No rest for the YVG

Hello and welcome to a short first blog update for 2019. Firstly a Happy New Year to all of our readers, we had a really good last 6 months here at the VGR workshop blog and we look forward to a bigger and better 2019 (not 2018 as the Sydney Harbour Bridge tried to tell us a couple of days ago!).

With Mick on holidays and many of the volunteers away on “other duties” over the Christmas / New Year period you would think that there would be nothing much going on at the Victorian Goldfields Railway’s Maldon workshop. Well nothing could be further from the truth! A few staunch volunteers/staff have been sighted cleaning up the Shed and Workshop Compound area while The Young Volunteers Group decided that the holidays were a perfect time to get the VR Blue and Gold applied to our heritage diesel locomotive Y133.

As your blogger has also been AWOL over the holidays I have yet to see either in the flesh or via email the work as it stands but I am reliably informed that it is going very well indeed. Tomorrow will be a real scorcher, way too hot for spray painting as the paint will dry before it hits the metal causing a nasty Orange peel effect but with some cooler days coming up over the weekend the job will hopefully be completed very soon.

Until we get some more up to date pics we will have to settle for more of Riley’s great shots of the progress that was made on the metal work in the weeks leading up to Christmas.



Above we see some of the work completed in the radiator compartment. This area had seen a lot of water ingress in recent years and the water was trapped in the compartment leading to rust. After the dirt and scale was removed a drain hole was discovered – even old hands at the VGR claimed they had never seen it before!


More shots of the great work done on the nose. This was particularly difficult work as the front is not flat but has a transition, multiple small changes of angle to get the look. In a brilliant piece of lateral thinking Baz used the recently completed wooden deck of the QR wagon as a sheet metal bending and forming tool! The results speak for themselves.


As ex Overland carriage Tambo looks on we can see some of the work still to be done. The parts of the carbody which are covered by the doors are particularly susceptible to rust while the vibrations of the big 2 Stroke Diesel engine can cause cracks in other parts of the same parts as well as in the doors. This lot was all stripped back and repaired before the painting began.

Well we did say it would be short! Apologies for the last post which was supposed to go live on Dec 13th as a follow on from the Dec 8th post but for some reason doesn’t seem to have loaded. Also a big shout out to young Riley who apparently came off second best after trying to drop punt a Locomotice Brake Block, get well soon mate!

With J549 scheduled to run services for the next week or so there have been really good passenger numbers on our trains over the holidays with plenty of families enjoying today’s trip. Get over to to grab your seat or better still hang out until February and be part of history as the refurbished Y133 hits the rails.


Unfinished (and finished) Business

Well folks, another week has flown by and it is time for a further update on works at the Victorian Goldfields Railway’s Maldon workshops. Last time out we featured work on K153 in preparation for her annual boiler inspection. After the post went live we realised that we had made an omission which might have made it difficult for some to follow! We covered Mick drilling out and replacing one stay “between the sheets” and we also covered gun welder Darren working on a stay on the throat plate. Those with a bit of knowledge would have picked that they are not anywhere near each other! That’s right, we did more than one. In the image below we see the Throat Plate stay in the process of being removed. This one almost broke Mick’s hand while he was trying to drill it out – the stay had suffered much corrosion and was far thinner than anticipated and the drill bit jammed on the edge of the cavity created. As one wag commented “you’d be worn too after 78 years”!


Don’t leave on my account…….

While all of the work on K153 was happening there was still time for some other tasks to be done either by those not involved with the K or in the downtime waiting for welders or inspectors to arrive or for Bricks to set. There was light at the end of the shed for QR272 and with everyone heartily sick of the sight of it there were plenty of willing helpers to finish off the job. Below we see some of the crew applying a sump oil finish to the new deck to protect it, using enough for it to drip through to protect the new steel underneath as well.



Once that was done it was time for an active brake test before outshopping. VGR stalwart, tireless volunteer and ex President Paul was on hand to do the honours. After the successful result (which was a relief after the dozens of man hours spent on the brakes) the wagon was hauled out into the Maldon sunshine.  Described as the “greatest achievement of the last 3 months” by one workshop team member clearly happy to see the back of it! All that is left now is a quick coat of paint and stencilling and it can head out on duties with the Civil crew.


Getting there is half the fun

With that job done attention turned back to Y133. With the VGR’s Young Volunteers Group threatening to apply the Blue and Gold straight after Christmas there is no time to lose in finalising the structural repairs. Below we see Baz cutting some more rust out, first inside the car body and then outside.



With that done it was time to start welding in some new material. YVG member Riley was on hand to snap some shots of the work. Below we see the same part of the nose with the new material welded in.


Next time out we will feature a few more of Riley’s shots as the holes are filled with shiny new steel. Thanks to Riley and Mick for extra photos. Keep up the great work guys (and gals)! And remember that the workshop is always looking for active volunteers, if you think you have got something to offer contact Mick.