To travel in style on any of our tours, or to learn more about our collection and operations, go to trains.org.au
If you can lend a hand, Workdays are held on the first Saturday and the third Sunday of the month from 9-5, so come on down, get a little dirty, learn a new skill and enjoy helping to put this machine back on the rails.
New volunteers are always welcome, no skills are required, just a willingness to get dirty.
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...
May 14, 2013
Project 6029 Update 4 May, 2013
The autumn days are proving to be a great bonus to the team – cool sharp mornings with
plenty of sun shine and mild temperatures during the day.
The team gathered early as there had been a rumor that the cylinder covers had been
removed from the lead engine. And the team were impressed! During the week Alan and
with the some assistance of James Simper had removed the covers from the right front
cylinder and valve housing to reveal a delightful sight – grease! And no rust. Mike Potter
removed the pistons and piston valves for storage many years ago had done a great job in
sealing the cylinders to prevent corrosion. Not even possums had got in!
The right front was soon removed and it also revealed – yep grease!
So far the front left cylinder on first preliminary measurements is showing a diameter that
is within tolerances – there is only a few thou or so available. Good news. That is a good
omen for the remaining 3.
Speaking of omens this is the second work day in a row that a new team member has
come along to assist. In addition there were 7 plus Alan and Sean (lets not forget Jack
too) to get stuck into some of the work. A large number of people saw some excellent
The casing (oyster is the name that describes this clam shaped object) around the
universal joint that allows a flexible join between the stoker auger in the tender to the
auger under the cab was checked and cleaned. Roger replaced some well corroded studs
and cleaned an area up on the housing that required welding. Alan completed the task and
the housing was finished off with some regulation black paint. More on this house later.
The tender received 3 main pieces of work. Our new member James, being a qualified
welder provided much needed skills to heat, bend and weld an after market plate that the
NSWGR had bolted to the cab end of the coal bunker. This plate and one on the other
side are essentially spacers between the two cast saddles that support the tender at the
cab end by attaching to the plates and to the frame. The saddles will be installed shortly
after some essential parts are placed in the space between the frame and the bunker – that
oyster mentioned earlier, the stoker motor and the usual spaghetti junction of oil, water
and steam pipes and lets not forget the reversing reach rod for the hind engine.
Andy, ably assisted by his apprentice, Toby was making good the 20 odd bolts that join
the coal bunker to the auger trough. These bolts were well and truly “stuffed” when
we disassembled the unit so Andy and Toby have their work cut out sourcing bolts and
reaming out the holes. If you look closely at some of the pictures of the coal bunked side
on behind the cab you may see a series of what looks like short vertical tubes. These are
the surrounds for the bolts that Andy and Toby are working on.
Toby also continued painting the top deck of the coal bunker/tank at the rear of the unit.
Never and easy job that is necessary but was still well done.
Some 8 of the 20 odd mounting bolts were inserted and tightened on tender unit.
Critically these are spring loaded to the frame making a semi flexible union between
the tender and the frame. Strangely the bolts and springs are never the same length and
this meant squeezing each spring to allow the washer and nut to be threaded onto the
bolt. These are tough short springs that are not easily compressed. There are a number of
springs missing or broken so the remained bolts will await their arrival before completing
Moving towards the front of the boiler the smoke box and connecting pipes from the
compressor were cleaned, polished and painted and then the exhausted was stuffed with
sound deadening material and prepared to be attached. All hands, oxy, grinders and
gentle persuasion as is characteristic of the team meant this task took 4 of us to complete
– but it was done!
Lastly the taper pins for all the rods have been ordered and these should arrive shortly.
The last troublesome pin (LH1) which joins the radius rod to the reversing lifting arm
on the driver’s side hind engine was polished enough with emery paper to be able to be
reinserted in its mount. This means that we can on arrival of the taper pins complete and
sign off the valve gear and connecting rods – what could possibly go wrong?
Lastly the weekend saw more polishing and protecting and painting of more of the cab
light fittings and junction boxes.
Of course the day could not be complete without trying to assemble “the Oyster”. This
clever housing surrounds a universal joint that joins the bunker auger to the cab auger.
The latter is inclined steeply to pass under the cab floor. Naturally this required some
manual lifting to persuade the two augers to be rotated then extended back from the cab,
up an incline and aligned so a bolt could be inserted into the universal joint – get the
picture? Awkward and heavy. But done! Apparently the auger when working is so noisy
it rivals the rest of the engine in decibels!
