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

May 31, 2010

Monday 31 May 2010.

The Westinghouse brake system fitted to 6029 is the number 6 type. Originally designed as the next generation, state of the art system, it was first used on the diesel powered Burlington Railroad Zephyr high speed rail motors of the 1930’s. It was adapted to Australian use in the 1940’s as the A6 ET type. A denoting Australian, 6 being the system type and ET denoting engine and tender. Later versions would also have 3 and 4 control pipes that would allow the driver of the leading locomotive to apply and release the independent locomotive brakes when double heading etc. Naturally 6029 does not have a coal tender but for all other purposes she is fitted with a A6ET brake system. Maybe it could be renamed A6EB, the B denoting a bunker, but that would be a little over the top.

During the winter months, many of the small brake components are being overhauled off site. The first of the brake components to be tackled is the air compressor. This vital piece of equipment is probably the most important sub assembly on the locomotive second only to the boiler. For instance if the air compressor fails in traffic the locomotive is effectively un-serviceable until it is fixed. From the outset is was decided to completely overhaul the compressor to the highest possible standard to ensure that as far as possible,it will give reliable service.

Presently the air compressor has been stripped down to the last nut and bolt. All of the cylinder bores were measured and although still within limits it was decided to machine all bores back to completely parallel. Both of the piston rods have been hard chromed with only new piston rings to be ordered. When fitted 6029’s compressor will be almost better than new and we anticipate many years of trouble free operation.

The distributing valve has been stripped for assessment. As suspected it was full of gummed up dirt and grease. The triple valve portions piston ring was seized solid. These rings are very expensive to replace and very easy to break. After soaking the ring and piston in acetone for a few days it eventually freed up. The relay portion is fitted with a neoprene cup seal. This seal was found to be in good condition and will be ok for future use. The usual primer and 2 coats of black enamel have been applied in preparation for assembly and eventual testing.

The duplex air compressor governor, feed vales x 4 and the drivers brake valves will be next on the list. Looks like there will be many more hours work in the shed this winter.

Alan Gardner

May 26, 2010

Monday 24 May 2010

A major milestone completed.

Our resident old mate, Ian Senini advised me this morning that the sheet metal cladding around the fire box area was completed. The email simply said FINISHED.

Ian took on this intricate job late last year and I can report that this task was not easy. Anyone who has worked on sheet metal boiler cladding will tell you that it can be likened to wrestling an octopus while standing on your head. The sheets are bulky, awkward and cumbersome to fit. Ian ended up making most sheets from new and in turn spray painted each sheet in gloss black.

Ian has advised that he is now looking forward to getting back to a heavy metal job. As a consequence of this he now has all four Nathan mechanical lubricators at his home workshop. This will be a great winters job in front of the heater , cant wait to see the end result. See you in Spring time Ian!

Thanks also to Ian's wife Ailsa; two more sets of hands are sometimes needed.

Alan Gardner

May 19, 2010

Sunday 16 May 2010

The cladding of the firebox area continued with Ian fitting the last of the sheets that cover the flexible stay caps. Now that most of the sheets are in place, Paul was able to fit the steam isolating valves that feed steam to the power reverser and the turbo generator. The pipes that run on top of the cladding sheets were taken out of storage and assessed for condition and repair. All future boiler work will now focus at the smoke box end. This will start with the fitting of the last 20 super heater elements that arrived a few weeks ago.

A parallel task to the bogie rebuilds is the leading unit draft package and the cleaning of the leading engine frame. This work was completed and all of the associated assemblies will fitted at our next workday. This will facilitate the final fitting of the two completed bogies(when finished) to the leading engine unit. David and Tony continued with the clean down and assessment of the leading bogie. Thanks to Paul, Howard and Milton, as they were able to transfer most of the grime from the leading engine unit onto themselves. Our new volunteer Andy, was introduced to the electric wire brush and by day’s end had more parts ready for painting.

Specialist contactors are now on site repairing the front tank and addressing the associated rust issues. When they have completed the hot work, the tank will be sand blasted and prime coated, ready for lifting back onto the engine unit when the time comes.

Our next workday is Saturday 5 June.

Alan Gardner

May 11, 2010

Tuesday 11 May 2010.

A big thank you to everyone who has contributed donations to the project recently. As a result of this great effort the front tank is now receiving some attention. The old repair patches are being cut out and renewed with new steel sections. Some internal baffle plates will also be replaced. When the hot work is completed the whole tank will be sand blasted and prime coated by a specialist contractor. Our onsite spray painter, Peter Reynell, will soon apply some serious top coats of basic black. It has been a few years since Peter first painted 6029 but he assures us that he has not lost his skill in this area. Maybe a bit slower though.

This Sunday the 16th of May is our next workday and the leading bogie and leading engine unit will the top priority tasks. If we realise a good turn up of volunteers for the next few workdays we will soon be fitting both bogies and the front tank to the leading engine unit. WOW!

