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

Apr 24, 2014

Easter Steam Spectacular

So Easter has come and gone, but what a weekend... Some of us would be looking forward to the Easter break, and with all the work achieved before the event, there may be a well deserved break afterwards for those who went above and beyond in the preparation for the long weekend, with planning and preparations around the site and the gargantuan effort to have 3016 and 6029 in steam.

The weeks leading up to Easter 2014 saw so much work done and some still to do. The 30 class boiler work was almost completed  a week ago when tests were undertaken, but as always, there are things to be done after tests are completed. The 30 class needed the brick arch reinstated in the firebox, and the spark arrester to be refitted before any loads were attached. In railway service, the arches would have been made from specially shaped cast bricks which would have been easily installed following maintenance, but they have long gone, and these days, the common practice is to cast in place, meaning that you create a temporary structure from timber and then, like pouring concrete, mix up a batch of material and create the arch... Sounds simple,but working inside the firebox is never the easiest, and this job is no exception... Add to this also, that the arch has to be properly dry before you can make a fire, so this job was attended to very early in the week.

Alan took the opportunity to fit one of the Garratts pistons in order to check to the overall assembly procedure and to check the fit of the hard packing on the rod. Intent may have been to leave it in, but the packing is all going to need machining to suit the new size of the rod following its hard chrome restoration. It must be noted that the old rings are past due for replacement, and will all need to be replaced, at the cost of a mere $30,000 a set, so the existing rings will be only be usable for the purposes of testing and proving all the locos systems under steam, and for light engine trials.

Friday saw the steam spectacular start in earnest, 3016 was hauling shuttles to Queenbeyan and return all weekend with the help of 4807 in control of the return trip, 3112, a privately owned tank engine was on display along with 1210 and the CPH railcars. Most importantly, it was the occasion of the first public showing of the Garratt in steam. Percy Forrestor, one of our long term supportors, and in some ways the most important one as far as the restoration project goes, made the trip down from the warmer climates of Queensland and was on hand all weekend to pass on the knowledge he has of the 60 class. He was a driver of these machines when they were in regular service, and it shows... his knowledge will be invaluable as we once again have to learn how to use and maintain this wonderful example of engineering from days long gone.

The footplate was open to the public for the weekend and so many young children, and the young at heart took the opportunity to climb aboard and have a look around. Percy and others were on hand all weekend to answer the questions as they were posed, and for the lucky, there was even the chance to blow the whistle... you can be pretty sure that a good portion of Canberra knew we were here...

Even with the loco in steam, and the requirements of keeping the weekend rolling, some time was still found to perform work on the Loco.The fact that we had steam all weekend gave us a great opportunity to test many of  the subsystems, with notes being made of everything we found not quite up to scratch. One of the important tasks was to get the rocking grate into order. Most of the parts were located, with the exception of one actuation rod, and bolted into place... Also missing, but soon to be located, I suspect in a carefully stored bucket, are the original pins, so bolts were used to hold it all together for now. All the systems that could be tested were tested and notes made of what was good and what needed work. After a tear down like we have done, there are bound to be some loose fittings and things that don't perform like they should. One of those things was the lubricator for the air compressor. It works, but sticks in one spot needing a hand to get moving again. Best guess is that a shaft has been bent in storage after it was rebuilt, so it is one of the jobs that wont take long to correct. Also on the list was a bunch of air leaks to attend to, not surprising really as this was the first time we have had the compressor running for any period and most of them were relatively minor.

We also had the time to throw a piston back in with a view to leaving it in. Alan had test fitted the same piston earlier in the week, and taken it back out for adjustment, so one task was to put it in and connect it to the cross-head. A relatively easy task, with the help of a few people and a little improvisation, and one which we will have to repeat a few times. We did however strike a minor issue.... The taper that connects the rod to the cross-head would not seat properly, so it needs to come our again... It is suspected that there may be a little extra material on the taper following the hard chroming process, so some investigation will be in order.

Andy has been busy also, running a temporary power line from the turbo to the front headlight. He has also fitted the new LED marker lights made by Mike Ridley and they look a treat. The loco was scheduled for a night photo shoot, and you can see below that it really has come along. The photo shoot was a fund raiser to help us finish the loco off, with quite a good turnout. In the early evening, 3016 and 6029 were moved to another location in the yard and a small display put on for the assembled cameras... There is one shot below by Howard Moffatt where you would swear the 60 class was leaving the yard... Have a look and see what you think...

As always, and yes, it is a broken record, we do need more money to finish the job. We are so close now that you can taste the celebration drinks at the end of the restoration, but we can not make it without a little more support, so dig deep and remember that you can secure a cab ride for the mere sum of a $500 donation. There is a growing list of people who qualify for the cab ride, so why not join them and get a real feel for what this machine is like in steam and working hard.

Apr 15, 2014

Giant Leaps, A Lot of Effort and a Little Steam

For those that have been following our progress for a while, you would realize that the restoration of a steam engine like this, or any steam engine for that matter is always going to take time, and a lot of it, particularly when you doing the job properly. Our last post showed some of the work going into the preparations for the Easter Steam Spectacular that is on this weekend, and when you see what has been achieved by a small group of people in the last few weeks, you will, like me, be amazed at what can be achieved in such a short time.

Touching firstly on the 30 class, some pretty major boiler work was undertaken, with most of the fire tubes removed and replaced for the inspection of the barrel, repairs to the smokebox floor, boiler fittings freshened up and a full paint job were just the start. To say that it looks a million dollars is one thing, but look at the pictures of it taken on Saturday and you have to agree, Ben and his helpers know how to paint a locomotive, in a hurry!