Next we needed to extended the casing covering the cab auger back and up to align with
that oyster – given the time of day and the weights involved we determined that more
careful planning of the lift and the use of power jacks would be wiser – so we retired for
an evening beer instead.
Now for a treat... From the archives of Howard Moffat, here are some images from time long since passed, and often forgotten.
A great day’s work from all and pleasing to see some major tasks started and others
Apr 25, 2013
Task one for the day was to continue drilling out and inserting new studs into the foundation ring of the boiler. As many may remember the boiler we are using is not 6029’s original boiler and it had received a number of modifications in its previous life. This meant that the original studs had been removed and/or cut off. As you may expect, there are a large number of studs that need to be replaced and doing this requires you to lie on your back and then drill out the studs above our head. Andy has worked out he gets the best results by using 3 stages of drilling and one of threading to make good each stud – how many are there to do? At time of going to press, this is a number greater than 10 and most likely closer to 30. Does someone want to guess? Even better, does someone want to help? There are few who can say they have laid under a Garrett and survived! Seriously, this task is important and if you would like to show off your ability to accurately drill heavy metal please come along and have a go. We cannot fit the grate or ashpan to the boiler until this task is completed.
The generator was also carried out of the shed and lifted into place beside the boiler on the fireman’s side. Given the Garrett was in the shed and as usual parked in a very inconvenient location, this meant an awkward manual lift was needed for a very heavy and odd shaped object. Fortunately the generated landed on its mounts correctly and safely. Alan and Howard located bolts and tightened it down.
The water pipe elbow mounted on the base of the rear tank was attached. It attaches on the driver’s side midway between the middle two driving wheels and presented another awkward lift but no where near as heavy as the generator. Made of brass it was rattle gunned into place on the tank and then joined to the water pipe leading forward to the injectors.
All valve rods have now been joined. This meant that checking and correct placement of the locking split pins could proceed. Each engine was approached with four pairs of eyes, each pin and its locking pins was assessed and noted (there are 8 pins with two locking split pins on each engine). Additionally, locking pins and nuts on the connecting rods were reviewed and checked. Missing grease nipples and split pins on the connecting rods were also identified and any split pins missing on key components were noted – the mounting brackets for the outer bearing of the expansion link being one of these items. We need 24 new locking split pins to complete the correct locking of the rods. There is great satisfaction in seeing these pins and rods joining up again. Its going to be satisfying shortly to be able to say to anyone that you worked on those shiny spinning rods – if you want to be able to say that please come along and have a go with a grease gun, spanner or an angle grinder polishing them. There are not many days left before we sign off the rods to our project manager for inspection!
Again spread the word that we need small or big change for those piston rings, we need to be able to pay for them before we order them, I am sure you can imagine that rings around 20" diameter do not come cheap. The rings are the last major milestone/hurdle for the project. Also, and this is a long shot, but if you have access to a CNC lathe or know someone who does, and would like to be able to that you contributed to the project, we need to get about 40 tapered pins produced. They are not particulary large or difficult to produce, being about 4" long, but they do need an accurate taper, so give it a thought... If you can slip a foreign order through at work, or you are lucky enough to have a CNC lathe at home, put up your hand and help us out. Drop me a line if you think you can help... firstname.lastname@example.org
Apr 3, 2013
Its been a while since the last progress report, but here it is.
The Aladdin’s Cave team have pulled miracles and returned a beautiful stoker motor – well done Ian... We must not forget though that at the same time, deep in bowels of the engine shed activities have progressed as well. The efforts of many involved in the project have continued across the last month with many achievements and milestones being met.
The workdays of Saturday 16 February, 2 March and 16 March have seen some tasks closed out that are on the critical path to placing the coal bunker over the hind engine. The much needed live steam pipes carry steam to the rear valves and cylinders has been bolted and joined. The massive “flexible” joint that allows the engine to articulate has been cleaned, primed and awaits reassembly with appropriate large amounts of grease. Then installation under the driver’s cab – that should be a fun task!
The wooden mounts that separate the mounting points on the frame from the bunker’s mounting points to minimize wear have now been bolted down and painted. The all important coal trough not only received shaping, cutting and drilling but a total covering of primer. The task of drilling the steel for bolt holes and cutting excess off was no mean effort but let’s not forget that the painting, single handed, has meant we now have a trough ready and awaiting installation. In fact it has now been moved around to be position in front of the coal bunker ready for such a moment.
