6029 is owned by the Australian Railway Historical Society, ACT Division and the restoration is proudly supported by their tourist operations and by the generous donations of members and public supporters.
The society operates rail tours out of Canberra with our heritage fleet of steam and diesel locomotives and rolling stock every few weeks.
To travel in style on any of our tours, or to learn more about our collection and operations, go to Canberrarailwaymuseum.org

Fundraising Appeal

We need your help to put 6029 back on the rails.

$70,000 is the target we need to reach, before we can fund all the materials and services we need to complete the project. The next big ticket items on our shopping list will likely be piston and valve rings... Don't forget about nuts, bolts and other sundry items that we buy almost every week to keep the project moving.

If you can spare a few bucks, please help us reach the target by clicking on this button.

If money is tight, why not come down and get your hands dirty instead. And remember, the more help we get, the sooner the Garratt will again grace the rails, for the enjoyment of old and young alike.
Don't forget that people who donate over $500 in total to Project6029, will qualify for a cab ride once 6029 is back in service. What an incentive! Anyone can qualify for this bonus, and those that have already donated are in the running. Just donate a total of $500 or more and you are in the queue...

Jul 15, 2014

Progress and More Progress

Planning for the first network steam testing is progressing well and we now anticipate starting testing in early August, subject to approval of the network authorities. We still have to fit a Hassler speed recorder and an ICE radio for network communications, but we don’t anticipate any problems here.

The critical path plan has the team focusing on the completion of all outstanding work on the firebox and the smoke box. As the static steam tests are now completed the brick arch was cast and fitted with relative ease. At the smoke box end the smoke stack was aligned and welded into place. The screens x 3 that arrest the sparks of coal were fitted with surprising ease. The end result being the boiler is for all purposes now completed.
6029 has now been shunted into the paint bay ready for an overall color of basic black. But having said that it’s the middle of winter in Canberra and the conditions are not conducive or ideal for painting. With the conditions in mind it has been decided to go with a basic black for now and to go for the full original 1950’s configuration including red pin stripes over the summer months.

This coming weekend we will be working both days with still lots to do , all welcome.

Jun 25, 2014

MKR and Master Chef vs. 6029 Cooking Master classes and other stuff!

The cold has hit Canberra; snow has reached the mountains and frosts the windscreens of the cars. Of course not all is lost – the shortest day passed last weekend and so have a few key milestones on the path to our first inspection.

The wiring for the electrics has really been underway for some time but the last week has seen some accelerated progress. As mentioned by Alan we are rapidly approaching testing days and certification so, everything needs to be ready. This has provided incentive to the electrical fitter, aka Andy to deliver some critical steps in the wiring harness fit out. The critical lengths of wire running from the generator to the main bus have now been fitted. Previous wiring to head and tail lights already completed. The bus must carry all power to charge batteries, run lights and fittings and also the critical ICE radio. Clearly, most of this gear was never even dreamed of when 6029 was in the foundry being cast and beaten into shape. As a consequence there are many electrical engineers and experienced people engaged to advise of their needs for the specialty equipment and what power and voltage they need. So Andy is running lots of thick cable down conduit that is narrow and restricted – lubricant has been required.

The radio aerials and connecting wiring has been installed on the coal bunker and the metal sides and ends for the radio and battery box delivered.

Passing on from the electrical components we moved to the steam side of things. The air compressor some may remember at Easter showed a lot of leaks around the glands and the lubricator (for those with a good eye and memory) seemed to stick at the 90 degree position in its rotation. So the compressor was tested and pushed and shoved and finally it revealed its problems and spoke by belching steam from a gasket. The low pressure cylinder was only generating about 15 psi rather than 70 psi. This was causing the lubricator to fail – simply not enough pressure! Secondly why was the pressure so low? The gasket had blown and allowed steam and water to never fully move to the next stage of the pump and the exhaust. This finally came to a head when the pump just stopped and sent steam and water out through the gasket. A minor setback, but better to happen now than later when we are out on the road. A new gasket will be laser cut from the original drawings and all will be replaced.

Some heavy work has been conducted in the smoke box over the last week or so. Ben has been aligning, replacing and repairing the mounts and screens for the smoke box. To do this, alas, we had to take the chimney and blast pipes out so combined with the compressor on a pallet we do not really look like an engine any more. But only temporarily! There are many pieces to fabricate in the smoke box and having no pattern, Ben has had to make the components based on cardboard templates. The boiler if you remember is an authentic 60 class boiler but it had been converted for use in a saw mill so many unnecessary fittings had been blue tipped and spanned away. This has meant some extra holes and cutting and use of the English language in ways some thought very creative.

But the fun work just does not stop coming! And not to be out done by some  TV shows the 6029 Cooking Classes commenced last week with the recipe known but the scope and extent of the effort not fully realized. Chef Shaun took to the challenge so well that he offered a master class last weekend on how to make fire arch bricks. So in front of a number of keen house bound chefs watching on from bar stool and to the dulcet tones of 4403 shunting back and forth, Shaun showed his skill in mixing the required batch of mortar garnished with stainless steel sprinkle to add that strength factor. What a mix it was! A heavy duty mix master finished the mix and with a deft hand Chef Shaun demonstrated why he is a class leader in this art by plopping the mix into 4 molds cunningly prepared earlier. There are 6 to 7 rows of bricks spanning the fire box plus a cast in place in the base row. Shaun and Ben have and will be busy! Those chefs still able to stand after this demonstration will no doubt remember this master session for many months to come when they see the coal spraying in and reaching to the back of the brick arch that Shaun built!

