All K-K-Class!

Well folks here we are with another update on goings on at the Victorian Goldfields Railway’s Maldon workshop. Last time out we did promise a quick follow on to the last post but due to circumstances beyond our control (ie work) it got delayed. In the time between then and now K153 has been in the shop for repairs after the “season” before she was stripped for her annual boiler inspection.

While this was going on there was work to be finished on QR272 and the Y class diesel to finish off but first we will take a look at the bruised, battered but not beaten K153.

The most important thing that needed to be tackled before the strip down was a weeping stay. Stays are a sort of stud which screws into the firebox inner sheet at one end and the outer sheet at the other and is then welded to prevent water leaking. The stays are vital to the integrity of the firebox and so are monitored very closely. The stays have a hollow centre at each end and if a crack occurs in a stay the crack makes it’s way to the hole where it stops (preventing it from cracking right through the stay) and a tell tale leak develops.


The photo above shows the leaking stay and the tell tale holes in the adjacent items. We will be covering the repairs on this in a bit more detail in the next post as it relates to the Boiler inspection work, for now we will focus on the other “running repairs” that relate directly to the normal wear and tear that goes with operating a Steam loco in service.


Next up was a look inside the firebox itself which revealed that the Brick Arch was failing. Nothing for it but to make some new bricks. Also on the agenda was patching over a burn hole at the edge of the ash pan door casting shown in the image below. Mick is very proud of this weld, he had to stretch it up from below and couldn’t actually see the Arc so it was welded by feel and lots of luck. You could see through the spokes OK to snap the picture but couldn’t reach in that way to weld it.



In the shot above we see a replacement Fire Grate taken from underneath inside the ash pan. The eagle eyed will notice that the rocker arm is shorter than the other(s) so the rocker link had to be removed and modified to suit.

Back to the front and the smoke box baffle doors were found to be thin and bowing. This was the cause of the table plate filling with Ash which had a detrimental effect on performance as well as making a heck of a mess. The stiffer 1/4″ patches in the photo below should do the trick and keep things in line.


Finally it was up top where vibration and age take their toll just like most parts of a Steam locomotive. The photos below show the steam inlet and drain of the Turbo Generator which sits atop K153’s boiler. The Turbo uses steam to generate electricity and this system replaced the various types of lamps used on early railways such as oil burning lamps. The inlet had blown out the sealant and the drain was well and truly gone!


While all of this work was taking place on K153 workshop volunteers with a little help from Mick continued work on QR272. Below we see the slag just falling off a decent weld, this was one that went right, a fair few more had to be done over as the 90 year old rust didn’t take too kindly to being brought back to life.


Well that’s a wrap for this post. All this happened a couple of weeks back and then last week it was Boiler Inspection time. We have an action packed post in the making for later this week showing all the action. In the meantime we leave you with workshop volunteer Keith in his bespoke VGR clogs getting “up to speed” with his tasks for the week. He was complaining that the vice was too high and had taken to standing on a couple of bits of 4 by 2 to gain those extra inches. The duct tape straps made all the difference!


Till next time keep steaming!


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