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.

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