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 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