The coal bunker has not been left alone and has received some well needed attention – again a single handed painting effort for most of the time plus some assistance late in the day meant that the inside was primed and the top coated. A further milestone was applying top coat to the rear deck and a first coat of spayed on top coat on external surfaces. Alan even got carried away and painted the numbers on the rear panel. Surprising for some, but that final touch did actual mean we are really moving towards the “fire on” phase of the project.
The driver's side rear, engine valve gear has caused some frustration due to one particularly stubborn pin and locking split pins on the union link (ref: Walschaerts Valve Gear ). To date all other rods and pins are now assembled and we await the links inspection before we can finish the reassembly. Once completed, this will mean all valve gear and connecting rods are complete, awaiting a quality and assembly inspection to verify pins are all locked and bolts correctly tightened.
There have been other achievements that have been hidden away from many – for example a proof of concept was conducted on the lighting system. This involved the use of switches and LEDs to produce the required red and white needed at either end of the locomotive. The fun part will be running the cables – there is a lot of them and many meters of conduit to be thread through.
The steam turbine has been restored in Aladdin’s second cave – it has been tested and works when being turned by a hand drill. Another superb example of restoration work and it too now awaits mounting on the boiler.
The boiler cladding has been installed – the crinoline straps need aligning and tightening but that is a minor step. There has been some very handy welding work conducted on the cladding to allow holes to be placed for wash out plugs and regrettably cover over holes that were not quite in line. The cladding does look good though.
The power reverser reach rod was placed in location – stretching from cab, forward to the link on the power reverser itself – it now awaits pins and surrounding items to be assembled prior to complete mounting.
The ash pan and grate are also receiving attention – the rusted hulk is being steadily cut back and built back up with new steel. This will be another fun task to install as we have to slide it under the fire box and lift it up. Such challenges are all part of the fun of getting this locomotive moving under its own steam!
We must not forget the need we have of rings for the valves and pistons – we need yours and all your friends to dig deep for that extra small amount of cash. Many small donations can easily add up to a considerable amount so please spread the word and see how you go.
Mar 17, 2013
You can see from the photos some of the stuff Ian had to deal with, including the broken breather, wear and tear and the years of service and exposure. The results speak for themselves, and we can expect years of troublefree operation with the new hard chromed piston rods and the TLC that Ian puts into every job he tackles.
Feb 5, 2013
Anyone who has restored a steam locomotive knows that it all becomes worthwhile when things actually start to work. It may be as simple a bench test of a minor component through to the first turn of the wheels.Today realized one of those moments with the successful partial test of the Westinghouse brake system.
After weeks of blowing clear pipes, testing components and chasing down air leaks the brake system was charged up to the prescribed values. The independent brake valve was placed in the slow application position, the brake cylinder gauge sprung to life and a familiar clunk could be herd as the brake blocks kissed up against the driving wheels.
This may not sound like much but for the team it is the beginnings of an operating locomotive. No, she is not moving under her own steam but it’s a significant start. We still have to complete the testing of what is called the automatic brake valve, but this will take place when the air compressor is fired up during the steam tests.
Having a good turnout of volunteers for the day meant we could tackle some of the awkward pipe work with the boiler feed lines fitted up to the clack valves. Theses pipes deliver the water at high velocity from the injectors to the boiler via the clack vales. The guys also installed the two ladders that allow access to the top of the boiler and even fitted the hand rails to the boiler.
Over in the cab area the timber and steel floor was being pieced together. This will allow safe access into the cab and the fitting of the valves and handles that protrude through the floor.
The hind unit fit out is progressing well with the last main steam pipe fitted along with the long reach rod that sites above it. The timber packing’s that the bunker sits on were fitted and screwed into place. The hind unit is now ready for the bunker to be installed however the all-important stoker trough is not yet completed.
A bit of late breaking news, as of Tuesday, the stoker trough has been bent by a very generous local fabrication company and is being delivered tomorrow and will no doubt be fitted to the castings and readied for reassembly over the coming weeks, a very big step towards the completion of the bunker assembly.
News like this would be complete without a reminder that donations are how we fund this restoration, and we need to find some more cash to fund the purchase of new piston rings for the cylinders and valves. The original ones, fitted to the loco in the 1960's are no longer serviceable with no tension in the bores, meaning they must be replaced. The cost of getting these made is, well, not cheap. One estimate has it at around $14000, yes, that is fourteen thousand, or somewhere between $300-600 a ring, and there are quite a few rings required. We still have to keep the dollars coming in for the many smaller jobs however the whole projects critical path centers around this purchase. It is pleasing to see the piles of stored components dwindling and as each work day comes to an end 6029 is looking better for our efforts.
