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

Dec 22, 2013


The day was clear and mild – excellent for the activities which were shortly determined and assigned. The painting team addressed the underside of the smoke box where large areas of unprimed metal needed to be coated. Three of the team addressed this with some degree of concern - due to the awkward access - but none the less, demonstrating a thorough knowledge of yoga, the hard to reach positions were finally reached and primed. Much of the applied paint will never see the true light of day however the priming and protection afforded by the team’s efforts will slow down the constant oxidization of the metal. Additionally we get to inspect the engine and locate missing tools etc. and the many cladding bolts and nuts still to be tightened or attached and this has been noted on the “to do list”.

Surface preparation, priming and painting have been recurring themes of the work effort and for very good reasons. The continued exposure to air of any metal will result in oxidation in one form or another and to different degrees depending on the metal. The driver’s side rear sand box is testament to the power of rust. The lamination of the rust and its subsequent expansion has forced apart the frame and the sandbox mount to the extent that they no longer allow the filler and box to meet – all this from the oxidation of the metal. Fortunately, Shaun had been using the blue tipped spanner on the other side of the engine. He was fixing a previous misadventure of the engine with a solid object that prevented the ladder on the fireman’s side matching up and meeting the frame. After his job was complete we applied the said blue spanner to the box and were able to remove it and the sheared bolts. Now we have to straighten it and align it and guess what - prime it and paint it!

The rear tank also raised its hand for attention including preparation and undercoating. The old paint brush tied to a stick was replaced with a very up-market roller on a pole which meant that the harder to reach sections became relatively easy to cover. Needless to say, the areas being attacked required preparation and this involved hand and mechanical scrapping. Some of the angles the team managed to achieve in doing this were very impressive – see some of the photos for a better understanding of just how difficult some of these sections are to prepare and paint. It was truly a great effort, persevering for a better part of the day on this important but not very glamorous task (wait to we have to polish the valve and connecting rods again!).

Fortunately there was a great turn out on the day so the team could split their work between smoke box and rear tank whilst the rest of the work crew tackled the review and removal of the regulator valve heads. These troublesome fittings were once a metal to metal seal between the head cover and the super-heater header. With wishful thinking we had use Dixon’s black as a sealant and tightened down the heads. There was a sense of urgency applied to the team as Al had designated the day to a hydraulic test at least to fire hydrant pressure (around 170 PSI). This meant that the boiler needed to be sealed and show no leaks under gravitational force and under pressure.

The first attempt was commenced prior to midday. The hose was connected, injector valves off, blower valve off and regulator closed and finally whistle open – we then awaited the sound of nothing except escaping air from the whistle but to no avail – “Water running out at the front!” came a cry. Sure enough we had a major leak in the regulator headers after reaching only about 50 PSI. A bitter disappointment and a large wet area for the smoke box painters to contend with.

The challenge – remove the 6 covers (these cover the 6 valves that have to date been painstakingly reseated, 4 large valves - for running and 2 smaller valves – one the idler and one the pilot valve), cut brand new gaskets from steam rated material, seal with Dixon’s, tighten and have no leaks before quitting time. Challenge accepted and the first of 4 covers – the larger ones – were removed and taken to the workshop. Measurements taken and the cutting commenced. Let’s just say that the gasket material is fragile and super tough and the old Stanley knife was little chop. Even the circular cutting jig smoked and sparked when applied to the material.

After a number of attempts and the odd encouraging word all gaskets were made and located on their seats. It also soon became apparent that the act of climbing the boiler to the top, lugging a heavy set of tools to the top was tiresome work and that when you drop a socket or nut into the bowels of the smoke box you only want to do it once. After that you never do it again – just simply too much waste of time and most importantly energy. Each cover was bolted down with 4 large nuts using the power drive and with fingers crossed we awaited the sound of the clack valve opening and shutting on the top of the boiler – and what a sweet sound that is – once the water was again turned on. Pressure rose and rose – “Water down here!” was the cry. “Turn off the blower!” or words to that effect was the response and all was quiet. Pressure continued to rise. The odd drip from the clack valve, the packing gland around the regulator shaft and down at the injectors a leak or two – BUT NOTHING ELSE! The new gaskets held and we achieved approximately 170 PSI in the boiler. This may not seem a very high pressure but have a look at the pictures, they show the blower valve turned on at this pressure and the jet of water that erupted through the exhaust. OH JOY!

