Getting Ahead

Well here we are after another hectic week (tomorrow is the Day Before Grand Final Day Public Holiday in Victoria) and it’s time for instalment 3 of this meandering tale of goings on in the Victorian Goldfields Railway’s Maldon workshop featuring our hero, Y133.

There has been plenty of action on the railway as it is school holidays with K153 hauling a packed 7 car train on Wednesday but that isn’t the half of it – we’re here to show you the bits that most people don’t see, the effort that goes on keeping things running smoothly on top of the rails. While our passengers have their fun in the sun work is continuing on the inside and outside of Y133, the QN wagon, the NN hopper and a bunch of other little tasks that combine to make the week fly by.

Y133

The shot below is a bit of a refresher showcasing some of the rust and other damage on the nose of the loco.

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In the shot above we can see volunteer Damien getting busy grinding the rusty parts of the nose out so some new steel can be welded in place. What no one was expecting was what he would uncover when he cut the bottom of the nose section out – the shot below shows the floor section in front of the radiator with the build up of gunk that Fletcher and the YVG punched out with the hammer. The radiator has had a number of issues over the last few years as we have covered previously and the leaks and build up of grime in this section have rusted out the chequer plate floor which will have to be replaced.

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Meanwhile the Young Volunteers have been continuing their work preparing the body for paint, in the shot below Riley is hard at work with sandblaster in hand cleaning up some of the small parts of the body. For anyone who has never done this work it is an extremely dusty and boring job so kudos to Riley for his continuing enthusiasm for the task.

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It’s out!

While all that was going on Mick and Banjo Baz continued to work removing the #3 cylinder head as they chased the coolant leak into the engine. After purchasing the correct tool to undo the Crab Nuts (a Torque Multiplier) for an eye-watering $900 they finally got the troublesome Crustaceans to budge. Throw in another $300 for a new torque wrench to do them up again (the ones we already had weren’t big enough) and it is becoming an expensive leak.

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And there it is – Mick (R) and Baz (L) manhandle the circa 55kg head onto the running board. It is great to have Baz’s diesel fitting experience on hand for this job, his skills complement Mick’s really well and this is not a job you would want to entrust to just anyone – mistakes would be very costly here.

After inspecting the components it is hoped that the leak is simply a life expired gasket so after buying a new set (more $$$) and cleaning up it can be refitted and that should be another job done!

Grate Expectations

A couple of other jobs reared their heads while the crew were trying to attend to the Y class – K153 had a cracked firebox grate that needed to be seen to. These grates need to be replaced periodically due to the extreme heat that they endure however this one decided it didn’t need rescuing and jammed itself firmly in place requiring more time than usual to replace.

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Not wanting to be left out J549 got in on the act as well with an inspection before running last Wednesday finding a Piston wedge had dropped in the crosshead as shown below. This required Mick to drop everything and build it up and re-profile it during the running day.

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Tractor 1, Wheelbarrow Nil

The dulcet tones of the BBC’s Soccer score roundup of the 1970s sprang to mind as we checked the pulse of our long serving workshop wheelbarrow after it’s run in with the Green meanie. Should have been wearing a high viz!

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Speaking of Green Meanies, your blogger took time out to speak to workshop volunteer Keith who was busy painting short sections of rail. You could say it was a doorstop interview!

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Well after that terrible pun I think it is time to wrap this one up. We’ll be back soon with more fun and games. Your blogger hopes that these posts give you some idea of the hard graft that goes into keeping the VGR on track. The workshop is always looking for a helping hand so if you think you have something to offer please feel free to contact Mick. I’ll leave you with a snap of some of the new materials that just arrived for the QN wagon that we are overhauling for the Civil Branch. Gotta bolt!

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