymour whilst the broad gauge train to the right is soon to take the same passengers to Melbourne.
During the morning the broad gauge train with B74 leading X31 backed into the loco depot in readiness for moving up to the station. At the same time the standard gauge train had finished unloading passengers and had set back affording a shot of the two trains on two gauges side by side.
The standard gauge train needed to be reversed so to be in position to return to Albury on Sunday afternoon. Parlor car was turned and then the locos swapped around. In the course of he latter P22 and T357 are side by side in the loco depot area.______________________________________________________________
So there you have it.___________
We are a bit surprised how long this blog worked out to be compared to the amount of sun light in each day but then it has been a while between posts. Sometimes other things get in the way of blog time so when it does get published there is a bit to show and tell. We hope you have enjoyed!___________________
Till next time (hopefully a bit sooner than last).
This article first appeared on srhcblog.blogspot.com
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