Pete’s Train

On Tuesday September 10th the VGR ran a special train. The idea was (of course) suggested by our Workshop Manager Mick and was conceived as a Driver Experience to say thank you to someone who has done a mountain of hours / days / weeks of volunteer work in the workshop over the last 7 or so years.

Mick is going to cover Pete’s contributions in more detail in an article for Branchline, the Victorian Goldfields Railway’s Member’s Newsletter so I won’t steal his thunder here. Suffice to say and as Mick himself said if it wasn’t for Pete we simply wouldn’t have been able to run some of the services that we have over that time. And as someone who knows Pete and has worked with him in the past at Maldon I can attest to the long hours and hard work he has put in.

Of course as anyone who knows Mick will attest he is no shrinking Violet. So how do you convince the powers that be to give away a Driver Experience? Well, you stand up at the Railway’s Annual General Meeting and suggest it to the Board of course! He had them over a (boiler) barrel we reckon!

Between the board agreeing to the train in August and the big day in September word spread among the regular workshop rats. Blokes who normally only come in on a Monday, a Wednesday running day or later in the week were suddenly available to come in on a Tuesday! And so the train became a mini celebration for a bunch of really hard working volunteers who spend a lot of time getting dirty but rarely if ever get to experience the fruits of their labour.

Posing for the photo below just prior to departure from Castlemaine we see Pete in the Driver’s seat with Mick to his right and some remarkably clean looking workshop volunteers in the front row.

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Of course in order to run a Driver Experience for our motley crew of volunteers you need a train crew and Driver John and Fireman John on the footplate were ably assisted by Board Member Dave doing the Guard duties while fighting off the dreaded lurgy and VGR Young Volunteers Group member Adisson in the signal box. They were a great choice and the day was full of smiles and laughter so a big Thank You to you all.

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Your blogger was called away from work to join in the fun and was able to catch J549 with Pete at the regulator as it crossed the Midland Highway on the Up with a good sized load above. Below we see Guard Dave watching the loco run around her train after being turned, his Hi Viz standing out against a Grey old Central Victorian day.

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Above we have another shot of the loco running around while below Fireman John looks on as Pete eases the loco back to couple up to the train. And a very tidy job he made of it too!

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After a break for lunch in the old VR Refreshment Room at Castlemaine it was back on board for the trip home to Maldon. I managed to get a quick shot of the train on the Down as the sun finally managed to show itself. As you can see from the earlier photo of the train on the Up she was pulling a decent load and Pete had her fair barking up the long grade out of Castlemaine after crossing the Winter’s Flat Trestle.

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The first words out of Pete’s mouth after the first leg from Maldon to Castlemaine were “That is really hard work” and by the end of the day he was by his own admission exhausted so it was off home for a few celebratory beers followed by a very good nights sleep. Since then though he hasn’t stopped talking about his big day on the footplate. Don’t forget that you too can drive an ex Victorian Railways Locomotive, the VGR offers Driver Experience packages either Steam or Diesel on our branch line. See http://www.driveasteamtrain.com.au for details.

Well after a day of fun it’s back to work now for the volunteers. We’ll have an update of what they have been up to in the next couple of weeks. Until them remember that we are always looking for new volunteers in the workshop and you don’t need railway experience. We have volunteers from all walks of life and our latest recruit, a former motor mechanic, is finding heaps to do around the place. Get in touch with Mick or drop in for a chat, there are people around most weekdays.

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She Caught the K Class (and left me a mule to ride)

The Workshop Blues

We all love Steam Engines right? But sometimes they do leave us wondering if the great Taj Mahal was really singing about his hard headed woman or the motive power itself in his 1968 Train Song made famous by a little ol’ film in the 1980s.

Hello and welcome to another post from the Mechanical Branch of the Victorian Goldfields Railway in Maldon, Central Victoria. In the last post we covered the efforts to get Steamrail’s K153 ready for the big Maldon Steam weekend. Many trains later and with the weekend done and dusted the VGR’s own oil burning Steam locomotive J549 hauled the last train back to Maldon. We’re not sure if she was already missing her shed mate who had just headed back to Newport to prepare for Steamrail’s Hurstbridge Shuttles or if it was just the knowledge that she would be doing the job solo for the rest of the steam season but the old girl decided to make her displeasure known.

