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

Jun 25, 2014

MKR and Master Chef vs. 6029 Cooking Master classes and other stuff!

The cold has hit Canberra; snow has reached the mountains and frosts the windscreens of the cars. Of course not all is lost – the shortest day passed last weekend and so have a few key milestones on the path to our first inspection.

The wiring for the electrics has really been underway for some time but the last week has seen some accelerated progress. As mentioned by Alan we are rapidly approaching testing days and certification so, everything needs to be ready. This has provided incentive to the electrical fitter, aka Andy to deliver some critical steps in the wiring harness fit out. The critical lengths of wire running from the generator to the main bus have now been fitted. Previous wiring to head and tail lights already completed. The bus must carry all power to charge batteries, run lights and fittings and also the critical ICE radio. Clearly, most of this gear was never even dreamed of when 6029 was in the foundry being cast and beaten into shape. As a consequence there are many electrical engineers and experienced people engaged to advise of their needs for the specialty equipment and what power and voltage they need. So Andy is running lots of thick cable down conduit that is narrow and restricted – lubricant has been required.

The radio aerials and connecting wiring has been installed on the coal bunker and the metal sides and ends for the radio and battery box delivered.

Passing on from the electrical components we moved to the steam side of things. The air compressor some may remember at Easter showed a lot of leaks around the glands and the lubricator (for those with a good eye and memory) seemed to stick at the 90 degree position in its rotation. So the compressor was tested and pushed and shoved and finally it revealed its problems and spoke by belching steam from a gasket. The low pressure cylinder was only generating about 15 psi rather than 70 psi. This was causing the lubricator to fail – simply not enough pressure! Secondly why was the pressure so low? The gasket had blown and allowed steam and water to never fully move to the next stage of the pump and the exhaust. This finally came to a head when the pump just stopped and sent steam and water out through the gasket. A minor setback, but better to happen now than later when we are out on the road. A new gasket will be laser cut from the original drawings and all will be replaced.

Some heavy work has been conducted in the smoke box over the last week or so. Ben has been aligning, replacing and repairing the mounts and screens for the smoke box. To do this, alas, we had to take the chimney and blast pipes out so combined with the compressor on a pallet we do not really look like an engine any more. But only temporarily! There are many pieces to fabricate in the smoke box and having no pattern, Ben has had to make the components based on cardboard templates. The boiler if you remember is an authentic 60 class boiler but it had been converted for use in a saw mill so many unnecessary fittings had been blue tipped and spanned away. This has meant some extra holes and cutting and use of the English language in ways some thought very creative.

But the fun work just does not stop coming! And not to be out done by some  TV shows the 6029 Cooking Classes commenced last week with the recipe known but the scope and extent of the effort not fully realized. Chef Shaun took to the challenge so well that he offered a master class last weekend on how to make fire arch bricks. So in front of a number of keen house bound chefs watching on from bar stool and to the dulcet tones of 4403 shunting back and forth, Shaun showed his skill in mixing the required batch of mortar garnished with stainless steel sprinkle to add that strength factor. What a mix it was! A heavy duty mix master finished the mix and with a deft hand Chef Shaun demonstrated why he is a class leader in this art by plopping the mix into 4 molds cunningly prepared earlier. There are 6 to 7 rows of bricks spanning the fire box plus a cast in place in the base row. Shaun and Ben have and will be busy! Those chefs still able to stand after this demonstration will no doubt remember this master session for many months to come when they see the coal spraying in and reaching to the back of the brick arch that Shaun built!

So some truly good progress has been achieved over the last few weeks, with lots of fabrication, lagging and painting being performed. The driver’s side needs paintings so hands on deck for sanding and preparation work.

Steady and deliberate steps are happening even between official work days and this is keeping the whole project on track – great work from every one.


Jun 12, 2014

A bit of a double header today with some info from the last two workdays. Lots has been happening and many thing have been completed, so pull up a chair and check out what has been happening...

Sunday 18 May 2014

Today saw a number of things being attended to, one of which was the final fitting of the smokebox cover that covers the top of the front end throttle. This plate, which belongs to the original boiler and smokebox assembly, needed some work to get it attached properly. to achieve this, Malcolm, Ewolt and Greg spent most of the morning struggling with blunt drill bits and half charged batteries to drill the last few holes to hold the plate securely to the smokebox.