Jan 20, 2013
As previously reported the off-site teams have been beavering away over the Christmas break.Yours truly has been working on the Gantt chart identifying what tasks still have to be done and in fact what we have missed. Some of our Sydney based members have been over to the state archives sourcing many original drawings that will help answer those questions we still have.
The rebuild of the stoker motor is now complete at Ian’s home workshop. The guys were also onsite from time to time evaluating and fitting the system of pipes that from the steam circuit for the stoker motor.
The screw and elevator system was assembled in preparation of the final fit under the cab floor.It took a few goes to fit the screw into place and in turn bolt up the pivot that takes the coal up into the fire box. The stoker trough dis-assembly was completed but only after the oxy torch had cut through three layers of patch repairs. It seems his railways had several goes at patching up the rusted out sections.
An all new welded trough will be ordered when funds permit and once one site it should go back together with relative ease. We estimate that the new trough will cost about $4,000 and we would love to hear from anyone who can help out. All donations are tax deductible. Thanks to our gold supporters Goodwin Alco, the boiler cladding sheet metal was ordered from a local specialist sheet metal contractor. All of the sections we pre-punched and rolled on a CNC machine. Thanks to modern technology the sections bolted together with relative ease.
The systematic fitting and testing of the Westinghouse brake system has commenced starting at two main reservoirs. The approach is to blow through and prove each pipe and yes the soapy water works a treat to detect the smallest leaks.
The museums training branch has now completed the first draft of the training manual. The manual forms part of the initial training of the ARHS crews. Further to this, a risk assessment has been completed in accordance with rail safety legislation. The training manual and the risk assessment are both linked, as many of the risk mitigating controls identified are for training of the crews.
As each week passes 6029 is gradually looking more and more like the real deal. With the boiler cladding in place, the injector feed lines and hand rails will be fitted in the coming weeks. The hind unit and the stoker system now forms part of the critical path assembly. The rear bunker cannot be put into place until the trough and associated assemblies are completed and fitted.
Jan 4, 2013
With the help of Goodwin Alco, boiler cladding has been manufactured and fitted over the break and really looks a treat... have a look at the pictures and you can see that we really are not that far from getting this thing done!
You will notice that the stoker trough has received a lot of attention and when the new plate work arrives from a local engineering company, it too will go back together pretty quickly.
It is also worth noting that the workdays have changed back to the first and third Saturdays of the month...Come along, get involved and help get this machine back on the rails... Not too far to go now
Dec 12, 2012
Its been a few weeks since we had any updates on the progress of 6029, but rest assured, things have been happening...
Over the last month the Saturday work days have resulted in a number of milestones being achieved.
Firstly, the cab windows are almost completely remounted, including the round porthole windows at the front of the cab that had been previously blanked off by the NSWGR. Andy has labored hard and delivered some highly polished brass window mounts, great wood work around the side cab frames and completed the mounting of the small gutters running along the roof line. Andy is now off on a well earned Christmas holiday back in Manchester, maybe he might meet some of the people who originally built 6029.
The fireman's side of the hind engine unit has now seen two major milestones being achieved. Firstly after much heating with the old faithful oxy wrench, the split pins holding the rod union pins in place were finally extracted allowing the team to reassemble the complete set of valve linkages. All rods had to be located and where necessary, either re-polished or polished for the first time - the Canberra weather does create problems for bare unprotected metal. Some manual labor was needed to lift and lock in the expansion link and the associated bearing housing. Of course the bearing housing has specific length bolts that can only be seen to be in the wrong hole after tightening with the rattle gun - this makes for good practice on the gun and a great lesson learnt... "all things are numbered for a reason" !
All paint on the frame (actually ancient grease and muck) behind the driving wheels on the RH engine was stripped and then red oxide undercoat applied followed a week later with the infamous black top coat - it takes some 24 hours for the oxide paint to dry hence the delay of a week in apply the top coat. We await quality inspection to determine if another coat is needed or areas were missed.
The driver's side hind became the focus for the afternoon of the 8th. Three of the team were able to commence grease and muck removal from the frame behind the driving wheels and with the able assistance of Ryan and Patrick there only remained one section of frame to clean out of four sections by end of day light. delicate moving of the engine 50 centimeters forward and back allowed access to most parts of the frame. Naturally moving an engine this size tends to squash anything left on the rails which was demonstrated admirably by an air hose...it found out much to its detriment it was no match for a bogie wheel!
