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

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...