Malcolm managed to get himself into all sorts of weird positions in the smoke box between the super heater elements and the smokestack to push bolts up from underneath so that a nut and washer could be fitted from the outside... Needless to say that with the soot from recent steam tests and a bit of silicon to seal things up, the boys were just a little dirty as they moved onto the next task. Hopefully we wont have to take the plate off for a number of years. Andy was again toiling away on the electrical conduits in preparation for pulling cables in the next few weeks.

Sean and Mike and Howard were hard at work in the firebox, re installing the grate mechanism now that the ashpan was back on the loco. The job started easily enough, with parts passed into the firebox and returned to their proper positions, but the easy stuff was soon over and the linkages had to be refitted while lying on our backs in the ashpan, in doing so, we also removed the option of exiting the firebox the easy way, though the door. Pictures show some of the process of putting it back together. Once the mechanism was back together, the only exit available was through the bottom of the ashpan.

Alan and Malcolm returned the drivers side injector pipework that had been removed to make way for the ashpan and by lunch, that task was pretty much done. Sean was also seen working on new gaskets to seal the hatch on the rear tank, something you don't worry about on most steam engines, but very necessary on this one if you want to keep water in the tank on an incline.

Next up, the task of finding and eliminating air leaks was attended to... several were found under the cab floor, in almost inaccessible places. Some contortions and a few choice words later, Alan and Mike had eliminated the biggest ones and were now in search of smaller ones. By the middle of the week, Alan was able to pronounce the air system free of leaks, which was quite a milestone... The brakes now work, properly!

Saturday June 7

The list of outstanding job has been getting smaller every work day. With the initial static steam tests completed work is now focusing on the ash pan and the smoke box. The ash pan flushers had to be fitted and drilled in position to ensure the water would spray on the hot ash in the pan away for the fire bars. The skinny guys were selected as they could fit up through the bottom of the pan. Thanks to David and Malcolm, yep the skinniest guys in the team. A test for flushing was completed by hooking up the fire hose and all went well.

Ben and Alan reworked the ash pan spark screens and fitted new mesh to the fireman’s side. The final fit proved successful with all gaps in specification. A final coat of hi temperature all over black and it all looked as good as new.

The sand system small bore piping and last remaining sand pipes were fitted. This also included the install of the flexible hoses that run from the boiler cradle to the engine units. The six pipes were made all new utilizing the old end fittings.

The sand system tested well with only minor leaks detected and repaired. De sanding pipes now have to be fitted as mandated by network rules.

Steve Preston and Andrew Bridger commenced the install of the ICE radio with the configuration issues now sorted. Some new equipment boxes still have to be made and installed. Thanks to Andrew and Steve for the expert help and the long drives from home from Canberra.

The 60 class were never fitted with speed recorders but it is a network requirement to have one fitted. A search around the country and a cry for help has yielded a good result. The 60 class driving wheels are the same diameter as the Tasmanian M class and as luck would have it the Don River Railway has a spare speedo drive in stock. Thanks to Dennis Camplin and the DRR for making this vital gear available.

In terms of the overall project the rebuild of 6029 is now coming to an end. The compliance documentation has been submitted to the National Regulator and network owners for approval. At this stage and all being well the initial trials we commence in July. However the testing phase will take some months to complete. This will also include crew training and certification. Our affiliated RTO Go Train Industries have completed the operating manual and lesson plans.

As safety is our highest priority, the testing will be rolled out progressively in line with the approved risk assessments and network rules. A friendly reminder is extended to all interested observers and photographers that accessing the rail corridor without the appropriate authority is prohibited and in fact is viewed as trespass by the regulators. We encourage everyone to enjoy their hobby while acting responsibly and observing network rules. Representatives of the network managers will be present during our trials and are likely to challenge anyone within the corridor.

If you want to get up close and personal with 6029, Canberra Railway Museum is now open every day and 6029 will be on display when not operating so you are most welcome to visit and have an up close look.

Alan Gardner.