So some truly good progress has been achieved over the last few weeks, with lots of fabrication, lagging and painting being performed. The driver’s side needs paintings so hands on deck for sanding and preparation work.

Steady and deliberate steps are happening even between official work days and this is keeping the whole project on track – great work from every one.


Jun 12, 2014

A bit of a double header today with some info from the last two workdays. Lots has been happening and many thing have been completed, so pull up a chair and check out what has been happening...

Sunday 18 May 2014

Today saw a number of things being attended to, one of which was the final fitting of the smokebox cover that covers the top of the front end throttle. This plate, which belongs to the original boiler and smokebox assembly, needed some work to get it attached properly. to achieve this, Malcolm, Ewolt and Greg spent most of the morning struggling with blunt drill bits and half charged batteries to drill the last few holes to hold the plate securely to the smokebox.

Malcolm managed to get himself into all sorts of weird positions in the smoke box between the super heater elements and the smokestack to push bolts up from underneath so that a nut and washer could be fitted from the outside... Needless to say that with the soot from recent steam tests and a bit of silicon to seal things up, the boys were just a little dirty as they moved onto the next task. Hopefully we wont have to take the plate off for a number of years. Andy was again toiling away on the electrical conduits in preparation for pulling cables in the next few weeks.

Sean and Mike and Howard were hard at work in the firebox, re installing the grate mechanism now that the ashpan was back on the loco. The job started easily enough, with parts passed into the firebox and returned to their proper positions, but the easy stuff was soon over and the linkages had to be refitted while lying on our backs in the ashpan, in doing so, we also removed the option of exiting the firebox the easy way, though the door. Pictures show some of the process of putting it back together. Once the mechanism was back together, the only exit available was through the bottom of the ashpan.

Alan and Malcolm returned the drivers side injector pipework that had been removed to make way for the ashpan and by lunch, that task was pretty much done. Sean was also seen working on new gaskets to seal the hatch on the rear tank, something you don't worry about on most steam engines, but very necessary on this one if you want to keep water in the tank on an incline.

Next up, the task of finding and eliminating air leaks was attended to... several were found under the cab floor, in almost inaccessible places. Some contortions and a few choice words later, Alan and Mike had eliminated the biggest ones and were now in search of smaller ones. By the middle of the week, Alan was able to pronounce the air system free of leaks, which was quite a milestone... The brakes now work, properly!

Saturday June 7

The list of outstanding job has been getting smaller every work day. With the initial static steam tests completed work is now focusing on the ash pan and the smoke box. The ash pan flushers had to be fitted and drilled in position to ensure the water would spray on the hot ash in the pan away for the fire bars. The skinny guys were selected as they could fit up through the bottom of the pan. Thanks to David and Malcolm, yep the skinniest guys in the team. A test for flushing was completed by hooking up the fire hose and all went well.

Ben and Alan reworked the ash pan spark screens and fitted new mesh to the fireman’s side. The final fit proved successful with all gaps in specification. A final coat of hi temperature all over black and it all looked as good as new.

The sand system small bore piping and last remaining sand pipes were fitted. This also included the install of the flexible hoses that run from the boiler cradle to the engine units. The six pipes were made all new utilizing the old end fittings.

The sand system tested well with only minor leaks detected and repaired. De sanding pipes now have to be fitted as mandated by network rules.

Steve Preston and Andrew Bridger commenced the install of the ICE radio with the configuration issues now sorted. Some new equipment boxes still have to be made and installed. Thanks to Andrew and Steve for the expert help and the long drives from home from Canberra.

The 60 class were never fitted with speed recorders but it is a network requirement to have one fitted. A search around the country and a cry for help has yielded a good result. The 60 class driving wheels are the same diameter as the Tasmanian M class and as luck would have it the Don River Railway has a spare speedo drive in stock. Thanks to Dennis Camplin and the DRR for making this vital gear available.

In terms of the overall project the rebuild of 6029 is now coming to an end. The compliance documentation has been submitted to the National Regulator and network owners for approval. At this stage and all being well the initial trials we commence in July. However the testing phase will take some months to complete. This will also include crew training and certification. Our affiliated RTO Go Train Industries have completed the operating manual and lesson plans.

As safety is our highest priority, the testing will be rolled out progressively in line with the approved risk assessments and network rules. A friendly reminder is extended to all interested observers and photographers that accessing the rail corridor without the appropriate authority is prohibited and in fact is viewed as trespass by the regulators. We encourage everyone to enjoy their hobby while acting responsibly and observing network rules. Representatives of the network managers will be present during our trials and are likely to challenge anyone within the corridor.

If you want to get up close and personal with 6029, Canberra Railway Museum is now open every day and 6029 will be on display when not operating so you are most welcome to visit and have an up close look.

Alan Gardner.

