K190’s a movie star, on with the show!

This past week or so Mick and the workshop team have been back on Steam duty while the YVG continues with work on the Y class.

K190 was due to do some filming work this week and the Smoke Deflectors were considered surplus to requirements so they had to come off. Easy right? Have you ever tried lifting one of those “Elephant’s ears”? Your blogger has been involved in fitting them in the past and it is a big job requiring a crane (or a handy Hi-Rail excavator in our case) and many hands to position and hold it while bolts are positioned and tightened. A big job at any time let alone on a windy Maldon day! With filming done the “ears” were back on by Tuesday in time for the K to run the regular service on Wednesday with a big train behind her.

Then it was on to J549 which is due it’s annual Safety Accreditation Inspection this week and in amongst all of that work continues on K160’s Ashpan which we will cover next time with any luck.

As we said last week the workshop gang are also required to work on Y133 when the going gets tough and recently they were pressed into action to deal with some rust uncovered at the bottom of the Cab on the observer’s side. But why just do a patch up  when you can cut out the section and replace it! Luckily Mick is a dab hand at the cut and shut, here he has removed the affected section and is preparing it to take the new piece of steel.  It really pays to have talented (and qualified) staff on hand for this kind of work, if not done properly the problem would come back in a few years.


Meanwhile work continued over the past few weeks on sanding back the old paint and prepping for the new. First inside the shed and then outside in the sun when the shed was commandeered for another job.



They say you can hide a multitude of sins under a coat of jam and a couple of interesting things have cropped up over the past couple of weeks when the paint has been stripped back. Firstly we see a couple of different Yellows clearly applied at different times in the loco’s life. Fletcher takes up the story “The small patch of yellow is the original “Gold” type colour, it would’ve been the yellow it carried when it was brand new. The “newer” yellow was a later colour, probably applied by SRHC when they painted it in the late 80’s/ early 90’s? Not really sure on a date. But, when we put colour on 133 we are using the original yellow!! “…



…and here we see a clearly defined Oval shape emerging from the bog, rust and old paint. Fletcher explains that this is the marking of the original Clyde Engineering builders plate. Personally I don’t think that someone as young as Fletch could possible know such a thing, maybe one of the old hands tipped him off!


The work being done by the Young Volunteers Group with help from Mick and the workshop team is really starting to take shape. This shot was taken last week after another days hard graft. And on Monday this week one of our volunteers snapped her on a Driver Experience running the return Down leg back to Maldon on a lovely Winters day in Central Victoria. I don’t know what our “driver for a day” thought when he saw the state of the loco but little did he know that he was part of history! Remember folks you too can drive a train on the VGR, check out the Driver Experience page on the website http://www.vgr.com.au


Well that’s about all for this post, tune in next time when we hope to have a riveting update on K160’s ash pan and more Y class action plus any other items of interest from inside the shed. Thanks to Fletcher for most of the pics used in this post, keep up the good work guys!

The Y, the YVG and the VGR

This post was supposed to be about our heritage diesel locomotive Y133 which is currently getting a bit of a makeover. However as the post started to roll onto the page it became apparent pretty quickly that a bit of explanation was going to be required. So here goes.

Y133 entered service in 1965 and was withdrawn in 1987. She is now owned by the people of Victoria under the VicTrack Heritage umbrella and after spending some time allocated to SRHC is now allocated to the VGR. For many years she has been a great servant on our railway doing anything from running regular services during Summer fire restrictions, hauling works trains, acting as yard pilot at Maldon to occasionally filling in at short notice for an ailing steam loco.


However she is over 50 now and as you can see from the image above all this hard work has taken it’s toll and so it was decided that it was time to give Y133 a fresh coat of paint and maybe some other repairs as the project required. The mechanical work, welding etc where required would be done by the Workshop crew and the prep and painting would be handled by the YVG. Sorry, who?

The future of the VGR is in good hands

YVG stands for Young Volunteers Group and was the brainchild of young VGR member Fletcher who was spending pretty much every weekend hanging around the workshop at Maldon doing whatever job was sent his way (and probably some that weren’t). Your blogger put a few questions to him this week;

B – So Fletcher, how did the YVG come about?

F – “It was my idea and I got the ball rolling. Then it went to the board and it all formed from there.”

B – And who is eligible to join the group?

F – “The Young volunteers group welcomes anyone between the age of 16-35! We currently have about 10 regular volunteers. But that number is slowly rising as people gain interest in what we do.”

B – Before the Y class job what other jobs has the YVG tackled?