Coming up the grade towards the Ganger’s shed at Maldon our hero was emitting a loud squeal. Luckily Blues Brother number 1 Banjo Baz was about the place and assisted the crew to gently coax the loco into the workshop compound leaving the Y class diesel to do the evening’s shunting work. The J was going nowhere in that state. Monday morning arrived cold and wet and Baz along with Blues Brother number 2, Guitar Mick, got to work.

Spring Sprung early

It was pretty obvious that the problem was with the front Pony Truck, an area which had caused it’s fair share of problems  on the K a while back. The leading wheels of a steam locomotive are carried on the Pony Truck and are used to help the locomotive negotiate curves and to support the front portion of the boiler. The truck pivots from a point behind the front wheels and is actually sprung to enable it to return to centre. This pony truck wasn’t steering much at all.

The hard working crew had only recently done some repairs to the same area on K153 but it would prove to be a far bigger job on the J class. The broken spring was pretty easy to spot but the large degree of movement of the axle due to the failure had in turn severely damaged the bearings. The J rides a little higher on the front then the K which was part of the problem but the bigger issue was where the spring had broken.

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In the picture above we see the culprit. When the spring on the K class failed the break was much further along but this time with it breaking so close to the end it has also bent over the fingers below. The axle stayed level on the rails but the bearings stay with the axle boxes which are no longer supported by the spring and so the axle is at a severe angle to it’s support structure. The result is that approximately 4.5 tonnes which was supported on around 40 sq ” of bearing is now supported on around 8 sq”. This causes a massive increase in heat, the lubrication fails and the white metal begins to melt. Everywhere. The squealing which had announced the loco’s arrival to Baz was the sound of Axle on Brass. Not good.

The Pit Stop Blues

With the J being the only Steam Loco available for traffic time was of the essence but this was a big and important job so nothing would be left to chance. A plan was hatched with the turntable pit to be used as a wheel drop pit –  we have the equipment used in such a pit we don’t have the actual hole in the ground to fit it into!

First job was to position the loco on the turntable road not far from the pit. With running boards removed the front of the loco was jacked from under the buffer beam about 3 feet to enable 2″ steel blocks to be inserted above the axle boxes. A big RSJ was then placed across the front end and the pony truck wheels were chained up to that.

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At left we see the wheels chained up and ready to go while at right YVG member Riley admires the handy work.

The next step was to grease the rails in front and underneath the loco and then diesel electric loco Y133 was used to very slowly push J549 (with hand brakes fully engaged) out into the void. The grease was to enable the braked loco to slide gently along the rails and some precise driving ensued as the J was inched far enough to allow the pony truck to be clear of the ground. Then after application of chocks and more checking of brakes the chain blocks were used to lower the wheels which caused the axle boxes to come out of the horn blocks so that the axle boxes could be lifted away from the axle.

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In the shot above we see the “wheel drop pit” in action. Below we can see some of the damage caused to the axle box bearings.

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There was plenty of work to do in cleaning up the mess, white metal had got everywhere including into the wool pads and the axle had even rubbed on the cellar causing more damage to be repaired and cleaned up. Items were cleaned, filed etc and then it was time to repair the bearing itself. New material was puddled in to replace the old and the assembly was then set up in the lathe and machined. Below we see a bit more of the action.

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After the machining was done, checked and double checked it was time to fit the whole lot back together. Work had been going continuously since Monday morning and by Thurday it was done. We had missed Wednesday’s service which was hauled by the Y class but it was a fantastic effort by the hard working workshop gang to get the J back on the rails in such a short time after such a failure. Quick thinking, good planning and the requisite skills of the full time staff as well as the (tiny) army of workshop volunteers got the job done in great time.

Your blogger (more on that below) managed to get out and snap a shot of what was thought to be the test run after outshopping of the loco. It was only when the consist returned on the Down from Castlemaine with a load of passengers that I realised that this was actually a charter – for V/Line apparently – so it was a good thing that our hero was ready to go!

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Jake! Elwood! The Blog Brothers!

Well this is where I normally sign off with a quick “that’s all for this time” but this time is a bit different. Shortly we will be welcoming a new blogger into the Mechanical Blog fold. I will continue to (try to) keep you up to date with goings on at Maldon but with the VGR’s old stalwart K160 currently undergoing a major overhaul at Newport Workshops the job will be split with a second blogger reporting on goings on from Steamrail HQ. So we’ll leave you with a shot of Guitar Mick cutting steel for K160’s Ashpan mounting frame before drilling it ready for assembly.  This work was done in Maldon but with parts and materials being  transported back and forth between Newport and Maldon to keep the K160 project moving there is never a dull moment eh!