May 12, 2014

Smoke Box Cleaning and Other Stuff

The cold weather on Saturday and a team consisting of all Sydney based and out of town volunteers, save for one Canberrian, were in for a bit of a temperature shock. The first glimpses of winter had settled in and numbers were affected by colds and man flu. Sympathies to those partners managing this type of situation.

Our days task list consisted of a couple of manual jobs along with the odd strategic one. The ash had been dropped out of the fire box just after the Easter steam extravaganza and this left the team with access to remove the grate and rocking arms. Knowing that the task of cleaning the firebox took about 6 hours, the team worked out that 3 of us could remove the grate in 1 hour. Removal of the grate had to be accomplished by climbing inside the firebox door then lying flat on the grate so one did not accidentally rock ones foot through an opening and then commence to remove the grate. Regular readers may remember this technique being used in reverse and the associated photos when we were installing the grate. Removal was necessary to allow the ashpan to be re installed under the loco, as clearance for the task is , well, limited!

The components were first passed out through the firebox door and then later when an opening had been made lowered through the grate to someone on the ground under the grate. That person then passed to the stacker who loaded them onto the one and only pallet that could be found. This meant a couple of trips for the forklift to relocate the filled pallet to the storage area for unloading and return. The tedious actions of sliding to the center, rocking and lifting of all the cast grate components took approximately one hour and this included the removal of the support braces and rocking arms.

The electrical conduit has been in Andy’s care for a while now and he noted with some glee or was it dread that about a million miles (OK an over estimate but lots of it) of special wire had arrived ready for wiring up the lights and everything electrical. He continues to cut, align and thread pipe and makes interesting anecdotal observations about lights being mounted differently from the original position. If we write a history of this restoration Andy is one primary source for a number of facts and stories. 

Wiring is a challenging task and given the length alone it is a feat to get your head around, but let’s not forget the need for new, never fitted wiring to support devices such as radios, work lights and batteries, and this is not a role that can be taken lightly as demands on turbines and switching require significant technical knowledge. The work on site and from those behind the scenes is significant and needs recognition.

Next on the agenda was removal of a water pipe – the one from the injector on the driver’s side to the clack valve on the top of the boiler. This needed some clever alignment and precise handling with the pinch bar to extract, being made of copper, it needed delicate hands. Delicate is relative though to the size of this pipe and other pieces. All this work was in preparation for a key piece of work (the strategic piece) – refitting the ash pan back under the firebox. To quote “some say, that many years ago this was done with a forklift and delicate balancing...” (Some myths are true by the way) so much to the astonishment of the team it was agreed that a similar technique would have to be adopted to replace it.

Welding of the ash pan has proceeded well with the ashpan being repaired with the addition of new material to replace the gaping holes from years of use and abuse. 

Having cleared the grate away to temporary storage we realized that jobs associated with using the loco are starting to reappear...Following the four days of steaming over Easter, the job of clearing the smoke box has returned. As it turned out, and because of the static nature of Easter, the boiler tubes were full of un-burnt coal and ash, so we needed to blow these out with compressed air.

Two of the team took up this challenge and suitably clothed (NOT!) and wearing dust masks they ventured into the smokebox. A credit to both the team members – John and Bruce – check out the color of their faces and clothes in the photos. As John put it, the smokebox would be good enough to eat off when he finished – and it was. Bruce decided that he wanted to take up the job of blowing the tubes with the air line. Either he felt this was a cleaner and easier job or he simply wanted to cover the rest of the engine and cab very fine black coal dust. Not to worry he was wrong on the former and correct on the latter. After two solid hours the team became a bit worried he might be lost in the bowls of the smoke box as no sign of him was evident except for the odd dark cloud of dust coming from the firebox end of the boiler. Come knock off time these two apprentice firemen were satisfied and proud that they had cleaned the smoke box and flues from a proper fire for the first time in countless years... Thanks guys – truly solid and hard work and done with a smile!

Towards the end of the day we cast our eyes around for some challenges and our eyes fell on a valve – so the driver’s side hind (LH) valve was located and inspected. The bore was lovingly polished and polished and polished and then polished again just in case. Roger worked out that an oil soaked rag on a stick was great for oiling the rear of the valve bore and he also did the piston bore for good measure to stop rust accumulating.
The valve’s rings were oiled along with any thing in close proximity including clothing so that the valve would slip into position easily. Lifting was awkward but positioning to get the rod aligned with the hole at the rear of the bore was harder. Lucky Ben has strength and stamina – with a gentle push from behind he was able to persuade the valve to go in. As luck would have it, it went in too far, so out it came a few inches and to allow us to insert the spring, seal and associated rings, then with gentle persuasion it was pushed back in! The cross head pin took the most persuasion even to the point that it was discussed we may have not cleaned the taper well enough. But all was saved by the persuader commonly called a hammer. We now have two valves in! Yippee!

There are many more things to do like inserting 20 new studs into the front steam chest face for the valve covers, attaching the exhaust steam line under the ash pan, fitting the grate, again, and attaching the water works to the ash pan, fitting dampers to the ash pan (readers might note that the ash pan was is on the critical path) and last but not least is the rings. At the risk of boring the reader – we need your assistance on these as we cannot go anywhere without them. Please see how you can help.