A great year of work with new faces and old combining to deliver an incredible amount of work! We truly have moved incredibly close to delivering this magnificent engine back to the rails and under its own steam! LATE NOTE: Have a close look at the base of the water gauge the number 3808 is the fitting number!

Dec 4, 2013

Last Workday for the Year

The last workday for 2013 is this Saturday the 7th... Come along and help get the small jobs done in preparation for the Hydrostatic test. Work will focus on the smokebox and front end throttle. Painting will also continue alongside the mechanical work, so there are jobs for everyone....

Nov 28, 2013


Since the last update there has been a MAJOR event facilitated by Alan and Shaun – they sealed the major leaks in the water feed lines enabling an unfortunate few to find the one or two leaks in the front tank next work day. The rear tank seems to be holding up well and no leaks have been seen (there was at least 2 foot of water in both tanks on Saturday 23 Nov).
The inventory of leaks so far is:

  • Injectors – slow drip from driver’s side 
  • Rear tank – driver’s side rear drain, slow drip
  •  Rear tank – fireman’s side filling flange fitting for adding water from auxiliary tank cars, very slow leak 
  • Front tank – rear or tank facing smoke box door, constant steady drip 
  • Front tank – driver’s side constant drip, now sealed Isolation valve – major leak when the valve changed from closed to open. 
  • Front tank balance pipe join with rear tank balance pipe (just above the isolation valve) minor drip. 
So the recent work means the Boiler is now full – see photos of water gauges showing the water as it moved up the glass – YIPPEE HYDRAULIC TEST SOON! (We removed the safety glass that normally surrounds the gauge to better show the level in the photos). So getting wet has never been more enjoyable!

Painting and cleaning the underside of the rear tank with the standard black livery proceeds using several karma sutra positions and a few new ones with brushes mounted on poles to facilitate some of the more awkward locations. The rear bunker has received some much needed black paint and there remains only the last half of it to be scraped, undercoated and painted.

Random spots of undercoat have started appearing over the boiler, front tank and other less noticed places as the team move around the locomotive locating missed items. Seemingly annoying and disfiguring these spots are none-the-less necessary to ensure completeness of the painting job.

Other major works completed in the last few weeks have been the installation of the blower valve assembly and the air compressor starting valve. Both of these are essential items but more so is the front end regulator, the valves of which which are now almost all fully lapped in.

The stoker cab controls have been remounted and the steam feed pipes replaced with “new” recycled pipes and these have now been fitted and adjusted. The last pipe connecting the stoker motor and the control valve is still to be located. All in all a very exciting and rewarding few weeks for the team of volunteers where that sense of completion and smell of steam and coal are tangibly close!

Next work day is Saturday the 7 December – see you there!

Nov 16, 2013

Project 6029 Updates 3rd October to 2nd November

“Paint, copper and lights – oh the joy”

The last 4 weeks has seem some amazing progress and some learning experiences that only resolve one to work better and more efficiently. The learning is really something that is not anyone’s fault – we just simply do not have the full depth of knowledge and tools or the facilities that were around 50 years ago. Rest assured there is a wide range of ages in the volunteer group so we are spreading and sharing the knowledge as much as possible. With knowledge comes the efficiency.

So what has been happening?

Let’s start at the regulator. We have moved forward many leaps in the regulator valve assembly. Some may remember a bird had created quite a nice home and two vacuum cleaners later the associated bird poop and straw finally been cleared. The lapping of the 5 valve seats is now complete after many hours of sitting atop the boiler and hand cranking a socket to create the grinding action – great job guys and not an easy task. Once checked and quality checked the valves will be set in place and the cam and housing bolted down. The cover plate, a curved section of steel with handles has also been primed and painted 6029 Black, all ready and waiting now for the installation to happen.

The firebox has seen some interesting work. The coal is delivered to the firebox via the auger which apart from making an unbelievably loud noise when running partially crushes the coal into “bite” sized pieces. These then need to be flung to the front of the firebox, the sides, the middle and the back. This is done by 5 steam jets mounted onto the stoker table plate. The housing for the jets and the table plate all rest inside the firebox and need to be bolted onto the auger housing which in turn is bolted to the firebox. This meant a new tool had to be fashioned to enable bolts to be held while they were tightened. Also this all had to be done from inside the firebox. The five steam jets are managed by the fireman from the cab where they are mounted onto a manifold which allows for the distribution via 5 uniquely different valves. The unique handles allows the fireman to control coal flow to different parts of the firebox independently and perhaps more importantly, in the dark! 