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Kaotic Scenes

Welcome to another post as we try to keep you up to date with goings on in the Victorian Goldfields Railway’s Maldon Workshops.

If you read the last post you would know that our crew had spent the last few months working around a rather large obstacle which was taking up a bit too much space in the loco shed. Meanwhile the work kept rolling in and in particular Steamrail’s K153 was in need of a bunch of attention. Much of this work had been deferred due to the XYZ set taking up the workshop road but now the K was required for the Maldon Weekender from August 16 to 18 before she was to return on the mainline back to Newport in time to run the Hurstbridge Shuttles so it was all hands on deck.

The K was shedded on the 1st of August & we got it out for a test run on the 15th, just in time for the big weekend. Crucial to this work was the loco passing it’s Rail Safety Accreditation which as we have mentioned before is like an RWC for trains. This is in addition to the annual boiler inspection – as one wag once noted “I don’t care what happens to the boiler but if it jumps off the rails I’ve got a big problem”. Hence springs, pins, clips and profiles get a thorough seeing to in this phase of work.

Overall there were 22 issues worked on to prepare the loco for her trip home as could be seen in the long list of log book entries for the repairs.

One of those was the nagging issue of the Clack Valve on the Driver’s Side Injector which had been playing up in one of those annoying on again, off again situations. In the photo below we see at left the view looking into the injector at the partially cut Clack Valve seat. Note the bottom half is flat & shiny as the cut slowly makes its way to the top of the seat, which had worn off square. Much lapping would form a good seat, but in service it would still leak because it was not aligning correctly.

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In the middle we see that a quick facing of the clack valve shows how badly burnt it was, which is why the valve was replaced. On the right we see the 2 Clacks sitting on Mick’s desk. Note one is nearly flat (worn out) & the other has a high seat face.

Another issue requiring attention was the Fireman’s Side Gudgeon Pin which had a stripped thread. Here on the left we see the first test fit of the replacement sitting in the Crosshead. The Gap on the right shows how much allowance there was for lapping & Draw to pull into the Crosshead. On the right we see the old pin with it’s stripped thread watching over it’s newly fitted replacement

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Little end Brasses also had to be removed & fitted to the replacement Gudgeon as seen in the shot below.

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3 of 4 Pony Trunion bolts had also managed to work loose (one had actually stretched) leaving just one to hold the plates together. Holding the load had caused wear on the bolt head as seen in the shot below left. The repaired suspension (spring buckle, leg bushes & pins) sitting beautifully where it should, lifting the loco & improving the ride and not to forget Banjo Baz (on secondment from the Civil Gang again) playing with springs

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Below we see why Baz was playing with suspension. The spring buckle is just a bit worn!

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Well that is about if for now. K153 made it out of the workshop alive after her accreditation and was last seen hauling the Wattle Festival shuttle to Hurstbridge. But this story would have a sequel – all this talk of Pony Trucks and springs would come back to haunt us. Tune in next time to see some interesting repair work and some exciting blog news. Until then may your sanding boxes provide traction during these cold, wintery running days.

In the (Alphabet) Soup

Yes, I know. We said we would have a bunch of content to share with all of our loyal readers out there but once again the service was cancelled. Track Fault? Signal Fault? Staff sickness? None of the above. The workshop has been dealing with what the Rev W would never have anticipated – not troublesome trucks but troublesome carriages!

The ABC of XYZ

As some of you may know the Victorian Goldfields Railway currently has custody of a very special set of carriages known as the XYZ set. This set of fixed wheel carriages date from the mid-late 1800s and are the oldest pieces of Victorian Railways rolling stock still running. First restored by VR in 1954 for their centenary celebrations the set otherwise known as The Veteran Train are only used on a few special trains each year currently billed as the Colonial Express. At other times this set needs to be kept under cover so they are stored in the Carriage Shed at Castlemaine.

The Royal Pain

Earlier this year it was announced that the VGR in conjunction with Seymour Rail Heritage Centre would be running another very special set of carriages known as the Royal Train from Castlemaine to Bendigo (and a couple of times to Maldon) over selected weekends to coincide with the Tudors to Windsors exhibition at the Bendigo Gallery starting in April and running through to July. This was a huge success as your blogger can attest to having worked on a couple of the trips however these special carriages also needed to live indoors at Castlemaine so it was decided to move the XYZ set to Maldon for the duration and house them in the Loco shed.