Apr 24, 2014

Easter Steam Spectacular

So Easter has come and gone, but what a weekend... Some of us would be looking forward to the Easter break, and with all the work achieved before the event, there may be a well deserved break afterwards for those who went above and beyond in the preparation for the long weekend, with planning and preparations around the site and the gargantuan effort to have 3016 and 6029 in steam.

The weeks leading up to Easter 2014 saw so much work done and some still to do. The 30 class boiler work was almost completed  a week ago when tests were undertaken, but as always, there are things to be done after tests are completed. The 30 class needed the brick arch reinstated in the firebox, and the spark arrester to be refitted before any loads were attached. In railway service, the arches would have been made from specially shaped cast bricks which would have been easily installed following maintenance, but they have long gone, and these days, the common practice is to cast in place, meaning that you create a temporary structure from timber and then, like pouring concrete, mix up a batch of material and create the arch... Sounds simple,but working inside the firebox is never the easiest, and this job is no exception... Add to this also, that the arch has to be properly dry before you can make a fire, so this job was attended to very early in the week.

Alan took the opportunity to fit one of the Garratts pistons in order to check to the overall assembly procedure and to check the fit of the hard packing on the rod. Intent may have been to leave it in, but the packing is all going to need machining to suit the new size of the rod following its hard chrome restoration. It must be noted that the old rings are past due for replacement, and will all need to be replaced, at the cost of a mere $30,000 a set, so the existing rings will be only be usable for the purposes of testing and proving all the locos systems under steam, and for light engine trials.

Friday saw the steam spectacular start in earnest, 3016 was hauling shuttles to Queenbeyan and return all weekend with the help of 4807 in control of the return trip, 3112, a privately owned tank engine was on display along with 1210 and the CPH railcars. Most importantly, it was the occasion of the first public showing of the Garratt in steam. Percy Forrestor, one of our long term supportors, and in some ways the most important one as far as the restoration project goes, made the trip down from the warmer climates of Queensland and was on hand all weekend to pass on the knowledge he has of the 60 class. He was a driver of these machines when they were in regular service, and it shows... his knowledge will be invaluable as we once again have to learn how to use and maintain this wonderful example of engineering from days long gone.

The footplate was open to the public for the weekend and so many young children, and the young at heart took the opportunity to climb aboard and have a look around. Percy and others were on hand all weekend to answer the questions as they were posed, and for the lucky, there was even the chance to blow the whistle... you can be pretty sure that a good portion of Canberra knew we were here...

Even with the loco in steam, and the requirements of keeping the weekend rolling, some time was still found to perform work on the Loco.The fact that we had steam all weekend gave us a great opportunity to test many of  the subsystems, with notes being made of everything we found not quite up to scratch. One of the important tasks was to get the rocking grate into order. Most of the parts were located, with the exception of one actuation rod, and bolted into place... Also missing, but soon to be located, I suspect in a carefully stored bucket, are the original pins, so bolts were used to hold it all together for now. All the systems that could be tested were tested and notes made of what was good and what needed work. After a tear down like we have done, there are bound to be some loose fittings and things that don't perform like they should. One of those things was the lubricator for the air compressor. It works, but sticks in one spot needing a hand to get moving again. Best guess is that a shaft has been bent in storage after it was rebuilt, so it is one of the jobs that wont take long to correct. Also on the list was a bunch of air leaks to attend to, not surprising really as this was the first time we have had the compressor running for any period and most of them were relatively minor.

We also had the time to throw a piston back in with a view to leaving it in. Alan had test fitted the same piston earlier in the week, and taken it back out for adjustment, so one task was to put it in and connect it to the cross-head. A relatively easy task, with the help of a few people and a little improvisation, and one which we will have to repeat a few times. We did however strike a minor issue.... The taper that connects the rod to the cross-head would not seat properly, so it needs to come our again... It is suspected that there may be a little extra material on the taper following the hard chroming process, so some investigation will be in order.

Andy has been busy also, running a temporary power line from the turbo to the front headlight. He has also fitted the new LED marker lights made by Mike Ridley and they look a treat. The loco was scheduled for a night photo shoot, and you can see below that it really has come along. The photo shoot was a fund raiser to help us finish the loco off, with quite a good turnout. In the early evening, 3016 and 6029 were moved to another location in the yard and a small display put on for the assembled cameras... There is one shot below by Howard Moffatt where you would swear the 60 class was leaving the yard... Have a look and see what you think...

As always, and yes, it is a broken record, we do need more money to finish the job. We are so close now that you can taste the celebration drinks at the end of the restoration, but we can not make it without a little more support, so dig deep and remember that you can secure a cab ride for the mere sum of a $500 donation. There is a growing list of people who qualify for the cab ride, so why not join them and get a real feel for what this machine is like in steam and working hard.

Apr 15, 2014

Giant Leaps, A Lot of Effort and a Little Steam

For those that have been following our progress for a while, you would realize that the restoration of a steam engine like this, or any steam engine for that matter is always going to take time, and a lot of it, particularly when you doing the job properly. Our last post showed some of the work going into the preparations for the Easter Steam Spectacular that is on this weekend, and when you see what has been achieved by a small group of people in the last few weeks, you will, like me, be amazed at what can be achieved in such a short time.

