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 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.