Part of the valve linkage was also re-assembled - the valve crosshead, combination lever, union link and lifting arm were all located, polished and assembled. The valve cross head and associate bearing surfaces were cleaned and polished before installing - quality inspection will reveal any areas of rework (see Wikipedia for a description of the valve rods and assembly).
The next major hurdle will be moving the two large and naturally heavy connecting rods to a place were they can be polished and then mounted. We may even need to pinch bar 6029 a few meters - moving such a heavy machine with such a small effort is really a credit to Mr. Levers. We await the forklift drivers comments on where he can move the rods to.
Naturally over the last few weekends things have not always gone to plan and this time round it was split pins - very strong tapered steel pins that are inserted into holes in the valve assembly rods either end of a link pin to hold it in place. These are in short supply so Alan is sourcing some more. When located these will be inserted into each link union and this will complete the assembly.
Nov 4, 2012
Super week started early Monday morning with the usual cup of tea and a chat. It was pleasing to see some of the old faces and even some newcomers.
The first job for the day was to move 6029 out of the shed as this would allow the fork lift close unrestricted access to the locomotive. The team spent a good hour cleaning and oiling up 6029 to ensure a trouble free shunt. Diesel locomotive D25 was fired up and with little effort, 6029 moved gracefully out of the shed. The team was delighted to see the motion and valve gear rotating and oscillating as it should...a tribute to all who were involved.
Once outside, the power reverser mounting bracket was lifted and attached on the driver’s side of the boiler. Next the power reverser itself but it was soon realized that the centre actuating lever would have to be fitted first, so the reverser was lifted off to fit the lever. Back on again and with some gentle alignment the assembly was soon complete. It took some time to find the pins that connect the actuating lever to push and pull rods (being a Garratt is goes both ways). Once found in the store all was well, a after a quick clean-up, and a few drops of oil, the pins fitted snugly into place. These pins must be a good fit with only minimal clearance as any lost motion would compromise the valve setting and the operating efficiency of the valve gear. Believe it or not this is the first stage of the all-important valve setting. The first step is to establish true mid gear from the reverser down to the expansion links x 4. Again no lost motion is allowed in all pins and bushes. After a quick check it was confirmed that all was well.
The smoke stack was assembled along with the petticoat pipe however this whole assembly was too big for our forklift and a crane contractor was called in to complete the lift onto and into the smoke box. Once lowered into place, the alignment of the smoke stack to the blast pipe was checked and some extra work will be required to complete this task in the future.
The main steam pipe that delivers live steam from the smokebox to the hind unit was lagged and both lens rings that join the pipe at either end were given a final lap. The finished pipe assembly was fitted into place on the outside of the boiler cradle. This pipe is connected to an expansion section that includes a sliding joint. This section has been in storage for a few years and once located it was stripped for a final paint in all over basic black.
The stoker feed screw and delivery sections were next on the list for attention. The stoker trough was set up on stands to facilitate cutting out the worn through sections with new sections. It was soon realized that all was not well and the further the job progressed, the more rust was found. The obvious decision was to cut out the trough and replace it with new. The castings will be kept including the reduction gear box that makes up the trailing end. Every rivet was cut off and punched out with the sledge hammer.
The remaining castings were cleaned up in preparation for painting. The gear box was eventually stripped down with a bucket load of black gummy grease oozing out once the rear cover was removed. The state of the grease indicate that this gear box has not been cleaned out for many years however it has done its job as the gear train is in good condition. Many of the parts will be washed clean and reassembled as time permits. A new stoker trough will be sourced and once on site the stoker trough will be re assembled.
Saturday was dedicated to a site clean-up and a general go slow as the team was feeling the effects on working six days straight. Oh well back to the office next Monday.
Oct 16, 2012
The cab work continued with the fitting of the windows to the cab side doors. Safety glass has been ordered for the leading windows including the two round port holes that the NSWGR blanked off many years ago. The re en-statement of these windows is part of the overall plan to out shop 6029 in its 1950's configuration as far as practicable.
On Sunday work commenced on the fit out of the smoke box with the installation of the blast pipe. With the blast pipe fitted the next job will be to fit the smoke stack aligned and secured home. The steam pipes and elbows that deliver steam from the super heater header to the the cylinders were taken out of storage ready for fitting. These pipes are bolted together with convex lenz rings that allow for any mis-alignment. The rings will have to be lapped in by hand and we are looking for volunteers who have the willingness and patience to complete this vital task.
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.