Touching firstly on the 30 class, some pretty major boiler work was undertaken, with most of the fire tubes removed and replaced for the inspection of the barrel, repairs to the smokebox floor, boiler fittings freshened up and a full paint job were just the start. To say that it looks a million dollars is one thing, but look at the pictures of it taken on Saturday and you have to agree, Ben and his helpers know how to paint a locomotive, in a hurry!

Then if that's not enough, have a look at the Garratt... Both paint jobs were achieved in record time, without any compromise in quality either. Alongside the painting, huge efforts have been made on a multitude of small, but essential jobs allowing us to have the independent boiler inspector back onsite yesterday afternoon to witness the first full pressure accumulation tests on coal. The stoker system was tested and proven to operate as intended, with Karl and Ben easily setting all three safety valves and performing the accumulation tests that were necessary to have the boiler signed off as serviceable.

There are still a number of things to achieve and complete before she is moving under her own power, and even more before we can get approval from the regulator to start trials on the network, but that day is not far off either. We need to finish repairs to the ashpan, re-install it and re-install the steam exhaust lines from the hind unit, install the electrics and lighting, purchase the new piston rings and so many more little tasks as well, but excitement is building, and building in a hurry.

Without wanting to sound like a broken record, we still need to raise more money for the rings, a substantial purchase without any doubt, and one that needs help from anyone that can. It doesn't matter if its $20 or $2000, if you can spare a few dollars, help us out and send it our way, the faster we can raise the money for the rings, the sooner we will be back on the rails for the enjoyment of young and old alike, and if your in the area this Easter weekend, come on down to Kingston and have a look at what we have achieved so far... The Garratt will be in steam most of the weekend, and you will be able to get up close and personal with 6029

Apr 6, 2014

DOUBLE HEADING – preparing two steam engines and car or two in 4 weeks

Yep we've stretched ourselves. We have committed ourselves to showing off not only 6029 but also to have 3016 in steam around the same time that the Easter bunny does his rounds.

Numerous cries for help have gone out and the results have been fantastic. The paint job on 3016 is magnificent, leaving some speechless – just a superb job that makes the engine stand out. There have been feverish activities taking place on this beautiful locomotive by an industrial few, who committed to and have simply over achieved to get this far. Some of the attached photos show the paint work that the team undertook.

The 6029 logistics team (aka Malcolm) proved himself invaluable delivering some very important items back to us from Sydney... the 4 pistons, sporting freshly chromed rods courtesy of Diamond Hard Chrome, are now ready and waiting for new rings and reassembly in their bores. The appreciation of the team for this effort by Malcolm and his Father is enormous. Two trips carrying pistons to Sydney and bringing them back is just the start, as after delivering the pistons, Malcolm was very quick to load tubes from 3016's boiler for a visit to specialist welders, L&A Pressure Welding. 3016 has been ailing lately and needs a transplant of boiler tubes. These vital organs have been donated by the Powerhouse Museum from the recently deceased, original boiler of 3265. However, before the transplant, they need to have an extra portion welded on to replace material lost in the process of removing them from the old boiler. Once the tubes are returned, 3016 should make a speedy recovery and be back in steam for Easter.

The work day saw a good turnout of team members, some long termers and the rest of us gathered under shelter – morning rain was to indicate the rest of the day, drizzle.

There were a number of tasks to work on – and the team divided evenly amongst them. The covers to the valve casings were removed so that the surfaces could be dissembled and access gained to the sleeves that support the various components that allow a seal to be made around the valve stem and yet allow full sliding movement. They needed a lot of cleaning as years of accumulated muck had gathered. Persuasion with kerosene and a scrapper allowed the four sleeves to be cleaned and made good. Access, of course, proved the major hurdle to overcome.

The levers and associated cradle for the rocking grate mechanism which had been cleaned and painted last work day was targeted for mounting in the cab. It sits on the fireman’s side under the valves controlling the individual steam jets that carry the pulverised coal into the and across the fire bed. Various items needed moving and relocating. The major item was the steam pipe for the stoker motor. This had taken some considerable work to persuade into position before the cab floor was fully installed and join up to the stoker motor. Now the floor was in and considerably more paraphernalia had been installed around it, there was no way around it – gentle persuasion was not on the agenda and brute force was needed. Most of the day was spent swearing and banging from behind closed cab doors. Those of us below, working at ground level smiled with confidence that all would be good soon. And in a biblical sense there was indeed reason to smile as then there light and all was quite. The cradle and steam pipe were back. Nothing left to do except paint over various areas of the cab with “gremlin” green.

There were other important tasks also happening while the enlightened team in the cab toiled away. Painting is high on the agenda for the appearance of 6029 at our Easter steam extravaganza and at a recently announced photo opportunity, so the rear tank received vigorous sanding and preparation work. A vast area that took most of the day to cover even with mechanical assistance but none the less necessary, as it is to receive various coats of primer and the top coats. The prep had to be good as we could not afford to let 3016 out shine our pride and joy! Again a tough job but well underway by end of day.