Crowded House

The XYZ set took up all the room in the loco shed and some which meant that all work normally undertaken in the shed such as servicing and repair of steam locos had to be done outside. In the dirt. In Winter. In Maldon. Accordingly things have been a bit hectic over the last few months with things taking longer than usual due to the extra running around and the need to try to keep warm against the bitter Central Victorian winter! To say the workshop crew was glad to see the back of them would be an understatement and a half!

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While we are here…….

While the Veteran Train was in the house it was decided to give it a once over. This happened over a period of many weeks as the work was done in between other more pressing jobs. This was a pretty interesting side show for the gang because the brake equipment on these old carriages is not the same as we are used to – there are some pretty major differences in fact.

While in the shop 69YZ and 309Y had a full PV exam. The PV covered removal, cleaning, inspection and and refitting of the brake piston and valve, greasing and adjusting all brake rigging, tightening Buffer bolts and a leakage test which were both AOK.

40X got a PV exam (2 pistons, one cylinder which was interesting for all involved as most had not seen such a setup before), greasing and adjustment of all brake rigging, tightening buffers, spring mounts, body mounts, brake rigging mounts and replacing and tightening many other bolts. In the shot below we see a shot of the under frame and brake rigging. Note the lovely spoked wheels, this set would probably have had Krupp Cast Iron spoke wheels at one stage but most of those were removed MANY years ago due to their high failure rate.

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Things got really interesting after that as Mick and the crew had to replace a body mount bolt which was rusted through in the middle of the frame timber – the bottom of the bolt turned, the top didn’t! This can be a bit confusing for the novices among us until it dawns on you that the bloody thing has sheared halfway down it’s length! The experienced hands of course worked it out straight away. Next up was to raise & tighten underneath tank support straps. Finally onto the leakage test and the result was – FAIL! Unions, taps, Brake Pipe taps, release valve etc were attended to and 9 repairs later – Pass. Happy Days! Below we see the view through the timber to the broken bolt.

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All received an A exam as well and all Screw Couplings were given a thorough greasing and going over.

Fast forward to the 16th of July and the XYZ set was attached to the back of a transfer train and hauled back to Castlemaine. Your blogger was on hand to capture the movement as it passed over the Midland Highway crossing under a leaden Winter sky.

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With the workshop freed up once again there was plenty to get on with in preparation for Steamrail’s Maldon Steam Spectacular which took place last weekend. Hopefully we will cover some of this in an upcoming post but after the last few months we are not making any promises!

Travelling Back In Time

Hello and welcome to another update from the Victorian Goldfields Railway’s Maldon workshop. Being a heritage railway we are used to giving the appearance of time travel as our Ex Victorian Railways Heritage rolling stock plies it’s trade over our 1950s era branchline from Castlemaine to Maldon. This time however we are travelling all the way back to March 28th – the last time we posted an update!

The March / April period is always a busy one for our Railway as fire restrictions ease and the Steam season gets underway, This combined with some good old fashioned tech issues meant we have been a bit quiet. That’s right, we lost all the photos!

In the last post we covered J549’s return to service after her big exam. With the J now back on the ‘point’ of our trains and fire restrictions still meaning we were unable to run a coal burning loco attention turned to Steamrail’s K153 which has called the VGR home over the last few months. The K had been sitting in the Carriage Shed at Castlemaine since here boiler inspection late last year but as she was required to run a couple of Main Line trips to Echuca in May special permission was obtained from the CFA to run her back to Maldon.

The trip back to our workshop showed up a few issues, some due to her sitting around in the summer heat baking in a tin shed and others just the types of things that crop up when trying to maintain a heritage loco in regular service. Firstly the gland packing around the regulator needed attention. This was quickly attended to and we turned to other issues such as clack valve cap, isolator valve and steam valve leaks which were attended to. One of the Dump Grate shafts was seized where it passed through the frame and this needed attending to as well. There were a few other niggles as well, too many to cover in detail.

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In the photo above left we see the Fireman’s Side Gauge Glass Boss replaced because the outlet thread was . . . . past its use by date, & would shower the crew! While on the right we see the turbo drain outlet which required repair (AGAIN!!!). This time Mick fitted an elbow to try to prevent further damage.

Next on the list was the compressor. Loco Crews had been reporting problems with the Westinghouse unit fitted to K153 for a while. Nothing that a quick knock or 2 with the hammer wouldn’t cure but as she was venturing beyond our tracks it was time to have a look inside. So off came the Fireman’s Side Elephant’s Ear and the crew got to work. The unit was found to me in need of more than a little repair. One of the heads from our own K160 was grabbed from Newport as a short term replacement for a worn out part but that was not all!

