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

Jun 25, 2010

Wednesday 26 June 2010

As with any large engineering project the rebuild of 6029 is being tracked against a project Gantt chart. Today’s review of the chart showed a commencement date of 16 June 2007. So its three years to today’s date that we actually started the planning process. Work on the ground didn’t start until October of that year as it took a few months of preparation before we could start getting our hands dirty.

To celebrate this anniversary I thought I would take the opportunity to post an abridged overview in general terms. So after three years what have we found and what is the actual damage to date.

From day one 6029 was complete but looked very tired. It last ran in 1981 and was withdrawn with boiler issues, around the thermic siphon area. The initial assessment included the spare boiler the society sourced 1n the early 1990’s. It was found to be in almost new condition with little or no thinning of all plate work etc. The main problem was the smoke box area that had been modified for use in a saw mill, which has seen a new floor fitted along with the reworking of the steampipes, superheater header and not to mention 50 new elements. The elements looked to be in good condition externally but were found to be full of water. When pressure tested they started springing leaks to the point that they could only be used as a water sprinkler. So the decision was made to go for a complete new set and to date 30 have been fitted. The final twenty will be fitted in the next couple of months while the boiler is on the ground.

At the fire box end the extraction of the life expired ash pan mounting studs continues. At the back head, the foundation ring studs are almost completed and must be screwed in place before the boiler is placed in the frame. The reason being that one of the lateral cradle beams is a L section that would not allow access under the foundation ring of the boiler if it was in place. The sheet metal cladding is best fitted to the boiler while it on the ground. As previously reported it can be likened to wrestling an octopus while standing on your head. This is further complicated when the boiler is placed in the frame and is 10 feet off the ground. Ian Senini has completed all the cladding around the fire box before the anticipated boiler lift, well done Ian. Mike Reynell overhauled all of the boiler fittings and to his credit all have been tested and work well.

The boiler cradle yielded no surprises but as suspected some plate wastage around the cab area was found. This is very typical on all steam locomotive restorations as the mixture of coal dust and the cab hose make for an acidic mix. Fortunately this had not progressed far and the whole area was de rusted and repaired. The same cannot be said for the cab and the team at Eveleigh have welded new sections into the side sheets and all is well. The fire bed drop grate was completely seized and further investigation revealed that the coal dust and water had done its job here. As a consequence of this the decision has been made to replace the manual level system with one that is actuated by air cylinders. Our older firemen(project manager included) will be most grateful of this decision. Not to mention that the crew will have more room to place their feet comfortably on the foot plate without getting tangled up in the shaker levers. The timber cab floor was found to be in poor condition and will be replaced with new.

The cab was transferred to Eveleigh in 2008 with the help of our friends at Goodwin Alco. The rebuild of the cab has been very time consuming but the end result speaks for itself. We have had an offer from the team at the Powerhouse Museum to assist with the re riveting in putting the cab back together. With a look at 3265’s coal tender we anticipate a superb job that will ensure the historic appearance of 6029. We are also very grateful to 3801LTD for allowing us to do this work at the very place where the 6029 was put together all those years ago.

Both the bunker and front tank have required some patchwork to bring them up to standard. During the 1990’s the previous maintenance team had the foresight to have the interior of both tanks sandblasted and coated. The new patches will require the same treatment while there is still more work to be completed on the internal baffles. An interesting observation was that we found the original shipment stencilling on the back side sheet. It reads 'Loco 6029 consigned – Syd Australia'. The amusing part of this story is that it is one of a small number of original parts of 6029. We have now identified parts from almost every member of the class.

The engine units have been a challenge that cannot be described in glowing terms. The amount of coal dust, cylinder oil, brake block dust and road grime found is almost unbelievable. It is estimated that the removed grime would easily fill a small dump truck. The team has vowed to never allow the accumulation of this much crud again. Having said that, it highlights that these locomotives were work horses and did thier job well, but were not pampered with the same love as the high speed express locomotives. The area around all the cylinders was covered in up to one inch of that crud. Our team has been beavering away on this terrible task and the project manger has also shared the pain to try and prevent a mutiny. Anyone who comes out of the area at day’s end usually has a case of black oil spot fever.

Very early in the project all of the axles were ultrasonically tested by a specialist contractor and were all given the green light. Before this took place we were all holding our breath as this could have slowed the project significantly if the results came back with that word, 'fail'. Grease samples from all of the axles boxes were sent away for analysis and all drivers are ok. One of the bogies axle boxes has shown signs of overheating and will be investigated further before it is reassembled.

