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!