The shuttle valve that controls the movement of air in and out of the various parts of the compound compressor unit was well beyond it’s service limit. Workshop Manager Mick machined up some new rings for it, no easy job as they are made from Centrifically cast iron tubing which needed to be machined inside and out to obtain the correct size. Luckily some material was on hand to get the job done with more sourced to replenish our stocks. The compressor unit will get more attention later as it will need 3 new shuttle valve bores. These will need to be machined up, ports cut into them and then they will need to be shrink fitted into the unit. A big job.

Below we see the usual suspects removing the smoke deflector to enable access to the compressor.

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With time rapidly running out before the twin trips to Echuca, firstly for Steamrail’s Echuca Overlander on May 11th and then for a private charter the following week, K153 was pressed into service on VGR services from May 4th with fire restrictions having been lifted at the start of the month. Your blogger was on hand to snap a shot of her on a test trip powering over Castlemaine’s Midland Highway crossing under leaden skies before the deflector was refitted making her look a bit ‘unbalanced’.

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Well that is about all for this week. We are aiming to bring you a stream of updates over the next few weeks, time and technology permitting so please stay tuned. We will leave you with a couple of shots – on the left have a delivery of 30 tons or so of finest NSW black coal to power K153 to Echuca and on the right we see Mick after a hard day’s graft. When asked for a byline for the shots Mick shot back “Fresh black rock, fresh black me”. So there you have it! If you fancy coming down and getting dirty remember the workshop is always looking for volunteers to assist in their never ending endeavors – at least it’s warm inside the smoke box!

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The Regulator, the Whistle and the Faces around the Workshop

While we keenly await Mick’s Magnum Opus about the recent ABC exam on J549 we’ll take the opportunity to describe in a bit more detail a couple of the more interesting jobs undertaken during the recent exam.

The regulator shaft was one of the components that Mick knew would need some serious attention. During last year’s annual exam some bad spots were noticed and the gland packing had required replacement 3 times during the year as the increasing damage to the shaft from corrosion tore at the packing. With the loco coming out of service for a few weeks it was time to take a look at it and assess what work was required.

Like a throttle on a motorcycle or accelerator on a car the regulator transfers the input from the driver to the engine but due to the high boiler pressures involved on a Steam Locomotive it needs to be in tip top shape to ensure good, safe performance. As you can see from the shot below the best days were well and truly behind this one!

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The shaft itself is a long, unwieldy bit of kit that runs through the boiler connecting the regulator handle to the regulator valve in the steam dome. On a coal burner the shaft can be withdrawn out through the cab with the tender in place but on an Oil Burner like our J549 the oil tank is in the way so the tender needs to be disconnected from the locomotive. Lucky we were doing that anyway for the purpose of the C exam!

The shaft operates the regulator valve via an eccentric and this is a simple square fit on the shaft requiring no fastenings but of course you still need to get inside the dome to tap it out and support it once it starts to move. The dome lid needs to be removed for this purpose, not the pretty black shroud that you see when the loco is running but the lid underneath. This involves undoing the 30 or so nuts that hold the dome cover onto the boiler. Carefully. If not done properly you risk warping the dome cap and/or damaging the copper sealing ring.

Once out it was pretty obvious that some major work would be required and it was decided to cut the shaft in two (in the same spot that it had been cut previously) to allow it to be machined in the lathe. Baz’s expertise was ideal for this job and so he was um, er, seconded? Stolen? Let’s say borrowed from the Civil department for a few days. Firstly all of the corroded material was removed which showed up a lot of damage, in some parts it was almost half the original diameter. Next Baz welded new material in place running weld up and down the length while the shaft was mounted in the lathe and rotated by hand as new metal was added, a long and tedious task. Next it was machined back by Geoff and this process was repeated 3 times to ensure no imperfections which could wreck the gland packing again or worse lead to a failure. When the job was finished the shaft was welded back together ready for refitting. Below we see Baz in action and the shaft in the lathe being machined.

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Another area which needed attention was the Whistle Valve and Seat. When removed there was obvious signs of wear caused by Steam leaking around the valve as shown in the first shot below. As we have mentioned before Steam is corrosive and once a leak starts it is very efficient at cutting through pretty much any material. In the second shot you can see the damage to the Whistle Valve Seat which probably created the leak in the first place. Once it began to leak the steam quickly damaged the valve itself.