F – “We undertake big and small projects around the railway and reveal many talents the younger ones didn’t know they had! So far, the YVG have repainted J549, rebuilt the Maldon Gangers Shed and overhauled most of the trolley fleet. Earlier this year the BP oil tankers were restored to their former glory!”

Great stuff from the boys and girls of the YVG. That’s right folks, don’t be lulled into thinking this is a boys club – the Young Volunteers welcome both males and females with both genders active in group. In this bloggers opinion the future is looking very bright for our railway!

Off the rails

So now you know how this blog post went off the rails so quickly, a bit like the star of our show who got her feet dirty a few years ago in the yard thanks to a pesky broken rail.


Back on track!

With the Fire bans lifted towards the end of April this year and the railway able to run steam once more the work begun in earnest. The biggest job was always going to be removing all the years of dirt, dust, surface rust and layers of old paint that had built up over the years. The YVG got straight into it using whatever means they could find (but mainly elbow grease – oh to by young, fit and enthusiastic again!). Engine covers, panels and doors were removed to be stripped, checked for signs of rotting due to rust and primed.


Next she was rolled into the shed and the power tools came out to begin the sanding of the main body and other components. As she is to be spray painted everything needs to be super smooth before the jam goes on as any little imperfections will show up very clearly once the VR Blue and Gold hits them.


Well that’s probably enough for one post, next time we get up close and personal with some of the work being done on the loco and see the progress being achieved by the YVG with help from Mick and the workshop gang.

But just in case you can’t wait here is a sneak preview, an arty shot that Fletcher himself took of our hero taking in the night air at Maldon in winter with priming well and truly underway. Brrrrr.


What comes after J? K of course!

Musical Engines

With J549 back on the road after the most recent work in the firebox it was time to turn our attention to the K Class. Well a couple of K classes actually.

K190 needed a bit of TLC in the same area as the J got last week so it was shunted into the workshop to enable repairs to be done in a little more comfort than afforded outside during a cold Maldon winter. Now if you are thinking that the picture below looks familiar then you are correct – Darren’s back!


Qualified pressure vessel welder (and all round top bloke) Darren was called back into service last week to do some work in the firebox of K190. This left Mick free to get to work on some other bits and bobs but as 190 was required back into service ASAP it took precedent so Mick got to work. Below you can see him weilding the Oxy Spanner trying to budge the Drivers Side Valve Chest drain pipe as he went searching for a leak.


And after K comes……. K of course!

Much of the work on K160 is being done at our joint venture partner Steamrail’s workshop at Newport West Block. It was considered that the facilities there plus the easier trip for Melbourne based volunteers would mean the work would happen faster and so far so good! However some of the jobs such as the Ashpan that we have shown in a previous post are brought back to Maldon for Mick and the local volunteers to tackle. The latest such job is the Main Internal steam pipe and as it also requires some of Darren’s skills it was decided to tackle it while he was here.

The Main Internal is a 6″ thick walled seamless tube which carries saturated steam from the dome (via the regulator and J pipe) to the Super Heater manifold (or header). Steam is corrosive and so this part comes under a lot of duress and suffers much wear and tear. The one in 160 was shot as was the cone that mounts it to the J pipe

Materials were sourced and Mick got to work machining up a new cone and below you can see the result with the old corroded one on the right and the shiny new one on the left ready to fit to the new tube. It was machined on the 4 jaw lathe in our workshop and then the final task of lapping it to the J pipe was done by hand, a process that took Mick straight to Cramp City!


Once the cone was finished it was time for Darren to pick up the welder again and attatch the new cone to the pipe. Remember that anything to do with the boiler can only be welded by a qualified PV welder so no matter how good our guys are they aren’t allowed to do this work. And so below we see the result, the new unit complete and ready to go into K160’s boiler.


For those who follow the Rail Preservation movement and marvel at the fantastic figures thrown around for restoration of Steam Locomotives or even just their boilers consider this – the 6″ pipe itself cost around $2500.00, material for the cone came in at $76.00 and once you add machining and welding you don’t get any change from $2800.00. And that is for just one small piece of the boiler jigsaw puzzle. Albeit a very important one.

Next time we will hopefully be taking a look at the ongoing work being done on Y133 by our Young Volunteers Group plus some unexpected work that was needed recently on her as well.

We hope to have some more updates on K160 soon as work begins to really ramp up. And don’t forget you can donate to her restoration via the website or by taking this link http://www.vgr.com.au/k160appeal.php

There are some pretty cool packages on offer for donors which include a ride behind the loco on her first load trail on the main line following the completion of the restoration.