Ian has almost completed the cladding around the firebox area and he will soon be looking for a new Job. Ian has offered to put his skills to work on the mechanical lubricators, well done Ian. Bruce is also working away at home on the power reverser and Mike & Co are progressing well with the Cab at Eveleigh. He advises that the assembly stage is about to start.

So as you can see we are progressing on several fronts so please make the effort to come along and help get 6029 steaming. Again, if we get good numbers we should see the leading engine unit back together in the next couple of months.

Please note our project supporters are now listed on this page. Particular thanks to Goodwin Alco. Also thanks to Mike for keeping the blog page up to date and our project mascot, Oscar the Border Collie.

Alan Gardner

May 4, 2010

John and Kyle’s Excellent Adventure.

When the call went out for a volunteer to collect the super heater elements from Ballarat, I thought that this would be a bit of an adventure, so the hand shot up.

I was selected from the throng, and set about the logistics. My copilot was to be John.

Friday April 30 saw us on the road, and well clear of Yass, before sunrise. We didn’t get to see sunrise, more of an increase in light between fog patches. The drive was quite uneventful. I have not been on the Hume since the Coolac bypass was finished. Also notable was the extended dual carriageway into Albury and the start of works to bypass Tarcutta. As well as other things I can’t remember.

Our trusty Avis Isuzu performed flawlessly. We made Ballarat by about 4pm. We found Glenn at home on his RDO. The elements had been neatly stacked in five packs of four. Each pack consisted of four elements the same size. Here is where a little excitement started. The longest elements were 4.5m, and the truck was 4.2m. We had a vague plan to remove the doors and let the last foot hang in the breeze. This plan proved to be not needed. John has an uncanny spatial awareness about him, and was convinced we could make it work without removing doors. This was done by restacking the packs. Each new pack had one of each sized element. This meant we were able to get the first three packs in the truck diagonally, and the remaining five elements were placed on the tray under the frames that Glenn had made. The photos paint a better picture.

After an hour or so, the truck was loaded, and we were very relieved not to have had to remove the doors.

Glenn took us down to the Steamrail yard and showed us around. They have a number of D3’s there, and two R Class locos. Class leader R700 is under restoration. It didn’t look much, as most of it is elsewhere. Sound familiar? I had known that the R Class locos were gauge convertible. I had no idea how you would do this, but now I have. They have packers in the frame that you remove. This makes it narrower. All you need is new axles, new bogies? And a lot of plumbing redone, and you’re away. I imagine this is a pretty serious job, and could take a while. I think the clock is on R766, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

After a stroll around the yard, in which time we saw three (3) passenger trains arrive at nearby Ballarat Station, we said our farewells to Glenn and headed out for dinner.

Saturday saw us on the road soon after 5.30 am and back at Kingston before 4pm. There the friendly folk, and their forklift, helped unload the truck, and the job was done.

Bring on the hot steam!

Friday 30 April and Saturday 1 May.

As Canberra is realising perfect autumn weather, the opportunity was taken to continue with cleaning of the bogies and the leading engine unit. As we were working for two days, Roger and Jacquie Maynard came down from Sydney to help out. As Barry is also helping with the rebuild of 4468 he took the opportunity to dedicate Friday to 6029. At day’s end the leading engine unit pilot beam and cylinders started looking like new. Still plenty of grime under the cylinders but progress is steady.

Saturday was business as usual, with the continued effort on the bogies. At long last the life expired centre pivot liner was removed with the help of an oxy gouging tip. This is quite a large bush at 19 ¼ inches in diameter and it is too big for our small machine shop. Quotes are being obtained from local contractors. The leading engine unit front bogie strip down was also completed. The two outer bogies are about 12 inches longer than the inner bogie. A quick check with the tape measure confirmed that this would allow clearance of the steam cylinders. This bogie was literally covered in congealed cylinder oil, but fortunately no coal dust as per the inner bogies. This has conserved the metal under the oil so we anticipate no major issues with the reassembly. Naturally, after the steam cleaner has done its job, all the components will be inspected and reassembled.

As we are well into the bogie rebuilds the opportunity has been taken to clean up around the leading unit cylinders. Everyone who has taken on this job (project manager included) has emerged from under the engine units with black spots all over themselves. Tony and Roger took a turn at this insidious dirty task and it is pleasing to report that this area is now looking great in grey undercoat. Our next workday should complete the final top coats of black paint. The team also had time to start cleaning up around the brake cylinders and we are now ready to reassemble both cylinders.

Ian continued with the cladding of the fire box and notes with some confidence that he has only three sheets to go! Great job Ian.

Now for the big news. The last of the superheater elements were delivered from the specialist contractor in Victoria. If anyone wants to learn how to fit elements please don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks to Kyle and John for offering to go down to Victoria for a nice short drive.

Our next workday is Sunday 16 May, all are welcome.

Alan Gardner