Finally, a cover for the fireman’s side rear cylinder and valve case had been fashioned and required mounting. This had been fashioned some time ago using a somewhat suspect template. To no one’s surprise the template did not accurately reflect reality and thus ensured a minor coming together of metal and mind to solve various angles and hole placements. At one stage it appeared that metal would win this battle however with cutting wheels and grinders to hand, a not too ugly change to the plate was made. Painting and washers and a bit of grinding will hopefully allow it to pass the keen eye of the approval team.

During the last few weeks, others who could not make the work day had been appearing at the shed and from the pictures it can be seen that the ash pan has been moved to the workshop and some cutting out of rust patches for replacement has started. There is much cutting, grinding and welding required. Carriage work has also seen progress where sanding and bogging of the sides of various carriages has proceeded in preparation for much needed priming and top coat application. A spray finish will really see the panels and the carriage stand out.

Mar 18, 2014

Late February and March 16

New and Old Tasks – the start of some routine work

These two work days saw a vast number of intricate and small tasks being tackled that various individuals attacked singularly or in pairs.

Two of the team decided that the rocking mechanism and various levers and arms was worthy of their attention. The mechanism allows the grates to be rocked under the fire and move clinker and ash into the ash pan which is suspended under the firebox. The ash pan, when in place also carries a system of water jets that can be opened and shut by the fireman. The water supply comes off the water feed pipe that readers may remember gave the team some frustration as it connected to the main water feed pipe that also fed the fireman’s side injector. It basically leaked a month back but now is secure and water tight.

The rocking levers and arms were in need of significant grinding and polishing to remove years of grime and old paint. By end of day this had been removed from the frame and redistributed, though not evenly, across the faces of the people doing the grinding and the surface of the workshop! None the less, the job was done and primed before quitting time.

Lighting and electrics has raised itself as a much needed activity. Locating and repairing the conduits has been a challenge as will running the wiring harness. The old junction boxes and much of the old conduit will require replacement, so much of the of February was involved in sorting out the useless from serviceable and then how to use it! With a turbine ready to power the circuits there are many issues to solve and manage such as complying with modern standards wherever possible, but also the ability to see various components like the motion and mechanical oilers – in the dark. The complexity of powering the various circuits and various voltages needed to do so are best left to the electricians.

A new cover for the air compressor was fashioned from a flat plate. The original serving as a template and its curves served as a frustration to the author and after much cutting, trial and error, the new cover and said bends were prepared and primed.

The team also focused on the sanding and smoothing out the old paint work on the front tank. 6029 is now housed back in the shed – luxury accommodation compared to outside now that the rain and colder weather is starting return. Being in the shed also means that the priming and application of top coats can proceed.

There are countless rivets on the front tank and each needs cutting back as much as the smooth surfaces so there was much sanding and clouds of sanding dust hanging around the tank. Fortunately one side and the top had already been sanded so these sections will require a light sanding with fine emery to be ready for spaying. The front sloping sections of the fireman’s side and the rear of the tank were attacked and by day’s end only the rear needed serious attention before painting will be able to start.

Long ago, there were many tasks performed in the engine shed that were routine but necessary to keep these engines running. One of maintenance routines that the team and management will need to put in place to maximise the engine’s availability to the public and enthusiast was the task of cleaning, more specifically the process of cleaning the rods and various components of the valve gear. The team started the first real official operational style cleaning activity by commencing to polish the rods, removing some months worth of grime and protective grease. The sight of these rods at slow speed is just magical and when at speed will present a great blur of shiny steel and steam!

The electrical work continued also during the day – locating and assessing the parts and various light fittings that in one case if fitted would have add probably too much bling! So that fitting was not used.

Aladdin’s cave, aka Ian's shed has not been quiet in recent weeks – with Ali Bab sneaking in and out delivering various lengths of pipe and the remaining parts of the stoker system – and fitting them to the loco. One was the cleaning and re-instllation of the oil reservoir for the stoker motor which needed some serious attention. Additionally a large external baffle appeared from the bowels of his ute and was fitted to the blow down exhaust and then painted in black. This baffle prevents steam and muck being blown over the front bogie under the smoke box and saves the bearing surfaces and other components from unnecessary abrasive material falling onto their surfaces.

The last main task of the day was cleaning the cylinders and measuring their diameters. This is in preparation for making the all important piston rings. We still need help with donations to allow these to be made, so please, see how you can help.

Lastly, the whistle. This was heard far and wide last time we had steam and it was very pleasing to hear comments from visitors that they had heard it across Canberra. No matter what, it seems that the whistle of a steam engine is unmistakable to any one and just draws out all age's and walks of life. It will not be long before our whistle will be a regular sound not only across Canberra but on the rails around New South Wales!

Mar 7, 2014

Update for January and February

Heat and Sweat – the joy of steam engine work!

The weeks have flown past with what appears to be ever increasing speed as the progress on our project has geared up a couple of notches – notch 5 perhaps?

Yes, January produced one of the hottest days for working in the sun but some of us ventured forth with hat, sunscreen and water bottles to the proceedings of the day. Key areas of focus during January were the preparation of the front tank for spraying, focus on water leaks and sorting out the remainder of the parts that have been stored away.