The manifold and stoker motor steam feed pipe are supplied with steam by the one pipe delivering full boiler pressure, super heated steam, all regulated by one valve. This allows the jets and stoker motor and hence coal auger all operate together as one system. The stoker normally runs at a low pressure, and there is a valve available to the fireman that sends full pressure to the motor if there is a blockage in the auger. This all means that there are quite a few copper pipes to be refitted and wouldn't you know it, one is missing, and as always, it has special fittings on the end, meaning that we really need to locate the original that was removed a few years ago before the boiler was lifted out. Speaking of copper piping, there has been significant effort to renew many of the old lengths of pipe joining various systems on the loco including the stoker motor and oilers. The work is neat and really shows that testing is approaching.

The painting efforts continue. Those that have been able to see 6029 recently will note we are starting to cover exposed areas in primer and top coat including parts of the boiler cladding and smoke box. Getting that smooth finish is a challenge and the application of many coats and use of the spray gun will ensure this happens. Anyone with experience in spray painting that can assist or offer help please step up to the plate your help would be appreciated.

Painting and cleaning under the engine continues also – the rear tank has now seen intense cleaning and scraping plus application of primer ready for top coating. The rear light has been assembled and re-installed on its mounts. This can be seen in the attached photos and it really starts to put a statement out there that this project is moving continually towards completion. Anyone experienced in running electrical cable is welcome to step up and offer help shortly.

So where are we with water testing? Test one and two were conducted recently just prior to the visit from Thomas. Both showed leaks down the lines from the front tank through the balance pipe and into the injectors. The first set of leaks, from the front tank back to the balance valve was taken care of. When we tested for the second time a significant leak was detected in the pipe from the rear tank forward to the balance valve just under the cab – most inconvenient – plus the fireman’s side injector inlet union appears to require attention. The pipe under the cab poses a major challenge as essentially we are trying to stretch that pipe between two fittings mounted on the frame. The latter are very much fixed in position so the only adjustment is in the gaskets and that is not so simple to solve unfortunately. These leaks do need to be solved to stick to schedule so all attention will be focused on his activity next work day.

Last but not least, the last motion pins raised its ugly head last week – one tapered pin had sheared off many years back and presented us with a challenging drilling job. But all is not lost... word has just come through that Al has performed yet another splendid drilling job and removed the embedded length. What can be said except onward and forward!

Oct 3, 2013

A note for anyone who was going to attend the next workday...

Due to the successful Tall Ships excursion requiring significant input, from staff and volunteers, it has been decided that the normal workday of the first Saturday of October be transferred to Saturday 12th October. The third Sunday of the month still remains as a scheduled work day.

Sep 18, 2013

PROJECT 6029 Update 17 & 18 August and 7 September

Pins, Paint, Valves and Water Test N0.1 – (the pain and the ecstasy!)

The last few weeks have seen some great turn outs of volunteers and this has been reflected in some marked progress. Painting has once again returned to, or near to the top of tasks needing attention, additionally attaching ancillary pipes and linkages have proven challenging and the all important stoker motor, coal auger and trough all needing bolting and painting to ensure they are correctly fitted.

During the last two work days a number of items were started and completed. A few articles back, mention was made of a clam shell that covered the universal joint in the coal auger where the auger dips downwards and under the cab floor on its way to the firebox. This is a very awkward two part cast fitting that takes two to handle and a third to help jostle bolts and nuts and spanners. The usual easy of access that 6029 is renowned for was also the cause of some mild frustration.

None the less the housing was put in place and tightened up sufficiently to work out it was upside down, soooo … off it came and with more juggling, some swearing and some good hearted banter from behind and under the cab, the team had it turned around and up and over, only to start tightening it down again...guess what “I think it is really upside down this time!” In deed it was, locating lugs and a small protrusion were clearly not where they needed to be. The reader could be forgiven for thinking all hell would break loose and a general call to arms would happen – but no, it simply indicated we were learning and understanding this engine. Yes we were a tad upset but we knew we had gained some knowledge and the next day the shell would be put right – did I mention it took about 4 hours from start to upside down to upside right again and they only started after lunch? – so the work team involved called it quits for the day. The next work day saw it bolted into place and even painted!

