Push Gathers Steam to Restore a Historic Loco
J515 Updates from the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre
Rare Arnott's biscuit van restored
We are living in challenging times which is affecting all that we do. Restrictions have significantly impacted on Centre activities over the last couple of months. The result has been a lot less activity on site. Although the full time staff have been about, they have been occupied on relatively routine non-photographic interesting things, so not much to show. As we are just emerging from restrictions and beginning to head towards the former normal, we have decided to look back a bit to an earlier time and then see how things stand now._____________________________________________________________________
We start with T 378. It had been in the operational fleet for a few years and was well due for a paint job. For a change we decided to grit blast the loco including removing the hood, to see if that produced a better overall job.
On 1st February 2007, this is 378 well along the process over one of the pits at the loco depot. One advantage of the blasting is that it becomes easier to review of the loco frame and carbody for rust, cracks and begin the early stages of body repairs. _____________________________________________________________________
A view from the short end gives contrast of what has been blasted and what is left. The individual you see standing in the pit could be mistaken for a deep sea diver but is actually performing the blasting. The suit protects the user from the grit by supplying fresh air to the helmet and protective covering to its wearer._____________________________________________________________________
Same day as the blasting of T378 a few B class derivatives are also around the turntable. Fourteen years later and B74 and A60 are together but both are now in our fleet.
In the picture A60 is using the turntable to run around its train, B74 is on blocks with its bogies in front while having underframe cracks attended to. In the background is B75, also on blocks but owned by a few individuals and facing an unclear future.
Move nearly 15 years ahead and A60 is now in our fleet awaiting restoration. B74 is operational although just at the moment it is having the radiators overhauled, and B75 was subsequently sold to SSR who have since reactivated it._____________________________________________________________________
Moving on to non motorised steel constructs from August 2007. Spirit of Progress Dining car is seen here having rust repairs undertaken around the end of the car in preparation for the 70th anniversary tour. Sections of the steel skin have been removed to allow access to the frame members for remedial attention. _____________________________________________________________________
An assessment is made and butchery is the answer! A cut here line is drawn and a observant individual will see the holes and nearby heavy pitting caused by water entry over many years. can see why. Thus renewal is the answer._____________________________________________________________________
To gain access for the repair of the corner shown in the two previous pictures, the buffing plate was removed. Over many years the stem the extends back under the carriage and which supports a spring has been found to be somewhat sad. The solution for this issue is yet another cut and replace, this time with a newly machined stem being welded on in place of the worn portion._____________________________________________________________________ With one side of Dining done, the other is well under way. Of interest is the debris on the ground, most of which is the old insulation material that was inside the wall cavity. This stuff has held whatever water has found it way in and allowed the rusting shown in the earlier shots.________________________________________________________________
The debris is still there but the new insulation is in and the outer skin has been replaced. Ready now for the attention of the painting team.
Now it is early November 2007 and onto another steal car. 1 CS has all its body repairs completed and now it’s time to bog up the dents and low spots and apply primer in readiness for the corporate colours. Blue and gold of course!_____________________________________________________________________
Have you ever hear the expression that "he was up to his arm pits in sludge"?Moving to current times we have a bit of a look at some of these vehicles in recent times.
Two stroke diesel engines accumulate oil in the air box area of the engine which is the upper chamber on each side where pressurised air is channelled into each cylinder ready for combustion. In the old days the oil just drained out a small pipe and onto the ground. Quite a while ago each loco was fitted with a retention tank to collect the waste so it could be decanted when a loco was fuelled and appropriately disposed of. Decanting is achieved by opening a tap and draining away the sludge, but over time a thick sediment collets at the bottom of the tank and draining the oil etc becomes impossible. So it is off with the cover plate and some "sucker" with a long thin arm is used to grab handfulls of goop and pull it out. __________________________________________________________________
The aforementioned sludge come goop! It is mainly engine oil from the blower that has broken down inside air box and retention tank and turned into a jelly like substance._____________________________________________________________________
Over the fence X 31 is primed ready to depart Seymour depot and make a run to North Dynon. X 31 the week prior received various levels of scheduled millage maintenance. _____________________________________________________________________
Although taken a year or so ago, here (if it was really needed!) is proof that blue and gold was the colour choice. In this shot, 1 CS is in the process of being changed to standard gauge.
In the background are a couple of GMs, 36 in front and 27 behind._____________________________________________________________________
Now for something very current. B74 is in the repair shed for attention to leaking radiators. _____________________________________________________________________
Moving in closer it is easy to see the radiator module of the roof assembly has been removed. Did you spot that in the previous picture?
Here we can see the twin exhaust stakes while looking towards the governor end of the engine. With the removal of the cooling module we will take the chance to clean in between the valley of the engine and inspect the exhaust stakes thoroughly for any exhaust leaks or cracks forming._____________________________________________________________________
This is the roof module itself. The 4 alternating current radiator fans which are controlled by thermostats are mounted to the roof module. The radiators are suspended inclined on the underside.One of the most striking things one notices is the patch paint finish once the pressure washer has done its job. Some attention needed here we think!______________________________________________________________
Looking at the underside, the five radiator sections of one side are end on to us. There is a header tank at each end. Both side are the same arrangement. Our problem is that a significant leak developed in one of the five sections on one side. To fix this the roof comes off.
B class locos in original from such as the case with B74 have 4 inch thick radiator sections. These days they are no longer readily available._____________________________________________________________________
So looking at the other side, the radiators elements have been removed and the whole assembly sent to a specialist radiator refurbishing company. The mounting lugs are noticed along the lower edge of the roof.
Of the five sections of the radiator on this side of the loco, one has a manufacturing date of October 1951. That is nearly two years older than the whole loco. We think that Clyde would have imported lots for their building program and that accounts for the date. All of the segments have had various levels of rebuild in the past but it is now nearly 25 years since one of the 10 segments in the loco was changed out because of leaking issues. That's not a bad run considering all the loco has done in the last 25 years.
The radiator contractor is undertaking a total rebuild of the five sections form this side. As the cost is over $20,000, we have elected to do one side only for the time being. It is a bit of a gamble but we are expecting that the loco will be taken out of traffic in about 12 months for a significant body refurbishment leading up to its 70th birthday. That may then be a good time to tackle the other half. Bearing in mid that a near new engine, an rebuilt generator and air compressor were fitted about 12 years ago, the old boy is actually in pretty good nick overall!
This article first appeared on srhcblog.blogspot.com
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