The front tank needed smoothing and sanding so that the spraying of primer and top coat can be a close to perfect as possible. This meant sanding and sanding and sanding of the black and rapidly becoming very hot surface. The team managed an almost complete sand of the driver’s side and the top leaving only the fireman’s side to clean up. Despite the fact that this seemed t make the tank look very odd and un-kept it was recognized that the sanding was necessary. Spray of the tank will happen in the next month before the ugly wet periods set in.

The pool of odds and sods was reviewed and an inventory completed of parts that make up the glands and seals for the piston and valve rods. These were last seen basically some 6 years ago if not longer when they were removed to allow extraction of the pistons and valves. Much gnashing of teeth was witnessed some months before when it was noted there were only 3 buckets of goodies when there should have been 4. However as with most things on our project and as is often commented by our project manager “they will turn up somewhere”. And he was correct – they appeared and all was not lost in an almost magical like moment. Only one pin was missing for the hind valve rod. It is important to note that not all parts are serviceable and these will be outsourced to be machined form new stock.

The steam pipe from the super heater header to the side of the smoke box and out to the connecting pipes for the rear engine needed attention. In the earlier hydraulic testing it was noted there was some leakages in the joins. These joins require careful attention when assembling as the “O” ring is bevelled to allow for uneven alignment but too great an alignment is naturally never going to be overcome and this was the problem. The assembly as it passes through the smoke box side needed to be loosened then the joint could be loosened, re-aligned and tightened and then the join through the smoke box could be tightened home again. This sounds easy but in the heat of the day, heavy rattle gun in place and working in a space that was tight to say the least made the process arduous and long. None the less the job was done!

The grate working assembly was magically found and noted to be in need of the old wire brush and cleaning department’s attention. This was the next job of the day and was started. The day was quite hot so a call to the lounge ar was made slightly earlier and the team adjourned for the day.

The next week or so saw a tremendous effort by the team of knowledge experts and qualified workers in creating strategies to put in place the full hydraulic test of the boiler. Using the loaned water pressure pump they were able to take the boiler up to pressure to the satisfaction of the boiler inspector. This was a major milestone and meant that whilst the volunteer force were building their strength for the next major achievement a clear path to a full steam test could be achieved.

February Sun, rain and a whistle!

During February many of the volunteer force were engaged in study for SafeWorking which consisted of 2, 3 day sessions and one 2 day session.

During these weeks though the permanent and odd volunteer were able to assist collected various items, corrected various problems – completed joins in steam pipes, blocked off various items that would not be tested in a planned steam test and generally performed checks of lots of pipe work and connections. In particular the guys started connecting the various oil and steam lines to the power reverser mounted on the driver’s side of the boiler. These lines were a bit of a “spaghetti junction” so study and review of the engineering drawings were made to ensure that forward on the wheel actually resulted in forward! Also oiling of the various parts need to be check to ensure oil was being delivered.

The all important compressor also needed priming and preparation for a long awaited run. This pump had been reconditioned and serviced some years back and mounted approximately a year early to the boiler mounts so it was important this was inspected and oil flow confirmed. Of course the oiler is based on steam pressure to operate so manual priming was the only possibility at present.

The team (minus those studying) on the ground assembled on February 15 and it was approved by the boiler inspector to warm the boiler and bring it up to 50psi to test the turbine generator, the compressor and injectors. Naturally boys being boys also wanted to test the whistle!

Those in the academic sweat box received a text that a fire had been lit and there was about 5psi in the boiler this was after approximately 3 hours of slow and deliberately cautious warming. But this soon changed as the hours went by the pressure grew much more quickly. By about 3pm various items were being checked and confirmed to operate. The turbine emitted a wonderful howl as she wound up to speed. Some fine tuning and a load test will confirm current – sorry, but someone needs to start wiring up the engine, any volunteers who can thread wire?

The previously mentioned pressure pump – two stages – was next in line for some steam. A bit reluctant at first but after correct priming and draining of condensed steam she started pumping with that wonderful chumpf sound. Like a heartbeat.

The injectors were tested and despite some leakage and reluctance to function properly from the driver’s side injector, both started, stopped and restarted perfectly. We had water flow to the boiler now!

The regulator valves and a cleaning of the front engine’s steam pipes were next for a blast of steam. With faces gleaming and eyes bright the team stood back as the regulator was at first gently opened past the pilot valve and onto the running valves. With no valve or cylinder end covers we did not know what exactly to expect but what happened was a stupendous geyser, volcano like eruption of dense clouds of wonderful steam! And a magnificent deep bellow that seemed to come from the bowels of the engine. An awesome sight and sound!

Then like manner from heaven for your ears the whistle blew loud and strong. It wailed, it sang, it blew and it really heralded a start of a new era for this engine. IT WAS LOUD AND WE WERE PROUD!

Project Overview

We are pleased to announce the boiler inspector witnessed the first steam test on the 15th of February. The preliminary testing went well and we will now work towards setting the safety valves for the accumulation test.

Work will now focus on completing the ash pan and smoke box fit out. We also now have a lot of cosmetic work to prep the loco proper for painting.

In the coming weeks we will shunt 6029 back into the shed for the painting stage. Steaming will now be restricted for the final safety valve set and certification of the boiler with Work Safe ACT.