We are a little light on new photos as Howard, our "staff" photographer has been tied up with his day job following the elections, so it is that a few images, not before published are presented, of works undertaken by Bruce in his Camden based workshop over time. He has done a lot of machining as you can see, and saved us on several occasions with "that part" that  we needed to complete an assembly. We cant take the machining he has done lightly, as most of what you see there starts out as steel bar stock 1 1/2" or 2" diameter and ends up mostly as swarf, all done with care on a manual lathe... No modern CNC stuff here.

Now where were we... There were some areas mentioned previously about sunshine and darkness requiring painting. First order of the day was cleaning the area to be painted – the area is of course under the hind tank and bunker in the spots meant to be painted when there is no tank in place. As all painters will tell you preparation is the key to a great job, so it was back to scrapping and wire brushing. Angle grinders with wire wheels can be quite frightening at the best of times, but when they take off or veer off course while held at the extreme limits of your arms’ length they can be quite different. All this whilst performing the act in a confined space that would make the average contortionist proud and it probably should be listed in the top ten positions in the Karma Sutra! We achieved about fifty percent of the area scrapped and primed ready for the top coat. Next work detail will see the other side scrapped and primed.

The pins oh the pins (this is the ecstasy bit) – two remain to be fitted to the rear wheel locking hubs but until we rock the engine a meter or two each way we cannot gain access properly. That’s another job to be tackled next work day.

The chimney received a coat of long overdue black paint and the spray gun came out to tackle the cladding on part of the boiler. We will discuss how best to tackle this job as it is a prime piece of viewing real estate to the public and therefore will probably require some specialist attention.

The dome has long sat askew on top of the boiler slowly weathering and peeling. Having time to kill – about 3 hours actually, that being the time to fill the tanks for our hydraulic test – we brought it down and tackled it with wire brushes. Three people and 2 hours later it was clean and ready for some panel beating that when completed made it look almost as good as new again. Primer applied and it sits now in the shed ready for top coats. Nice job!

The blow down valves were receiving significant attention whilst all these other shenanigans were going on around and below them. The valves were cleaned and the reseating process started. Clearly these valves which reside on top of the boiler just behind the chimney need a good seat and free and easy movement. The process of cleaning the area was also complicated by the fact that a feathered family had created a nest around the valves and the dirt and general muck was quite significant and difficult to remove. A vacuum cleaner did part of the work. By the end of the day the valves were almost completed and bolted home.

There was also an annoying pipe joining the compressor to an exhaust box. It seemed OK on the ground but needed considerable persuasion from the blue tipped spanner(read Oxy Acetylene torch) and much leaning to get it into shape. Seems that the old boiler was just simply like all other boilers in class - unique in small ways (this is one of the pain bits). So next work day will see this being measured, fitted and tightened home.

Lastly, and the best part of this update is around the first test since we tested the boiler many years ago (this is the real ecstasy bit). The whole day had been planned around the first of many tests to check for water and steam integrity of all those lengths of tubing and pipe work. We had a new brass plug recently cut and finished so all drain holes could be sealed. So early on in the day an excursion was taken inside the front tank. Due diligence around safety was important so a watch on the adventurer was maintained. Three new holes were found in the front tank. These were drilled round and plugged with a ¼ inch bolt, washer and nut plus some sealant. Once all done as best could be determined we started filling by turning on the hose and then set off to do all the other work already described. But, we did have some spotters keen to see if there was a leak or two. The results were disappointing. The two tanks front and back are joined by two large diameter pipes which lead to a valve assembly just under and forward of the cab, driver’s side and then into two smaller pipes that attached directly to the injectors. These pipes all demonstrated a propensity to leak and leak they did (this IS the pain bit). We need to now remove, strip, clean and re-apply new gasket material and reassembly and “rattle” gun home the bolts. A set back yes but this is what this restoration is about - learning and understanding.

Someone said as the sun started setting “It’s a steam engine – what do you expect?” Looking at 6029 I wondered... It was designed by some very clever and talented people, built by equally talented fabricators, resulting in, quite frankly, an engineering marvel where coal, water, grease, oil and metal combine beautifully to create forward motion and enormous tractive effort. Why then can it be so hard to join two pieces of metal together with 4 bolts, in the  expectation that it will seal, and while applying only the force of a short column of water, have it LEAK! Well may we ask and there is really only one answer – a lot of what we are doing is based purely on experience and these experiences formed the skills of those that spent theit life maintaining these mechanical marvels in the age of steam... Skills that have been largely lost through time, and that we are re-gaining each and every work day.

