Push Gathers Steam to Restore a Historic Loco
J515 Updates from the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre
Rare Arnott's biscuit van restored
Yes we know it has been a while. Other things always seem to get in the way. With a finite level of resources and time, some things just slip back a bit. We know we have said that before but it is still true. So much to do and in busy times.
Carriages to begin with on January 19th. In the Repair Shed 18AE is still having the tired external cladding removed as the first stages in its restoration. Above the windows this car retained most of the star mirror panels. Initial indications are the mirrors are restorable with about 95 reusable. Gary is extracting the old screws and some more modern nails left once the stick-wood has been split away'__________________________________________________________________
In behind the stick-wood has been some interesting finds. A moderate amount of decimal coinage has been found along with some former seat hair filling that has been relocated by some little rodent into a nest. __________________________________________________________________
With one hand holding fast, the other is moving too fast for the camera. Max is chiselling off the capping strips beside the windows before tackling the boarding to the side.__________________________________________________________________
2AE is the other carriage getting attention at the moment. Although we have a few second class BE carriages in the fleet, there is insufficient first class cars for our charter customers. Accordingly we have been concentrating on the AE cars of late.
With the stick-wood replaced and most of the car painted, the last significant thing to address is the steel sheets covering the letter board. The original sheets were rusted through in places and the timber underneath not suitable for remaining exposed.
New steel sheets have been cut and are in the process of being painted both sides before affixing.____________________________________________________________
After cleaning down as in the previous picture, grey primer has now been sprayed on before the burgundy top coat. Late January._____________________________________________________________
The old panels were used as a guide to the sizing and layout of the new sheets; but some wag decided that there was another use for them! It is not clear if the message is the loco is deemed first class or that is the name of the train!
But the back story is that GM36 is in the shed for its body refurbishment and repaint. Some preliminary things are in hand but the real push will begin once a couple of other things are completed.___________________________________________________________
The following day, the new letterboard panels for 2AE have been top coated and are about to be fitted.
This process coupled with what we have found in the first stages of stripping 18AE have caused us to determine that 18 will have the star mirrors restored and new timber letter boards and gutters installed. This is in reality the standard we set many years ago when Parlor carriage Yarra was last refurbished. It means a fair bit more work and expense as mirror restoration and in some cases replacement is expensive, but anyone looking at Yarra and State 4 with their mirrors, dots and sign writing cannot help but be impressed. How do you think the whole train will look in the same style?_________________________________________________________________
Also receiving attention is poor old T320. With the heads and pistons removed a week before, now the first of the cylinder liner is out. With the liner on the running board, the crane can be seen mounted above the engine.________________________________________________________________
A close up of the liner removed. The vertically orientated slots around half way up are the air inlet ports while the inclined oval just below is the cooling water inlet. Each liner is effectively a hollow sleeve with water flowing between the inside and outside surfaces for the cooling. The eight long studs at the top secure the cylinder head whilst near the bottom a couple of big O rings seal the lower portion of the liner into the engine block.__________________________________________________________________________
The seven removed cylinder heads are all together on a pallet. On a couple of them can be seen on one side the water outlet elbow that discharges hot water that has circulated around the liner, passed upward into the head and then out towards the radiators._________________________________________________________________
Now looking into the engine , another liner is still in position. The air and water inlets can be seen in relation to the circular air box access hole normally plugged with the familiar circular cover with the centre hand nut.