On the publicity side, 6029 will be on public display (in steam) at the museum this Easter and on 24 May to celebrate the arrival of Canberra’s first train 100 years ago. We will use both these events to help the fundraising activities.

The big question is when she will be moving under her own steam. At this stage we estimate, it will be midyear, just in time for winter. It won’t be public running, but testing and crew training. All of this won’t be rushed, as we must certify 6029 for compliance to safety legislation and network standards. There is still the question of the new network ICE radio system that we still have to purchase and install.

So how can you help? We are always saying ‘please keep the donations coming in’ and at this stage we need about $30,000 to complete the job. You can also attend any of our workdays at the Canberra Railway Museum. These days are held on the first Saturday and third Sunday of every month.

Jan 28, 2014

Sunscreen and Water – getting wet!

The weather has turned hot so this second workday of the New Year required the time honored routine of “slip, slop, slap”. The previous day temperatures had reached scorching levels so all were prepare with hats, sunscreens and suitable clothing.

With hats and sunscreen application happening we divided the work into three sections. The cab flooring, the cylinder and valve head stud refurbishment, pin replacement (yes they are back for attention...) and prepare and execute a hydraulic test (with the aid of a very clever water pump on loan from Thirlmere). Oh, and two pistons needed to be loaded and sent to Sydney.

The cab flooring that covers the coal auger is not wood like the rest of the floor. It is made of thick steel plate which has complicated bends, inspection hatches and attachments to be fashioned. Last workday the section covering the auger closest to the firebox was fashioned. This work day the section joining to this piece and reaching to the rear of the cab was created. The cut out and creation of the inspection hatch were painstaking to make sure they aligned and presented no tripping hazards. So fastidious was the team that the cross hatching on the upper surface of the plates were aligned! Nice work. Once completed the new sections were disassembled, carried to the cab and re-assembled. Naturally most of the attaching bolts needed some significant juggling of hands, bolts, nuts and spanners due to the normal accessibility issues that are now par for the course.

Naturally there were more awkward positions to get to – the supports for the auger had to be bolted in too and these were only accessible from lying on your back between the bogie supporting the cab and the firebox and the cab floor itself. Needless to say job done and we were happy!

The studs holding the end covers of the cylinders and valves on the front engine (the rear engine’s studs had been overhauled last workday) were addressed. These required covering with Dixon’s and then a die passed over them. All passed muster so we are in good shape. Of course the bores will need cleaning soon to remove all the preservative grease but that will only happen when we are ready to insert the pistons back into their respective cylinders.

While all this was happening two pistons were being carefully loaded for the long and careful trip down to the Sydney suburb of Milperra for refurbishment. The piston rods will be machined, re-coated with a very hard alloy using electrolysis and then ground down to their correct specifications. A long careful and hot trip back to Sydney was their destiny. Once these are done, the other pistons will be dispatched for the same treatment.

Two annoying pins raised their ugly heads much to the author’s frustration – two long pins were need for the hind engines connecting rods. After much fear and worry that these expensive pins (these were the second attempts) would not fit, they were hammered home and their ends split. Success!

Thanks to the logistics department of the project – Malcolm, who not only transported the pistons to Sydney in the evening - we also received a very large hydraulic pump from the guys at Thirlmere. So two of us decided to get wet and remove a drain plug from the lowest part of the boiler – removing some clothing (modesty was upheld) and revealing skin that was brighter then the sun, as it had not seen such light for some time, we removed the plug and attempted to insert the pumps one way valve. Remember the boiler was full from our last test and we wanted to waste as little as possible. Lots of water, lots of laughing but we got it there. Getting wet was actually enjoyable this workday!

  • The pump worked off air pressure so with some mind numbing work on finding pipe connectors the pump was activated after the boiler was refilled. The whistle valve was closed and we awaited expectantly for the pressure to build. And build it did. We reach approximately 170 PSI and noted the following leaks: Regulators leaking – a steady but addressable leak
  • Drain plugs on the front of the fire box – weeps that were corrected by tightening after pressure was taken off
  • Fireman’s injector – the pipe leading from the water feed into the injector has an auxiliary pipe coming off it that feeds water into the ashpan sprinkler system This is not an easy fix as the large one of a kind nut had been many lives ago cross threaded causing it to finally fail. Back to our machinist friends for this one.

A good workday though in the end – as pressure builds we will find the next leak but they will become less numerous – and with the pistons travelling off to Sydney it was a great leap forward.

How can you help 6029 get back on the rails?

This project is self funded, the workers are all volunteers, and we need your help.

Maybe you can come to Canberra on a work day and get your hands dirty, or you have a nice workshop at home and need a reason to spend more time in it.
Maybe you can't make it to Canberra, but could do a little work in Sydney, if you think you have something to offer, contact us...even if you don't think you have anything to offer, but want to be involved in preserving a litlte piece of history, contact us and we will do our best to find something interesting and productive to suit you.

Even the simplest things can help...can you spare $5 or $10 a week? it's small change on its own, but if 20 people could donate $10 a week, that would be $800 a month that we don't have now, and every dollar will help us put this monster back on the rails for everyone to enjoy.

All donations over $2 are tax deductable.