Come along next work day and see if you can have a go at learning something new or using your knowledge and experience to help move 6029 to the next test day!

Aug 12, 2013

Saturday 3 August

Frigid, brass monkeys, the metaphors are endless for the morning that confronted the exceptionally large crowd of volunteers on this particular morning. Some Sydneysiders present were not used to single digit temperatures! The turnout was exceptionally pleasing as we knew that 6029 was to be re-positioned in the shed. This meant a shunt out and back in (yippee we get to see all the valve rods and connecting rods go round! – cried the author quietly). We needed her to be out of the shed to fit the stoker motor (that little engine that lived in Aladdin’s Cave being lovingly rebuilt) and also align her next to the water tanks – yep the water tanks - which means the first round of hydraulic testing of the tanks and associated lines up to the injectors can start shortly! A slight but delicious shiver of anticipation ran down the backs of the necks of some at this thought!

But, before the shunting some key things needed to be completed – grease nipples and greasing for example commenced immediately after the hands lost that layer of frost. The grease for the valve rods and associated pins is different from the grease needed for the main roller bearings at the crank pins. In fact using the wrong grease on the roller bearings will cause them to fail so care was taken not to mix grease guns and a mental note for on-going maintenance. That old nemesis of the valve and connecting rod pins that has been hanging around a bit like a demon that has haunted the author for some months (see previous blogs) – failed delivery of new pins, no pins, stubborn old pins not coming out and needing to ream some holes – was finally and totally put to an end with the glorious sound of a solid clunk from the hammer. All pins were in place and a smile was seen on one or two people. 

With a quick check of grease and oil and a run around for potentially fouling work gear near the road  the all clear was then given for 6029 to come out into the sun light and reveal the hard work that so many have done in getting to this point – truly fantastic and beautiful to see. Enough of the sentimentality – the sun was welcome as the metal was bloody cold to the touch.

Forklift to the ready and the stoker motor was raised, jiggled and placed in position for the guys to rattle the bolts home. Major step forward as the motor fitted in where it was meant to go and was aligned correctly.
Safety valves – all important for testing – were forked up to the lofty heights of the top of the boiler and yes bolted down and locked in. Beautifully gleaming in the light they are again important for the testing – did the message get through that testing is approaching?

Support frames for the rear bunker near the back of the cab were lifted, placed in position and miraculously they fitted correctly. This meant they could be bolted and rattled home. Another step closer and another task ticked off the ever shortening list to “to dos”. The blower assembly was also receiving attention as the remaining bolts and fittings were place in position and bolted home. Tick off another!

Let us not forget the juggling and bruised knuckles and climbing around and in the hind bunker to position and locate the rear reverser reach rod. Some tight enclosed spaces were accessed requiring some small amount of contortionist antics but as can be seen by the photos the task was completed. Tick three!
The boiler cladding could now be properly accessed and the remaining bolts tying the cladding in were located and tightened. A fiddly job but again another one on the list – tick! 

Of course the team needed to have the obligatory panoramic shot of the team – have a look at the photos. When you compare this photo to even only 6 months ago the changes are astounding and a credit to those who have worked on 6029. After the photo shoot the team addressed polishing the rods. Yep for the third and not last time these rods were buffed and polished with wire brushes to remove the built up surface rust – ever present whenever the loco is not in active service. A coat of some magic ointment was applied and will make a good protective coating that will slow down the rust build up over the next few months. 6029 will be partially in the open so this protection will be very helpful and minimize damage and work later on.

Unfortunately, polishing allows the user to look around the engine and notice the areas of unpainted or only undercoated metal. Oh well paint brushes will be one of the items for next work day plus some reaching and stretching as the spots are of course in places where the sun does not shine. So as the sun dipped below the horizon and the cold Snowy Mountain winds blew in 6029 was re-positioned part in the shed and part out. She did look good. Rods aligned for two wheel hub locking pins to driven home and bolted home the day came to a close.

Jul 24, 2013

Update for the weekend 20 & 21 July

The third Saturday of the month is not a normal work day for the project but a few of us turned out all the same, we are getting impatient and there is a sense of completion and as we get closer we could not hold ourselves back from working in the cold, wet and generally bleak weather to get the grate and blower valve assembly moving along.