Yo don't have to use a microscope to see all the dirt and sludge in the air box compartment. Engines don't get much dirtier that this. Once the liners are out, the whole engine block is in line for a thorough clean out.____________________________________________________________
The next day and the remaining liners are out. In the place where they were the pistons can be seen. They will be the next thing to be removed.________________________________________________________________
In case you can't quite see the pistons here is a close up. With three top rings in the piston, this is a 567 engine. But we already knew that!____________________________________________________________
A day or two later and the pistons are now out. These are the three from the fireman's side. Some rings are broken and the others are worn to the limits or a bit beyond. Each piston sits on the top of a connecting rod. There is a brass thrust washer that allows the piston to rotate within the liner bore. No surprise that all the washers are worn thin to condemning limits._____________________________________________________________
All the liners and heads are now put aside. The heads may be re-useable subject to detailed inspection, but the liners are past their use by date. _________________________________________________________________
Meanwhile, at the freight terminal at Dooen near Horsham, C501 and T357 are in the company of CLF2 & 4. Our two have just had a bit of attention from our fitters as part of scheduled maintenance. A few hours about twice a month is needed to attend to programmed lubrication requirements and the odd issues logged by the loco crews. Wednesday 3rd February._______________________________________________________________
The start of the next week on Monday 8th and the steel coverings for the letter boards are going on. A bit hard to see here but the sheets have been fitted and cover up the timber nicely._________________________________________________________________
Right down the other end of the car Robbie is drilling holes in another whilst Jason is holding the other end. Not far to go on this side.________________________________________________________________
The following day, a shunt sees 2AE with its letter boards in position and T320 being moved around by T382.______________________________________________________________
And then to the dots. With another "virus restrictions period" limiting volunteer attendance, the staff tackled the dots. A new supply of masking strip was proving challenging to master but Robbie and Jas have completed the first scroll assembly. ______________________________________________________________
The second scroll set is now in hand. With the tape on, the yellow paint is carefully dabbed on. Occasional 'oopses', runs and blotches are corrected one the tap is removed, typically a couple of hours after paint application once it has stated to "tack off". ________________________________________________________________
Another day later and another shunt. This time it is an airing for the usually hidden 47BE. This car is privately owned and its restoration is a lifetime exercise for its owner. The mirrors and outside cladding were completed many years ago. The roof remains to be done along with the completion of the interior. It should be obvious that the work is being done to an exacting standard and its completed condition will be something to strive to emulate._______________________________________________________________________
47BE began life as a combined mail sorting and second class carriage. It was altered to its current configuration around the same time as five other cars of the same type were altered into BCE car vans.
With new timber letterboards and mirrors, it already looks spectacular. Once externally completed and painted, it will be a stunning and compliment the other cars with mirrors etc.__________________________________________________________________
Repair work on the boiler of J515 has been plodding along. Some time ago the stays in the area where inner firebox replacement is needed were removed. Although much of this is old news so to speak, we finally got around to taking some pictures to show,
In this view across the frames on the loco in front of the firebox, some cladding has been removed and the lowest row of stays have been extracted.
The stays removed were extracted by welding a tag on the inside end for a spanner to grab. With the welded seam on the outside ground away, a bit of hammering and brute force then managed to screw the stud out. It has been the previous practice to drill the stays out which usually means having to re-tap of the thread in the wrapper. This new method does not damage the thread._________________________________________________________________
On the inside of the firebox, with the grates removed, the row of stay holes show up as white dots. In effect this is the opposite side to the first shot showing the external front of the firebox._________________________________________________________________
Jumping inside for a closer look, a portion of the lower inner firebox has been cut out on the driver's side as seen here. The cut goes across the front and around to the fireman's side. The rivets below the cut area are part of the foundation ring assembly.
Chalked figures are the preliminary thickness measurements that prompted the cutting. Once a little cleaning up is completed a repair methodology will be composed in conjunction with the boiler inspector. _______________________________________________________________
Looking mainly across the front this time. One of the things yet to be determined is exactly where the lower horizontal weld will be placed. It is possible that there will not actually be a weld and it may be necessary to remove the inner platework against the foundation ring. This would require removal of perhaps 40 rivets and their replacement in the new platework. ________________________________________________________________
Finally in the firebox a close up of the driver's side showing the proximity to the foundation ring, a few of stay holes and the larger hole that leads to the blow down valve._______________________________________________________________
In the workshop manufacturing of the new baffle assemblies for the smokebox is progressing. This is the plate that goes up high at the back adjacent to the super heater header.________________________________________________________________
And this bit is the top portion of the spark arrestor screen assembly. The arrestors themselves were replaced quite a while ago with stainless steel grids that after 25 years are still in really good condition. The mild steel hearer and guide bars though were wasted to the point of being useless._____________________________________________________________
Now it is back to 2AE on 20th February. The dots are applied using punched tape. Across the door has been completed and so the next bit is in hand. A few different techniques are visible. As the pitch of the dots never exactly matches the board widths, every now and then the tape is cut, a gap left and restarted. The blue masking tape on the lower run is to cover the gaps to prevent the ends lifting and stop the yellow over brushing ending up in the wrong places.
