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

Apr 21, 2010

Wednesday 21 April 2010. A personal perspective.

Recently I was asked some pertinent questions with regard to the rapid progress of the project. In particular how can we get things done so quickly and why can we do it where others have failed. All good questions and in some respect they not easily answered. I guess that from the outset we have to question why we do it and what do we get out of volunteering on such a project. For instance if you are looking to make big dollars in your work life then forget about steam preservation. If you are looking for awards, praise and public recognition then forget about steam preservation. If you don’t like long hard hours and dirty work then forget about steam preservation.

So in the first instance we have to ask why? Well as someone once said, because we can. For me it’s the sight, smell and power of a steam locomotive that does it. Personally, to see a static locomotive in a museum is not enough, as the locomotive wasn’t built to stand still, it was built to go. As important as it is to conserve an artefact, for me, to preserve it as originally designed, is much more important. So that’s why I do it, nothing more and nothing less. Having said that, there is something else that can’t be defined in words, rather it’s a personal satisfaction. I just love steam locomotives and yes, the bigger the better.

It’s now three years since we started the project and I hope my drive and enthusiasm for 6029 has rubbed off onto others. From the outset I knew that we could not achieve our goals without building a strong team. It is with some satisfaction that we recently realised that over seventy different people have physically worked on the project. Yes some have come and gone but most have stayed. I believe that this is directly attributed to the teams can do attitude and the rapid overall progress. I am not going to say that its always been a bed of roses and that we have never been criticized. Words like... you will never do it... you won’t get it done in that time and... you can’t do it for that much have been offered. In my mind that’s just a reflection on the person making the comment. What they are saying is "I can’t do it so how can you." Well again its simple, because I can.

From the projects perspective we have now turned the corner. The first of the four bogies is completed with the second well on the way. The replacement boiler is certified ready to be lifted onto the boiler cradle. As can be seen by the recent photos our attention is now turning to the engine units proper. Many parallel, off site tasks are taking place. The cab at Eveleigh is almost ready for re assembly and we have accepted an offer to help out with the riveting. The power reverser, cylinder drains, boiler cladding, cab floor and Nathan lubrication systems are all being rebuilt thanks to our network of volunteers. So yes it’s all happening.

The big question now being asked is when will it be finished. Well as Jack Corrick of US rail preservation once said. The speed at which the project progresses is directly proportionate to how much you have to spend. But having said that, it can’t be done with just money, we need willing hands and we need them now. It all gets down to help, both financially and physically. If you have donated money in past, thanks, but I would ask you to consider digging deep again, and you haven’t donated before please consider it now. Having said that, helping out on our workdays is just as important. We have many tasks that just require willing hands and yes it dirty hard work. If you aren’t the strong type then painting can be just as satisfying.

Exciting times indeed and why, well its because we can.

Alan Gardner