After what felt like the coldest start in the project's (selective) memory we got off to a steady flow of work. The first task was....Get that grate finished, so OK, down to it - locate all the holes for the grate mounting brackets, confirm they were the correct ones and carefully tap them out. The tap costs $75.00, so caution was a large part of the initial approach, however after getting used to the equipment, the speed of tapping could increase. Sixteen holes were tapped and two were adjusted and given over sized threads to handle the affects of wayward drilling. Try drilling upside down for a few hours and you understand why some holes were slightly off centre.

The brackets were all arranged and bolted home except for one stubborn one that ultimately needed drilling out to a larger diameter. There are four brackets running along the foundation ring on each side of the firebox. These hold in place two long iron castings that can only be described as long, with four semi-circle cut-outs along the top and look like instruments of torture if they were not so heavy. Essentially these elements hold cross bars that are half the width of the firebox and are supported at the semi circle cut outs on the foundation ring side and in the middle by the main longitudinal central brace. There are eight down each side. The rocking mechanism allows the grate to be divided into four sections and each section to be operated independently or together. An easy way to picture it is in plan view looking down.  It is a grate made up of 8 cross pieces of two bars each supported by a central beam and on the outside by 4 beams end to end, two on each side. Better still come down and stick your head under the firebox and you will get the picture. Anyway, at quitting time the foundation of the grate was ready for the next days team to assemble and complete the rocking grate.

While there was patient murmurings going on under the firebox the dulcet tones of the rattle gun and some human words of encouragement (or were they threats?) were coming from on top. Yes the blower valve assembly, gland packing and assorted bolts were being put in place. Access was limited and angles were not easy, but none the less, success was ours and the blower valve mechanism was hooked up to the reach rods running from the cab on the driver?s side. All works as it should... off and on. All we need now is some steam!

Oh, and lets not forget the all important valve assembly and those pins... we'll get back to you on that. Seems our fabricator has lost the order for the last 6 pins. So we are awaiting these. Who would believe these could be on the critical path? We will update as soon as they arrive and are in place.

So as daylight faded on Saturday afternoon, we left 6029 with half the supports for the grate in place, and a blower valve operational and ready for testing. Excitement is building, anticipation and again the sense that it is very close now........

The Waugh rocking grate is American by design and was standard equipment in most US coal burning locomotives after the First World War. The design has no fixing other than the mounting plates and the middle main girder that attach under the fire box foundation ring. The rest simply falls into place starting with the support girders with the U shape pivots running either side of the fire box.  16 pivoting rocking bars drop into the U shape pivots and last but not least, 304 finger fire bars slot in to place. Easy...

The NSWGR specified this type off fire grate for the 60 class, and in fact it was standard to all new coal burning locomotive during the 1940's and 50's .

Wet drizzle and cold conditions greeted the Sunday crew at first light. Lucky for 6029 she now resides undercover in the main display shed at the museum.

The first job of the day was to fit the last two brackets that hold up the main support beams of the Waugh rocking grate. The rattle gun was put to good use as the crew tightened up the last of the nuts. After that the team set up a chain gang and yes, all the bits just dropped into place. The majority of the work could be completed from underneath but the last element had to be dropped into place from inside the fire box.

The reversing wheel assembly was one of the many smaller components that were out sourced to smaller workshops. It was delivered and fitted by Bruce and Keith from Sydney. It was pleasing to see the last of the cab components now fitted into place. Bruce also fitted the cylinder drain cock assemblies to each of the four cylinders. This is a small air driven cylinder that is fitted with a spring to keep the drain cock open. Compressed air is used to close off the drain valves when in operation.

The fitting of the fire grate is a significant milestone and in fact puts the project on track for that all important first fire. All tasks will now centre around the fitting of smaller components and operational testing.

Our next work day will see 6029 shunted out of the shed to fit the stoker motor and associated pipe work. We are calling for all hands on deck for the next few workdays as we are very close to that all important first match.

Oh, and last but not least, our friends at Goodwin Alco delivered some new builders plates, to replace the long lost ones. The new ones were cast from a replica plate made by the late Arthur Reynell in the '70's from printers lead.... A lick of paint and they will look brilliant...