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In the shot below we see the valve in the lathe being machined with Mick doing the honours. He also had the pleasure of doing the seat which needs to be done by hand. Hours and hours of work goes into these types of jobs and if not done properly and to an exacting standard the leaks will just start again and the corrosion cycle will begin anew.

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We’ll finish up this post with a few shot of volunteers doing various jobs around the workshop. The guys do a great job especially considering the limited resources at their disposal. If you think you have something to offer talk to Mick in the workshop, it is a friendly and welcoming environment and we are always looking for help!

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Above Left Mick (not strictly a volunteer) and Pete with the rare opportunity of a bench each and Right Pete does battle with a starting valve!

Below Left, Geoff playing with an angle grinder and Right Brian washing parts. Geoff spent most of his working career as a fitter with a Brewery, just goes to show that you don’t need to be a rail worker to have skills we can use in the workshop!

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Well that is about all we have time for this post. Today was a busy day with the Royal Train arriving from Seymour with our long lost T333 in tow along with a few VR bogie louvre vans which we seem to have adopted. The work just keeps on coming for our busy crew at the Victorian Goldfields Railway Maldon workshop.

Up, Up and Away!

Hi and welcome to another update from the Victorian Goldfields Railway’s Maldon workshop. The focus of most attention for the last month or so has been finishing the ABC exam on our oil burning steam loco J549. As detailed in our last post this is a major exam requiring a lot more than the “regular” A and AB exams and the biggest part of it is to jack the loco frame off of the wheels to get to the Woolpads in the axle boxes on the driving wheels. In order to do this there are many other parts that have to come off first.

The preparation for the lift had been going on for a few weeks with various parts being removed to allow the frame/boiler/cab to be hoisted free of the driving wheels and motion gear. All brake blocks and rigging had to come off plus the long rods had to come off as we found some worn bushes. Springs, keeper plates including those from the pony trucks, wedge adjusting bolts, wedge clamps and adjusting bolt clamps also had to come off. When all this was done the loco could be jacked up enough to access to the spring hanger pin lock bolts. Then the spring hangers could be removed finally allowing access to the cellars.

On the left we see the view from underneath as the loco is almost ready to hoist and at right we see Mick giving it his all as she begins to rise.

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woolpads

In the photo above left we see the wool pads as they came out. Clearly not enough material had been used last time around and you can see the metal of the Cellars where they should be covered by the wool. On the right we see them after a lot of work ready to go back in with a lot more material this time. Not exactly Vegan friendly these locomotives!

Another problem area was the wool trimmings which were extremely dirty. Much of this is a result of dirt and muck getting in when the oil cans are inserted to top up the oil. These are normally accessed through the spokes of the wheel, everything is very dirty and the nozzle of the can drags in muck from the wheel spokes and surrounds and mixes it in with the oil. Below we see some of the dirty trimmings and at right the detritus that was left behind after 3 hours of cleaning or so.

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Other faults found during this work included worn brake bushes, suspension bushes, springs, spring buckles and 2 suspension legs which were seized so badly that they could not be moved even with a sledge hammer. Not good for ride quality! There was a lot more as well which we will cover in a later post.

Of course while all of this is going on there are still other duties to attend to as and when required. Our freshly painted heritage diesel loco Y133 has been on the point of all trains since the J came out of service in mid January and it needs attention from time to time to ensure reliable running for our passengers. In the photo at left below we see a leak in the engine protector which sprung up and had to be attended to by the workshop crew. In the other shot Keith is on duty cutting more door stops to be painted and sold at our shops both at Maldon and at Castlemaine.

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Well that is about it for this time. As I type the pieces of the puzzle have been put back together and the loco was steamed on Friday ready for her return to service. In the coming weeks we hope to have an in depth post from Mick covering the more technical aspects of the exam for those among our viewers who have an interest in the more complicated aspects of keeping a heritage steam loco in service on our tourist railway. 10031

But remember it’s not all about hard graft – in a lull between jobs (and probably just before morning Smoko) the crew had a discussion about the chemical makeup of coffee which is a vital part of Mick’s day. And anyone who has worked in the big shed at Maldon for any length of time will know that meant a chemistry lesson! The workshop is always looking for more help so if you would like to lend a hand (or get a chemistry lesson) please contact us via the website at vgr.com.au.

Till next time, thanks for taking an interest in our blog, our workshop and our railway.