Then if that's not enough, have a look at the Garratt... Both paint jobs were achieved in record time, without any compromise in quality either. Alongside the painting, huge efforts have been made on a multitude of small, but essential jobs allowing us to have the independent boiler inspector back onsite yesterday afternoon to witness the first full pressure accumulation tests on coal. The stoker system was tested and proven to operate as intended, with Karl and Ben easily setting all three safety valves and performing the accumulation tests that were necessary to have the boiler signed off as serviceable.

There are still a number of things to achieve and complete before she is moving under her own power, and even more before we can get approval from the regulator to start trials on the network, but that day is not far off either. We need to finish repairs to the ashpan, re-install it and re-install the steam exhaust lines from the hind unit, install the electrics and lighting, purchase the new piston rings and so many more little tasks as well, but excitement is building, and building in a hurry.

Without wanting to sound like a broken record, we still need to raise more money for the rings, a substantial purchase without any doubt, and one that needs help from anyone that can. It doesn't matter if its $20 or $2000, if you can spare a few dollars, help us out and send it our way, the faster we can raise the money for the rings, the sooner we will be back on the rails for the enjoyment of young and old alike, and if your in the area this Easter weekend, come on down to Kingston and have a look at what we have achieved so far... The Garratt will be in steam most of the weekend, and you will be able to get up close and personal with 6029

Apr 6, 2014

DOUBLE HEADING – preparing two steam engines and car or two in 4 weeks

Yep we've stretched ourselves. We have committed ourselves to showing off not only 6029 but also to have 3016 in steam around the same time that the Easter bunny does his rounds.

Numerous cries for help have gone out and the results have been fantastic. The paint job on 3016 is magnificent, leaving some speechless – just a superb job that makes the engine stand out. There have been feverish activities taking place on this beautiful locomotive by an industrial few, who committed to and have simply over achieved to get this far. Some of the attached photos show the paint work that the team undertook.

The 6029 logistics team (aka Malcolm) proved himself invaluable delivering some very important items back to us from Sydney... the 4 pistons, sporting freshly chromed rods courtesy of Diamond Hard Chrome, are now ready and waiting for new rings and reassembly in their bores. The appreciation of the team for this effort by Malcolm and his Father is enormous. Two trips carrying pistons to Sydney and bringing them back is just the start, as after delivering the pistons, Malcolm was very quick to load tubes from 3016's boiler for a visit to specialist welders, L&A Pressure Welding. 3016 has been ailing lately and needs a transplant of boiler tubes. These vital organs have been donated by the Powerhouse Museum from the recently deceased, original boiler of 3265. However, before the transplant, they need to have an extra portion welded on to replace material lost in the process of removing them from the old boiler. Once the tubes are returned, 3016 should make a speedy recovery and be back in steam for Easter.

The work day saw a good turnout of team members, some long termers and the rest of us gathered under shelter – morning rain was to indicate the rest of the day, drizzle.

There were a number of tasks to work on – and the team divided evenly amongst them. The covers to the valve casings were removed so that the surfaces could be dissembled and access gained to the sleeves that support the various components that allow a seal to be made around the valve stem and yet allow full sliding movement. They needed a lot of cleaning as years of accumulated muck had gathered. Persuasion with kerosene and a scrapper allowed the four sleeves to be cleaned and made good. Access, of course, proved the major hurdle to overcome.

The levers and associated cradle for the rocking grate mechanism which had been cleaned and painted last work day was targeted for mounting in the cab. It sits on the fireman’s side under the valves controlling the individual steam jets that carry the pulverised coal into the and across the fire bed. Various items needed moving and relocating. The major item was the steam pipe for the stoker motor. This had taken some considerable work to persuade into position before the cab floor was fully installed and join up to the stoker motor. Now the floor was in and considerably more paraphernalia had been installed around it, there was no way around it – gentle persuasion was not on the agenda and brute force was needed. Most of the day was spent swearing and banging from behind closed cab doors. Those of us below, working at ground level smiled with confidence that all would be good soon. And in a biblical sense there was indeed reason to smile as then there light and all was quite. The cradle and steam pipe were back. Nothing left to do except paint over various areas of the cab with “gremlin” green.

There were other important tasks also happening while the enlightened team in the cab toiled away. Painting is high on the agenda for the appearance of 6029 at our Easter steam extravaganza and at a recently announced photo opportunity, so the rear tank received vigorous sanding and preparation work. A vast area that took most of the day to cover even with mechanical assistance but none the less necessary, as it is to receive various coats of primer and the top coats. The prep had to be good as we could not afford to let 3016 out shine our pride and joy! Again a tough job but well underway by end of day.

Finally, a cover for the fireman’s side rear cylinder and valve case had been fashioned and required mounting. This had been fashioned some time ago using a somewhat suspect template. To no one’s surprise the template did not accurately reflect reality and thus ensured a minor coming together of metal and mind to solve various angles and hole placements. At one stage it appeared that metal would win this battle however with cutting wheels and grinders to hand, a not too ugly change to the plate was made. Painting and washers and a bit of grinding will hopefully allow it to pass the keen eye of the approval team.

During the last few weeks, others who could not make the work day had been appearing at the shed and from the pictures it can be seen that the ash pan has been moved to the workshop and some cutting out of rust patches for replacement has started. There is much cutting, grinding and welding required. Carriage work has also seen progress where sanding and bogging of the sides of various carriages has proceeded in preparation for much needed priming and top coat application. A spray finish will really see the panels and the carriage stand out.