Jul 13, 2013

Saturday 6th of July

Once again the team gathered at Garratt central – a call had gone out on the blog for strong able bodied volunteers and the rest of us to turned up for the heavy duty lifting required for the grate. Alan had dedicated the day to some key tasks but one major job. Installing the mounting brackets for the fire grate onto the foundation ring and commence the assembly of the grate itself. But more on the grate and what it fundamentally means to the team, the project and lighting that first match later

Cold and windy, the day started out slowly. Minor tasks were undertaken during the first few hours that needed doing but are necessary were commenced. The first task was finding every grease nipple on the brake hangers, cleaning and polishing them to be able to assess their serviceability. Other grease nipples seem to pop up everywhere so these will need logging and confirming serviceability.

The auto reverse cut outs (technical jargon for two valves that prevent the power reverser over reaching its mark) on the power reverser were removed, cleaned and then remounted. But remounted back in the correct position so that not only the hose connecting them could reach there joints but also the actuator valves and springs could align with the reverser bar and thus perform their task of preventing an over run.

The pins for the valve motion are now only 2 pins away from completion. A special batch of 4 pins needed to complete this task did not arrive in time. This means that each join will be tagged again and inspected – we do not want a rod flying off just because we missed or incorrectly assembled a pin. For the technically minded the two remaining pins are on the valve cross heads where the combination lever joins the cross head. There are two pins on top and two on the bottom. The bottom two are missing and cannot be inserted if the motion is assembled. Once in place all rods will be reunited and signing off can start.

The foundation ring received some attention too prior to the next major task. Some of the stud holes had to be re-threaded to a larger diameter and these were duly attacked.

Starting before lunch a small team consisting of Alan, Roger, Howard and self gathered at the original boiler and proceeded to try various techniques to remove 12 supporting brackets from the foundation ring. The boiler was resting on wooden blocks whilst this gave access to some of the brackets with the rattle gun most could not be reached so we had to use the old oxy spanner method of removal. The pictures tell the story. Half of the brackets came away with only heating and rattle gun approach. The rest Alan carefully cut away, as this boiler is not condemned and as we are now experts at drilling upside down we deliberately were as delicate as possible.

Oh and while walking around the old boiler we found two new grease nipples that push grease onto the boiler’s slide plates – so two  more to locate, clean and service on the current boiler, which we did not know  about.

So back to the Garratt – the central brace of the grate was heavy and required careful moving and aligning. This brace runs from the front to the back of the fire box right down the middle. It supports the cross bars that then hold the grate elements, these slot between the bars and are free to rock – mechanical rocking.  

There was some debate about front from back, it looked the same from any direction except one end had two lugs that would slot into one of the mounting brackets – as with previous times a decision was made (what could possibly go wrong was murmured) and the section was placed under the firebox.

A two stage lift by the team and the brace was raised and miraculously it went in first time and was the right way around! That put paid to the murmuring few!

Seriously, this is a major, major step forward.

The grate and then the ash pan are critical to lighting a fire and testing the steam joints and the myriad of other items on the check list – this is going to be fun. Those present suddenly realized that there was excitement in the air, that there is a date looming very soon and a realization that this fundamental milestone really starts to show that all the efforts to date are really adding up.

Jul 3, 2013

All Hands On Deck

As you would all be aware, the restoration of 6029 is moving forward at quite a rate, and every work day brings us closer to putting a fire back in the old girl, but this coming workday is perhaps one of the most important, especially when it comes to having somewhere to put the fire.

Alan has asked that anyone available comes this Saturday the 6th, as more hands make lighter work, and there is little heavy lifting to do.... Its time to refit the fire grate, and we need some bodies to lift the iron support casting back into position. The more people who turn up, the greater chance we have of getting it back in position and in turn, the rest of the grate mechanism can then be re-fitted.

So if you can make it on Saturday, come along and help, The younger and fitter the better, but hey, more hands make lighter work, and sometimes, even moral support will help, so brave the cold and lend a hand...

Jun 11, 2013

1 June, 2013

The winter weather hit Canberra Central this work day with rain and wind. Fortunately our Garratt is nearly all under cover – many other times some of our earlier team volunteers will remember these sorts of days out in the open were most unpleasant.

 A good turn out meant once again key tasks that needed technical skills could be commenced. The first was installing the support brackets for the coal bunker at the cab end. These brackets mount to the frame on the front of the hind engine and then to the front of the bunker. They required welding and grinding to be accurately put in place. Thanks Mark for your skills in this area. Next work day will mean this can be completed and that task can be put in the “done” list.