The four bogies have been one of the most significant challenges and now that we are up to number four, we have become very proficient in their strip down and rebuild. To date we have replace four broken main and three lateral control springs. All had at least one broken leaf and in one instance the retaining collar could not be found. Each bogie has two Nathan four way distributers and Ian Senini is progressively reconditioning them. The bogies are fitted with eighteen flexible high pressure grease hoses, all have been replaced ($$). Many of the steel bushes on the spring equalising beams have been replaced as most were worn over specification.

So after three years and many thousands of hours work we can start to see that light at the end of the tunnel. After we have completed the four bogies we will start and have a serious look at the engine units. The team has already started on the top end of the leading unit but this is only the start. The horn stays were known to fracture in service and the microscope will need to be applied here .As previously reported the valve gear has been removed and found to be in good condition. The connecting and coupling rods are next on the list after the big end bearing extractor has been completed.

Interesting times ahead

Alan Gardner

Jun 21, 2010

Sunday 20 June 2010

The day started with a visit from Father Christmas (AKA Ian Senini) who asked everyone to gather around his trailer. One by one we were all given a component that Ian had completed at his home workshop. This included two Nathan four way oil distributers, stoker controls and the first of the DV5 mechanical lubricators. Ho ho ho!

The last of the four bogies was removed and as expected it was covered in bucket loads of crud(technical term for cylinder oil and coal dust). It was with great confidence that the guys started the strip down of this last bogie. Following on from the expertise gained from the first three bogies the decision was made to roll the bogie upside down. This allows for easy access to the myriad of split pins and the eventual use of the torque gun. It now takes about four hours to strip a bogie compared to four days when we first started. Although this work has been enjoyable the team is now looking forward to a different challenge that will hopefully not include working on our backs.

The completed draft package was lifted into position, but it took a bit of grunting and groaning before the last bolt was tightened up. The next job in this area will be to fit up the leading coupling. We have also ordered new flexible brake hoses so the front end of 6029 will soon start to look like a finished locomotive.

Work continued on the Westinghouse brake distributing valve and the fitting of two new cup seals to the leading brake cylinders. The old leather seals were still serviceable however the opportunity was take to replace them because they cannot be accessed once the locomotive is completed. In fact the front tank has to be lifted off before access can be obtained!

The steam cleaner is receiving some long overdue repairs with David building a new trolley at his home in Cootamundra. Thanks David

Now that the we are well into the bogies, planning is now focusing on the engine units proper. The next big chunk of work will be the removal of connecting and coupling rods. The big end roller bearings require the manufacture of a pulling tool. This tool screws onto the inner race of the bearing and with the push of a hydraulic ram the inner race is popped off. This will allow the removal of the connecting rod, all be it with the overhead crane. Most of the valve gear has already been removed and assessed to be in good condition, but we anticipate many hours of metal polishing here.

Our next workday is Saturday 3 July.

Alan Gardner

Jun 15, 2010

Tuesday 15 June

Between workdays.

The enthusiasm of our workforce is something that I am very proud of. One example of this is the willingness of the team to organise extra workdays whenever possible. Last Sunday Paul, Andy and Tony continued on with the rebuild of the leading bogie. The main fame is presently turned upside down allowing access to all of the nooks and crannies that are usually inaccessible. Thanks guys...job well done.

As Monday was a public holiday, the Sydney team continued with the rebuild of the cab at Eveleigh.

Mike Ridley got stuck into areas beneath the cab floor that had corroded due to the accumulation of water and coal dust. The corroded areas had been replaced with new metal a few weeks ago, but needed to have the welds dressed and the whole area cleaned and painted.

Ron Denholm removed old rivets from one of the side panels to allow the frames to be separated from the panels, allowing the corrosion that was presently distorting the panels to be removed and treated. Mike Reynell fitted new material making up the new door frames and Ian Macdonald delivered some new panels to replace some that were beyond repair and took away some old panels, including the roof, to use as templates so that he can manufacture the replacements we require to bring the cab back to life.

Peter Reynell spent a lot of the day drilling holes in new components preparing them for fitting in the near future. He finished making the brackets that will attach the roof to the cab sides....Thanks again guys.

Alan Gardner