On the upper line, the green fine line tape is used as a guide while the bits of blue are holding the dot strip around the shape of the corner pillar.__________________________________________________________________
The longer range view shows the bigger picture!________________________________________________________________
And with the job done, the car looks magnificent. Still a few things to do such as the sign writing on the side and letter board and bogie blacking._______________________________________________________________
There has been a bit happening with steel cars too. Outside (because they are on standard gauge) 3AS and 4AS are both having attention to the windows.
When refurbished by the VR in the early 1980s, these car received new window assemblies similar to the N type cars. In the nearly 40 years since then the sealant between window frame and car sides has deteriorated and they leak. So it is time to attack the problem.
The assemblies are pop riveted in so it is relatively easy to drill out the rivets and ease the frames out of the car side._______________________________________________________________
With a window assembly removed the old sealing goop can be scraped away. On the car side it is also scraped away, the area sanded and primer followed by two pack top coat is applied. When all is dry, new sealant is applied in abundance and the assembly riveted back in.
Both cars were finished in a two and a bit week period from mid February to early March.______________________________________________________________
For the last three months or so Kevin has been labouring away to finish off the boxing up of the ballast around tracks 4 and 5. In the process fine crushed rock is being laid between the tracks to make a footpath that considerably improves access arrangements.
This picture looking along 5 track towards the end shows this track has been finished as well as 4 track to the right. Just 6 and 7 to go. 23 Feb 2021.________________________________________________________________
The following day the other Kevin, (Actually there are three of them. The third works mainly on carriages and we will capture him on "film" one day soon) is using a hired in Dingo digger to distribute ballast along 20 track before the next tamping exercise.________________________________________________________________
Some shunting was needed to get the AS cars into a suitable spot for their window works. It provided an opportunity to set up a little standard gauge train. This combination featured in an open day event in early March. A bit about that next time. P22 leads 1CS followed by 11BS and Parlor._______________________________________________________________
Another standard gauge loco, this time it is our T357 on shunting duties for SCT at their Barnawatha Depot 2nd March. Its assignment has since been completed and it is awaiting transfer back home.____________________________________________________________
Some time ago when virus restrictions permitted we began the body works needed on GM36. Since then it has been transferred to broad gauge and is in the repair shed. This has provided the ability to attach it with real meaning and not have to close it up each day after works. With the driver's side cladding removed, the bit already done is at the front while the rest of the girder assembly waits cleaning down.__________________________________________________________________
A close look at where the panels have been removed. There is a rubber strip behind the panel edges and there is rust; plenty of it. In a couple of places there are holes through some of the non structural members. As well as that most of the screws have sheared off rather than undo. We have found though that with a few hits with a hammer and careful use of vice grips, most screws will eventually come out. This makes reassembly much easier avoiding to have to drill and tap every hole, just the few that are so stubborn they will not undo even with calculated force.__________________________________________________________________
With 2AE almost finished, things have accelerated on 18AE. The gutters have now been removed on one side and most of the old screws extracted. Hiding in the background is X37 nudging its way into the repair shed. This is a fair indication that work will start on this loco's refurbishment soon.______________________________________________________________
An elevated and whole of the side view along 18AE. The roof membrane will be removed next along with the handrails. Finally the wooden letter boards above the windows will come off then we will be able to see what repairs may be needed before re-assembly can be contemplated. ________________________________________________________________
Earlier on we had a picture of 47BE pulled out into the sunshine for inspection. Following on from that there has been an agreement signed with the owners of the carriage for it to claim a space in the repair shed and benefit form our labour. Whilst remaining privately owned, the completion of restoration will now be on a relatively short time frame considering it has been under attention for around 35 years. The standard of the work done to date is exceptional making this an "above second class car".
The owners, young Nick and older Barry (son and father) pose beside their car as it is moved into track 1, Tuesday 16th March.________________________________________________________________
Once the the driver's side of the GM was stripped, Jason moved around to fireman's side to do the same.______________________________________________________________
With its "clothes" removed the insides can be seen.
To the left is half the engine with the bulk of the main generator to the right with the roots blowers above and a bit further to the right is the auxiliary generator. Above the bogie is the bulk of the main electrical cabinet._____________________________________________________________
Enough for now. More soon we hope!________________________
This article first appeared on srhcblog.blogspot.com
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2021 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.