 Andy and Toby continued to work on the coal trough and associated running gear – they have worked tirelessly on the auger trough and bunker now for many weeks. There are many bolts and mounts to align for the coal trough and auger to ensure it mounts properly to the frame. The talents of a contortionist and the hydraulic ram to make things align have come in handy. The space is quite difficult to access and is quite literally in the bowels of the bunker. Their work progressed well during the day – see the associated pictures for details and how tight some of the places they are working in really are!

 Polishing of the connecting rods and valve linkages continues as these require constant work to maintain. Our newest recruit, Ewoult, has spent quite a while on the rods on the front engine. In deed this will be a task that needs to be done very regularly when we are up and running but not with a wire brush as can be seen being used in the pictures. Oil spray from the engine when running will mean rust is controlled and it will be a matter of really polishing and rubbing not scrapping as we have been doing up to this point.

 The split pins used to keep the pins holding the various value rods and connecting rods together was finally been sourced - on the second attempt - in their correct size (the saying “what could possibly go wrong?” comes to mind for the first order of pins). This has meant accurate and correct pins and locking nuts and cotter pins have been place and ready for inspection on the whole of the hind engine’s linkages. The front engine requires two new pins of differing and unique length for the valve cross heads and two old pins to be drilled out and replaced. Strangely the old pins do not budge even after the gentle persuasion of the time and tested oxy heat treatment. Once these pins are out and new ones inserted the front engine will be ready for inspection. 

 Grease nipples are the next issue for the brake hangers and link pins – locating new ones, cleaning the old ones that mysteriously have been painted over in black – maybe we volunteers got too carried away with the instructions – “just paint it black”! Some of these nipples will need to be made up.

 The rear light also came into attention receiving a much needed clean up and new coat of paint. The finished product is quite stunning – see the pictures. 

The next workday is this Sunday, it will be cold.... That's a given this time of year in Canberra, but it will be fun so come along and get a little dirty.

Lastly – and it is a worn out message but it is very true, we need as much spare change as you can afford. Try a new method of saving – put a gold coin aside each day for a month and drop it in at the office. Ten of people doing that means $300 for June alone. 

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
this task.

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
nearing completion.

Apr 25, 2013

PROJECT 6029 Update for the weekend of 20 April

This weekend was a surprise to some of us – cold but sunny. The day kicked off well with a number of targets set for completion. It was also pleasing to see visitors walking around and asking questions and mirroring the enthusiasm that the team have in seeing the first match being thrown in! We also welcome a new first timer John to the team.

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... mike@project6029.com

Apr 3, 2013

Key achievements for Saturdays 16th Feb, 2nd and 16th March

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

Aladdins Cave?

Perhaps not Aladdin's cave, but certainly a place where wonders can and do happen. Those who have been following the restoration for a while will remember the wonders that Ian Senini performed on the Lubricators and the back head cladding. Ian has been at it again with the stoker motor, turning what was a rusty mess back into a near new work of art. The stoker motor started out, suffering from exposure, and neglect. It had been been damaged at some point also, with the crank case breather being broken off.

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

Saturday 2 February 2012

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

Saturday 19th January 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.

Saturday the 19th saw the Garratt shunted out into the sun, and back under the crane, to have the stokers elevator tube lifted into place. As the cab is already in place, it was necessary to undo one of the railways many in service modifications, and cut out a panel in the rear of the cab structure to facilitate the re-installation of the elevator tube. This panel was originally built as a bolt in item, that for one reason or another was welded in place while the loco was in service.

After some effort and a little grunting, the elevator tube is now back in place, and it wont be long before the cab floor will be fitted around it. Other things achieved today were the refitting of the injector lines on the fireman's side of the loco and the timber bearers for the bunker have been completed, clearing the way for the bunker to be refitted when the stoker trough is completed and refitted.

With progress like this, it wont be too long before the Garratt again see's a fire in her belly. It is really just a case of a bit more time and a bit more money to get it all done. Remember that donations are always welcome and that without the support of people all around the world, this restoration would not be possible and 6029 would still be rusting in the yard.

Jan 4, 2013

The blog may be quiet but...

While most of us have been partying and in general relaxing, some real, visible progress has been made on the garratt, infact it is really starting to look the part.

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